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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

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

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Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe, the Los Angeles-based heavy metal quartet whose quadruple-platinum album, Dr. Feelgood, hit Billboard's No. 1 spot in 1991 and paved the road to Billboard's Top 40 and MTV's top video charts for other big-haired, glam-rock bands of the mid-1980s. As well known for their offstage behavior as for their onstage pyrotechnics, Mötley Crüe sold over 20 million albums in their heyday, which lasted for more than a decade.

The foursome came together in early 1981. Drummer Tommy Lee (Thomas Lee Bass) and bassist Nikki Sixx (Frank Carlton Serafino Ferrano) were in a band called Christmas when they answered a classified ad placed by guitarist Mick Mars (Bob Deal), who was looking for some "lude" and crude band mates. In April, the three recruited front man Vince Neil (Vince Neil Wharton), who was then singing for a local band called Rock Candy. Seven months later, Mötley Crüe (as Mars christened the band) recorded their first LP, Too Fast for Love, for $7,000. The Crüe's pentagram-and-hellfire-saturated sophomore effort, Shout at the Devil, was released in 1983; one track, "Bastard," made it onto Tipper Gore's Parents' Music Resource Center's "Dirty Dozen" list of obscene songs, thereby sealing Mötley Crüe's reputation as The Band That Our Mothers Warned Us About.

In 1985, Theater of Pain was released to great fanfare. Shortly thereafter, Neil spent a surprisingly lenient 20-day sentence in a Los Angeles prison for vehicular manslaughter, after his drunk driving led to the death of Hanoi Rock's drummer, Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley. Meanwhile, Nikki Sixx battled a heroin addiction, but the Crüe's popularity never waned. That same year, their cover of Brownsville Station's "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" climbed up Billboard's Top 40, and their single "Home Sweet Home" became MTV's most requested music video of all time that November. Lee married Dynasty star Heather Locklear in 1986, and introduced his 360-degree revolving drum kit the following year on the "Girls, Girls, Girls" world tour. Only months after the Crüe's greatest hits album, Decade of Decadence, was released in 1991, Neil was fired from the band for allegedly prioritizing his car racing hobby over his music career. John Corabi, former vocalist of the Scream, replaced Neil, but the band's renown never again reached that of its earlier days.

The media attention the Crüe received after 1992 centered almost exclusively on Tommy Lee's personal life: an intimate home video of Lee and his second wife, Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, was mass-produced and sold over the Internet; and the couple's three-year marriage ended in 1998 with Lee serving a four month sentence in a Los Angeles prison for spousal abuse.

Mötley Crüe was a larger-than-life band both on and off-stage, and they were the first rock 'n' rollers to erase the line between heavy metal music and commercial success. Large-market radio stations stopped shying away from the rock that may have alienated some listeners when they saw that these listeners, in fact, were anything but alienated. But, by the early 1990s, Mötley Crüe's heavy-handed, over-stylized music gave way to Seattle grunge bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam, while MTV's all-metal video program, Headbanger's Ball, had faded into oblivion, and the grunge/alternative-rock 120 Minutes had all but been put on a permanent loop.

—Daryna M. McKeand

Further Reading:

Handleman, David. "Money for Nothing and the Chicks for Free: On the Road with Mötley Crüe." Rolling Stone. Issue 506, Aug. 13, 1987, 34-41, 59.

Simmons, Sylvie, and Malcom Dome. Lüde, Crüde, and Rüde: The Story of Mötley Crüe. Chessington, Castle Communications, 1994.

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Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe, the band that brought decadence to heavy metal. membership:Nikki Sixx (Frank Carlton Serafino Ferrann), bs. (b. San Jose, Calif., Dec. 11,1958); Tommy Lee (Thomas Lee Bass), drm. (b. Athens, Greece, Oct. 3, 1962); Mick Mars (Bob Deal), gtr., voc. (b. Huntington, Ind., April 3, 1956); Vince Neil (Vince Neil Wharton), voc. (b. Hollywood, Calif., Feb. 8, 1961).

More notorious than famous, Motley Crue fused hard rock with glam rags and turned the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle up to near-cartoon parody. Several of them have landed in jail and rehab many times, and became tabloid fodder with their marriages to starlets and mud wrestlers and Playboy bunnies.

The band formed in 1981 around a nucleus of Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee as a band called Christmas. They found Mick Mars via a classified ad and enticed Vince Neil away from a tribute band. Mere months after forming, they released a do-it-yourself album that sold more than 20,000 copies, attracting the attention of Elektra records. Elektra signed them and re-released the record as Too Fast for Love. Sounding like the bastard child of Mott the Hoople and Black Sabbath, it sold respectably, eventually going platinum.

