KILL CITY DRAGONS

KERRANG ISSUE 284 APRIL 1990
KCD_284

“Me and Danny jammed with Steve in the rehearsal studio,” adds Dave, looking’ decidedly like you’d expect an ex-Lord to look, “and we thought, ‘Hey! We got the makings of a great band – all we need is a singer!

Let’s put’ a show! I suggest in response to  this somewhat dramatic exclamation in true Garland/Rooney tradition.

“Hey, man,” drawls Steve in  cartoon rock ‘n’ roller voice, “let’s start a rock ‘n’ roll band so we can get some chicks!”

We laugh heartily as Steve continues: “I had Billy’s phone number for a year – he was recommended to me for  another band I was in back in New York. So I thought ‘what-the-hell’, I called him up and said, ‘Send me a tape and a picture’. Billy calls back the next day and says, ‘F*** the tape and picture – I’m coming over!’

WE WENT in the studio, did two songs – and that was it. This was like June/July ‘89. Then he went back to New York to get his shit together so he could come back again.”

Billy: “Of course while I was gone Steven had second thoughts and told the other members they had made a mistake! But I like to think that if I had never come over when I did, the band would have all gone their separate ways.”

Oh you’d like to think that would you? I nod, sending up his arrogance.

“Yeah! I would like to think that,” asserts Billy, smiling wryly with obligatory gleam in the eyes.

“Dream on” mutters Steve in the same tone one would utter ‘F*** YOU! And we laugh once more.

“That’s what great about the band,” enthuses Dave. “It’s all happened naturally. It’s like a jigsaw that’s fixing itself and we’re just sitting there watching it.”

I take it things are progressing well then?

“Almost too well” replies our Bill with a B-Movie sense of foreboding.

Steve: “we’re quite shocked by the speed of things. There’s a lot of good bands, but I think that the rock scene has been really dead here for a while. I don’t think the kids have been supporting the scene until now. It’s good timing for us.”

“I’ll tell you something, Ray,” interjects Billy “I really feel the expectation has been raised to an almost unreasonable level with us. We’d only done about seven gigs until we did our first headline at the Marquee and it was like everybody was expecting the second coming of Christ or something!”

Dave: “we were shocked at the turn-out for that headline! It was amazing!”

Steve: “we had no choice except to try and do it like that”

So how far can this scaly gutter-stalker spit its flames? Does it end at ‘Marquee headliner’ status? A terminal ailment in some cases.

“This is a world class band,” declares Billy coolly, in no uncertain terms. “We’ve all been through the basic training two or three times already. We’re going to lead an accelerated existence. In six months we’ve gone through what most bands go through in three years. Great things will come from this band. I hope that the public appreciates it and we’re still around to pick up the royalties…..”

Can I ask you a silly question: why are you called the Kill City Dragons?

“Where we rehearse we always eat at this diner and Danny and me were sitting there drinking coffee trying to come up with a name. Right across the street there’s this Chinese take-away called “Imperial Dragons” and I said, ‘Hey! Why don’t we……”

Put on a show?

“No, call ourselves the Imperial Dragons!” Steve continues. “But Dave didn’t like ‘Imperial’ so we kicked some things around and we had always had this ‘Kill City’ idea.

Billy: “it’s taken from a post Stooges Iggy/James Williamson album title. I think Kill City is supposed to be Detroit.

“But to us Kill City is anywhere you’re having a rough time,” laughs Steve.

“So that, combined with the Dragons part of the takeaways name………”

Sheesh! Lucky they weren’t sitting opposite McDonalds.


 

KERRANG! ISSUE 296 JUNE 1990

KILL CITY DRAGONS, SILVER HEARTS, MARQUEE CLUB – Live review by DAVE REYNOLDS

NOT EVEN the England v Egypt game on the box could persuade the Glam crowd to stay away from this one.

True, the Marquee wasn’t sold-out but it wasn’t exactly dead either. And why on earth should it he when the main attraction everyone had backcombed their hair for look like they’re on the verge of a major deal and the support band are a bouncing bunch of baby hard rockers with a reputedly hot demo to sell?

I’ve seen Silver Hearts a couple of times now and they’re getting better, the more gigs they notch up on the bedposts. With a set that appears to centre around a ‘70’s bubblegum pop hard rock influence full of catchy chorus lines and basic rock ‘n’ roll chords tacked to a Space Hopper beat these boys could he on to something. With an image that centres upon a kinda Quireboys-meets-Monterrey look (Sorta Man At Oxfam, y’mean? – Ed) then they probably really have got it made.

The Kill City Dragons on the other hand, seem to think they’ve got nothing more to prove. After all with an EP in the offing, a very nice line in T-shirts on sale out front, and that major label deal about to be inked, aren’t they set to become the new Kerrang! centrefold kids?

