It was a day no one would have wanted to believe to be true.
Sad news of the fatal accident of Finnish band Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle, 24, shocked the band, fans and the entire music world in December 1984. Razzle had died in Rodendo Beach, Los Angeles, in the car of Mötley Crüe beakman Vince Neil.
Ari Väntänen's new book Razzle - The Story of the Hanoi Rocks legend (Like 2020) reveals how the shock news of the premature death of drummer talent shook the lives of many.
Razzle only managed to play for less than two years at Hanoi Rocks, but still left an indelible mark on the band.
Michael Monroe still remembers the sad call he received from the manager.Photo: Sari Niemi
Hanoi Rocks singer Michael Monroe reveals in a recent book that he heard shocking news from band manager Seppo Vesterinen.
Hanoi Rocks was currently on their first U.S. tour, but had to cancel some of their gigs due to Monroe’s broken ankle.
The band stayed at a hotel in Los Angeles.
- Seppo called me and said that something bad had happened, and asked me to go to the rouders' room.
Seppo then called there and said that Razzle had died in a car accident.
I couldn’t believe it was true, Monroe says in the novelty book.
- I returned to my room and cried with my eyes on my head.
It occurred to me that The Legend of Greystoke was playing on TV.
Soon I realized that they point in the headlines reads "Hanoi-star died" and that the mother may believe that I am dead.
I called home, and my mother was really sad and crying, Monroe reveals in the book.
In a new book, Michael Monroe recalls the farewell he left to Razzle, who died in a crash. Photo: Pete Aarre-Ahtio / IS
The band's rouder Timo Kaltio also recalls in the book that the news completely stopped the band, which lived a hard rock life.
- It was a huge shock to everyone.
The style we lived in - alcohol, drugs, whatever - had led to Razzle's death, Kaltio says in Väntänen's book.
Razzle’s badly shattered body was visited by tour manager Andy Griggs.
According to the book, the pathologist's statement said that Razzle appeared to have died of chest injuries, with the most serious injuries being in the upper chest.
There were also two deep wounds on the head, surface wounds on the body, and broken ribs on both sides.
In the book, Michael Monroe says he said goodbye to Razzle in the morgue.
- Andy Griggs went to recognize Razzle's body and was very upset about it.
It’s good I didn’t see Razzle until the body was put in order.
When I went to see Razzle in the morgue, I saw the Hollywood sign for the first time.
I get even cold shivers from it.
Razzle looked like a wax doll.
It was easy to notice that the soul had already left.
I touched his shoulder and said “Goodbye, Razzle,” Monroe reveals in the book.
Pictured are Razzle and his girlfriend Chris Bowen in August 1984.Picture: Thomas Ian Murdock
Razzle’s departure touched particularly strongly after his engagement to Chris Bowen, who lives in England.
The couple in love had had to be apart for a long time because of the tour.
- I'll never forget it.
It was the worst day of my life.
It seemed unreal.
I still don't know how I got over it, Bowen says in Väntänen's book.
The funeral was held on the Isle of Wight in England three days before Christmas Eve.
Razzle’s adoptive parents, who had raised her, were completely broken, according to the book.
- I couldn't look at his face when the body was brought here.
My husband said he looked beautiful, adoptive mother Irene Dingley said in an interview with Hard Rocks the following year.
There were a huge number of friends and acquaintances at the funeral, and even the weather comforted the guests with its warmth.
In the book, Archbishop FC Carpenter of the Isle of Wight recalls that a shock shone on the faces of the funeral guests.
- It was a beautiful, sunny day, and the church was crowded.
With the exception of Nicholas ’adoptive parents, the congregation consisted almost exclusively of young people.
Some were shocked to the eye when the coffin was brought in, which was no doubt due to how shocking and how young he died, the archbishop describes in the book.
According to the book, Andy McCoy was not seen at the funeral. Photo: Jukka Lehtinen
Only one was missing from the funeral home.
- All of Hanoi Rocks was there except Andy McCoy.
He tried his best to get to the scene but missed the train, as they say, says the band's rouder Timo Kaltio.
Monroe, on the other hand, could not cover her grief in a crowded church.
- I was sitting in the church right behind the Hanoi members.
