Stevie Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records has reissued the sole album from Demolition 23., digitally for the first time ever, and on CD + Blue Smoke vinyl. The band, which formed in New York City in 1993, consisted of former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe, ex-Star Star guitarist Jay Hening, Monroe’s Hanoi Rocks bandmate Sami Yaffa on bass, and Jimmy Clark on drums.
The album Demolition 23. had a limited release in 1994, but has since been out of print for years. It was produced by Van Zandt, and features collaborative songwriting efforts between Monroe, Van Zandt, and Jude Wilder, and one track (“Deadtime Stories”) co-written by Monroe/Stiv Bators. The album, a return to the members’ Punk roots, also includes covers by Monroe’s influences and friends, including Stiv Bators (“Ain’t Nothin’ To Do”) and Johnny Thunders (“I Wanna Be Loved”).
Many of the songs from the record have become staples in Monroe’s live sets, which recently have included festivals and a stint opening for Alice Cooper.
The digital and CD release of ‘Demolition 23.’ includes all of the original songs, along with 3 bonus demos. The physical versions of the album include a booklet with photos and liner notes from Monroe, detailing each song, with additional notes written by all of the living band members. The vinyl also includes a download card for the bonus tracks. The band’s logo was designed by Yaffa, who continues to play with Monroe to this day.
The band recently reunited for a historic performance at the Helinki Ice Hall (Helsingin Jäähalli) in Finland on September 23rd, 2002, as part of Monroe’s 60th birthday celebration, which also featured a landmark set by the original Hanoi Rocks lineup. This was Demolition 23.’s first performance since the band’s breakup in 1995.
Michael Monroe writes on the re-issue of Demolition 23.:
“The Demolition 23. album is one of my favorite albums of my career and definitely one of the best. I had the pleasure and privilege of having my great friend Little Steven as the producer. This was originally going to be a Michael Monroe solo album, but we had put together such a strong group with Sami Yaffa on bass, Jimmy Clark on drums and Jay Hening (RIP) on guitar, that I decided the band should have a name. Sami Yaffa suggested “Demolition 23” from the William Burroughs book “Exterminator” and it immediately hit a nerve.
Little Steven and I had been writing the songs with very much an authentic kind of Punky Rock& Roll attitude and style. We also wanted to pay homage to the late legendary unsung heroes and my friends Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunders by covering one song each– The Dead Boys’“Ain’t Nothin’ To Do” and Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers’ “I Wanna Be Loved.”
The album was recorded at the end of 1993 at the Power Station Studios in New York City by the great engineer Ben Fowler. This was one of the easiest and most fun times I’ve ever had recording an album. The comfort of having the production in the good hands of Little Steven allowed me to relax and enjoy doing my thing. Steven brought out the best in everybody and we didn’t waste any time. We laid down the basic tracks, drums, bass and guitars for the 10songs in 3 days and I did my lead vocals in 2 days. It was like 2 vocal takes per song, then Steven would say “Ok that’s good! Next!” After the 5 days of recording, we mixed one song per day, so the whole album took about 2 weeks to make. And it still sounds great today. This record was never officially released in the States, but now Little Steven is FINALLY releasing it on his Wicked Cool label for everyone’s enjoyment.
As bonus tracks, we’re including 3 demos that we recorded at New York’s Baby Moster Studio prior to recording the album. I remember when we finished our session there, the Ramones came in and started setting up for the next session to record their cover of “I Love You” for the Johnny Thunders tribute album “I Only Wrote This Song For You.” I’ll never forget when Johnny Ramone started hitting some chords on his Moarite guitar–it was so loud you could hear it in every room of the studio. Anyway, these 3 demos already indicate what a great chemistry Demolition 23 had as a band. Hope you dig this album as much as we all do!“
Demolition 23. Tracklist
1 Nothin’s Alright
2 Hammersmith Palais
3 The Scum Lives On
5 Ain’t Nothin’ to Do
6 I Wanna Be Loved
7 You Crucified Me
8 Same Shit Different Day
9 Endangered Species
10 Deadtime Stories
11 Hammersmith Palais (Demo)
12 Dysfunctional (Demo)
13 The Scum Lives On (Demo)