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Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe

Heavy metal group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Mötley Crües loud, irreverent, and hard-driving heavy metal music has drawn sneers from rock critics and nothing short of adulation from millions of teenaged fans. The songs, both in sound and substance, are precisely calculated to echo the aggressions and sexual fantasies of alienated younger Americansand are just as precisely calculated to disturb parents and other adult authority figures. The members of Mötley Crüe do more than just preach a musical ethic of parties, fast women, and immediate self-satisfaction, they have lived those values, a phenomenon that is no small part of their appeal. After 20 years, significant personnel changes, five multiplatinum albums, and more than 40 million records sold, Mötley Crüe continue to bring their mix of what Rolling Stone online called heavy metal, glampop, Top 40 and alternative grunge to audiences.

As David Handelman noted in Rolling Stone in 1987, heavy metal of the Mötley Crüe variety caught on as a sort of Lite punk: it smells and tastes like rebellion but without that political aftertaste. Its main selling points are that adults find it unlistenable, preachers call it blasphemous, and Tipper Gore blushes reading the lyrics. Fans at Crüe concerts say they like the group

For the Record

Members include Randy Castillo (joined group, 1999), drums; John Corabi (group member, 1992-96), lead vocals; Tommy Lee (born Thomas Lee Bass c. 1963; married Heather Locklear, 1986; divorced, 1993; married Pamela Anderson, 1995; divorced, 1998; left group, 1999), drums; Mick Mars (born Bob Deal c. 1956; twice divorced), guitar, vocals; Vince Neil (born Vince Neil Wharton c. 1961; married and divorced Sharise; married Heidi Mark, 2000; divorced, 2001; left group, 1992; rejoined group, 1996), lead vocals; Nikki Sixx (born Frank Carlton Serafino Ferranno c. 1959; married and divorced Brandi Brandt; married Donna DErrico, 1996), bass.

Group formed in California, c. 1980; released several highly successful albums including Theatre of Pain, Girls, Girls, Girls, and Dr. Feelgood on Elektra, 1980s; released Mötley Crüe with Corabi as lead vocalist, 1994; released Generation Swine with Neil returning to lead vocals, 1997; left Elektra, formed own Motley Records, 1998; released New Tattoo, 2000; Dirt: The Autobiography of Mötley Crüe published, 2001.

Addresses: Record company Left Bank Organization/Beyond Music/Motley Records, 9255 Sunset Boulevard, 2nd Floor, West Hollywood, CA 90069, phone: (310) 385-4800, fax: (310) 385-4810, website: http://www.beyondmusic.com. Website Mötley Crüe Official Website: http://www.motley.com.

because the music is hard and fast, but they also like the bands reckless hedonism, which they read about in the metal fanzines. That hedonism became legend for the band: two Crüe members, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx, married starlets and were arrested for instigating a riot in 1997, singer Vince Neil was convicted of felony manslaughter for a drunk driving accident, and Sixx was a heroin addict during much of the bands early days. Ive always thought of us as the psychiatrists of rock & roll, Sixx told Rolling Stone, because the kids come to see us get all this anxiety and pent-up aggression out. That hour and a half is theirs. No one can take it away. No parent can tell them to turn it down.

The original members of Mötley CrüeLee, Mars, Neil, and Sixxare high school dropouts who displayed rebellious tendencies in early youth. They met in California in the early 1980s after each had worked some time in various heavy metal club bands. Nikki Sixx was the founder of the group, originally called Christmas, but the bands name comes from the imagination of guitarist Mick Mars. Handelman recounts that Sixx and Lee recruited Mars after seeing his ad: LOUD, RUDE, AGGRESSIVE GUITARIST AVAILABLE. Handelman quotes Lee as saying, We didnt even have to hear him play. We went, This is the guyhes disgusting. The band was rounded out with singer Vince Neil, whose onstage theatrics were more valuable than his vocal prowess.

By 1983 Mötley Crüe was a favorite new band among heavy metal aficionados. Handelman noted in 1987 that the Crüe had consumed more than 750 bottles of Jack Daniels in its quest for musical excellence. In 1983 Sixx was quoted as saying: We could just fall apart tomorrow or go straight to the top, because were such extremists as personalities. Its like riding a roller coaster twenty-four hours a day. Every time you turn around, somebodys in jail or 100,000 kids are buying our album.

As with many heavy metal bands of the 1980s, Mötley Crüe was helped immensely by the advent of cable televisions MTV. The bands graphic music videos delighted teens and enraged would-be adult censors such as Tipper Gore, wife of then Senator Al Gore. The adult antipathy to Crües style only intensified the appeal for some teens; what surprised Crüe, and many other observers, was the age of the audience. Fan letters from ten- and eleven-year-olds were not uncommon, and the average age of a Mötley Crüe fan was 15. We play and write for the kids, Sixx told Rolling Stone in 1987. Weve never had peer acceptance. They couldnt see past the costumes. Kids dont buy Whitney Houston. People that buy one record a year buy that. In the golden age of rock it was all kids playing for kids. Now its that again. Neil added: We dont write songs to be messages. When I was younger, even now, I dont listen to the words. If I like the melody, I like the song.

