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Pushing the envelope: Michael's image and Andy's attitude
JR: At any rate, getting back on track here, I agree with what you said, Dave - these perception issues were not going to be an impediment to Hanoi's growing superstardom in Europe and Japan, but they might have been in the U.S. I guess we'll never know. It's as if Mike pushed the envelope without even trying, it's not really something that came out in the lyrics, it's just part of who he is. The fact that he was maybe a little different, and a hell of a lot prettier than the average man, but also raring to rip your head off if you said anything to him about it - well, that was a combination of characteristics I personally had never seen in a rock star before. It created an infectious freedom that, to me anyway, is the soul of Hanoi Rocks. I admired Mike for his unapologetic expression of himself and still do. He didn't seem to give a shit what people thought of him or whether his look would sell in this country or anywhere else, and that's exactly what drew many of us to the band. Whether this would have prevented them from selling a few more records - it's should be irrelevant to the hardcore fan anyway.
DD: People often wrongly assumed that Michael was gay because of the way he looked. I don't remember it ever coming up in conversations between us. I just assumed from the word "go" that he wasn't gay, because it's one of those things that you can almost sense. I knew that he wasn't, and I saw him with enough women to think otherwise. Of course, appearances can be deceiving, but I've met enough gay men to pick up the vibe, so I had some degree of sympathy for Mike because he was often misperceived, but what was he going to do about it? For me, all I cared about was that he was fronting this incredible band.
JR: One of the things I liked the most about Hanoi Rocks is that they actually had the balls to switch gender references sometimes in the middle of a song (as in Lost in the City: "City girl stole my car, city boy stole my heart," etc.) I never assumed they were gay either; to me, they just seemed to be all about breaking down boundaries, so they just didn't give a shit. Later, I learned that Andy wrote quite a bit of those lyrics.
DD: And Andy liked screwing with people's heads. In order to make a statement, to really separate yourself from the pack, you needed to be "way out there." These guys, just by the way they looked and acted, were way out there. They told me that moving to London was a great liberation for them. London was a metropolitan, liberal place, and while they still looked strange walking down the streets of London, they weren't in fear for their lives as they had been at home.
On the same token, Andy liked screwing with people. It was as if he was saying, "OK, you think you've got me sorted out, well, I'm going to do this." He was like a twelve year old, mischievous schoolboy who was always looking for a way to really get under your skin. It probably bugged the fuck out of the other journalists who crossed their path, but I thought it was all incredibly funny. I wouldn't rise to the bait, but they upset and offended a lot of other people who interviewed them. I always said to him, "Andy, why do you have to do this? It really helps if you've got the press on your side," and he would say, "Yeah, but I like screwing with these people."
JR: One of the most famous examples is when Andy told a record executive that "Jethro Tull was a fucking awful band." Of course, Jethro Tull was on that executive's record label at the time.'
DD: Tact and diplomacy were not part of the Hanoi makeup. Again, that was who they were and you really couldn't argue with it. If they'd had tact and diplomacy, they might have gotten signed a whole lot sooner, but it wouldn't have been who they were. Andy would go out of his way to find which buttons to push and to figure out the most offensive things he could possibly say to you. And yet, when he met my mother, he was incredibly sweet and charming. I was thinking, "Oh please God, don't say anything," but you couldn't have asked for a more perfect guest. He was incredibly polite, and warm, and generous. It was like Andy picked his targets. I wanted everybody to know about this band and to like them, but Andy would do his damndest to go around and upset as many people as humanly possible.