So exactly WHO are Motley Crue? In 2015 they are bona fide Rock Legends with an impressive staying power and biz savvy. They are also an example of the tired nostalgia culture that has been a leading force in the music industry since the 1990s (& before). The band has never again achieved the artistic success that reached its peak in the early 1990s with 'Primal Scream' & the 1994 John Corabi album, nor did it ever duplicate the sheer power & honesty of their first two records.
Motley have had several lives. Even within the first decade there are so many details; tragedies and songs about them, changes in appearance & style of music. A LOT happened from 1981-1991 in Crue land. Then there's the short-lived Corabi period. After that the middling years: Motley, completely irrelevant artistically, releasing clumsy new music & keeping their heads down, doing their work while the world moved on.
The reason they are here today, to my mind, is because of the success of the 2001 Neil Strauss-penned bio, 'The Dirt'. It hit at just the right time, finding an audience rabid for 1980s raunch & hedonism sprinkled with enough pathos to turn the head of a Greek dramatist [cough, we'll work on that one later! .ed]. Known to us old-school Crueheads since the mid '80s, Motley's story is one of epic proportions that may or may not contain moments of exaggeration & hyperbole. Nonetheless, the book proved that, alongside a songbook that has aged better than many of their contemporaries', the Motley myth was more rich, more honest & more compelling than your average Classic Rock band.
Although the music they made after 1994 is not essential listening it can sometimes be interesting & entertaining. Had the Brunette Three (Mick, Nik & Tom) picked a more 1990s-sounding singer to replace Vince (John Corabi was a Steven Tyler-styled vocalist) OR called the Corabi band anything other than Motley Crue I think we could have had a second band that would have continued until now, even alongside the Motley machine. I for one am a fan of the Motley Crue album from 1994 but I do think a slightly different handling of that whole situation (like not firing Vince at all but taking a break & doing a record with a different singer) could have made a much richer Motley legacy. Alas, it wasn't to be.