Certainly, but I’d really love to see them do something a little bit more interesting musically than just rehash the glory days of Hanoi Rocks and the Lords Of The New Church. They merge the New York sound of ‘73 with some late ‘70’s and early ’80’s punk bite. But the only New York sound of ’73 I ever got into was that of Kiss. That’s probably why I preferred the Silver Hearts.

The Dragons’ image, all trash Vaudeville chic, harks back to the days when the Hanois trod the old Wardour Street Marquee boards. Perhaps in too many ways, the Dragons are unconsciously relying on the cult appeal of Hanoi Hocks. But there’s no denying that the Dragons have the look and sound that’s driving London crazy with guitarist Steve Von Saint and frontman and Zinny Zan lookalike Billy G Bang not lacking when it comes to the girls down the front wanting to grab at a sleeping armadillo.

I’ve seen the Dragons once before and, well, it’s kinda like when you see an ex-girlfriend for the first time in months. You loved them way back, but now the appeal isn’t quite the same. So you stay friends stay in touch and be happy in the knowledge that they’re doing well for themselves.

Links:

Kill City Dragons Biog

Kill City Dragons Myspace

HANOI ROCKS

JUNE 1982

HANOI ROCKS ‘Oriental Beat’ (Johanna Records JHN 2063)

This is Hanoi Rocks’ second album and quite a tasty affair it is too. Opener ‘Motorvatin’ has a great bass hook and glorious Billy Idol-style vocals. The logical extension of Gen X’s ‘Valley Of The Dolls’ (wherein they stopped playing silly buggers and started playing Metal), it pretty much sets the tone for the album. Indeed, the final track excepted, the songs are largely variations on a single theme (sex and drugs) with heavy bass, sultry vocals, strangely subdued guitar, interesting saxophone breaks and surprisingly cogent lyrics from guitarist Andy McCoy. ‘Fallen Angel’, though, is the album winner. A slow piano and Mike Monroe’s soulful, broken voice, the end result Is a very poignant track. ‘Oriental Beat’ shows potential ripe and ready for some full blown hype. Shame they had to spoil it with such a tacky cover.

DAVE DICKSON


JULY 1982

HANOI ROCKS, Greyhound, Fulham


The Greyhound fills with a bizarre assortment of human flotsam spanning musical genres with an almost disturbing abandon. As the muzak stops pumping there descends a reverential hush and five untamed pretty Scandinavian boys steal on to the stage sans fuss or fanfare “Good Evening”,
whispers the impossibly beautiful vocalist Mike Monroe, and suddenly it’s like the flood gates of hades have been unleashed as they tear into ‘Oriental Beat, ripping out chords and scattering them like chaff over the unsuspecting, disorientated punters.

This is loud, this is dirty, this is what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. Pure unadulterated mayhem, the stuff adolescent headbangers’ wet dreams are made of with guitarist Andy McCoy storming about the tiny stage like a speed demented hyena, the appearance of a youth wasted beyond his years masking the dexterity of his fret-work.

Their aural assault is non stop, blistering, from the power of Motorvatin’ to the casual ‘Don’t Never Leave Me’ and the gut-pummelling Tragedy’. The solos are manic, the rhythms granite hard, quite naked, and the vocals battling to be heard over the overwhelming battery of amps, clear and incisive.
“Are You A Sucker,” Monroe leers, pointing a long painted finger towards the flying-V slung low around McCoy’s neck as it begins its screeching, ‘Bad Motor Scooter-esque intro to ‘M. C. Baby’ with all the subtlety of a Harley Davidson across the thorax. Hanoi Rocks offer a brief scorching two song encore which they proceed to maul like a pagan sacrifice, sever auditory jugulars in a frenzy unharnessed brutality and aggression like caged animals tasting blood for the first time.

The band sealed a Japanese recording deal on the strength of this gig and now seem destined to embark on an orgy of worldwide devastation. No excuses, no bullshit. this band MUST be seen.

DAVE DICKSON




JULY 1982

“ON THE ROCKS”

HANOI ROCKS are not in their rooms, nor are they to be found in me 24-hour bar of the formica-coated Julius Caesar Hotel in Bayswater. Something is wrong — but help is at hand. A pretty receptionist directs me to the ‘Tepidarium’ indoor swimming pool, wherein languish the collective bodies of Hanoi Rocks engaged in a Japanese photo session. The pool, I should note, has been conveniently drained for the occasion.

‘Oh, you’re from Kerrang!?’ guitarist Andy McCoy asks, pushing back his shades, good, we’ll go to my room.” McCoy is not a man used to sunlight. Vocalist Mike Monroe, rapidly becoming a teen-idol in Nippon, follows shortly leaving the rhythm section, guitarist Nasty Suicide, bassist Sammy Yaffa and drummer Gyp Casino to do whatever it is they do when their spokespeople are spoking.

