Hanoi's Kerrang! debut - Oriental Beat

JR: In fact, I have a copy of your Oriental Beat record review in front of me. As far as I can tell, that was the first editorial coverage of Hanoi Rocks in Kerrang!. Is the Oriental Beat review the first time you wrote out about the band?

DD: As I recall, someone just handed me the record and said "Here you go, review this." No one at Kerrang! had ever heard of Hanoi Rocks; no one knew what to do with the album. They obviously weren't a heavy metal band - you could just see that from the front cover. After passing it around, someone in the office likely said: "What the hell is this? Oh, give it to Dickson, he'll know what to do with it." I just took a look at it, and thought, "Oh, this is strange." So I took it home, listened to it and said, "Oh my God, what is this?" So then I phoned up and just asked, "OK, where are they playing?" And lo and behold, they were playing in London soon. Within a week or so after I got that album, I went to see Hanoi Rocks live for the first time. I've always felt that just because you can produce a good album doesn't mean you've really got it. Rock 'n' roll is a live medium. Anybody can go into a studio and make an album. Get a producer who's got a bunch of songs, and they can make anybody sound good. The difference is, can you actually do it live?

So I called up and went to see them. I was completely blown away. I had never seen such a raw... it wasn't like being given a finished product, there were still loads of raw edges, but the raw edges were what made it great. They weren't polished. There were cases where they didn't finish songs at the same time; they were slightly untogether, which was kind of endearing. They were rough, but at the same time, they had great songs, and they had great attitude. And this was despite the fact that no one knew who the hell they were. They were playing at this wonderful little club in west London, a little rock 'n' roll hangout called The Fulham Greyhound. There was The Marquee in central London, where everybody who was anybody always played, and then there was The Greyhound, a little club in the west of London, a couple of miles away. The Greyhound was a bit more low key, the sort of club you would play before you played The Marquee, a kind of stepping stone. People would turn up for the heck of it, just to see who was playing, and some people would show up just because it was in the paper. The Fulham Greyhound is now closed, and The Marquee is closed now too. Anyway, there were about a hundred or so people there. I'd been to this club loads of times before. It didn't matter who was playing, they always had a good crowd in. But I went along, and I thought, "My God, I have seen the light."

So I went away and started writing about Hanoi Rocks. To me, they were perfect. They looked like pop stars, they played like punks, and despite the fact they were playing in an aggressive punk style, there was enough rock 'n' roll to be able to sell it to my audience.