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.

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