McCoy looks pale and distinctly unhealthy as he lays on his bed, curtain drawn to protect him from the afternoon glare. At 19, rock’n’roIl already seems to have taken its toll. I wonder whether he’s quite prepared for my opening salvo: Why is there a naked woman on the cover of ‘Oriental Beat’?

“It’s topless, not naked. In fact it’s my wife, Anna! It just seemed like good idea, you know?”

OK, but the lyrical content seems a trifle limited, sex and drugs; I probe for a definitive Hanoi Rocks statement of position.

“I’ve got a very positive attitude toward sex, but I get enough of it now, I’m more into drugs …“claims Andy, a taint smite flickering on his lips. How much of this am I willing to believe remains an open question.

‘“Rock’n’roIl lyrics aren’t important anyway,” asserts Mike. “You can’t change the world with lyrics.”

But what about the fans, many of whom in their home country are only young teenagers? Don’t they feel a sense of responsibility to them, after all to some of them they are idols?

“No, we’re not their fathers,’ states Andy. ‘They’re all high-society kids anyway, whose parents spoil them: they want something, their parents buy it. That’s why there are no good bands in Scandinavia, they are so bloody rich’” (I get the feeling I’ve touched on a sensitive nerve). “We started right at the bottom, we didn’t have a thing. I lived with a girlfriend and our drummer had a sweet little mommie who took care of him, but Mike, Sammy and Nasty didn’t have anywhere — just the streets.”

Mike: ‘When we went to Stockholm and were on the streets for about four months, sleeping in corridors and rehearsing every night in a subway station”.

Sounds grisly, didn’t they ever get a proper job?
‘Not a proper job. I cleaned toilets,” Mike reminisces. I couldn’t get a proper job because of my hair and what I look like.”

One could envisage the average Scandinavian being rather taken aback by Hanoi Rocks’ appearance. Did they encounter a lot of hostility on the streets?

“I never go out.” says Andy (the daylight, you remember?), I just lay in bed.”

One way round the problem I suppose.

Mike: “It’s dangerous for us to walk around in Finland, people are very narrow-minded there.”

“The funny thing is,” interjects his partner, “it’s always the ugliest ones who want to pick a tight because they’re so f–king jealous, with a mental problem too, you must have something wrong up there if you want to beat someone up for no reason.” (The man has a point). “We never tried to create an Image, we don’t have to, we ARE like this.”

“All these ugly people who go around London trying to took pretty must have a personality crisis,” declares Monroe. I try to explain that times are difficult for us at the moment having just ended a war.

‘Yeah, yeah, Falklands!” chirps Andy, “it’s crazy! Would have loved to have been down there.”

Oh come an, what, to play a gig?

‘Yeah!” That would certainly have slopped the war.

“That’s really sick!” exclaims Mike with distaste.

Leaving the sociology lesson the conversation steers onto something more musical. The first album production is credited to “The Muddy Twins’, is this a deliberate jibe at Mick’n’Keef, ‘The Glimmer Twins’

“Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha,” quips Mike in staccato fashion. “People kept telling us we played like the Stones, so we put it on there. I mean, I hate the Stones nowadays, the last good album they did was ‘Black and Blue’, everything since then has just been crap!”

“I really think we’re the only rock’n’roll left,” adds Andy, “All sorts of people come to see us because we’re not punk, we’re not Heavy Metal; we play anything, you know, anything we like.”

“Anyway, there’s not another band like us – at least I don’t think so,” and Mike may well be right. On a good night, Hanoi Rocks play with more venom and aggression than a Nick Kemp album review; hi-energy rook with no frills or pretensions. But the Muddy Twins are always the centre of attention, the focal points of the stage show.
What’s their attitude toward the rest of the band?

“Ah, no comment,” says Mike evasively.

“They don’t have anything to say about anything”, scoffs Andy. ‘We ARE Hanoi Rocks on record but……..“ (Yes?) “Hanoi Rocks live is still the five of us. They’re really great guys, me and Nasty used to go to school together.”

Back to the present, what is the next move on the HR front?

“We’re recording a single called ‘Love’s an Injection’,” replies Andy, who then orders Mike to find a cassette player to deluge me with unreleased Hanoi Rocks tracks, amongst them ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Beer and Cigarettes’, both of which will pin you up against the nearest wall and beat you into submission.

And then?

Mike: “When we get some money we can buy some clothes,” (he shows me the hole in the knee of his jeans) “and look even better.”

Andy: “I’m really looking forward to getting away from England. It’s so f**king slow!”

Hanoi Rocks are disgustingly good live, the output on vinyl quite unable to capture the glorious mayhem in full flight. They should earn enough money to enable Mike to buy a new set at clothes and for Andy not to have to worry if the band broke up tomorrow. “If we broke up tomorrow,” he shrugs with casual nonchalance, “so what?”

“I’m gonna keep on playing till I die.” declares Mike.

Which is how long?

“Today, tomorrow, who cares?”