Looking back: grabbing a piece of the legend

JR: Hanoi does make you think about the Velvet Underground, not that they were anything like them, but because they're both in that category of bands that other artists were keenly aware of.

DD: That's right. The Velvets only produced four albums or so, but their musical legacy lives on. Hanoi had, by most counts, six albums, so they were around for a little longer. Over the years, the legend just seems to grow; the tales get a little taller. If you counted all the people who claim to be amongst the nine people who saw U2 play their first London show, you could fill a stadium with them. A girlfriend of a friend of mine was amongst those nine people, which leaves another eight people to be identified. Same thing with Hanoi. Now there are people coming out of the woodwork saying "I saw Hanoi's first show or I did this, and I was great friends with them." I remember having a conversation with someone who was trying to persuade me that she was a great friend of Mike's and had been around the band since the very beginning. I wanted to say, "OK, how come I've never met you before, how come I've never heard Mike talk about you before, who the hell are you?" It's such bullshit, but everyone wants to grab their piece of the legend.

I missed Hanoi's first ever show in London. They played support for Wishbone Ash at the Marquee. I'd never heard of Hanoi, didn't know who they were, and I had no intention of going to a Wishbone Ash show. But like I said, I saw Hanoi's first ever headline show in London when they played to about a hundred people. Since I was there, I do feel like I know the facts from the fantasy, although it must be said that we did an inordinate amount of drugs. Mike or Andy will say something to me as if I ought to remember it, and I won't. They'll say, "You said this," and I'll say, "No, no, I never said that, I've got it on tape." I was talking with someone a little while ago, and I said that "I've got these hours of Hanoi Rocks talking on tape, and I couldn't possibly release any of this stuff because we'd all get arrested." I can't even get myself to play them back. It's like, "Who are these idiots rambling incoherently?" "Well, actually, one of them is you." It's almost embarrassing. But we had a lot of fun, and if rock 'n' roll isn't about having fun, then something has gone wrong somewhere.

JR: Hanoi seemed to know how to have fun better than anyone. Not everything they came up with musically was necessarily new, but there was never any shortage of fun and energy.

DD: Well, there's basically nothing new under the sun. How many combinations can you possibly find for eight different notes and three different chords? But it was a moment in time. The abiding memory that I will take to my death is that we had a tremendous amount of fun.