Motley in Moscow, Pre Dr. Feelgood Era, Part 5

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Having finished the Dr. Feelgood record the Motley boys were excited to play their first gig in a whole year & a half in Moscow for the ‘Make A Difference Foundation,’ an anti-drug festival apparently concocted by band manager Doc McGhee to bolster his rep in the wake of drug charges. Crue were sober during this period & so this concert at Lenin Stadium made sense to them & was a great opportunity to knock some of the rust off before their major world tour would begin in a couple months.


The drama behind the show began on the first day, August 12th, when the Crue learned they were being demoted in the set & then found out Bon Jovi was using pyro when it was agreed it was to be a stripped down & democratic affair for all the bands. Tommy punched McGhee & told him he was fired as the manager. The band was going to leave but then stuck around to play their set the next day.

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This concert was aired on MTV. I had a bud with a satellite & so we hunkered down to watch the ‘Moscow Music Peace Festival.’

I’m having a difficult time finding out exactly what the sets were for both days & which videos available on YouTube are from the 12th & which are from the 13th. The first song I heard was ‘Shout At the Devil’ & I was underwhelmed: Vince sounded pretty bad. Luckily he got better as the show progressed. So here below are the weekend’s two versions of ‘Shout.’

Motley Crue-Moscow-Shout At the Devil
Motley-Moscow-Shout at the Devil

This was the first time many of us got to see Tommy & Nikki’s full tattoo sleeves. ‘Sleeves’ have become the norm for Rockers & tattoo culture has absolutely blown up in the last 20 yrs. Everyone & their grandmother has a tattoo nowadays but back in 1989 Tommy & Nikki’s sleeves were almost shocking. Although they didn’t perform any new tunes Tommy has the Dr. logo on his bass drum, I remember trying to glimpse it every time the camera came near it.

Motley Crue-Moscow in 1989-Wild Side

Mick Mars is probably my favourite member of Motley, always was. I liked that he didn’t say much, looked & played gnarly & just basically performed his duties without needing much attention. There won’t be a whole lot of Mick stuff here at the SP Files, simply because there just isn’t much Mick stuff out there from the 1980s. Mick played a pretty rad guitar solo in Moscow, fast & sleazy like only Mr. Mars can do.

Motley Crue-Moscow-Mick Mars Guitar Solo

Moscow wasn’t just another concert for this Crue fan, it was the first time I ever saw live video & audio of my favourite band & so I watched my abridged MTV version A LOT & have come to enjoy it much more than I originally did. I’ve had to face the fact that they are just not, as a whole, a really strong live act. Crue sound like a garage band, very ragged & punky. But powerful as shit & with moments of excellence.

Here’s two vids of Crue performing covers, ‘Jailhouse Rock’ & ‘Smokin’ In the Boys Room.’ ‘Smokin’ is a rare performance of the song that really catapulted the band into pop stardom in the mid-eighties & features a very rare (& just passable) harmonica solo by Vince.

Motley Crue-Moscow-Smokin’ In the Boys Room

‘Jailhouse Rock’ is a song Crue performed almost from their beginning & is a great example of how little time Vince Neil took in his life to remember lyrics. He is mostly just singing phonetically here. God bless you Vinnie.  Makes me think the ‘live’ version on the Girls record is actually not very live. Here are the festival’s two performances of this classic Elvis tune.

Motley Crue-Moscow-Jailhouse Rock #1
Motley Crue-Moscow-Jailhouse Rock #2

A friend owned the ‘Make A Difference’ cassette (‘Stairway To Heaven/Highway To Hell’) which had Crue’s studio cover of ‘Teaser’ & a live all-star jam recording with Vince & Sebastian Bach singing Zepplin’s ‘Rock n’ Roll'.’ I copied those tunes (before I could get ‘Teaser’ from the Decade Of Decadence release) & listened the shit out of them & have never seen the video of the all-star jam . . . and, voila!, there it is on YouTube. It’s a beautiful thing.


I even bought the festival T-shirt at a local music store simply because Motley’s name was listed on the back. I’ve since given it to Good-Will, damn, wish I had kept it!


I’ve embedded a lot of the Moscow performances in this post but there’s even more on YouTube if you want to take your time & find it all, including a great one of the band after one of the performances. Nikki is about to show the camera what his impression of the show is by pulling down his pants but the scene cuts before we learn too much. Here’s part II of the aforementioned series of Dr. Feelgood era vids which contains a bunch of Moscow stuff.

