Thursday, March 8, 2007

Motley Crew

Home Sweet Home

Mötley Crüe was formed in California during 1981, after bassist Nikki Sixx left the band London which he had started in 1979 after he was fired from Blackie Lawless' band Sister. Drummer Tommy Lee had previously played in a band called Suite 19 with vocalist/guitarist Greg Leon. Sixx, Lee and Leon started rehearsing but Leon decided not to continue, and the bassist and drummer looked for new members.

Sixx and Lee met guitarist Mick Mars — at that time still performing in blues based heavy metal acts under his name Bob Alan Deal — through an ad in The Recycler reading "Loud, rude, aggressive guitarist available." When they first met Mars, Sixx's first reaction was, "I can't believe it! Here's another one like us!", and Lee later said in interviews that Mars "came in looking like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family." Mars' equipment was quickly set up and shortly after, he was playing the opening riff to "Stick to Your Guns". Mars proceeded to, according to Lee, "play the shit out of his guitar." After getting drunk and jamming for an hour, Sixx and Lee hired Mars, and Mick fired the band's guitarist, who was a musician known only as Robin (a "pansy" according to Lee).

It was Mars who came up with the band's name. While in his former band, White Horse, one of the band members walked in and called the group "a motley looking crew." Mars copied the name down on paper, with the original spelling Mottley Kru. The name was later applied to the band he was to join in 1981 with Sixx and Lee. However, there is much talk about the band floating the name "Christmas" before they settled on Mötley Crüe. According to Nikki in the band's VH1 "Behind The Music" episode, it was his suggestion, thinking that a familiar, popular word for a name would attract fans by itself.

Lee and Vince Neil originally knew each other in high school (Royal Oak H.S.) in Covina. They had performed in different bands in the garage-band circuit. Mars suggested Mötley Crüe hire Vince after seeing him perform with the band Rock Candy at the Starwood in Hollywood. At first Neil rebuffed the band when they asked him to audition. Then, as fate would have it, Rock Candy dissolved; Vince broke down and agreed to audition for Mötley Crüe after Lee called him once more.

They soon met their first manager, Allan Coffman. Coffman's brother-in-law was one of the band's roadies, Robert "Stick" Crouch, and Coffman owned a contracting company in Grass Valley, CA and was looking to invest some money in an entertainment venture. The band's first release was the single "Stick to Your Guns/Toast of the Town," which was released on their own label, Leathür Records, which had a pressing & distribution deal with Greenworld Distribution in Torrance. In November 1981, their debut album Too Fast for Love was self-produced and released on Leathür, selling 20,000 copies. Coffman, and his assistant Eric Greif, set up a tour of Canada, while using the band's success in the Los Angeles club scene to negotiate with several record labels, eventually signing a recording contract with Elektra Records in late spring 1982. At Elektra's insistence, the debut album was then re-mixed by producer Roy Thomas Baker and re-released on August 20, 1982, two months after its Canadian WEA release using the original Leathür mixes, to coincide with the tour.

During the 'Crüesing Through Canada Tour '82' (dubbed the 'I'm in Hell' tour by the band members), there were several widely-publicized incidents. First, the band were arrested and then released at Edmonton International Airport for wearing their spiked stage wardrobe through Customs and for Vince's small carry-on filled with porn magazines (both PR stunts) - considered 'dangerous weapons' and 'indecent material', Customs eventually had the confiscated items destroyed. Second, a spurious 'bomb threat' against the band, playing Scandals Disco in Edmonton, made the front page of the Edmonton Journal (June 9, 1982) where assistant manager Greif and Lee were interviewed. This ended up being a PR stunt perpetrated by Greif. Lastly, Lee threw a television set from the upper story window of the Sheraton Caravan Hotel. Popular myth was that the band were "banned for life" from the city.

In 1983, the band changed management from Allan Coffman to Doug Thaler and Doc McGhee. McGhee is best known for managing Kiss, starting with their reunion tour in 1996. Greif subsequently sued all parties in a Los Angeles Superior Court action that dragged on for several years, and coincidentally later re-surfaced as manager of Nikki's former band, London. Coffman himself was sued by a couple of investors for whom he had sold 'stock in the band', including Michigan-based Bill Larson. Coffman eventually declared bankruptcy, as he had mortgaged his home at least three times to cover band expenses.

After famously playing the US Festival, and with the aid of the new medium of MTV, the band found rapid success in the United States. They were also known as much for their backstage groupie antics, outrageous clothing, extreme high-heeled boots, heavy make-up, and seemingly endless abuse of alcohol and drugs as for their music. Their mixture of heavy metal and glam rock stylings produced several massive-selling albums during the 1980s, including Shout at the Devil (October 15, 1983), Theatre of Pain (July 13, 1985) (with the above power ballard Home Sweet Home), and Girls, Girls, Girls (June 13, 1987).

The band has also had their share of scrapes with the law and life. In 1984, Neil wrecked his car on his way to the liquor store. He was in a head-on collision, and his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley, was killed. Neil, charged with a DUI and vehicular manslaughter, was sentenced to 30 days in jail (though he only spent 18 days).

