Books - S

SHERIFF McCOY - Andy McCoy {Bazillion Points 206 pages}
For those who don’t know, Andy McCoy was the guitarist, songwriter and founder of Finland’s notorious HANOI ROCKS. The legend of HANOI ROCKS is almost as big as the influence the band exerted on the world of Rock ‘n’ Roll, as McCoy and co dived head first into the archetypal hedonistic world of sex, drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll. This is McCoy’s story; it’s not a HANOI biography - although obviously the band feature heavily. Nor is this strictly a new book. McCoy wrote this in 2001 when it was published in Finland. This version is updated only via a new introductory piece, where McCoy states that had he written this today, it would have been different.
The book kicks off with a piece written by McCoy while still at school before we get a look at his adolescence, his introduction to music via his grandad, being beaten by his father and smoking hash at the age of eight. Yep, apparently that’s true and, as the book unfolds, we visit every form of substance abuse, groupie gratification and Rock ‘n’ Roll excess you can imagine.
The stories of early HANOI are enthralling, giving insight to the band’s formative years, the first London gig (with six men and a dog in attendance) and a skinhead battle in Tampere supporting UK SUBS. The chapter on the band’s first tour of India and the Far East is hilarious as the band battles illness and, among other things, set fire to the hair of Whitesnake’s singer! The section on the death of HANOI drummer Razzle at the hands of the fuck-wit outta Motley Crue is particularly touching. There’s a lot of bravado in McCoy’s words, but on this incident and of Razzle, those words appear truly heart-wrenching - as does his hatred for Vince Neil.
Unfortunately there is little written about the SUICIDE TWINS project, nor that of the short-lived CHERRY BOMBZ. The book finishes with the ‘Real McCoy’ film and his #1 hit in Finland with ‘Strung Out’ before heading back to HANOI with the release of the box set and the HANOI Revisited gigs of 2001.
The actual narrative of the book is chaotic, with McCoy (as he admits), flitting from one era to another and could have done with some subtle editting. McCoy also seems to revel in his own ‘ultimate rock ‘n’ roller persona’, whether it being on tour with IGGY POP where McCoy suggests he was the big attraction and had to request the audiences in Japan to, "Give Iggy some respect," boasting of a personal assistant in LA (did HANOI really get that big?), his apparent trivialisation of Heroin use, or of some truly gross groupie sensationalism. There’s a few unpleasant snide comments also, least of all a comment about HANOI bassist Sami Yaffa getting McCoy’s ex-partner pregnant at which McCoy states, "Shit, the kid would have got better genes had she kept one of mine."
Aesthetically, the book is sumptuous. It’s printed on high-quality paper, the hardback sleeve is embossed under the wraparound cover and there’s even a stylish pink fabric book mark.
McCoy’s autobiography comes over as rather self-gratifying. Rarely does he run himself down, and when he does, he shrugs it off with a sense of arrogant shamelessness before elevating himself to the post of Rock God once again. It is a good read, no question about that, and for HANOI fans it’s mandatory. But those hoping for the authorative document of HANOI ROCKS are gonna have to keep waiting. (16.09.10)