Motley Crue-Dr. Feelgood Era Part 2

So Moscow certainly wasn’t Motley’s greatest moment but as with all things with this band, it was an interesting one. The Crue would go on without Doc McGhee but would have a massively-successful tour & album with co-manager Doug Thaler taking over responsibilities. It also gave the Crue more fodder for hating & separating themselves from the Bon Jovi camp, a band that Nikki would say wrote songs that appealed to housewives. He didn’t know how correct that statement was, especially nowadays.


We’ll leave you with a Faces article about the festival & more Motley Moscow video of the boys performing ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ with the backing of the Nasty Habits. Donna McDaniel & Emi Canyn would be a part of the Crue camp for the Girls to Dr. era & they certainly gave us teenaged boys lots to fantasize about (as if the lyrics weren’t enough!).

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Motley Crue-Moscow-Girls, Girls, Girls

Early Dr. Feelgood Era Part 4 – Mid 1989



The straight-jacket photo session was done during the Dr. Feelgood recording sessions I think, probably wary that they needed some kind of new image to sell the new record to the fans.

The following Tommy interviews are from before the band made it to the Moscow Music Peace Festival in August. The Jodi Summers article has Tommy at home on the phone with interruptions from his then wife Heather Locklear. The subject of his sobriety comes up & he admits that he could fall off the wagon at any moment. The second is an interview with Metalshop’s Mike Greenblatt & is a curse-laden recap of Tommy & the band’s new lifestyle.

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A Crue fan has uploaded 8 parts of Dr. Feelgood era video on YouTube from MTV & other TV appearances & they are very interesting to see. Everything from bad TV commercials for the Motley Hotline to the making of videos & charity events, hosting MTV shows & etc. I’ll embed the first part below & probably the rest throughout other Dr. Feelgood posts. Moscow Music Peace Festival memories & Vince VS. Axl stuff coming up on the SP Files . . .

Dr. Feelgood ERA Part 1

Early Dr. Feelgood Era Part 3 – Mid to Late 1989



There were so many songs being demoed for Dr. Feelgood that Nikki told Hit Parader journalist Andy Secher that they might release TWO albums in ‘89, the second being a collection of ballads. Thankfully, they didn’t follow through with it. For me, ‘Time For Change’ was one too many already on Dr. Feelgood. There were no new photos yet so Girls shots from a couple years earlier are used.

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Here’s a couple articles from Hit Parader & Circus magazine(s). Tommy’s still in Vancouver & sharing some of the experiences the band had up there with Aerosmith & their new ‘clean’ lifestyle, excited to share the new tunes & mentioning recording the Tommy Bolin song ‘Teaser’ for the ‘Make A Difference Foundation’ record, which I think is one of the better latter-day Motley records . . . so here it is below the article . . .

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Vicki Arkoff begins her Circus article with Nikki’s assessment of Speed Metal. He was always saying shit about bands. I liked it, even when I didn’t agree with him. Aerosmith get another shout-out from the Motley camp. Must’ve been something for those guys to be making a record in the same studio, at the same time as their heroes. We get a run-down of the tunes that are all on the final product except for one called ‘Stop Pulling My Chain’ . . . which is not on YouTube. Also, we hear mentioned of a tome which has never been published but is still periodically mentioned . . . Nikki’s book of poetry, An Education In Rebellion. A book has been published about Nikki with that title in the last 5 years or so. It’s an unauthorized biography that is apparently a very poor rehash of the official Motley books.

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Nikki quotes the revised lyrics for Dr. Feelgood. These are some of the best from a record where the quality of lyric took a noticeable dive. The early demo for the song with the original lyrics is OK, the song is there, but it doesn’t yet have the greatness of the album version. All of Motley’s demos are interesting in that they are often missing some of that greatness that the producer’s must shake out of them by album time. Here’s the early demo for the title tune.

Early Demo of Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue with original lyrics

A few random things: a teeny-bopper article raves about the new Crue record, a Vinnie pin-up from a live Girls concert with Dr. info & a metal news item page has a few lines about his nose surgery during the recording for the record. It’s not all coke & car crashes people!

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