MICHAEL MONROE Says He Wrote Personal Letter To VINCE NEIL A Week After Their 2023 Face-To-Face Meeting

March 5, 2024

In a new interview with Janne Innanfors of the Swedish radio station Rockklassiker, Michael Monroe reflected on how he came face to face with members of MÖTLEY CRÜE for the first time in many years last June at the Rockfest festival in Hyvinkää, Finland.

The former HANOI ROCKS singer commented on the meeting in light of the fact that CRÜE frontman Vince Neil caused the tragic car accident in 1984 that killed his passenger, HANOI ROCKS drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley.

Speaking about his Rockfest encounter with CRÜE, Michael said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was amazing. As a matter of fact, I had been thinking for many years that there's no reason to really have any — there was some kind of animosity at one point when, because of the album title they had for [the box set] 'Music To Crash Your Car To', [a media outlet] called me, got in touch with me and asked for my opinion on that, and I think I said something like, 'This gave bad taste a bad name.' And then Nikki [Sixx, CRÜE bassist] got pissed off and made some negative comments after that, but I didn't get any further into that. But I thought there was no reason to really be… I mean, we were friends originally, and we will always be connected by that unfortunate accident. Unfortunately, it can't be helped. But I would so much rather have that connection be on a more positive note."

He continued: "So what I did was I knew that [MÖTLEY CRÜE] were playing this festival in Finland last summer, so I wrote to [DEF LEPPARD's] Joe Elliott, who's a sweetheart. He's an angel. I love that guy so much, and he knows everything about every band since, like, '60s and '70s — he's got all the records of every band ever. So I wrote him, I asked him, 'Could you pass this letter on to Nikki? I'd like to approach him.' And I wrote this note saying some words, basically just saying that I would just like to reach out and see if we can just let bygones be bygones. And even though we're connected by that whole thing, the tragedy, that I'd rather have that be on a more positive note and stuff. So, in any case, I wished him all the best. And he replied, e-mailed me right away. He said, 'Thank you, Michael. Thank you.' I took it all to heart. It was a very heartfelt letter, and you could see he was sincere. And he was, like, 'Yeah, we're coming down tomorrow. Joe Elliott said that you're coming down. Let's meet up tomorrow and see each other again.' And I said, 'Yeah, sometime I'd like to meet Vince.' I never met Vince Neil before. So I said, 'I would like to meet him too, if possible, at some point.' And I was hoping to be able to meet him.

"If I'd gotten there a bit earlier, I would have ended up probably playing the [harmonica] on [MÖTLEY CRÜE's cover of BROWNSVILLE STATION's] 'Smokin' In The Boys Room'. I had my [harmonica] with me, but I had my own gig that same day, earlier in the afternoon, in Turku, in the city of Turku, so we drove there, but I got there, like, five minutes before they went on stage, so I was on the side of the stage. I watched the show. I never saw them live before. They were opening for — Alice Cooper was actually opening for them once in Finland, but I didn't stay for their show, but this time I watched the whole show. And I thought it was — you know, it was good. Vince Neil was singing for real, I could tell, and it was really good; it was really sounding great out there. And after the show, they came offstage, and Nikki came to hug me, and then Vince came and we met and I just told him that Razzle always wanted us to meet because us singers, we're alike. And he smiled, and then we looked each other in the eyes for about like a half a minute or something. I could just see how much pain he's been living with."

Michael added: "I realized [Vince is] the one who's… Out of all of us affected by Razzle's death, he's the one who suffered the most, obviously, and it's never been the same. So, then, he took off, he goes his own way, and the rest of the band kind of go their own way. So, Nikki said, 'I'll see you in a minute backstage.' And then, I went to see Nikki backstage, and we had a great talk, and caught up on everything. And Tommy [Lee, CRÜE drummer] too.

"But I still felt like I wanted to say some things to Vince. So I wrote this letter to him that I asked Nikki to pass on to him, about a week later. I worked on it for a little while. I wanted to choose the words carefully, but I wanted him to know, maybe make him feel a little bit better about things. So, I sent that letter. It was actually on my birthday that I sent it finally to Nikki, and I said, 'Do you think you can maybe pass this on to Vince?' And he said, 'Yeah, sure.' A couple of days later, he said Vince came to his room and he read the letter and he was, like, 'That's amazing.' He had a big smile on his face and he said, 'That's amazing.'"

