Michael Monroe has paid tribute to Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin, who died on Sunday at the age of 69. Speaking to Classic Rock, he revealed how Mott The Hoople were an inspiration to Hanoi Rocks, and how the two came to work together on the band’s classic Back To Mystery City album.
“Mott The Hoople were one of my favourite bands when I was a kid in my teens and one of Hanoi Rocks’ biggest influences,” says Monroe. “So when we were looking for a producer for our Back To Mystery City album, we asked for Ian Hunter, but he was unavailable so we asked for Pete - Overend Watts - and Dale Griffin, who was always Buffin, and they were happy to oblige.
“We made the album down in Hastings and I really enjoyed working with both Buffin and Pete, it was a really pleasant experience and probably the some of the most fun I’ve had making a record. They got Morgan Fisher in to play piano on a couple of songs, they had the Fairlight, which we were playing around with, and they got us making farm animal noises on Tooting Bec Wreck. They were really good producers, a great choice.
“Buffin was really easy going, kind and a really calming influence, very peaceful. It was a really special time. As well as having great fun in the studio, I remember we all went and visited the field where the battle of Hastings had happened.
“Later, around the time of Two Steps From The Move, Buffin produced a BBC Friday Rock Show session for us, we did three or four tracks from the album and they came out real good, so we were planning to maybe work with him in the future as well, but then Razzle died. He was a friend and a hell of a nice guy. Sweet, easy-going and a pleasure to work with. I haven’t seen or spoken with him in a while, but it still came as a shock. I’m really sorry about his passing and send my condolences to his loved ones, his near and dear ones, Pete and everyone who knew him closely.
“The best way to celebrate his life is to listen to Mott The Hoople, bands like that just don’t happen anymore, great songs, classic stuff. There’s some exceptional music there. And Buffin was the kind of drummer who would never try to be flashy, he would always respect the song, keep his ego in check and play exactly what the song required, that’s the best kind of drummer and, in that way, Buffin was probably one of the very best there’s ever been.”