In Esquire magazine in 1984, Bob Greene polled some Crue fans for ideas on the source of the groups attraction. One 19-year-old girl replied: I think theyre all gorgeous. When I see them, I just naturally think of leather and whips and chains. I think that means that theyre aggressive. I happen to love that image; its a neat image. I think its that kind of aggressiveness that a woman is always looking for. A 13-year-old female fan put it even more succinctly. Theyre really good-looking, she said. Good and mean. They just look like guys who are out to party and have a good time.

Admittedly, Mötley Crüe music is not strong on lyrics. Most songs deal with the band, touring, male exploits with buddies or women, and parties. The tunes are classic hard rock, with insistent drum beats and catchy guitar riffs. What has made Mötley Crüe famous, however, is its road shows, which are often filled with special effects, racy leather clothing, and macho antics, all delivered at the peak of amplification. We try to go overboard with the stage show, Neil told Handel-man, so the kids get their moneys worth. Id be bummed if I went to a concert and they just stood there and played. Thats not my idea of show business. Handelman commented that the music stirs the kids up only to dump them back in the malls, as exhausted and aimless as ever.

Mötley Crüe has managed to keep making music despite significant personnel changes. Neil left the group in a much-publicized dismissal in February of 1992 because his bandmates felt he didnt share their determination and passion for music, according to Craig Rosen of Billboard; he was replaced by John Corabi, formerly of The Scream. Neil embarked on a solo career in 1993 and established the Vince Neil Band, but returned to Mötley Crüe in September of 1996, displacing Corabi as lead singer. Corabi filed suit against the group for monies owed to him in 1997. Sixx has remained a part of Mötley Crüe but started a side project in 1998, called 58. Lee left Mötley Crüe in 1999 to form his own rap-metal band, Methods of Mayhem; he was replaced by former Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo.

Following a string of highly successful releases during the early-to mid-1980s, which included Theatre of Pain and Girls, Girls, Girls, Mötley Crües most successful release was Dr. Feelgood in 1989, an album which followed the groups 1988 stint in rehab. Mötley Crüe followed in 1994 with Corabi as lead singer. The reviews of Corabis debut were not glowing; Stephen Thomas Erlewine of All Music Guide called him a hoarse shouter without the charisma of Vince Neil. Neils return to the group in 1996 inspired the release of the reunion album Generation Swine in 1997 and a subsequent North American tour. The group left Elektra in 1998 with rights to its full recording catalogwhich included five multiplatinum albums as of 2001and started the Motley Records label. Mötley Crüe released a greatest hits collection in 1998, a live collection in 1999, and the album New Tattoo in 2000. Dirt: The Autobiography of Mötley Crüe was published in May of 2001.

Selected discography

Too Fast for Love, Elektra/Motley/Beyond, 1982.

Shout at the Devil, Elektra/Motley/Beyond, 1983.

Theatre of Pain, Elektra/Motley/Beyond, 1985.

Girls, Girls, Girls, Elektra/Motley/Beyond, 1987.

Dr. Feelgood, Elektra/Motley/Beyond, 1989.

Decade of Decadence, Elektra/Motley/Beyond, 1991.

Mötley Crüe, Elektra/Motley/Beyond, 1994.

Generation Swine, Elektra/Motley/Beyond, 1997.

Greatest Hits, Motley/Beyond, 1998.

Live: Entertainment or Death, Motley/Beyond, 1999.

New Tattoo, Motley/Beyond, 2000.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, February 29, 1992; May 8, 1993; July 19, 1997.

Esquire, May 1984.

People, May 2, 1994; March 6, 1995.

Rolling Stone, August 13, 1987.

Online

Mötley Crüe, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (December 4, 2001).

Mötley Crüe Biography, RollingStone.com, http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/bio.asp?oid=1023&cf=1023 (October 11, 2001).

Mötley Crüe Official Website, http://www.motley.com (December 4, 2001).

Anne Janette Johnson

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"Mötley Crüe." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe

Heavy metal rock group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Mötley Crües loud, irreverent, and hard-driving heavy metal music has drawn sneers from rock critics and nothing short of adulation from millions of teenaged fans. The songs, both in sound and substance, are precisely calculated to echo the aggressions and sexual fantasies of alienated younger Americansand are just as precisely calculated to disturb parents and other adult authority figures. The members of Mötley Crue do more than just preach a musical ethic of parties, fast women, and immediate self-satisfaction, they live those values from day to day, a phenomenon that is no small part of their appeal.

As David Handelman noted in Rolling Stone, heavy metal of the Mötley Crue variety has caught on as a sort of Lite punk: it smells and tastes like rebellion but without that political aftertaste. Its main selling points are that adults find it unlistenable, preachers call it blasphemous, and Tipper Gore blushes reading the lyrics. Fans at Crue concerts say they like the group because the music is hard and fast, but they also like the bands reckless hedonism, which they read about in the metal fanzines.

