Motley Magazine Miscellany #3

 In this installment of Motley Magazine Miscellany we have more random Crue appearances in print media of the 1980s-90s. Our first images come from a kid's book of celebrities entitled 'Good Guys & Bad Guys'. This was one of those cheapo, thrown-together publications that were sold in those Scholastic book order catalogues we'd get in Canadian grade school (I don't know if this is common to all Western school systems). The Motley member featured is Tommy Lee (whose famous wife was the main reason a mainstream audience even knew who he was) although you might not know that from the pic they used of Tommy for the cover: a pic of Nikki! And from an, even then, old Too Fast For Love era photo:

a different shot but same session
I don't have the rest of the book (I just tore out the Tommy pages!) but it's obvious from the opening paragraph of the Tommy bio that the intent of the book is a moral one, to show famous people who are either good guys or have become one, as is the case with Tommy. Privy to the sleazy rep Motley had even in the early 1990s, the writer says that because of Tommy's 'def' drumming (there's a word you don't hear too much anymore!) he has kept a host of fans who would have otherwise left the decadent rocker. Motley's bad guy reputation is lamented but with the sober lifestyle the band adopted in 1989, fame & artistic success were theirs. You gotta give this little write up a look-see:

 This next little artifact I got out of a sister's Cosmo er something equivalent. This would be from the early to mid 1990s, we see the actors from the TV Show 90210 in the other panels. In this relationship/Music quiz, Motley fares out poorly. The question is, 'Your boyfriend listen to Motley Crue so You listen too?' Ha ha, 95% of the women polled said NO WAY!

The tragic history of one Mr. Vincent Neil Wharton has been the source of much spilt ink & it's one of the details of Motley's history that reached the attention of the popular public. A big pic of Vinnie making a gun shot gesture & details of the accident where he is painted as a stone cold killer come from an article called 'Stars Who Get Away With MURDER' from some sleazy pulp rag (likely The National-Enquirer). I remember ripping this out of a magazine at the dentist's office!

Another Motley tabloid article but this time about the romantic troubles of Tommy Lee. This story is from a 1988 edition of The National-Enquirer (or just 'the Enquirer'). There may be some truth to this tale of adultery, the authors even sign their name to the piece. Enlarge the image to read the lurid details of Motley's basher's Celebrity Marriage Foibles!

Here's an ad for a contest to see Motley, Phil Collins & Madonna at Toronto's then new Skydome (now the Rogers Center & home to the MLB's TO Blue Jays).

More Motley Magazine Miscellany to come at The Sleaze Patrol Files & here are links to PART I & PART II

A WTF Motley Artifact: Crue & Arsenio Hall

Don't go looking for it on YouTube, it didn't happen. I think. Crueheads who may know better are going to have to let me know if this happened but I've never seen or heard anything about it except this notice from the TV Guide of my sleepy little town. 

Arsenio Hall was a very famous Night Talk Show host in the late 1980s to early 1990s & anybody who was anybody appeared on his show [Then President-hopeful Bill Clinton performed saxophone with the show's band (The Posse) & instantly appeared 90% cooler to the public]. I remember there being a mention of Motley & the rap band 2 Live Crew performing on the show together [more on that unlikely collaboration HERE] but the above advertised appearance is odd. We do know that the Motleys & Mr. Hall ran into each other in the years 1989-1990. Here's what Paul Miles' authoritative Chronological Crue has for the year 1989:

Nominees for the MTV Video Awards are announced by Vince and Arsenio Hall during a press conference at the Saxonlee Art Gallery in Los Angeles.

We have a pic of the great meeting, above.

September 1990 Motley performed Don't Go Away Mad at the MTV Video Music Awards, hosted by Mr. Hall. Here he is introducing the boys:

Motley became more famous in the Dr. Feelgood years; Hard Rock had hit the mainstream & with Tommy married to the famous Heather Locklear, the Crue had a certain presence & legitimacy they hadn't had prior. Vince was the most public Motley face & there are many pics of Vinnie hanging with some big stars like Sylvester Stallone.
If any of you Crueheads know anything about this Arsenio Hall appearance, please let me know in the comments section, thanks!

Motley Who?

So exactly WHO are Motley Crue? In 2015 they are bona fide Rock Legends with an impressive staying power and biz savvy. They are also an example of the tired nostalgia culture that has been a leading force in the music industry since the 1990s (& before). The band has never again achieved the artistic success that reached its peak in the early 1990s with 'Primal Scream' & the 1994 John Corabi album, nor did it ever duplicate the sheer power & honesty of their first two records. 

