Welcome to the Jungle
April 17, 2012 9:48 AM   Subscribe

On Saturday, iconoic rock band Guns N' Roses was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Missing from the event? Axl Rose. Matti Fagerholm. Wait... who?

Matti Antero Kristian Fagerholm, who goes by the stagename Michael Monroe, is a 50-year-old Finnish rocker who has been called "the world's most respected, yet least famous, rock star."

GNR's Slash has said, "Michael Monroe is one of THE great rock and roll front-men. He's also a good man and a good friend." Monroe's former band, Hanoi Rocks, was also the inspiration for GNR.

Axl Rose has gone so far as to say, "If Hanoi Rocks had reached the success they should have, no one would ever have heard of Guns N' Roses." In 1984, Hanoi Rocks (made up of Monroe, Sami Yaffa, Andy McCoy, Pelle Mijoona Oy, and Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley) released "Underwater World," a single containing the lyric, "Welcome to the ocean. Welcome to the sea. Welcome to the jungle. Deep inside of me." The third phrase would become the title of GNR's second single off their first album. "Welcome to the Jungle" would reach #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, #24 on the UK Singles Chart, and in 2009, VH1 named it the greatest hard rock song of all time. GNR would have a long string of successes ahead of them.

Things didn't turn out as well for Monroe.

On tour in the US in the mid-80s, Monroe fractured his ankle, delaying the tour. While recouperating in LA, several band members, including Razzle, went out to party with Motley Crue singer Vince Neil. Monroe stayed at the hotel to rest. Neil and Razzle ended up crashing their car after the party, and Razzle was killed. Shortly after, Yaffa left due to a conflict with McCoy. The band disbanded shortly after. Monroe and McCoy would reform the band seven years later with new musicians, and recorded until 2009.

Their music lives on via YouTube, of course:

From "Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks"
Tragedy
Village Girl
Stop Crying
Don't Never Leave Me
Lost in the City
First Timer
Cheyenne
11th Street Kidzz
Walking With My Angel
Pretender

From "Oriental Beat"
Motorvatin
Don't Follow Me
Visitor
Teenangels Outsiders
M.C. Baby
No Law or Order
Oriental Beat
Devil Woman
Lightin' Bar Blues
Fallen Star

From "Self Destruction Blues"
Love's an Injection
I Want You
Café Avenue
Nothing New
Kill City Kills
Self Destruction Blues
Beer and a Cigarette
Whispers in the Dark
Taxi Driver
Desperados
Problem Child
Dead By X-Mas

From "Back to Mystery City"
Malibu Beach Nightmare
Mental Beat
Tooting Bec Wreck
Until I Get You
Sailing Down the Tears
Lick Summer Love
Beating Gets Faster
Ice Cream Summer
Back to Mystery City

From "Two Steps From The Move"
Up Around the Bend
High School
I Can't Get It
Underwater World
Don't You Ever Leave Me
Million Miles Away
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Boiler
Futurama
Cutting Corners

From "Twelve Shots on the Rocks"
Obscured
Whatcha Want
People Like Me
In My Darkest Moment
Delirious
A Day Late, A Dollar Short
New York City
Winged Bull
Watch This
Gypsy Boots
Lucky
Designs on You

From "Another Hostile Takeover"
Back in Yer Face
The Devil in You
Love
Talk to the Hand
Eternal Optimist
No Compromise, No Regrets
Reggae Rocker
You Make the Earth Move
Better High
Dear Miss Lonely Hearts
Center of My Universe

From "Street Poetry"
Hypermobile
Street Poetry
Fashion
Highwired
Power of Persuasion
Teenage Revolution
Worth Your Weight in Gold
Transcendental Groove
This One's For Rock'n'Roll
Powertrip
Walkin' Away
Tootin' Star
Fumblefoot and Busy Bee

Monroe has attempted a solo career and several new acts over the years, but to no great success. He currently tours now with a small group, funding in part by Finish government organzation Music Finland (who pay up to 20,000 euros for tour expenses).
posted by NotMyselfRightNow (39 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesoooooome! Hanoi Rocks was one of the bands my local indie record shop drilled into my psyche at an impressionable age. I still have most of their albums on vinyl.
posted by mykescipark at 9:49 AM on April 17, 2012


