Festivalphoto spoke to Michael Monroe and Dregen before their performance at Hard Rock Hell 2011.
Festivalphoto: You're famous for your energetic live shows which are great fun to watch as you climb onto speakers (or anything else convenient) or throw yourself into the crowd. Do you ever get injured doing this?
Michael: Oh yeah, a lot. I broke two ribs twice last year, I've broken my ankle twice, yeah I do get injuries but I try to be careful.
Festivalphoto: With your habit of swinging your microphone and its stand around on stage do you ever injure your band mates?
Michael: No - only myself.
Festivalphoto: In Birmingham I seem to remember Steve Conte bleeding after taking a Saxophone to the face.
Michael: He walked into the Sax, it wasn’t me (laughing)
Festivalphoto: Good answer
Festivalphoto : Why include cover versions (e.g. love song & I wanna be loved) in the live show when you have so much of your own material?
Michael: We don’t have many, none right now in fact, but we want to educate people about some great bands that nobody would know otherwise. I like to do covers by great bands that are obscure these days.
Festivalphoto: What can we expect from the show tonight?
Michael: A great rock and roll show
Dregen: It's the last show of the tour and you know we never save our energy for anything but I'm telling you in the back of our heads, well at least I know that I'll be back home tomorrow. I love being on the road but it's been kind of hectic with only one day off, and with winter tours there's always some cold getting to you like your throat is bad..
Michael: Everything about this band is killer, it's going to be a killer show
Dregen: Oh its gonna be yeah, Ace, and you know we've got ten minutes longer to play today so we don't know, anything can happen and probably will happen.
Michael: That’s right.
Festivalphoto: What are your plans for when you finish the tour?
Dregen: I'm going to relax for a couple of days but I'm working on trying to write my solo album as well, then maybe some riffs for the new Michael Monroe album. We have a couple of New Years shows coming up as well.
Michael: I'm going back, I've got no time off, I'm going to start promoting my book that’s out in Finland now. Every day I've got something, I've got the presidents castle for the annual ball, the independence day ball, I've been invited there on Tuesday, then I'm doing a TV show which is being filmed which I've been working on. I've got one day off then its every day work work work, so I'm busy busy busy busy. No breaks.
Festivalphoto: Earlier this year you released your new solo album, "Sensory Overdrive". The album was recently voted Album of the year by classic rock magazine - how do you feel about that?
Michael: I was surprised, it’s a huge honour and a really great award
Festivalphoto: You've got various guests on the album including Lemmy who appears on the album on a track he wrote with you, "Debauchery is a fine art". How did that come about?
Michael: Lemmy's an old friend you know, and I asked him and he was willing to be on the record. Lucinda Williams came to our show in California last year and loved the show. She was already familiar with Steve and Sami so Steve got in touch with her in the studio and asked her to sing on that song and she came and that’s great. She gives me chills - her voice is amazing when she sings. She had a free hand to do what she wanted and it sounds great.
Festivalphoto: What bands do you like to listen to when you get some spare time?
Michael: Such a long list…
Dregen: What Michael gave me - I'd been sceptical about ZZ Top, but we've been listening to Rhythmeen….
Michael: That is a killer album
Dregen: So that’s what I've discovered on this tour
Michael: Dr Feelgood, the band, we were listening to last night and Tom Petty
Dregen: Anything from the Rat Pack to Billie Holliday to Shep Baker to ACDC to whatever was going on yesterday with NWA, gangster rap
Michael: We listen to anything from blues to punk to reggae, all kinds of music.
Festivalphoto: You mentioned working on a new album..
Michael: We're working on a new album yeah. We're writing songs for the new album and we're probably going to go in the studio next year and have it out when its good and ready - if not next year then the following year.
Dregen: I think a lot of bands kind of stress and as soon as they've got a single then they just put out like ten fillers, but we…
Michael: All killer no filler
Dregen: Yeah and when its ready its ready, hopefully next year
Festivalphoto: Ok guys thanks for your time and I look forward to your show later.