In 1987, Sixx suffered a near-fatal heroin overdose. He was declared legally dead on the way to the hospital, but one medic refused to give up and gave Sixx two shots of adrenaline to the heart, bringing him back to life. His few minutes in death were the inspiration for the band's song "Kickstart My Heart," which peaked at #18 on the Mainstream U.S. chart, and was featured on their album Dr. Feelgood. Their decadent lifestyles almost shattered the band, until managers Thaler and McGhee pulled an intervention, and refused to allow the band to tour in Europe, fearing that "some [of them] would come back in bodybags". Shortly after, all the band members underwent rehabilitation, except for Mick, who cleaned up on his own.

After finding sobriety in 1989, Mötley Crüe reached its peak popularity with the release of their fifth album, Dr. Feelgood, on September 1, 1989. On October 14 of that year, it became their only No. 1 album and stayed on the charts for 109 weeks after its release. McGhee was fired in 1989 after breaking several promises to the band in relation to the Moscow Music Peace Festival, with Thaler soldiering on as sole band manager.

On October 14, 1991 the band's 6th album Decade Of Decadence was released. It was supposed to be just something for the fans while they worked on the next "all new" album. After Decades release though, Neil left the band in February 1992. A controversy exists to this day over whether Neil was fired or quit. Sixx has long maintained that Neil quit the band. However, Neil disputes this and insists that he was fired. Neil was replaced by John Corabi (formerly of Angora and The Scream). Mötley Crüe's commercial success waned throughout the 1990s, although their self-titled March 1994 release made the Billboard top ten (#7). Thaler would manage the band alone until 1994, after the band did a mass-firing when their album, Mötley Crüe, failed to meet commercial expectations.

The band reunited in 1997, after their current manager, Allen Kovac, and Neil's manager, Bert Stein, set up a meeting between Neil, Lee, and Sixx. Agreeing to "leave their egos at the door," the band released Generation Swine. Although it debuted at #4, and despite the band performing at the American Music Awards, the album was a commercial failure, due in part to their label Elektra Records' lack of support. The band soon left Elektra and created their own label, Mötley Records.

In the 1990s, Mötley Crüe was perhaps better known for the women married by three of its members. Both Lee and Sixx married former Playboy Playmates and stars on the TV show Baywatch. Lee married Pamela Anderson after having divorced his former wife of seven years Heather Locklear and Nikki wed Donna D'Errico. Not to be outdone, Vince married former Playboy centerfold Heidi Mark. Both Lee and Neil's marriages ended in divorce, and Donna D'Errico filed for divorce from Sixx in early 2006.

In 1998, Mötley Crüe's contractual ties with Elektra Records had expired putting the band in total control of their future. This included the ownership of the masters of all their albums. In announcing the end of their relationship with Elektra Records, the band became one of the few groups in history to own and control their publishing and catalogue of recorded masters. In 1999, the band re-released all their albums, dubbed as Crücial Crüe. The limited-edition digital re-masters included demos and previously unreleased tracks.

In 1999, Lee left the band to pursue a solo career due to increasing bad tension between himself and frontman Neil. He was replaced by Randy Castillo, who drummed on several Ozzy Osbourne albums. Randy died of cancer on March 26, 2002. No replacement had been named which sent the band into a hiatus following a 2000 tour in support of their most recent studio release, New Tattoo. New Tattoo charted at #41 and sold less than 150,000 copies. Drummer Samantha Maloney filled in on drums during the tour for this album. (This served to be a bad idea, as it's been rumoured that Sixx and Maloney had an affair and then-wife Donna found out about it.) She is perhaps best known for her work with Courtney Love after she replaced original Hole drummer Patty Schemel in 1998. Maloney later toured with Love in 2004 in support of the latter's solo album America's Sweetheart. The Crüe released the DVD Lewd, Crüed & Tattooed after a performance in Salt Lake City.

Within the following six years, Sixx played in the bands 58 and Brides of Destruction, while Lee formed Methods of Mayhem and performed as a solo artist. Neil continued touring on an annual basis as a solo artist, singing mostly Mötley Crüe songs. Mars, who suffers from a degenerative back condition called ankylosing spondylitis, went into seclusion in 2001.

A 2001 autobiography entitled The Dirt told their full story. The book made the top ten on the New York Times best-seller list, and spent ten weeks there. It also introduced the band to a whole new generation of fans. The Dirt has become a sacred text and "bible" for rockers all over the world and is set to become a major motion picture through Paramount Pictures and MTV Films. Neil reported to ABC on November 6th, 2006 that Oscar winning actor Christopher Walken will make a cameo in the upcoming movie playing Ozzy Osbourne, and Val Kilmer will play David Lee Roth.)