So, that's all their songs... which are the good ones?
posted by smackfu at 9:53 AM on April 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


Fantastic post! I'm looking forward to listening to all of these. :)
posted by zarq at 9:53 AM on April 17, 2012


Oh my god it is the Hanoi Rocks post I never realized I wanted.
posted by elizardbits at 9:54 AM on April 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


Since this alternate history would contain no Fat Axl Meme Generator, I for one breathe a sigh of relief.
posted by Trurl at 9:54 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I hear GNR needs a new frontman.
posted by spicynuts at 9:56 AM on April 17, 2012


This started as a three sentence post, and then quickly went out of control. I want to go take a nap, but it'd probably be better if I actually started getting work done today. Ugg.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:04 AM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I remember listening to Hanoi Rocks in junior high school. I thought everyone had heard of this band.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:05 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hanoi Rocks, but does Saigon Kick?
posted by symbioid at 10:22 AM on April 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


In other news, I hear Axl is dating Lana Del Rey!
posted by latkes at 10:32 AM on April 17, 2012


My friend is the band Mad Juana with Sami Yaffa of the Michael Monroe band, they're a great rockin' gypsy kind of thing.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:45 AM on April 17, 2012


This is great. I came across the linked WSJ article over the weekend, and I'll admit I had never previously heard of Hanoi Rocks, the true originator of "welcome to the jungle." However, the best part for me was the revelation that
"Finland's ministries of economy and culture last year spent around a half-million euros (about $650,000) promoting [Finnish] metal bands abroad."
...! It is official Finnish government policy to promote national exports of hair metal. To the point where they actually spend government money on this endeavor. That is awesome and fantastic.
posted by rkent at 10:50 AM on April 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hanoi Rocks kicked ass.
posted by jonmc at 10:51 AM on April 17, 2012


Seconding a request for some greatest hits. For someone unfamiliar with the band, what songs are the best introduction to the material?
posted by saladin at 10:57 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you for taking the time to create such an amazing post.
Hanoi Rocks are awesome.
There must be a film in here somewhere?
Every other lost metal band has one.
(other lost classics - CORONER)
posted by debord at 11:03 AM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Booooooooo.....
posted by telstar at 11:06 AM on April 17, 2012


I'm going to create a post about Ratt next.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:12 AM on April 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Booooooooo.......just kidding haha
posted by soul24rage at 11:13 AM on April 17, 2012


Coroner is way underrated.
Speaking of which, check out
Exhorder
Annhilator
&
Evildead

back on the hair metal side, there's
Sinner
and, in between somewhere:
Racer X
posted by herbplarfegan at 11:39 AM on April 17, 2012


I can only imagine a Trixter post is next on Metafilter's horizon.
posted by item at 11:43 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


saladin: “Seconding a request for some greatest hits. For someone unfamiliar with the band, what songs are the best introduction to the material?”

I am not in any sense a fan of Hanoi Rocks (I generally prefer the Chinese variety) but AllMusic lists thirteen songs as "highlights" –

11th Street Kidzz
Back to Mystery City
Beer and a Cigarette
Don't Never Leave Me
Lost In The City
Love's an Injection
M. C. Baby
Malibu Beach Nightmare
Motorvatin'
Oriental Beat
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Up Around The Bend
Village Girl
posted by koeselitz at 11:46 AM on April 17, 2012


On Saturday, iconoic rock band Guns N' Roses...

I don't know what "iconoic" means yet, but I've a feeling it is the perfect neologism to describe Guns N' Roses.
posted by howfar at 11:51 AM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Neil and Razzle ended up crashing their car after the party, and Razzle was killed.

