Sami Yaffa, best known for his work with NEW YORK DOLLS, Michael Monroe and HANOI ROCKS, will release his first solo album, "The Innermost Journey To Your Outermost Mind", on September 22 via Livewire/Cargo Records. The official music video for the first single, "The Last Time", can be seen below.
"'The Last Time' is one of the first songs I wrote for this album when still living in Brooklyn, New York back in 2015," Yaffa said. "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."
* Sami Yaffa (HANOI ROCKS, MICHAEL MONROE, NEW YORK DOLLS) - Vocals, Bass Guitar
* Rich Jones (MICHAEL MONROE) - Guitar
* Christian Martucci (STONE SOUR) - Guitar
* Rane Raitsikka (SMACK) - Guitar
* Timo Kaltio (IZZY STRADLIN, CHEAP AND NASTY) - Guitar
* Janne Haavisto - Drums
Yaffa has had a unique career as a musician. He joined the punk band PELLE MILJOONA OY at the tender age of 16 and played on the bands now-legendary album "Moottoritie On Kuuma". PELLE MILJOONA OY was Finland's number one band at the time, but Yaffa and his future cohorts were aiming higher: as an original member of the band HANOI ROCKS, he spent the first half of the 1980s as an international rock musician with all its ups, downs and trappings. The band influenced many of the acts that would later become huge in the world of rock and roll — including GUNS N' ROSES.
After the breakup of HANOI ROCKS, Yaffa was asked to join some of the most notable artists in rock and roll history, such as JOAN JETT AND THE BLACKHEARTS (2002-2004), as well as one of HANOI ROCKS' major influences, the NEW YORK DOLLS (2004-2010). In 2009, he started a band with HANOI ROCKS singer Michael Monroe. This collaboration continues to this day, but now Yaffa is also releasing music under his own name.
"The idea for the solo album started to take shape a few years back," Sami said. "Previously I had written music for the NEW YORK DOLLS and the Michael Monroe band, but now some of the songs that I was writing and had written, started to sound more and more like my own stuff instead of what I would write for those bands."
What kind of music does Yaffa release under his own name then? Versatile. "I've always loved bands like THE CLASH and ROLLING STONES," he said. "They could write country, funk, reggae, rock 'n' roll or jazz without fear and make it their own. I wanted to have that same kind of versatility and freedom for my own record."
The album has wide influences, but that is hardly surprising to those who have followed Yaffa's career: in addition to his own musical career, he has been getting to know the musical traditions from different parts of the world as the host and co-creator for the "Sami Yaffa: Sound Tracker" TV series. "However, my roots are deeply in punk and rock 'n' roll," he said. "I don't shy away from that.”
Even though it's a solo record, Sami has always been a member of bands and because of that, a team player. Yaffa mentions a couple of names without whom the record would not have come to completion — at least the way it finally became. The first to mention is a childhood friend, drummer Janne Haavisto with whom Sami made his first forays into the world of music. Sami and Janne created the basic tracks together and invited valued friends and musicians to collaborate on the album. Rich Jones, the guitarist from the Michael Monroe band helped pull together a lot of the songs lyrically, Christian Martucci from the band STONE SOUR played guitar on half of the album, the other half was played by another old friend Rane from the cult band SMACK and Sami's old bro from the HANOI days, Timo Kaltio.