Shortly after the band’s follow-up, Shout at the Devil, was released in 1983, Vince Neil was in an automobile collision while under the influence of alcohol. The crash killed the passenger in Neil’s car, Hanoi Rocks’ drummer Nicholas Dingley, and seriously injured the couple in the other car. Sixx was also in a car accident around the same time, injuring his shoulder. The rockers put this behind them temporarily, however. Shout at the Devil was about to put them on the map. Their glam image made them perfect fodder for the burgeoning MTV audience, and they became a mainstay of MTV for many years. As their audience grew, their show grew to include elaborate lights, pyrotechnics and stage sets. They became the cover boys for the slew of hard- rock magazines published at the time. The album hit #17 and eventually sold quadruple platinum. The band spent over a year on the road supporting the album. Not surprisingly, they topped most of the hard-rock magazine reader polls in 1984.

Showing a modicum of musical growth, Theater of Pain broke the band on Top 40 radio, with its cover of Brownsville Station’s anthem to youth gone awry, “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room,” hitting #16. The video for “Home Sweet Home” became one of the first power ballads on MTV. The album zoomed to #6 and has sold quadruple platinum. Shortly after the record came out, Neil was convicted of vehicular manslaughter. He spent a total of 30 days in jail, did 200 hours of community service and fined nearly three million dollars. In the meantime, Lee married prime time soap opera vixen Heather Locklear, Sixx married Playboy playmate Brandi Brandt and Neil married mud wrestler Sharisse Rudell. Their private lives were becoming nearly as colorful (and well-covered by the media) as their music.

Crüe’s next record, Girls, Girls, Girls came out in 1987. Rather than exploit MTV coverage, they made a video of the title track that they knew MTV would find too risqué. The song reached #12 on the charts, propelling the album to #2 and quadruple platinum sales. Sixx, however, had become addicted to heroin, and just before the band left to tour Asia, he overdosed, lying clinically dead for several minutes before being revived.

In 1988, an interim bassist hired when Sixx had hurt his shoulder sued the band for royalties on songs he claimed to have written. Unable to prove his case, however, the case was dropped. In 1989, the band released Dr. Feelgood.Spawning two Top Ten singles, the gold #6 title track and the #8 “Without You” and two more popular singles “Kickstart My Heart” (#27) and “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” (#19), the album zoomed to the top of the charts, eventually selling sextuple platinum. Once again, the band took off for another extensive tour of the world. On the group’s return, they went to work on a greatest hits collection. The Decade of Decadence album debuted on the charts at #2, eventually selling double platinum. They remixed the single “Home Sweet Home,” which, though successful as a video, had stalled at #89 when first released. This time, the song rose to #37. Although disappointed by the sales of the record, Elektra signed the band to a new $25 million contract.

Shortly after the release, the band members fired Neil, claiming he no longer had the fire in his belly. They brought on a new singer, John Corabi. With him, they ushered in a new sound, incorporating industrial and modern hard rock into their sound. The new sound informed their 1994 self-titled release, which debuted at #7, went gold, but quickly fell of the music business radar. The core band and Corabi were at odds, and the next release kept getting pushed back on Elektra’s release schedule. In the meantime, Locklear had left Lee, and he married another TV star (and longtime Playboy centerfold) Pamela Anderson. At the 1997 American Music Awards, Anderson Lee introduced her husband’s band, complete with Vince Neil. The band had retained the more updated sound. It was reflected in their 1997 album Generation Swine.Like its predecessor, it debuted high on the charts, starting at #4, went gold and disappeared without a trace. While on the road, N.C. police accused the band of inciting a riot when Sixx encouraged the crowd to attack one of the security guards as Lee poured a drink over the guard’s head.

In the meantime, a pornographic home video of Lee and Anderson, intended for their own private use, wound up on the Internet. Their relationship became more and more tumultuous, with Anderson calling the police on her husband and eventually getting him locked up for battery. However, the band continued on. They hired former Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo to fill in for Lee, reclaimed their masters from Elektra and put out a second greatest hits project on its own label that went gold. While on the road supporting it, N.C. police arrested Sixx over the 1997 incident.

In addition to forming its own label, the group also opened a Melrose Avenue Boutique called S’Criie. The store featured signature lines of clothing by both Sixx and Neil and a ginseng drink the band invented called Mötley Brüe. Tommy Lee introduced his new band, Methods of Mayhem, with an album just before the turn of the millennium. Combining rock and rap, the album featured such guest artists as George Clinton, Snoop Dogg, and Kid Rock.

Discography

motley crue:Too Fast For Love (1981); Shout at the Devil (1983); Theater of Pain (1985); Girls, Girls, Girls (1987); Dr. Feelgood (1989); Motley Crue (1994); Generation Swine (1997); Greatest Hits (1999). methods of mayhem:Methods of Mayhem (1999).

Bibliography

D. Bonutto, The Comedy and the Tragedy (N.Y., 1985).

—Hank Bordowitz

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