Monroe elaborated on his reasons for writing a letter to Vince, saying: "I wanted to make him feel that if he still feels like — I'm sure he's sick and tired of being tormented by the whole thing, by the accident — that he should forgive himself and live a happy life and be really… That's what Razzle would want for him. He's a good person. He deserves happiness in his life. He's had a really rough time and he's never been the same after that. It's a horrible thing to happen. And it could have happened to any of us… I said certain things that hopefully made him feel a little bit better about the whole thing. I could tell that he's been suffering a lot and he's never been the same since then. So, I was glad to be able to do that, reach out to him. And next time they come to Finland or wherever we are, if we're in the same place, I'll be up there playing the harp on 'Smokin' In The Boys Room'."

Regarding where his relationship with CRÜE stands right now, Michael said: "Nikki [and me], we were good friends, and Nikki replied to me, he said he never had any beef with me, never had a problem. So, it's great to be friends again. I just wanted to clean the slate.

"[I don't want to have] bad blood with anybody," he explained. "Life is too short. That's always bothered me, that it was never cleared up, so I cleared the air, and now we're friends again. And I got to meet Vince, and I got to tell him what I really wanted to tell him, that I hope he's happy and hopefully he'll feel a little bit better about everything, because it's a horrible thing to happen to anybody. So, all of us who were affected by it, he's obviously suffered the most. I felt much better after that. So, we're friends again."

Less than five years ago, Monroe said that he was "not interested at all" in seeing MÖTLEY CRÜE's "The Dirt" biopic. Asked by "The Classic Metal Show" if he had seen "The Dirt", Michael replied: "I haven't seen the movie. I'm not interested at all. I haven't read the book [that the movie is based on]. In general, I've never been interested in that band, musically or in any way. It's really not my thing. I haven't seen the movie and I have no intention of seeing it. I'm not interested."

Monroe went on to say that the accident "certainly destroyed a lot of people's lives. I've never blamed anybody — you can't blame anybody for an accident — but a lot of people's lives were shattered, "he said. "As well as the two teenagers who got paralyzed in the accident; I've heard that there was no mention of them either [in the film].

"It's a depressing subject and it's always like opening a can of worms," Michael continued. "And I just don't wanna get into all that. It's just useless.

"But, yeah, my comment is no comment, really. [Laughs]"

Back in 2004, Monroe slammed MÖTLEY CRÜE for the band's decision to title a box set "Music To Crash Your Car To", calling the move beyond disrespectful and referring to Sixx as "shallow," "ignorant" and "stupid". "The 'Mostly Crude' gotta be as dumb as they are to have done that," he told Metal Sludge. "I'm not only talking about Razzle, but also for the other families involved in the accident... As we've previously stated: The most tasteless and murderous gimmick to cash in on the past we've ever heard of. There's nothing 'cool' or 'funny' about death or winding up a paraplegic for life. How low can you go? I'd say this gave bad taste a bad name."

Three years later, Monroe publicly apologized to Sixx, saying that his "unflattering comments" about the bassist were "really childish and stupid." He explained: "I just took it a bit personally when they called their album at the time 'Music to Crash Your Car To'. I thought it was inappropriate since it came across as if they were making fun of the accident, which I'm sure was not their intention."

Neil's drunk-driving death car crash happened back in December 1984 when he smashed his car into another vehicle in Redondo Beach, California, killing Razzle and seriously injuring two other occupants.

Vince was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol level was 0.17, which was over the legal limit.

Neil served half of a 30-day jail sentence, received five years probation and had to pay $2.6 million in restitution, as well as perform 200 hours of community service.

In 2011, Monroe gave Sleaze Roxx his take on what happened that night: "There was an accident, and unfortunately our drummer was killed. As far as Vince Neil, I have nothing to say. It was an accident. What happened happened, and it can't be changed. Everybody suffered from the whole thing."

