If there’s a better contender for the title of ‘Rock n’ Roll Royalty’ than Sami Yaffa, then we’d like to hear about it; perhaps best known as one fifth of seminal Finnish sleaze legends Hanoi Rocks, Yaffa’s CV also includes The New York Dolls, the Michael Monroe Band, Demolition 23, and The Compulsions, amongst others. If that’s not a roll-call of some of the best in trashy, gritty rock n’ roll, then what is?
Now, though, Yaffa’s back with his first solo album ‘The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind’. How it’s taken this long for a solo album to arrive is open to question, but it was most definitely worth the wait; ‘Innermost Journey…’ is a belter. Eleven tracks of the sort of sleazy, punk-inspired glittery rock n’ roll we’ve come to expect from Yaffa, low-slung, snarly, and easy-to-love, swaggering in in a cowboy-booted, black leather and vodka, grime-under-its-fingernails kind of way. It’s dirty, nasty, and very, very good.
Aided and abetted by long-time friends drummer Jaane Haavisto and guitarists Rich Jones and Timo Kaltio, along with Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci and Rane from the cult band Smack, ‘The Innermost Journey…’ rips, raunches, and rocks its way through 43 minutes of wide-ranging influences, whilst always staying true to Yaffa’s punk and rock roots. There’s some tender moments – the Americana-tinged ‘Down At St. Joes’ and album-closer ‘Cancel The End Of The World’, for example – and the funky, grooving ‘You Give Me Fever’ and Clash-meets-Richards ‘Rotten Roots’, all sitting easily alongside the rockier ‘Selling Me Shit’, ‘Armageddon Together’, and first single ‘The Last Time’.
“The Last Time is one of the first songs I wrote for this album when still living in Brooklyn NY back in 2015. It’s a story about two people whose communication is stuck. How hard it is to change one’s habits, no matter how much one wants it. It’s about the frustration and distress of addiction”, says Yaffa.
“The idea for the album started to take shape a few years back. I had written music for the New York Dolls and the Michael Monroe Band, but a lot of the songs and ideas were starting to sound more like me”.
In that, he’s succeeded; ‘Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind’ is immediately, completely Sami Yaffa, whilst still sitting perfectly alongside that canon of rock n’ roll records that Hanoi and Dolls fans are going to adore. It may have been a long time coming, but now this may just be one of the ‘must-have’ rock n’ roll records of 2021.
‘The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind’ is released on September 3rd through Livewire/Cargo Records.
1. Armageddon Together
2. Selling Me Shit
3. Fortunate One
4. Rotten Roots
6. Down At St. Joe’s
7. I Can’t Stand It
8. You Gimme Fever;
9. The Last Time
10. Look Ahead
11. Cancel The End Of The World