While he will forever be known as Hanoi Rocks’ frontman, Michael Monroe has successfully created a solo career that for the past two decades has been pock-marked by some memorable moments. This aptly named compilation brings those neatly into focus.
Of course, attention will be drawn to the big songs, such as Dead, Jail Or Rock ‘N’ Roll, Not Fakin’ It, Self Destruction Blues (a Hanoi cover) and 78. And these clearly represent Monroe doing what he does best, which is delivering prime, trashy hard rock. There are also four songs from his undervalued and short-lived 90s band Demolition 23.
While all of this is worthwhile, and makes you appreciate what Monroe has done, the bonus tracks add an extra cachet to the collection. There’s an alternative take of Steppenwolf’s Magic Carpet Ride, which is sharper and sleazier than the original version done with Slash for the 1993 film Coneheads. The 1985 demo of It’s A Lie, featuring Dead Boys singer Stiv Bators, is a mournfully effective slow burner. There are also two out-takes from the 2015 album Blackout Stakes: Fist Fulla Dynamite and Simpletown, both of which are strong enough to have made that record in their own right. There’s also new song One Foot Outta The Grave, which shows that Monroe has lost none of his high-intensity capabilities.
Nobody would suggest that every track here is a gem, but the collection gives a good indication of what has made Monroe an enduring talent.