Hanoi Rocks’ Sami Yaffa On Lemmy Kilmister’s Influence On Him

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Former Hanoi Rocks bassist Sami Yaffa recently joined Artists On Record for an interview and revealed how Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister influenced him.

When he was young, Sami Yaffa was highly interested in punk rock. He started playing music in 1977 at 14 years old and formed a punk rock band, Suopo, in 1979. Before his tenure with Hanoi Rocks, Yaffa played with several other punk rock acts. However, he stayed relatively unknown during that period.

In a recent interview with Artists On Record’s Stefan Adika, Yaffa gave details about his early influences. He stated that he was a ‘punk rock kid’ and the Stranglers’ Jean-Jacques Burnel impacted him. The bassist then recalled listening to their ‘Something Better Change’ on TV and being impressed by the bass tunnels of the song.

Moreover, Yaffa said he came across the Damned and their ‘Machine Gun Etiquette.’ After praising the record and Algy Ward’s bass playing, the bassist admitted he wanted to achieve the same sound. However, things didn’t work out, and their first and second album didn’t please Yaffa.

After confirming the Stranglers and the Damned’s impact on his bass playing, Sami Yaffa stated that Motörhead icon Lemmy Kilmister also influenced him. The bassist praised Kilmister’s talent and described him as a beast and a sweetheart at the same time.

Here is what Sami Yaffa said about the artists who influenced him:

“When I was a kid, it was Jean-Jacques Burnel from the Stranglers. When I was a punk kid, I saw ‘Something Better Change’ on TV when I got the first record. That’s one of the most monstrous bass tunnels there ever was. Then I found the Damned, ‘Machine Gun Etiquette,’ Algy Ward, and all that stuff. So it’s also a lot of f*cking punch and really nasty tone.

I was trying to go for that, but we [were] pretty bad. The first album was all right, but [in] the second album, the bass sounds okay, but the rest of the record sounded so crappy that we finally got to remix it. And that’s going to come out before the end of the year, I hope. But those two guys, and then, of course, Lemmy is f*cking huge, man. I mean, that guy was a f*cking beast. Something else. And a sweetheart at the same time.”

You can watch the rest of the interview below.