2017 . . . Thinking Back and Into the Future

No posts so far this year because life goes on and other blogs and interests get more attention. I have more 1980s collectibles to share and articles to write but until then . . . some gabbing . . .

I've been listening to Motley's first demos and the Leathur Too Fast For Love a lot this year. "Nobody Knows What It's Like To Be Lonely" at the correct speed and the Raspberries cover, "Tonight", along with the "Stick To Your Guns"/"Toast Of The Town" single show Crue coming together quickly and making engaging power Pop Metal. It's classic stuff, with elements of Sweet and T. Rex. They also demoed "Public Enemy #1" and "Take Me To The Top". This was all by about May, 1981. In around September they started working on the Too Fast For Love record which they would release in November under their own "Leathur" label. They'd rerecord some tracks, edit and even remove one altogether when they re-released it through Elektra Records in the summer of 1982. The April 1981 debut at the Starwood bootleg that has circulated since the 1980s has an incomplete version of another early Nikki song with the refrain "Why You Killin' Yourself?". It has the same wistful vibe as much of the other 1981 Motley music. A more complete version of this show is in a collector's possession. Perhaps, someday, we'll hear this tune in full.

I woulda first heard Motley in the summer of 1984. I wanted my own copy of Shout At The Devil more than anything and I asked for it for Christmas and birthdays but I believe my ma fought me off for a while. I might have gotten a copy by 1985 and then Theatre Of Pain soon after. I didn't get Too Fast until about 1987, after Girls, Girls, Girls came out.
I was always a huge fan of Shout and enjoyed the other albums but I probably liked Metallica's first four albums as much or more than Motley's music in those years. I think part of my Motley identity was due to forging a personality in school and in my group. One guy was a Metallica freak, another, KISS. I was the Crue head. When Dr. Feelgood came out in the Fall of 1989, I was 13 years old and I remember being disappointed in the album. I think I was one of those Crue fans that was hoping we'd hear SOMETHING like Shout again, but it never happened. I love all Motley's 1980s albums but I wouldn't say that post-Shout we got another album as powerful. Take the best from Theatre (1985), Girls (1987), Dr. F (1989) and even the singles from Decade Of Decadence (1991) and you could make one monster album or maybe even two stronger ones.

But Motley truly were more than their music. They had legit vibe and character and it invests their whole aura with a kind of depth and meaning that many of their contemporaries just don't have. Behind Motley's songs is a content that isn't reducible to "Shop Talk": we've gotten almost nothing from them as to the making of their classic albums. What we do get is what the songs were written about. What happened in life to create all theses texts and tunes. The albums are collections of experiences in song-form, not necessarily "recording projects".

There are many Motley audio bootlegs from the classic Decade. I am currently making my way through all the known video boots of Crue concerts in the 1980s-1991 (right now on the Theatre tour) and I've come to realize so much more is represented on those audio boots, and often with better sound, that I'm gonna need to start listening to these. Even just the amount of Shout audio boots is impressive and we're lucky to have so much.

The Illustrated Shout At The Devil Liner Notes-Part 1!


Let's take an in-depth look at Shout At The Devil by playing close attention to the liner notes.

If you want to view more images of the LP & cassette artwork, go HERE & click through.


Nikki gets top billing. His place as Mr. Motley Crue secured early on. He plays bass & sings back-up, it says, & 'bass pedals'. As a kid I've always wondered what that meant & it's like a bass keyboard you use with your feet!


 Mick & Vince get their appropriate credits & we see in Tommy's list something called 'Simmons Drums' which are early electronic drums. You can see them on his kit during the Theatre Of Pain tour & in a lot of videos from the 1980s.
 

Allister Fiend is listed as the narrator for the album's introduction, 'In The Beginning'. This is the first we hear of Motley's 1980s mascot who would appear on a lot of Motley merchandise starting in 1982-3 up until the Dr. Feelgood era. Band cartoon 'mascots' were big in the '80s with Iron Maiden's 'Eddie' being the most famous & iconic one of the bunch.



Now of course we know that cartoon characters can't talk but our Allister does . . . & he's British! We'll be doing a post dedicated entirely to Allister at some point but to give the credit where it's due, Mr. Fiend is actually Engineer, Geoff Workman. Geoff composed the eerie sounds & recited Nikki's poem for 'In The Beginning'. He also engineered & mixed
the album! His contribution to Shout At The Devil is significant.

Mick Mars Part 4: Popular Unpopular, 1991

This is a great interview with Mick conducted by RIP Magazine's Editor-In-Chief, Lonn M. Friend in August 1991 when the Motley's were in England for the Monsters of Rock Festival.


Mick is a funny guy & displays a lot of the special charm he has through some (rare) interviews back in the day. He's also, clearly, a misanthrope & displays a general dislike for the human race! He's especially honest here with longtime friend, Friend, & talks about his co-members with a welcomed candor. He talks shop & tells us how some of his most classic riffs were written ('Girls, Girls, Girls': drunk as shit), details on how he & the Crue sobered up, his working relationship with then-wife & Nasty Habit, Emi Canyn & the future of Motley.