I clearly remember the number of people, almost not everyone could fit in the church.
I heard Michael Monroe sobbing throughout the blessing, and it felt very traumatic, Razzle’s friend Hugh Lewis recalls in a recent book.
Hanoi Rocks guitarist Andy McCoy and drummer Razzle in 1982. Photo: Juha Kärkkäinen
For Razzle’s fiancé, the funeral was equally a nightmare.
- Funerals are just a mist in my memories.
I've probably closed them in my opinion.
I didn’t have to go watch Razzle be buried, but welcome him home from the tour.
I was quite confused about what had happened, about losing him.
I couldn’t comprehend that he was gone.
It was a nightmare I couldn’t wake up to, Chris Bowen admits in the book.
After the funeral, the fate of Razzle was sustained for a long time.
Vince Neil, who drove the crash car, was involved in the events right after the Funeral.
- I'm still really sad about that stupid car crash.
Oh Jesus, what a loss, Razzle’s former bandmate Phil Oswald states in the book.
The new book written by Ari Väntänen describes how Razzle became a world-renowned drummer. Photo: Handout
According to Razzle’s friend Matt Kellet, drunk driving was not considered as irresponsible at all at the time as it is today.
He even thinks Razzle wouldn’t be angry with Vince Neil, who was driving the crash car.
- I didn't think Nick had resented Vinci.
Nowadays, drunk driving feels unforgivable, but at the time, many got drunk behind the wheel without thinking about the whole thing.
As irresponsible as it was, such was the spirit of the time, Kellet recalls in a recent book.
- I hope Razzle would never have met Hanoi Rocks, because then he would still be alive and playing with me.
But when he joined the Hanoi Rocks, Razzle got into a band he really liked, Andy Riff Socratous, familiar from The Dark, emphasizes in the book.
The photo was taken on Razzle's last birthday on December 2, 1984 in Chicago.
He then turned 24. Image: Sean Manton Collection
One of the most visible consequences of his death was that after the departure of Razzle, who blew new life into the Hanoi Rocks, the band dried up very soon.
- Yes, it knew that the road to Hanoi Rocks would end there.
If he met Razzle, he knew he couldn’t be replaced.
I have since met with Michael and Sam, and they both agreed, a musician friend of Scott Bittner says in the book.
- Razzle was an integral part of Hanoi Rocks chemistry, and the band desperately missed him.
Although Hanoi continued for a short time with the new drummer (Terry Chimes), it could not replace the spirit of Razzle, musician Gass Wild reflects in the book.
After Razzle’s death, his biological mother, Patricia Ingram, also gave interviews to the press.
He admitted, according to the book, that he felt a bad conscience that he did not like Razzle despite the opposition of his parents.
According to the book, Ingram has a hard time accepting the loss, but he’s not angry with Vince Neil either.
- I was logged in to a register that allows adopted children to search for their biological parents, and thought that one day Nicky would still knock on my door.
But that didn't happen, thanks to alcohol.
I don't hate Vince Neil.
I myself have been alkoholisoitumassa, but I still never would jeopardize anyone's life.
There is no substitute for me that I have lived most of my life waiting for his call waiting, and then heard that it was never going to know it, the biological mother Patricia Ingram says VANTAS book.
This is how Hanoi Rocks posed in Finland on September 4, 1982. Razzle had just joined a band where he had time to play for less than two years.
From left to right Mike Monroe, Nasty Suicide, Sam Yaffa, Razzle and Andy McCoy.Photo: Hans Paul
The Hanoi Rocks tale finally ended in 1985. Before that, bassist Sam Yaffa, who had spent his last night with Razzle, left the band.
In Väntänen's new book, everyone who remembers Razzle has a unified perception that the drummer, who jumped from a small island into a world-famous one, was always a thoroughly friendly, genuine and funny person.
- Razzle will never be forgotten.
He was kind and helpful, outspoken, humble and loyal.
He was always ready for fun and adventure, and there was nothing vicious about him.
He had a huge thirst for life, photographer Justin Thomas says in the book.
- He was a calm soul who was happy to be alive, to live fast and to enjoy every moment.
“Too fast for life, too young for death,” as that left arm tattoo said,