Motley have had several lives. Even within the first decade there are so many details; tragedies and songs about them, changes in appearance & style of music. A LOT happened from 1981-1991 in Crue land. Then there's the short-lived Corabi period. After that the middling years: Motley, completely irrelevant artistically, releasing clumsy new music & keeping their heads down, doing their work while the world moved on. 

The reason they are here today, to my mind, is because of the success of the 2001 Neil Strauss-penned bio, 'The Dirt'. It hit at just the right time, finding an audience rabid for 1980s raunch & hedonism sprinkled with enough pathos to turn the head of a Greek dramatist [cough, we'll work on that one later! .ed]. Known to us old-school Crueheads since the mid '80s, Motley's story is one of epic proportions that may or may not contain moments of exaggeration & hyperbole. Nonetheless, the book proved that, alongside a songbook that has aged better than many of their contemporaries', the Motley myth was more rich, more honest & more compelling than your average Classic Rock band.

 Although the music they made after 1994 is not essential listening it can sometimes be interesting & entertaining. Had the Brunette Three (Mick, Nik & Tom) picked a more 1990s-sounding singer to replace Vince (John Corabi was a Steven Tyler-styled vocalist) OR called the Corabi band anything other than Motley Crue I think we could have had a second band that would have continued until now, even alongside the Motley machine. I for one am a fan of the Motley Crue album from 1994 but I do think a slightly different handling of that whole situation (like not firing Vince at all but taking a break & doing a record with a different singer) could have made a much richer Motley legacy. Alas, it wasn't to be.

A Crue Of Pals, Part 1: Poison & Ratt

 Nikki Sixx & Ratt's Robbin Crosby show us what rock stars looked like in 1984. 

 Motley & Ratt were buds in the glory days of the Sunset Strip in the early '80s & both enjoyed early success. Ratt didn't have the second career Motley did but their tunes like 'Round And Round' continue to be played on classic rock radio & used in movies & commercials.

 Nikki & Tommy appeared as cops in Ratt's video for their tune 'Back For More.' 

  They made another appearance alongside Ozzy Osbourne with brief glimpses of Carmine Appice & Jake E. Lee in Ratt's video for 'You Think You're Tough'. Man, what's with Ratt using actors & musicians who are more famous than they are for their videos?!

In the 21st century, Nikki especially liked to distance Motley from cliche' 1980s Hair Metal music. Although it can be argued Crue started the whole fad in 1985 with the release of their commercial Theatre Of Pain album & extreme glam image, probably no other band can be so perfectly labelled 'Hair Metal' as Poison.

The two bands do not seem to have crossed paths very often & the two photos from my collection date from the year 1987. Although Nikki would bad-mouth Poison in the 2000s & insist that Motley was a different creature they still toured with the band in 2011, using openers The New York Dolls to add legitimacy to the bill.

Here's the Poison boys covering Motley's 'Looks That Kill' from an early show before they became Hair Metal superstars.

                 More Motley and their Rock Star pals to come at The Sleaze Patrol Files!!

Great Motley Tunes #2: Stick To Your Guns

I first heard Stick To Your Guns when I babysat my nephew around the mid to late 1980s & found among my uncle's generic Hard Rock & Rock collection of records & cassettes a copy of Motley's Too Fast For Love. Too Fast existed, for a long time into my Motley obsession as a kid, as a mysterious, rare, almost never heard debut album. It seemed like the band, in my neck of woods, didn't really capture people's attention until Shout At The Devil & Theatre Of Pain. In fact, Motley seemed to pick up a whole new slew of fans pretty much every album they released in the 1980s. A lot of ladies jumped on board with Theatre & 'Home Sweet Home' & the less threatening tone & Glam appearance.

So every time I would babysit my nephew I would crank this rare, never heard Motley gem & wish it was mine. I don't know when it was I realized that my uncle actually had the even rarer Canadian release of Too Fast: For some reason the Elektra Records folks issued a Too Fast cassette version with the revised Elektra song list & artwork [above] BUT the music was the original Leathur version of the album! This version has a very different mix with some songs having different vocal takes & extended intros AND with an extra tune: Stick To Your Guns.

I first got Too Fast around 1987-88. I've always liked the Elektra mix of the record. I disagree with some Crueheads who think it inferior. I think it's a tighter, more cohesive record in the Elektra version. Having said that, it doesn't have 'Stick To Your Guns' & that's too bad because it's a great song.

