HANOI ROCKS frontman Michael Monroe has spoken to Rock Rage about his previous friendship with GUNS N' ROSES singer Axl Rose and his opinion of Rose's current band. Asked if he is still friends with Axl, Monroe said, "Well, I was very friendly with him whenever we bumped into each other, but I haven't talked to him in a long time. I speak to Slash regularly. I'm closer with him than with Axl. A weird thing happened when we played in Japan a couple of years ago. Axl was headlining the show with the new GUNS N' ROSES, the hired GUNS N' ROSES. I never realized how much chemistry the original band had until I saw Axl with those hired guns. They were just sort of lost on stage. When Axl heard that HANOI ROCKS was playing the same festival that he was headlining, he got nervous and said he would not play on the same stage as us on the same day. I checked it out with many different sources, and he thought that the audience would react more to us than to him. That was a great compliment and a good favor too because it leaked to the press and people were like, 'HANOI ROCKS must be really great if GUNS N' ROSES are shaking in their pants.' I did get along with him and he was very nice to me. I didn't think we were that good of friends until he was nice enough to give us that kind of promotion. I watched him on the monitor on the second day of the show and the guitar player [Buckethead] was just so mediocre. It was like watching a cover band, and they looked ridiculous. They had no connection with the audience. I told Slash myself that you were really shining by your absence. They weren't even doing any new songs. It was all old ones."
With regards to whether he thinks Axl is ever going to release "Chinese Democracy", Michael said, "I don't know. He's even beat Billy Idol for procrastination. Billy Idol used to be the king of that. Two million dollars later and you'd ask him, 'When is the album coming out?' 'Two weeks, two weeks,' he'd say. There's probably different things holding up Axl. The guy got so much money so quickly, and you can imagine all the scumbags around him. It must be hard not knowing who your friends are. Let's put it this way, I don't envy him. It was funny, when I saw him play he opened the show with, 'Tokyo, do you know where you are?' Of course we're in Osaka, so I said, 'Do you know where you are motherfucker!' Then he realized he messed up and tried to correct himself. Then a few songs later he'd say, 'Alright Tokyo.' I was like, 'Maybe he should cut down on the Prozac or whatever.' One time I was having dinner with Axl in New York City. I had a couple of white wines with orange juice. That's when I used to drink though. I don't drink now. Anyway, I was feeling good, but Axl thought I was really out of it. He's looking at me because I'm smiling and he says, 'Mike, do you know where you are?' I said, 'I'm in the jungle baby, I'm gonna die!' Oh yeah, I knew the answer to that."
Read Michael Monroe's entire interview with Rock Rage at this location.