Which, in turn, inspired Nuclear Assault's ode: Butt Fuck
posted by ShutterBun at 12:14 PM on April 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Wikipedia article on Hanoi Rocks is amazing. It reads like it was written by some die hard Finnish fan and no one ever bothered to clean it up or ask for citations.
posted by snofoam at 12:52 PM on April 17, 2012


In the mire of so much problematic (and some of it quite good) 1980s commercial American rock, Hanoi Rocks essentialized for me all that could be exuberant, weird, fierce, ludicrous, agile, ambiguous, flailing and funny about a rock and roll gland overstressed. They're were-siblings to Shonen Knife, afaict.
posted by methinks at 12:52 PM on April 17, 2012


GnR wouldn't exist without Hanoi Rocks. They should be in the RnR Hall of Fame, but I kinda hope they never will be.
Andy McCoy, who wrote most of their songs and has been statue-ized in Finland, wrote a fun book a few years back.
IMO, All Those Wasted Years is still one of the finest rock-n-roll live albums of all time.
I love them and miss them.
posted by hellbient at 1:43 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh my christ, this is the best post ever. How devastatingly gorgeous was Michael Monroe?
posted by freya_lamb at 1:48 PM on April 17, 2012


So, that's all their songs... which are the good ones?

Start with the album Self Destruction Blues and then go to the debut.
posted by ersatz at 1:57 PM on April 17, 2012


Smackfu, my favorites are:
Tragedy
11th Street Kids
Malibu Beach Nightmare
Don't You Ever Leave Me
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Oriental Beat
Dead by Xmas
posted by hellbient at 2:13 PM on April 17, 2012


Excellent article. Small mistake in the classic 1984 line-up: Pelle Miljoona Oy ("Pelle Miljoona Ltd.") is not a person but a band McCoy and Yaffa used to play in. The Wikipedia link forwards to Pelle Miljoona, a legendary Finnish punk rocker, but he has never played in Hanoi Rocks. The band member you are missing here is Nasty Suicide (Jan Stenfors). Nasty has long retired from the music business, and nowadays, works in a drug company in Finland.
posted by Frankie Villon at 2:44 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to create a post about Ratt next.

Most depressing sentence to start a Wiki article:

"Ratt is an American rock band...."
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:56 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I loved that song "No Law and Order" when I was 13.
posted by roboton666 at 3:40 PM on April 17, 2012


There's also Stryper...
posted by KokuRyu at 3:46 PM on April 17, 2012


Beyond the superficial, I'm not sure what Hanoi Rocks really had in common with 'hair metal.' They were more Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, the Clash, the Damned, etc. via their unique geo-cultural remove

"We're a hat band, not a hair band." -Sam Yaffa
posted by methinks at 4:17 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw Michael Monroe and his band perform in St. Louis in October. He puts on the best show and is the loveliest person. Does he ever stop smiling?

Anyway, I love Hanoi Rocks and this post is fantastic, but the part about things not turning out well for him, combined with him achieving no great success kind of put a damper on things. He's obviously been through some stuff, but as of Oct 2011 he was radiating pure happiness like I've never seen.
posted by blixapuff at 4:57 PM on April 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, herbplarfegan, not only did I spend too many years as an undergrad listening to Racer X, I can't tear my eyes away from whatever the hell this is.
posted by wintermind at 5:11 PM on April 17, 2012


I don't know what "iconoic" means yet, but I've a feeling it is the perfect neologism to describe Guns N' Roses.
posted by howfar


It's Finnish for iconic. Trust me.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:44 PM on April 17, 2012


In other news, I hear Axl is dating Lana Del Rey!

And I was expecting her to hook up with Noel Fielding, thus becoming the first couple of hipsterdom on both sides of the Atlantic.
posted by acb at 5:48 PM on April 17, 2012


I remember listening to Hanoi Rocks in junior high school. I thought everyone had heard of this band.

This is one of those posts where it never occurred to me that people didn’t know all this already.

I was a huge fan and had tickets for the next show before "The Accident". It was devastating. Hanoi Rocks influence at the time really can’t be overstated, although in the U.S. it seemed only other Rock musicians knew who they were.

So, that's all their songs... which are the good ones?

Two Steps From the Move is their big major label release (Bob Ezrin produced), everything before that is the indie stuff that made them underground famous (guys from Mott the Hoople produced BTMC, a personal favorite), everything after that is much later and I’ve still never heard it, and some of it I didn’t know existed until now.

Also see Cherry Bombz, Suicide Twins, and various other ex member projects.
posted by bongo_x at 11:36 PM on April 17, 2012


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