In 2022, former HANOI ROCKS guitarist Andy McCoy gave several interviews in which he slammed Sixx over his account of his heroin overdose, as published in CRÜE's best-selling band autobiography, "The Dirt: Confessions Of The World's Most Notorious Rock Band" and "The Dirt" biopic.

McCoy discussed his relationship with Nikki in an interview with IndiePower. McCoy said: "I'm not a farm boy like Nikki Sixx; I'm from the inner city. And I can't stand bullshit — like his books; [they're] full of lies. I saved the guy's life," he added, apparently touching upon a time when he supposedly revived Sixx after a heroin overdose. "And he makes up stories."

Referring to another one of Sixx's tales — of supposedly getting pummeled with a baseball bat on the floor of a London dealer's flat after another overdose — Andy said: "I mean, I used to play baseball. You think someone would survive if I [hit] him with a baseball bat? Hell no! Hell no, man."

Circling back to the time when he "saved" Nikki's life, Andy said: "I fucking got him revived, got his heart beating again. And the thank you I've gotten has been 'de nada'. I mean, de nada," he reiterated, using the Spanish phrase for "it's nothing." "And that makes him a second-class citizen in my eyes. 'Cause he only thinks about the buck."

Regarding Razzle's death, Andy told Artists On Record Starring ADIKA Live! that he "never even got as much as an apology from that motherfucker. You know who I'm talking about," he said. "I'm not gonna give any names. Why would I give him fame? Fuck him!

"Every time I see him, he runs away," he continued. "Because he knows what I'd do. But that's our business."

Referencing the fact that Neil and GUNS N' ROSES singer Axl Rose publicly traded insults in 1989 after Vince reportedly accused then-GN'R guitarist Izzy Stradlin of assaulting his wife, Andy said that he would never do anything "like Axl did" with the epic GUNS N' ROSES diss track "Get In The Ring". "No. I'm a freakfire," he said. "I'm from the inner city. [Vince is] from fucking suburban California. You can never compare us, what we know. You read me, bro."

Also in 2022, McCoy called CRÜE "fucking ripoffs" for embarking on "their 25th goodbye tour or something," referencing CRÜE's 2022 North American shows as part of "The Stadium Tour".

When "Waste Some Time With Jason Green" video podcast host Jason Green noted that he likes the fact that Andy is "so open" about his feelings about the CRÜE, McCoy said: "I speak the truth, mate. I don't lie, like Nikki Sixx, through my fucking teeth."

The now-61-year-old Finnish-born musician, whose real name is Antti Hulkko, was then asked about CRÜE's decision to title their box set "Music To Crash Your Car To". "I thought, and Michael Monroe thought, [that] was the tackiest title, thinking about what had happened… That was in real tacky, bad taste," Andy said. "If you're European like me, it's something you don't do. You respect other people. You just don't wanna make a buck for yourself. You respect other people."

Speaking about the two people who sustained lifelong injuries in Neil's car crash, Andy said: "People forget about those two. I remember. I never forget. People tend to forget about them. And that was horrible. It was just plainly wrong. Fifty yards to the liquor store. I thought they'd walk. But no, this motherfucker — I don't care to mention his name; you know who he is — had to show off his second-hand fucking ugly Pantera, which ain't even a nice car to me."

When Green mentioned that the circumstances surrounding the incident were exaggerated in both the "The Dirt" autobiography and biopic, Andy said: "Like the party in that movie, the MÖTLEY CRÜE movie, in some mansion. You know what really happened? We were in a two-bedroom apartment. It was five people there. When I saw that movie, or clips of it, I was, like, 'I don't wanna see the whole movie. This is bullshit again. Hollywood bullshit.' [HANOI ROCKS bassist] Sami [Yaffa] was passed out on the sofa, and Vince's pregnant wife, who was on her seventh or eighth month. That's who was there, [along with me and MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee]. So the movie is just pure lies and bollocks again. And I can't go for that kind of crap. I want the reality out."

When Green mentioned that it is obvious how much of an influence HANOI ROCKS had been on MÖTLEY CRÜE in the early years, Andy said: "You can bloody see, can't you?"