From the classic Motley era of 1981 we have two studio versions of the song & two existing live versions. That's it. Above is the Too Fast Leathur album version from later in the year. Below is the version that they recorded when Vince first joined the band in April. Paired with another original, 'Toast Of The Town' (a song I would only read about & not hear until the 1990s . . . & before that via the Pretty Boy Floyd cover), 'Guns' spotlights that early Crue sound which is very much in the vein of pop Hard Rock bands like Sweet & T. Rex. These tunes, along with other rare & not released at the time songs like 'Nobody Knows What It's Like To Be Lonely', a cover of the band The Raspberries' song 'Tonight', & other tunes like 'Why You Killin' Yourself?' (from the April 1981 Starwood video) show us a band that doesn't fit the 1980s' Hard Rock & 'Hair Metal' cliches that the Crue are often accused of originating.

Stick To Your Guns might have got nixed off the Elektra version of Too Fast because it's a pretty long song. The feel of the tune is real slow & groovy, kind of a Motley characteristic that they retained all through the '80s (see 'Dr. Feelgood') & has a great breakdown. The interplay between the band, Mick's moaning & shredding, Tommy & Nikki's jazzy stop time sections make for a real entertaining romp. On top of that we have Vince's clear & cutting high vocal, really, a very effective Pop voice. People who think they don't like Motley Crue are likely to enjoy this tune!

Above is the April 24th, 1981 performance of Guns at the Starwood. The April 25th performance was filmed as well but is not presently on Youtube. This second night is barely visible but I'll try to find it & add it later.
More Classic Motley Tune Spotlights ahead at The Sleaze Patrol Files!!!


Here's what Paul Miles has for the year 1982:

The Too Fast For Love album is re-released on Elektra and enters the Billboard chart at #157. A few changes to the album cover are made with the front photo and logo being enlarged and the rear album photo getting reduced. A new band picture is included on the lyric sheet inside. The song Stick To Your Guns is omitted from this new version, due to copyright issues since Nikki sold the song amongst others to former nightclub manager and now KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer prior to its recording. In Canada only, Elektra releases the original Leathür version of the songs with a re-vamped Too Fast For Love cover.

Meanwhile . . . in the Year 2014 . . .

When I started this blog about four years ago, I intended to, every so often, comment on the current state of Motley. That hasn't really happened but the band has kept touring & keeping their name in the public. Earlier this year [2014] they announced a Final Tour: All Bad Things Must Come To An End. They even cobbled together a song with the same title that got played a couple times but was quickly ditched. I've heard worse music.

The gimmick this go around is the band signed a cease & desist contract at a press conference to never tour again! It's about time! The band were so lucky to have the successful reunion in 2005 after the success of the 'The Dirt' autobiography earlier in the decade but since about 2007 they've been coming up with gimmicks & any old excuse to keep touring. And with the SAME setlist every year. And with Vince's voice becoming increasingly worse. And with more backing tapes & pyro to hide the band's actual abilities. Nikki just kinda talks now & doesn't care if it's true or if anyone has a memory or is even listening! It's been obvious for a while that the band doesn't like each other anymore & it's just a business agreement & they're cashing in while they can. There has been ZERO attempts to satisfy us life-long Crueheads in terms of B-sides being performed at shows (strictly Greatest Hits or the same B-sides for 10 years now) or any attention to their musical legacy (Shout At The Devil, a seminal album in the band's career, has a 30 year anniversary & NOTHING was done to celebrate it at all). Motley is not really a band anymore. All those generic Rock fans that sprung up in the early 1990s have carried through til now & populate the majority of the concert seats & supply the most set of ears to classic Rock Radio stations. These are the people Motley care about now. Us older, Crue-educated fans? We just know too much embarrassing stuff about their early days & we expect too much. Check out how amazing Metallica have handled their legacy & their relationship with their die-hard fans & then compare that to what Motley have done & it's very sad. Tommy has taken to not signing autographs, skipping the Meet and Greets & generally saying nothing onstage BUT has kept up the tradition of the drum solo spectacle by doing a stunt I remember him mentioning way back in the day: called the 'Cruecifly', Tommy & drum set travel over the crowd on an elaborate roller coaster track!


It's surreal to me to see this new, current footage of the Motleys still doing huge tours & stage shows in their 50 & 60s, in the years 2014-15. Walking the halls of The Sleaze Patrol Files, seeing these young wild men in their teens & 20s, ruling in the 1980s & creating such a legend, even back then, decades ago . . . & they're STILL performing?! The Final Tour is done for 2014 but the band promises to travel the globe in 2015 before calling it a touring day.

Girls, Girls, Girls Part 8: Crue Confessions, 1987-'88


Here are a couple Metal Edge Magazine items from the years 1987-1988. 'Crue Confessions' is a collection of quotations & 'Crue Confidential' sets the record straight about a bunch of Motley rumours in early 1988. We learn about Matthew Trippe, Vince's divorce from wife Sharise Ruddell & the demise of Motley's popular S.I.N. fan club.
[To view these pages closer & read, right click & open in a new window.]