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Andy McCoy Interview 

20th September 2022

It’s 2pm in Finland and 8pm in Tokyo. Andy is sitting on a couch with one of his paintings hanging on the wall behind him. I have a beer and Andy is swigging from a small bottle that looks like beer.

 

Q: Thanks for joining us Andy and cheers!

 

AM: Ah cheers! This is alcohol free but that’s the way I roll nowadays.

 

Q: First off, a quick thanks. You once bought me a drink in the St Moritz in Wardour street but I haven’t since had the opportunity to buy you back.

 

AM: Oh the St Moritz! I lived two blocks away so it became a local watering hole.

 

Q: It was just after the disastrous festival in Finland with Johnny Thunders. (22nd June 1984 Siilinjärvi, Finland) I was at the festival with Rock Goddess.

 

AM: Oh Ok. Oh well, shit happens and sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Festivals can be tricky.

 

Hanoi Rocks Reunion

 

Q: Let’s get the Hanoi Rocks reunion out of the way because I don’t want to dwell on it. Is it like old times when you see the guys again?

 

AM: It was all sweet. Good vibes. Originally we thought we wanted to play a one-off secretly but then we thought how unfair that would be to our fans around the world and then it got announced, one thing lead to another and the band is together again. That’s it, that’s the news; the original Hanoi Rocks is playing again

 

Q: You’re saying you’re going to carry this on? This isn’t a one-off event?

AM: Not very often and we are not going to do huge tours but we will do one-off gigs every now and then.

 

Q: Fantastic! Presumably Mike has got cameras there so we’ll all see this gig eventually anyway.

 

AM: Oh they’ll be plenty of cameras. We’ve documented the rehearsals, everything.

 

Jukebox Junkies

 

Q: Your new album is great.

 

AM: Oh thank you – I’m glad you like it. I wanted to do something and David Bowie gave me a piece of advice once upon a time. He said ‘Andy, if you ever have down time and nothing or you have to get rid of a deal and you owe one record, do like I did with Pin Ups and make a covers record. So I made a list of about seventy songs that I had to keep cutting and cutting and cutting, songs that should have been massive hits but that never really made it you know. In some ways it’s like an educational record for people as they don’t know how much good music there is and they’ve missed it perhaps because of bad PR or timing or God knows but it’s stuff that I think should have really made it big.

 

Q: It is a surprising song selection. Katie Noel, a Don Williams track, Squeeze…and you just mentioned seventy?

 

AM: Yeah. You know I’ve listened to Rock ‘n’ Roll and reggae and stuff since the 60s and on the list there were songs from the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and perhaps even some 80s. A lot of 70s stuff because I was a teenager then.

 

Q: So we may see a Vol.2 at some point?

 

AM: At some point, yeah. There’s so much going on in my life with the art, Hanoi Rocks, solo stuff, the acoustic thing I’m doing in Japan (17th/18th October Tokyo, 20th October Osaka). Th last show is on Osaka and I think that will be the last chance to see me play solo basically.

 

Q: I’ll get to all of that in a moment but just to go back to Jukebox Junkies for a second, do you have any special attachment to the songs?

 

AM: I just wanted a really good collection of songs and a colourful album that does not get boring.

 

Q: You certainly achieved that.

 

AM: Yeah I think I came pretty close to my goal.

Q: You chose one of my favourite songs which is Funnel of Love. I’m a big fan of Wanda Jackson, Cyndi Lauper has covered it, which version did you first hear?

 

AM: The original. My mother had all the 50s Rock ‘n’ Roll stuff so I grew up listening to that stuff.

 

Q: You’ve given your fans an opportunity to discover older gems. How did you discover new music when you were growing up in Pelkosenniemi, Lapland. I can’t imagine much Rock ‘n’ Roll up there in the 60’s and 70’s.

 

AM: Those days, without the internet…nowadays it’s harder because there is no bullshit filter, so much crap but I still like listening to new stuff and some I hate and some I like and some songs hit me. In the old days it was pretty much word of mouth. Listening to mates, keeping my eyes open, kept going into record stores and if they had a good colour on the cover, I’d feel enchanced. (laughs) That’s how I discovered the New York Dolls. I thought ‘Damn this looks good! It has to be sleazy and good!’ I didn’t know that Johnny would become my cousin-in-law you know.

 

Q: Hanoi Rocks certainly put Finland on The Rock ‘n’ Roll map. The only other Finnish band I know of at that time was Prog Rockers Wigwam.

 

AM: Oh yeah there was a lot of Prog – I played Prog myself but it gets kind of dull. It’s very egotistical music. ‘Look how well I can play’ kind of. Now I’m more into good songs and the playing’s got to serve the song, not the other way around.

 

Q: Given your eclectic taste in music though which again comes through on Jukebox Junkies, you must listen to everything.

 

AM; Yeah. There’s no Flamenco on there though. There’s been talk of doing a Flamenco record as well at some point.

 

Q: Oh man, I would to hear that.

 

AM: Well when it comes to the guitar that’s totally different from this stuff. I listen to everything from Classical Arabic to Reggae to Bluebeat to Jazz…I don’t put borders. Good music is good music, it doesn’t matter what genre it is.

 

Q: I couldn’t agree more. I still have a big vinyl collection and I couldn’t figure out how to order them so I just do it be year. Sometimes I’m in the mood for 1976 or 184 or 1955 and it’s easy to did into them.