For the Record

Band formed in California during the early 1980s; original members include Tommy Lee (full name, Tommy Lee Bass; born c. 1963) on drums;Mick Mars (real name, Bob Deal; born c. 1956) guitar, vocals;Vince Neil (full name, Vince Neil Wharton; born c. 1961) lead singer; and Nikki Sixx (real name, Frank Carlton Serafino Ferranno; born c. 1959). Tommy Lee married Heather Locklear (an actress), May 10, 1986; Nikki Sixx married Vanity (a singer and actress); Mick Mars is twice divorced; Vince Neil was divorced in 1986. All band members are high school dropouts.

Addresses: c/o Elektra Asylum Nonesuch Records, 962 N. La Ciénega Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90069.

That hedonism has become legend in less than six years: two Crue members, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx have married starlets, singer Vince Neil was convicted of felony manslaughter for a drunk driving accident, and Sixx was a heroin addict during much of the bands early days. Handelman claims that the four rockers in Motley Crue have continued to indulge in every conceivable rock & roll vice, and have celebrated their lifestyles in ear-splitting concerts with fireworks and other dazzling pyrotechnics. Ive always thought of us as the psychiatrists of rock & roll, Sixx told Rolling Stone, because the kids come to see us get all this anxiety and pent-up aggression out. That hour and a half is theirs. No one can take it away. No parent can tell them to turn it down.

All four members of Motley Crue are high school dropouts who displayed rebellious tendencies in early youth. They met in California in the early 1980s after each had worked some time in various heavy metal club bands. Nikki Sixx was the founder of the group, originally called Christmas, but the bands name comes from the imagination of guitarist Mick Mars. Handelman recounts that Sixx and Tommy Lee recruited Mars after seeing his ad: LOUD, RUDE, AGGRESSIVE GUITARIST AVAILABLE. Handelman quotes Lee as saying, We didnt even have to hear him play. We went, This is the guyhes disgusting. The band was rounded out with singer Vince Neil, whose onstage theatrics were more valuable than his vocal prowess.

By 1983 Mötley Crüe was a favorite new band among the heavy metal aficionados. Handelman notes that Crüe has consumed more than 750 bottles of Jack Daniels in its quest for musical excellence. In 1983 Sixx was quoted as saying: We could just fall apart tomorrow or go straight to the top, because were such extremists as personalities. Its like riding a roller coaster twenty-four hours a day. Every time you turn around, somebodys in jail or 100,000 kids are buying our album.

As with many heavy metal bands of the 1980s, Motley Crüe was helped immensely by the advent of MTV (Music Television). The bands graphic music videos delighted teens and enraged would-be adult censors such as Tipper Gore, wife of congressman Albert Gore. The adult antipathy to Crües style only intensified the appeal for some teens; what surprised Crüe, and many other observers, was the age of the audience. Fan letters from ten- and eleven-year-olds were not uncommon, and the average age of a Motley Crüe fan was fifteenalbeit a rather sophisticated fifteen.

We play and write for the kids, Sixx told Rolling Stone.Weve never had peer acceptance. They couldnt see past the costumes. Kids dont buy Whitney Houston. People that buy one record a year buy that. In the golden age of rock it was all kids playing for kids. Now its that again. Neil added: We dont write songs to be messages. When I was younger, even now, I dont listen to the words. If I like the melody, I like the song. Sixx claimed: Im not a parent. I dont want to tell kids what to do.

Admittedly, Mötley Crüe music is not strong on lyrics. Most songs deal with the band, touring, male exploits with buddies or women, and parties. The tunes are classic hard rock, with insistent drum beat and catchy guitar riffs. What has made Mötley Crüe famous, however, is its road showninety minutes of special effects, racy leather clothing, and macho antics, all delivered at the peak of amplification. We try to go overboard with the stage show, Neil told Rolling Stone, so the kids get their moneys worth. Id be bummed if I went to a concert and they just stood there and played. Thats not my idea of show business. Handelman comments that the music stirs the kids up only to dump them back in the malls, as exhausted and aimless as ever.

Mötley Crüe has managed to maintain its original personnel despite occasional run-ins with the law and infrequent stays in substance abuse rehabilitation clinics. Marriages and drinking or drug problems are kept somewhat quiet, as theyre seen to conflict with the bands wild and hedonistic image. In Esquire magazine, Bob Greene polled some Crue fans for ideas on the source of the groups attraction. One nineteen-year-old girl replied: I think theyre all gorgeous. When I see them, I just naturally think of leather and whips and chains. I think that means that theyre aggressive. I happen to love that image; its a neat image. I think its that kind of aggressiveness that a woman is always looking for. A thirteen-year-old female fan put it even more succinctly. Theyre really good-looking, she said. Good and mean. They just look like guys who are out to party and have a good time.

Selected discography

Mötley Crüe, Elektra, 1982.

Too Fast for Love, Elektra, 1982.

Shout at the Devil, Elektra, 1983.

Theatre of Pain, Elektra, 1985.

Girls, Girls, Girls, Elektra, 1987.

Sources

Esquire, May, 1984.

Rolling Stone, August 13, 1987.

Anne Janette Johnson

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mötley Crüe." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mötley Crüe." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/motley-crue-0

"Mötley Crüe." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved October 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/motley-crue-0