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Hanoi and hit singles - "just a matter of time"
JR: What about the question of hit singles? Some have argued that Hanoi didn't make it bigger because they didn't have an obvious hit single. CBS even got them to cover "Up Around The Bend" on Two Steps in an effort to create a ready-made "hit" on the album. Hanoi could write some very catchy tunes, but even in the U.K., they weren't huge chart favorites.
DD: Andy always wrote great material. He came from that Marc Bolan background and he knew how to write a catchy little riff. The British pop charts are geared against rock bands. For that matter, most pop charts are geared against rock bands. They like plastic pop, and Hanoi were anything but plastic pop. But every once in a while something breaks through. I was talking about Judas Priest earlier - every so often Priest would come out with a song that just happened to grab your attention and slip through the net. Although it never happened for Hanoi - not in any major sense - you can only say, "What if?" Andy was such a prodigious producer of material. Eventually one of the songs was going to get through. And once you've got one hit, then the rest just follow along in its path. Zeppelin were always one of my favorite bands, and though they never released a single in Britain, they did in the States. Even if what they were doing wasn't really geared towards the charts, every so often they would get hits.
It was only a matter of time for Hanoi. You just have to be in the right place at the right time with the right song. A while ago, I was talking to Alice Cooper, and I was telling him that I remembered hearing School's Out just at the time that we were coming out of school. School had broken up and we were having the summer holidays - it was perfect, it was that moment in time when THAT SONG means everything. If you release a song like "School's Out" at Christmas, it's not going to work. That's the sort of thing you need a major record company for. They've got the money to buy the plug, make sure that the radio stations play it and make sure that it becomes a hit. I was told some time ago that in order to get a song on a particular rock radio station, which I won't mention the name of here, that you had to send the DJ and/or the producer a copy of the record and a gram of coke and your song would get played. The DJ would put the thing on the radio and it would become a hit, and that was just the way the business was done.
But promotion can get pretty expensive when you have a whole bunch of different DJs, a whole bunch of different producers, and a whole bunch of different pluggers. This is where the major record companies who've got the resources come into their own. Hanoi was just not in that position long enough to get a major hit. A few months after their only major label album had come out, the band was over anyway. But Andy had a good enough ear, and spending time in the states would have attuned him to what was necessary. He always thought that anything everybody else wrote was shit, but he'd always listen - he was attuned to what was going on. He would have turned out something that eventually would have snuck through. They just ran out of time.