In August 2022, Nikki took to his Twitter to write: "Andy Mcoy has been on a rant saying I never thanked him for saving my life after a heroin overdose. It's true.I also never thanked him for getting me the drug's during my deadly addiction that night..I get it, he's just trying to sell a book ,a album or club tour…"

Sixx previously addressed McCoy's criticisms of "The Dirt" in a 2005 interview with Wisconsin-Music.com. Asked about Andy's claim that certain things that are described in "The Dirt" are "pure lies", Sixx laughed and said: "You know what I love about that? You've got a has-been that never was just fuckin' grabbing at straws to get attention. I mean, c'mon, man. And nothing he says makes any fucking sense. You ever read the interview where he said that his band sold more records than our band? I was like, 'Dude, are you crazy!' [mimics McCoy] 'We sold fifty million records and they sold forty, we were a bigger band than them.' And I'm like, 'Dude, why do you care about my ass so bad? You won't stop talking about it.' He's got a fuckin' crush on me or something."

When the interviewer noted that HANOI's association with MÖTLEY CRÜE came about primarily because of the car accident that killed Razzle, Nikki said: "Sure. It's a very sad thing to happen, but dude, stop already trying to get attention for yourself. He's like the drunk chick at a party that won't stop splashing everybody. But she has bad tits. Stop! [Laughs] No one's gonna fuck ya. No matter — Andy, no matter how much you talk about MÖTLEY CRÜE, your band still isn't gonna make it. Figure it out. I mean, go talk about Keith Richards; maybe that will give you another fuckin' one album sale. [Laughs]"

In a 2005 interview with Metal Express, Andy called the description of the events surrounding the tragic car accident caused by Neil in CRÜE's autobiography "bullshit" and "pure lies." He explained: "I was there. What happened was Razzle disappeared, and so did Vince. The rest of us were chilling out, man. And he had a wife who was seven months pregnant. After an hour or so, she started getting worried. So me and T-Bone, Tommy Lee, took his car and we went looking for him. We drove past this accident. So I was like, 'What color was the car he was driving around?' 'Hey, man, we just passed the fucking scene of an accident with a bright red sports car all smashed up.' I saw Razzle's hat on the street, I went up, 'What the fuck's happened?' They said, 'You have to go to this and this hospital.' In the hospital, I walk in with Tommy, and I was asking about Razzle, and this doctor walks up, 'Anybody here know this guy called Razzle?' I said, 'Yeah, I do, his family.' 'Sorry, your friend has passed away.' I thought he might have a broken leg or something. I had to call the band, and you don't tell this kind of news over the telephone. I asked them to come to the hospital. And it was a pretty sad scene altogether."

In the same interview, McCoy was asked if he had spoken to any of the members of MÖTLEY CRÜE since publicly voicing his displeasure over "Music To Crash Your Car To". "The only one I talk to nowadays is Tommy Lee," Andy replied. "I don't know… Nikki Sixx has got something against me. Maybe he doesn't like that I tell the truth about his fucking heroin overdose. He was never beat up with no fucking baseball bats. The only place he got beat was on his heart to keep it going and with my hands, and giving him a breath of life. And he's a lard-ass anyway, so it wasn't easy carrying him around and trying to get him to wake up — fucking dragging him to the shower and shit. And then having to read how he was O.D.ed and beaten up with baseball bats and all this crap. C'mon, wake up. I warned him that the stuff was strong. But he wanted to be a tough boy, but with that kind of shit, you don't wanna be a tough boy, 'cause it might be a very thin line between life and death you're playing with. Is it worth it? No."

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

HANOI ROCKS originally broke on to the hard rock scene in the first half of the 1980s, becoming one of the first Finnish bands to make an international impact. HANOI ROCKS's career was subsequently derailed after the death of Razzle. Internal tensions and the commercial disappointment that was 1985's "Rock & Roll Divorce" led to Monroe leaving the band that year, thus putting an early end to HANOI ROCKS.

Michael Monroe photo credit: Ville Juurikkala (via Wilful Publicity)

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