The Motley Crue Library

 
Hard to believe that the amount of literature published on the subject of our heroes could fill a moderate-sized bookshelf. Although there were some fan & low-profile publications from the 1980s-1990s, the real Motley book boom came with the 2001 publication of their Neil Strauss-penned autobiography, 'The Dirt'. It is one of the most celebrated Rock biographies of the last 15 years & was the impetus for the band to get back together in 2005: a reunion that would end ten years later in 2015. 
 

'The Dirt' showed that beyond the highly publicized & mythologized 'Decade of Decadence' (1981-1991), the Motley Drama continued on in equally chaotic & sensationalistic tones in the 1990s. Their star may have fallen but they remained a subject of controversy.


I got the 10th Anniversary edition of 'The Dirt' & was disappointed to find that it was an EXACT reprint of the 2001 first edition, right down to the typos. It came with a slightly redesigned cover & is housed in a black cardboard slipcase with a cool graphic so it's a nice collectible but there is ZERO new content inside, don't buy it hoping they did a catch-up. Knowing Motley, Neil Strauss has had no contact with them for a looong time. 


Tommy Lee published his autobiography, 'Tommyland' in 2004. I do not own the book but take a look at it as well as possibly the most comprehensive Motley Crue bibliography online at Paul Miles' amazing Chronological Crue.


Nikki Sixx's 'The Heroin Diaries', published in September 2007, is almost 'The Dirt ... Plus' in that it goes over events already covered in the band bio (I guess all the Motley bios do that) but Nikki's book is one that he was talking about publishing as early as the late 1980s. He had two books he constantly talked about publishing in those days: 'An Education In Rebellion': a book of early poems & song lyrics; & the book based on journals he kept as a heroin addict in the years 1986-1987. This would eventually be published as 'The Heroin Diaries'. It's a well-done book with lurid graphics & guest commentators which make it a pretty good read. It sold well & Nikki even published a second book of photos soon after (see Miles' bibliography above).


Vince has been the latest Motley member to release a bio with the world still waiting for the Man from Mars to publish his and his LONG awaited solo album. Like Tommy & Nikki, Vince's book was part of several tie-in media ventures, most obviously a full length album or soundtrack to the autobiography. Vince published 'Tattoos & Tequila' in September of 2010 & it continues the standard set up by 'Tommyland' & 'The Dirt' of offering brutal honesty & even antagonistic feelings for other Crue members & transgressions from the past. From these books you get the sense that the damage of the 1992 break-up was never fully addressed & a lot of resentment remains. 


Neil Zlozower's 2010 picture book, 'Motley Crue: A Visual History: 1983-1990' is THE best publication featuring top quality & rare vintage shots of the Crue in their absolute sweet spot heyday. Zlozower's photos of Motley live & in many different studio settings are among their most iconic & are gorgeously reproduced in this 232 page coffee table book.

 

The latest Motley publication is Martin Popoff's 'Kickstart My Heart: A Motley Crue Day By Day' & is an expert look at Motley's entire career with a tonne of rare Motley memorabilia & images. I particularly like some of Popoff's chapter introductions & how he puts each Motley era in context. This is some of the only writing out there, in book form, written about the Motleys & not BY the Motleys . . . in fact, that book still needs to be written, despite Nikki's protestations! You can purchase Martin's awesome book from the author HERE.


Motley Pin-Ups #1



Here's some ranom pin-ups from Motley's glory days. These were collected & plastered on my teenage walls as I moved from place to place & thirty years later I've somehow been able to keep most of them. You'll see that many of the images at the Sleaze Patrol Files have that 'vintage' look: I taped, tacked, puttied, stapled & pasted these pics to my various bedroom walls from about ages 9-16!



Motley had three members who were regarded as sex symbols (Sorry, Mick!) & so many of the magazines provided content specifically for the female fan. I would reluctantly put up some of these pics but only if I didn't have something cooler to take their place!


Motley in 1987. This photo session was a popular one & I have posters, 4 page pull-outs, centerfolds & stickers of it. After the gonzo glam of the Theatre Of Pain era, the above style was described as 'street'. Sure thing guys!


More stylized 'street' or 'relaxed' Glam Rock look for the Motleys in the Dr. Feelgood years. After a very glammy album artwork photo session of the boys in straight jackets they toned down their on & off stage clothes to the point where they just kinda looked like rocker dudes. The other difference is the sleeves of tattoos! An extreme lifestyle choice in 1988-89, not so much in the tattooed 21st century.

Come the Decade Of Decadence release in late 1991, the Motley's looked more & more straight & relaxed (minus Tommy's brief run in with a shaved head) & were destined to take over the world in a new phase of music that would add experimentation to their groovin' heavy Rock . . .