A promoter in England, Mags Revell, started the ball rolling for Mötley Crüe's reunion when he started a promotion that basically revealed how fans wanted the band to reunite. After meeting with management several times, in September 2004, Sixx announced that he and Neil had returned to the studio and had begun recording new material. In December 2004, the four original members announced a reunion tour which began February 14, 2005, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The band's latest compilation album, Red, White & Crüe, was released in February 2005. It features the band members' favourite original songs plus three new tracks, "If I Die Tomorrow," "Sick Love Song," co-written by Sixx and James Michael as well as a cover of The Rolling Stones' classic "Street Fighting Man." A small controversy was caused when it was suggested that neither Tommy nor Mick played on the new tracks (duties were supposedly handled by Vandals drummer Josh Freese and ex-Beautiful Creatures guitarist DJ Ashba). However, a VH1 documentary of the band reuniting would later show that Lee did indeed play on some of the tracks. The Japanese release of Red, White, & Crüe, includes an extra new track titled "I'm a Liar (and That's the Truth)." Red, White & Crüe charted at #6, and has since gone platinum.

Current members
Vince Neil - lead vocals (1981-1992, 1997-present)
Mick Mars - lead guitar (1981-present)
Nikki Sixx - bass guitar, backing vocals,(1981-present)
Tommy Lee - drums, backing vocals (1981-1999, 2004-present)

Past members
John Corabi - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1992-1997)
Randy Castillo - drums (1999-2000)
Samantha Maloney - drums (2000-2001)

Temporary Players
Harvey Warren - drums (2006) (Played April 5 at the Enmax Center in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada when Tommy was injured)
Will Hunt - drums (2006) (filled in for injured Lee on the last few dates of their just-completed North American tour)

Two fictional Mötley Crüe roadies in the movie Beavis and Butthead Do America are unknowingly the fathers of Beavis and Butthead.

At one Mötley Crüe performance in Germany, the entire audience started chanting "/mœtli kry/". They did this due to the band's use of umlauts over their name (Heavy Metal Umlaut).
Larry Flynt appears in the music video for "Afraid".

James Hetfield of Metallica once said about Mötley Crüe, "One time we saw some hookers, but when we got closer, we realised it was Mötley Crüe."

Denis Leary mentions the group on one of the tracks on his CD No Cure For Cancer in a hostile manner while discussing drug overdoses. Leary's exact quote was, "Every time you hear about some famous guy overdosing on drugs, it's always some really talented guy. It's always like Len Bias, or Janis Joplin, or Jimi Hendrix, or John Belushi. You know what I mean? The people you wanna have overdose on drugs never would! Like Mötley Crüe would never fucking overdose man, never!"

The album Theatre of Pain was originally going to be titled Entertainment or Death.
The album Shout at the Devil was originally going to be titled TV & Violence.
The album Motley Crue was originally going to be titled Til Death Do Us Part.
The album Generation Swine was originally going to be titled Personality #9.
After Metallica's infamous battle with Napster caused major controversy, members of Mötley Crüe decided to cooperate with Bob Cesca, creator of the Napster Bad! cartoon, to raise their voice for MP3 distribution and to promote their upcoming tour and album. Camp Chaos also created the music video for the song Hell on High Heels, the song available for download at the end of the cartoon.
Tommy Lee had a spinning drum set during the Girls, Girls, Girls tour, and a drum set that went out into the audience during the Feelgood tour. During the Carnival of Sins tour, he had two different drum sets high above the stage that he swung back and forth from. This is a nod to one of his boyhood heroes, Peter Criss the drummer of Kiss, who had levitating and moving drumkits throughout his tenure in Kiss.
Among the names the band members considered before settling on Mötley Crüe were Bad Blood, Suicidal Tendencies, Trouble and CHRISTmas.
There were rumors floating around that Mick was going to be replaced on the Better Live Than Dead tour, so for the first performance of the tour he came out fully dressed and covered with a mask. According to Nikki, he could see people in the crowd saying 'That's not Mick'.
Mötley Crüe was the first band ever to have two singles released at the same time on MTV, Anarchy In The UK and Primal Scream in 91.
In 1998 Mötley Crüe performed at WWF RAW is WAR. Wrestler Test made his debut on that show, as one of the band's "bodyguards."
Every album (except Raw Tracks I & II) has a different "Mötley Crüe" logo.
In its continuing effort to shed its stodgy image, the New York Stock Exchange invited Mötley Crüe to ring the closing bell on Wednesday March 2, 2005. Nikki Sixx wanted a souvenir; as they left the podium, he picked up the gavel and slipped it into his pocket.
The band inspired the Aerosmith hit single "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)" for their glam appearance and frequent use of the word "dude". Steven Tyler of Aerosmith also wrote the song about Vince Neil, for whom he thought looked very female at certain times.
Mötley Crüe was the first headlining act at the Steelback Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on 2006-12-06
The band Bowling for Soup mentions them in their song 1985, "When did Mötley Crüe become classic rock?", the band also appears fully dressed as them in the video for the same song.
The song Live Wire is featured in the film Charlie's Angels in the initial scene where the Angels parachute from the airliner.

External links
Mötley Crüe official website
Mötley Crüe Official MySpace Site

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