Hanoi live - in person and on record

JR: After Mystery City came All Those Wasted Years.

DD: I wasn't a big fan of the live album. The trouble is that they were a live band - you needed to see them yourself. Hearing it second hand was not the same. I don't know whether they did the sound recording at the same time as the video recording. I was actually there the night they filmed the show at The Marquee, and it was a glorious show. But when it's on a record, it's not the same as being there. Some time ago I reviewed a live Rolling Stones album, and I said, "Listen, I have a bootleg of this show and the bootleg is brilliant, but the official live recording is shit. They took out this and took out that and did a whole bunch of overdubbing. It wasn't what I remember." The same was true of All Those Wasted Years... I guess if you never saw them, it gave you a pretty good idea of what it was like. But the fact is that it had been doctored and wasn't quite the same. You can't capture that kind of live magic on record.

JR: Was Hanoi a consistently strong live act, or were they off and on?

DD: I don't know how many times I saw Hanoi live, but for the most part, they were brilliant. Every so often, they were terrible. And they were rarely anything in between. They did some shows where I thought, "Oh my God, this is awful." But that was fine with me. I wanted them to be brilliant, or shit. I just didn't want them to be average. Only once that I can remember when they were just average.

JR: Some writers have said that Hanoi came off as arrogant onstage. Was that your experience?

DD: I tried to talk to Mike about this. I tried to persuade him to make the audience love him, and he wouldn't, so I tried and failed. He is an intensely private person. He would put up this front that was cocky and arrogant, and he would keep up that front until he got back to his hotel room, or until he got into the car going away from the gig. It was almost like he didn't dare go beyond that. And that obviously came across as being incredibly arrogant, which they were. They were very cocksure, but if they hadn't been that way, something would have been missing. They wouldn't have been the band they were without that. There was just something about them that said: "There isn't a band on the face of the planet that can come anywhere near us."

The fact that in private they weren't like that at all, with the possible exception of Andy, was almost immaterial. From a fan point of view, you just saw the show, and figured, "OK, that's what they're like." I was given access to go behind that and find out what they were actually like, and it wasn't like that at all. You go back to the Kiss/Cooper/Stones/Iggy thing - they all get out there and say, "I am a God, now bow down before me." It worked, it was great, but I never pretended that this was what they were actually like. Even if I had never met Hanoi, I wouldn't have thought that. You see Mick Jagger prancing around as if to say, "I'm the greatest frontman on the face of the planet," and though I've never met Jagger, he's smart enough to know that this isn't really the case.

JR: So even though Hanoi may have come off that way onstage, it didn't take away from the enthusiasm of the audience's reaction?

DD: Well, a part of that audience was a heavy metal/rock 'n' roll type of crowd that wanted to hear the guitars more than anything. Andy had always said he would never do a guitar solo, and I don't ever remember him doing a lengthy guitar solo. That was all taboo. But the guitars were always to the front, so that heavy rock part of the crowd was always happy. And out in front of the guitars, you had this arrogant, cocksure frontman, saying "You can look, but you can't touch." Because Hanoi came from that punk background, where the audience was generally treated as scum, that kind of attitude was part and parcel of it. If you didn't get that from them, somehow you weren't being given your money's worth. In real life, you never wanted to be treated with that kind of arrogance, but in this circumstance it was OK, because you'd always come away with something special. You used to be able to buy a button at a Judas Priest show that said, "I've been whipped by Rob Halford." Now, no one ever really goes to a show to get whipped, but you could buy that button as a way of saying, "I was there, and yes, I was abused. If it happened in any other circumstances I would be suing, but under these circumstances, this was great, this was part of the circus."

JR: How many Hanoi shows have you seen? Twenty, thirty, forty?

DD: I honestly couldn't tell you. It was an awful lot. After they signed a deal with CBS, they were playing three nights at the Marquee. It was a "Goodbye to The Marquee" deal, because they figured they were never going to play there again. So I called the guys, and said, "Can I go to the show?" And they told me, "We can't do this anymore, you have to call the record company." So I called the record company and said "I want to go and see Hanoi at The Marquee," and they said, "OK, which night would you like to go," to which I said, "All three." And they said, "You're kidding, who the hell are you? You can't come to all three, we've only got room for you in one." Anyway, I finally ended up getting into all three. I just couldn't get enough. In the early days, they'd come to London, play some shows, pack up and go home again. I wouldn't see them for six months and I'd come down with withdrawal symptoms. Obviously, when they did their tours around Britain, I didn't see the whole tour; I might have seen three or four shows over the course of the tour.