In the leather-bound history of heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll, not only will Michael Monroe have at least one chapter all to himself, but his name will be colourfully threaded throughout, such has been his impact, his appeal and his ongoing never-surrender story; a powerful, inspirational tale told in detail on ‘The Best’ – the first official collection of his (ongoing) solo musical exploits, featuring prime tracks from 1987 right up to 2017.
Icon, song-writer, multi-instrumentalist, media personality, flamboyant force of nature and one of rock’s most celebrated and uber-kinetic front-men, Michael has been a name and a (much-photographed) face on the scene since 1979 when he played a central role in the formation of Hanoi Rocks – legendary Finnish glam-punk heroes who came within a rolling paper’s width of taking the world by glitter-storm.
The beating heart of the group consists of bassist Sami Yaffa and drummer Karl Rockfist. Sami and Michael go way back, to the 1980s – Sami played bass in Hanoi Rocks, launched Demolition 23 with Michael and started cult band Mad Juana in Spain in the 1990s, before going on to play in the reformed New York Dolls, as well as with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts this millennium. Karl, formerly with LA trash-rockers The Chelsea Smiles, has pounded the skins behind stars like Glenn Danzig and Joan Osborne.
The band’s six-string bite comes from guitarists Rich Jones and stalwart member Steve Conte. Rich, formerly of The Ginger Wildheart Band and The Black Halos, is as volatile a guitarist as Monroe has ever worked with. He’s been playing with the group since the summer of 2013 when he filled in for a temporarily absent Dregen. The kick he gave the Monroe rock‘n’roll cocktail was potent enough for him to be invited on board as a full and permanent member.
Steve Conte started his career at the age of 11, making his first album in the family living room and backing his jazz singer mom at venues in New York and New Jersey. Since then, he’s led his own bands The Crazy Truth and Company Of Wolves, and provided the rhythmic backbone and tasty leads for artists such as Suzi Quatro, Willy DeVille and Eric Burdon. He was also the man called upon to fill the sizeable void left by Johnny Thunders in the reformed New York Dolls in 2004.
Monroe’s last three studio releases – 2015’s Blackout States, the aforementioned Horns And Halos, and 2011’s Sensory Overdrive – were both critical and commercial successes, with the latter winning Classic Rock magazine’s ‘Album Of The Year’ award. The band have just wrapped up recording on a new record, slated for an early 2019 release, that they hope will build on the success of it’s predecessors.