 

AM: You organise them by the year…that’s nice. That’s a good way of organising them. It also works like a diary. 1976…I remember what I was doing when I heard this song the first time.

 

Q: Exactly. Let’s get to the Japan shows…

 

Andy McCoy Trio in Japan

 

Q: …yourself on Guitar/Vocals, Sofia Zida on vocals and Johnny Crash on piano

 

AM: Yeah. Sofia is my daughter and Johnny is just a fantastic musician.

 

Q: Presumably you’ll be doing a few of the songs from Jukebox Junkies at the shows here.

 

AM: Oh yeah. We’ll do some stuff from the new album, some Suicide Twins, it’ll be a bit of everything you know.

 

Q: That’s what we want. Actually, another of your bands, I was at the Cherry Bombz gig you did at the Marquee, the one that was videoed.

 

AM: Oh, you were there?

 

Q: Yeah. Man, that was a good show. Coming back to the trio, it must be starting to get difficult to choose a set list now.

 

AM: Well, that’s always a bit of a headache but we gotta go with the flow. It might change a bit every night though, there’s plenty to choose from.

 

Q: You seem like the kind of guy that would go on stage with a set list and then change it halfway through. Am I right?

 

AM: It has been known to happen, yeah. I go pretty much with the vibe. If I feel they need another upbeat number, I’ll do one; if I feel like the audience need a breather, I’ll do a ballad.

 

Q: Watching a few clips on YouTube it seems a very relaxed show.

 

AM: Yeah. It’s very improvised. You know, let’s go on stage and start with that and figure out where to take it from there. A lot of bands use tapes and shit because they want to do it the same every night that idea I do not like because I like to improvise. I want the songs to be a bit different every night. You get fed up playing the same songs the same way every night. I realised the same when I opened up for Kiss in the US. I did some 72 gigs opening for Kiss and every night we got an encore. Before the gig, they were like ‘The Kiss army, you don’t stand a chance’ but we won the audience over every night but every night, Kiss was the same, even down to what they said between the songs. After three gigs I couldn’t be bothered to watch them anymore.

 

Q: I saw your old mate Ian Hunter over here a few years ago and every night was different. That’s the way to do it.

 

AM: That’s the way I like it. Ian’s a wonderful bloke and that he’s still playing at his age.

 

Q: Ian is 83. That’s over twenty years from where I am now. I don’t I’ll even get that far let alone be able to Rock for a couple of hours.

 

AM: (laughs) I know! Same here. He’s an inspiration in that way.

 

Q: Getting back to your show in Japan. The venue’s really good, intimate like the old clubs. The Marquee or the Taviasta in Finland.

 

AM: Oh that’s a beautiful size venue. There’s enough room without losing the intimacy. That’s good because this Hanoi Rocks thing is so big. A minimum of 10,000 a night now. I’ve been missing these intimate gigs.

 

Q: I love the Taviasta. I did there with Girlschool.

 

AM: Oh I know those girls! They’re good friends of mine.

 

Q: Yeah we did there in the mid-eighties. Around the same time that Mike was going out with Kim and we all used to have a bit too much of this (Glenn holds up beer).

 

AM: Oh I don’t know. We were young, we were crazy. (smiles) It’s what young people do but things are different nowadays. My youngest daughter, Leila, she’s a model, she hardly drinks at all. She sticks to the herb and I think it’s good. She’s going to turn twenty in November and she’s doing really well. I don’t want to see my daughter all trashed up.

 

Q: Of course you don’t. We all learn from our parents and your kids have learnt from you.

 

AM: It’s different generations. You remember our generation and we always had drinks and were smoking fags. It was western culture and it was normal. You were almost expected to drink, especially if you were male or you would be some kind of weirdo. ‘Oh, he doesn’t drink? What the hell is wrong with him?’

 

Art

 

Q: I can see that piece of art behind you by the way. I didn’t realise your canvases were so big.

 

AM: It is big. I like to work on big canvases.

 

Q: What’s your inspiration for art?

 

AM: Well I studied classical art but then that plank of wood with six strings started ruling my life. (grins) I went along with it and here I am (laughs)

 

Q: Well that’s ok…

 

AM: Yeah it’s ok. (smiles)

 

Q: …it’s given you a pension.

 

AM: Yeah I’m one of the few who can enjoy it. One of the few who has got to do exactly what I want to do in life, I know.

 

Q: A lot of our old friends haven’t Andy.

 

AM: I know. That in itself in a luxury.

 

Q: Will you be bringing any art or doing anything else on this trip?

 

AM: I’ll be doing the three gigs and a lot of PR for Hanoi. I’ll be there for about five days or a week so the next time I come will probably with Hanoi Rocks. That’s a different ball game: it’s a big machine.

 

Q: One last topic – your hats. Do you customise them yourself?

 

AM: Yeah. (Andy then shows me a selection of his hats, all different, beautifully decorated and coloured and discusses their characteristics which include Jamaican influences as well as his Mexican-Spanish and Scandinavian roots).

 

Q:Andy, a pleasure to talk to you and I shall look forward to seeing you here in October. The last time you were here, I was in England…

AM: Ah well, shit happens… (smiles) See you man. (waves goodbye)

Take Me I'm Yours for the album Jukebox Junkies