MICHAEL MONROE 'Never Wanted Any Money' For His Guest Appearances On GUNS N' ROSES Albums

October 4, 2019

In a recent interview with RockSverige, former HANOI ROCKS singer Michael Monroe was asked if he still gets money from his contributions to the GUNS N' ROSES songs "Ain't it Fun" (off 1993's "The Spaghetti Incident") and "Bad Obsession" (off 1991's "Use Your Illusion"). He responded: "I got a session payment for playing the saxophone and harmonica on 'Bad Obsession'. The song 'Ain't It Fun' came about when Axl [Rose, GUNS N' ROSES singer] had told me that he had not heard THE DEAD BOYS. I made him a tape of THE DEAD BOYS' first two albums and then I gave him a tape when we were in Hollywood. We were listening to the tape in his car and when the song 'Ain't It Fun' came on, he went, 'Wow! Wait a minute. I recognize this song! We've got do this as a duet. We're doing a compilation album of cover songs next.' He called Slash and said, 'Put the band together! We're doing this song.' We did it as a duet and I said, 'Could it say on the record, 'In memory of Stiv Bators (1949-1990)'?' And he said, 'Of course.' That was the first single of the album and it was a magical take and Stiv was definitely there in spirit.

"But my point was that I never wanted any money," he continued. "It was a scumbag manager I had anyway, so I didn't want to touch it. I didn't want them guys to change their minds about the song, so all I asked for what to have on the record, 'In memory of Stiv Bators,' and to spell my name right. That was all I wanted. I had heard through the grapevine that some of the old band members had gotten greedy and claimed that they wrote some of the songs that they hadn't really written."

Even though HANOI ROCKS was formed in Finland, their trashy, hedonistic, decadent hard rock/pop-metal boogie influenced many Los Angeles acts, including GUNS N' ROSES and MÖTLEY CRÜE.

Asked in a 2007 interview if he ever felt jealous of GUNS N' ROSES' commercial success, considering that GN'R openly cited HANOI ROCKS as a huge influence in the Axl Rose-fronted band's early days, Monroe said: "No, I never felt that. Not at all. I was always happy for their success and they definitely earned it themselves. I'm thankful for them recognizing the HANOI ROCKS influence and talking about it in the press."

He continued: "A lot of bands weren't really that talented and they sold a lot of records and really just deliberately tried to fake something out of it with the looks and not having much to back it up with. But GUNS N' ROSES really had their own thing and they were secure enough in themselves to quote HANOI ROCKS as an influence. Also, they released a lot of the old [HANOI ROCKS] catalog in America with their Uzi Suicide label. So they were definitely paying homage to us and they were being very cool.

"I've never been envious of their success — quite the opposite; I've been very happy for them. I was part of it. I played on their records and I was happy to be part of it. It's always fun working with those guys. Slash played the right kind of guitar because he grew up with HANOI and mine and Andy's [McCoy, HANOI ROCKS guitarist] playing. I actually did something with him for the movie 'Coneheads'."

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