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 . . .

Nikki Sixx Part 9 - Too Wild To Tame, 1984-1985


Nikki retells the Motley legend/biography to Steve Gett of Hit Parader Magazine during the writing or recording of Theatre Of Pain, so late 1984 or early 1985. Nothing new here but another example of the media going down Motley memory lane early on. There are no Theatre pics to share so we get some Shout era doozys. Nikki shows an early instance of hyperbole for whatever new product he is peddling by saying that Theatre of Pain's songs will be as good OR BETTER! than Shout At the Devil's.

I like the following quote from the intro to the article. I didn't hear many other Rock stars, especially in the Hard rock world, discuss their band or music quite like Nikki did of Motley Crue in the 1980s. Although he would have never suggested that Motley were capital 'A' Artists, it becomes quite clear through reading through the evidence that he had a developed sense of his music & its place in the scheme of things. Motley's many style & musical changes throughout their 35+ career can be seen less as an outcast band chasing success & relevance & more a chaotic group of misfits with a savvy & creative Captain Hook at the helm. I don't overly like a lot of post 1991 Motley music but I'm beginning to appreciate the creativity they've shown all these years.

"I wanted a real honest Rock N Roll band. I didn't want anything fake or pseudo. Whatever it was it was going to be true Art."

Nikki Sixx, 1984

Vince Part 7: Dr. Neil, 1988-1989

Vince was sober, recording Dr. Feelgood in Vancouver, Canada on the weekends, & apparently not getting along with his then wife, Sharise Ruddell. Sometime in perhaps mid 1988, Sharise talked to the folks at Blast! Magazine about her relationship with Vince, the making of Motley's new record & what she was getting herself up to as Mrs. Neil.
In May 1989, in the locker room after a charity baseball game, Coach Vince Neil talks to Gerri Miller of Metal Edge Magazine about the loss to Sam Kinison's team & updates her on the final stages of the recording of Dr. Feelgood.
Gerri Miller of Metal Edge once again gets the scoop on the new Motley record & Vince talks about everything including the new video, tour, acting & much more in this circa August 1989 article, 'Vince Neil On The Line':
Vince talks to Anne M. Raso at Powerline Magazine circa October-November 1989. He speaks at length about Motley's longevity, the scuffle-up at Moscow in August that saw them separating ways with manager Doc McGhee, the then European tour, the security necessary for big rock bands & an anecdote about an imposter who convinced a Las Vegas casino that he was the real Vince Neil & left a bill for 10 grand! The Crue would be jetting to gigs on their new private plane for the first time.

Vince's turn as an actor in some bigger budget movies is mentioned in all these interviews. He gets killed in Andrew 'Dice' Clay's The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane from 1990. He also voices regret that his scene in Police Academy Part 6 got cut from the final feature. Here's the trailer for the 'Dice' movie. Most of Vince's appearance is featured in the first 13 seconds!

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Motley contributed 'Rock N' Roll Junkie' to the soundtrack. I actually bought this thing, I was such a Cruehead. I didn't know they were going to release it on Decade Of Decadence in 1991 but I couldn't have waited that long anyway. A fun & funky Motley B-Side!
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We actually have about 6 minutes of Vince on the set of Police Academy 6 in late 1988. We see him in 'Hair & Make-up', going over his lines at his trailer & then being interviewed about Motley. Vince says they're taking holidays 1988 off & then pre-production with Bob Rock in January 1989 with recording starting February 1st. We even see the cut scene as the crew films it!
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More Vinnie to come at The Sleaze Patrol Files!!