Michael Monroe Revisits ‘Hammersmith Palais’ on Demolition 23. Reissue: Exclusive Premiere
Michael Monroe has been a consummate workaholic ever since his early days fronting Finnish glam-punk band Hanoi Rocks as a fresh-faced twentysomething. The singer launched a solo career in the mid-'80s and subsequently collaborated with several rock 'n' roll heavy hitters, including Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens and E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt.
The latter produced and co-wrote the bulk of Demolition 23., the eponymous 1994 debut album (and sole release) from the no-frills punk band featuring Monroe and former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa. The remastered album, which includes three previously unreleased demos, will receive its first-ever digital release (as well as a CD and blue-smoke vinyl release) through Van Zandt's Wicked Cool Records on Oct. 14.
Its first single, "Hammersmith Palais," is premiering exclusively on UCR. You can listen to the song and see the Demolition 23. track listing below.
Demolition 23. is dedicated to the late Stiv Bators, who fronted seminal first-wave punk band the Dead Boys and post-punk supergroup the Lords of the New Church, which also included the Damned guitarist Brian James. The band pays homage to Bators with a cover of the Dead Boys' "Ain't Nothin' to Do," as well as late New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders with a rendition of "I Wanna Be Loved," which Thunders released with his band the Heartbreakers. (The reissue is also dedicated to late Demolition 23. guitarist Jay Hening.)
"Hammersmith Palais," meanwhile, is a tribute to the bygone London punk scene and the now-defunct venue of the same name. "Hammersmith Palais was this great club in London where we saw a lot of brilliant, legendary shows by some of the coolest bands ever," Monroe says in a statement. "I played there once guesting on sax and harp with the Lords of the New Church. Unfortunately in later years, the place was closed down and replaced by a boring office building. The song also refers to some great, fun times in the past that will never return."
Van Zandt adds in a statement: "The Demolition 23. album is one of my favorite records. Me and Michael were talking about how much we missed the original punk music of the Ramones and Dead Boys and Sex Pistols and Clash and decided to do an album in that spirit. It was written in two weeks and produced in two weeks. Love it."
In a recent conversation with UCR, Monroe expressed disdain for the '80s glam-metal zeitgeist that Hanoi Rocks unintentionally inspired (and with which they were often wrongly associated) and said Demolition 23.'s raw punk sound and aesthetic were partially a response to that trend. "It kind of made me not happy to be thought of as one of those bands," he said. "So that's why with Demolition 23., I stripped down my image, pretty much down to jeans and T-shirt and leather jacket, and started from there, to get away from that kind of stuff, [so we] wouldn't be mistaken as one of the so-called glam bands."
Demolition 23., 'Demolition 23.' Track Listing
1. "Nothin's Alright"
2. "Hammersmith Palais"
3. "The Scum Lives On"
5. "Ain't Nothin' to Do"
6. "I Wanna Be Loved"
7. "You Crucified Me"
8. "Same Shit Different Day"
9. "Endangered Species"
10. "Deadtime Stories"
11. "Hammersmith Palais (Demo)"
12. "Dysfunctional (Demo)"
13. "The Scum Lives On (Demo)"