Vintage Crue, 1983-1986

I didn’t really start collecting Crue until about 1987 so I don’t have much from the years 1981-1986 & what I do have I mostly got from older kids who were getting rid of their Crue stuff. 

Motley spoke to kids who came from the overly safe & banal lower & middle classes of the Western world. For those of us not hip enough to hear or ‘get’ the music & message of bands like the Dead Kennedys or The Clash, Crue were the pop alternative. 


Shout At the Devil especially caught the ear & imagination of many kids & teens & young adults in 1983-4. Shout is almost a ‘concept’ record with its recurrent themes of sex & violence & empowerment. A song like ‘Bastard’ is so aggressive & violent that it reads like pure bloodlust & in no way conforms to a ‘Hair Metal’ formula. Shout is really a pop-punk-metal record & has nothing  to do with anything a Poison or Winger have produced.

Theatre of Pain is not the record Shout at the Devil is, it has almost none of its aggression & is less focused. Despite this & despite Nikki’s claim that it is a polished turd I think it’s a great hard rock record. Although many of us were holding our breath in the 1980s, hoping the Motley’s would release another Too Fast or Shout, it never happened. What we may have lost in excellence we have in variety & although the more mainstream hard rock the Crue wrote from 1985 –1989 was not as interesting as the punky pop metal they wrote in their beginning, they did the hard rock real well . . . 


Theatre suffers from a poor production that forever locks it in the year 1985. Still, ‘Home Sweet Home’ has proven to be an enduring Motley tune & in 2012 is a bonafide rock classic being covered by other major artists & a million aspiring stars.

Tommy Lee Part 2-The Girls, Girls, Girls Drum Solo Mystery



I wrote about Tommy’s famous Girls, Girls, Girls drum solo HERE & soon after found out a couple things that cast a lot of doubt on Tommy’s claim that he got the idea from a dream. First, check out this video of the solo from Des Moines, Iowa in 1987. Tommy goes through his regular spiel.

Tommy Lee Girls Girls Girls Drum Solo, Des Moines, Iowa, 1987

Here & elsewhere, Tommy insists that he dreamt up the idea to rotate in his drum set in front of an audience, & he very well may have had that dream, but it looks like Buddy Rich had the same dream & beat him to the execution!!

Buddy Rich floating drum

What?!! That is some funky classic video. The band looks pretty damned amazed! Or amused!


Tommy has seen the above video & has responded that he did not know of its existence & as far as he knew he was was the first to do this stunt . . . & I would say that this is not an impossible thing for two drummers to think of & execute . . . they’re a nutty breed to be sure. So I would normally leave it at that if this were the end of the mystery. But it ain’t. Watch this:

World’s First Upside Down Drummer 1975 with Mick Mars

So yeah, 12 years before the above Tommy Lee video, Mick Mars (at this time he was still Bob Deal-he’s the red-headed guitarist to the right) was in a band in which a drummer went upside down as he played . . . ! Right. Did this never come up during the whole Girls, Girls, Girls tour?! And although that Buddy Rich vid is from the early ‘70s, pre-dating the above Whitehorse video, it is explained at the YouTube page that Mick’s former band mate Jack Valentine apparently did invent the contraption/conception & Buddy did the act on TV for him when he broke his leg & was unable to perform.


[EDIT] I have known about the following video for years, a 1984 home video of Mick Mars being interviewed & reminiscing about his days as Robert Deal with old band mate Jack Valentine. In the two following parts Mick talks about Motley’s upcoming tour of Europe & fields a lot of questions from Jack about memories of the old days, very personal & candid stuff. The drum trick is mentioned several times in the second part & there are even pictures. Also, we should remember, Jack & Mick (or Bob) were in a band that was once called Motley Croo or some such spelling . . . so how much exactly did Motley get from Mick’s old band? You’ll notice that Mick seems to get uncomfortable when Jack reminds him of the old Motley Croo name . . . obviously there was no discussion of usage between them at that time. Mick himself is said to have acquired his name from another L. A. performer known as Mickey Mars. Jack mentions several times how completely different Mick looks as compared to his Bob Deal days & how his trademark faces are the one dead give-away. They call it the ‘Mars Face.’

Mick Mars Interview 1984 Home Video by Jack Valentine
Mick Mars Interview 1984 Home Video by Jack Valentine

Probably, Mick brought the drum idea to the band or told Tommy about it several times & then Motley paid his old band mate for the idea & to shut up & let-on that it was Tommy’s invention . . . or . . . Tommy dreamt it, brought it to the band, Mick mentioned he was in a band where a guy did it & etc. However it came to be it was a huge asset to the Motley’s show & Tommy’s rep as a wild man.


Nikki Sixx Part 2-The Blast! Interviews, 1989

Blast! magazine had a series of interviews with all the Motley members as well as articles that were published from before the release of Dr. Feelgood (in September 1989) through into late 1989. There was a while there that Blast! was a Motley goldmine with each issue containing pages of interviews & lotsa nice color pin-ups & centerfolds.
We’re going to start with a Nikki Sixx interview from early 1989, apparently just before he headed to Canada to record with Bob Rock. I may be missing a couple articles but the essence of the conversation is there. These are pretty relaxed & candid interviews & especially in this first one (actually a Part II of a longer article) we hear Nikki speak of the early stages of the Dr. Feelgood record, the artwork that didn’t come to fruition & why the Crue stopped working with producer Tom Werman.
(click to enlarge & READ)
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Nikki seemed to have every intention to release his book of poetry, An Education In Rebellion, if the sheer amount of times he mentioned it in the press is any indication. Sylvie Simmons asks/states: ‘Nikki Turns Poet?' Besides discussing publication issues about the poetry book (that is to this day still unreleased), he mentions that he has kept a journal & tells a funny therapy anecdote.

More Nikki in BLAST! to come

Decade of Decadence Part 2, 1991

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Motley were as surprised as anyone that they lasted 10 years as a band (now over 30 years!) so the release of Decade of Decadence (album & home video) was a kind of ending & beginning point for the group: goodbye 1980s & hello 1990s with a sense of more mature & poignant music to be made in that more serious decade. 

Scheduled for a June 1991 release (it didn’t come out until September), Nikki & Tommy discuss their  lives, wives, newborns, new homes & the new album in this early 1991 interview:

(click image to enalrge & READ)
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Before the release of  the compilation the band hit the UK & Europe for  the Monsters of Rock fest. Much of this short August-September tour was bootlegged & stuff has been popping up on YouTube. Check out this rare footage from Budapest. Here they are playing 'Red Hot':

Below is an interview with Nikki several weeks after returning from the European tour. The videos for ‘Primal Scream’ & ‘Anarchy In the UK’ are discussed as is the new musical direction for the projected new album.
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Hit Parader marked the Crue’s 10 year anniversary with this little stroll through the previous decade. Author Anne Leighton’s piece, ‘Ten Years After’ is so laden with mistakes & utter confusion & absolute fabrications that it begs a reading. HOW did this get by the Hit Parader editor?! She asserts that Nikki got his name from ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ moved to LA at 17 & joined a street gang, assigns lyrics to a Crue song that I think are from a Bon Jovi song & liner notes that do not exist! . . . & more. Check this pile of shit out: 

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We leave with some Decade of Decadence era video, clips from the early 1990s including a Vince interview in Europe at the Monsters of Rock festival.