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December 4, 2005

Mötley Crüe on how to improve your life


I just finished reading the almost indescribably weird and wonderful memoirs of Mötley Crüe, entitled "The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band."

It's an absolutely no–holds–barred account, told by each of the band's four members and assorted others (managers, etc.) in alternating chapters.

From the book:

    [Vince Neal] I was working at the time as an electrician, building a McDonald's in Baldwin Park. For job security, I started dating the boss's daughter, Leah, a tall, vaguely attractive... blond who, through some sort of elaborate mental airbrushing, believed that she looked like Rene Russo.

    I came home from work that night and slept for almost twenty hours. I woke up... and was just beginning to see straight when Tommy dropped by. He had a tape of songs for me to learn to sing. I listened to them, and tried to keep from vomiting or laughing. There was no way I was going to play with this lame band, if you could call them a band. They didn't even have a name.

    We were so loose we couldn't tell when one song ended and the next began. But we looked good and fought even better.

    [Nikki Sixx] The blind date was already a disaster. Tommy and Pam led the way to the Dragonfly in their Suburban. I followed in my Suburban, and Donna brought up the rear in her Pathfinder. It was a stereotypical L.A. date — conducted by motorcade.

    We had so much in common: We were both from small towns, we both loved children, and she was regarded by the world as this Baywatch sex symbol, while I guess I was seen as the same in rock and roll. But in our hearts we both knew that we were just nerds, total... high school losers who had put on a good act and gotten lucky.

    After a few more dates, just when everything was starting to work out, Donna screeched into my driveway and came charging at me waving a fax I had written. Evidently Jenny McCarthy's manager and boyfriend worked with Donna's manager. And when he heard about the new man in Donna's life, he produced the form letter that I had written to Jenny McCarthy asking for a date.

    [Mick Mars] I was sure I was dead. I woke up on the beach, and the sky and sea were pitch–black.

    Since I was a ghost, material objects could no longer stand in my way. So I tried to walk through the glass window into the room in order to hear what Tommy and Beth were saying about me. That was when I really hurt myself. The noise of my body colliding with the window shocked the group in the house to life. They ran to the window and looked out in panic, only to find me lying on my back in the sand.

    "Where have you been, dude?" Tommy exclaimed when he saw me.

    I guess I was alive after all.

    [Tom Zetaut, who as a sales assistant at Electra Records discovered and signed the band to its first contract] It began as a very civil dinner, with the chef showing off his knife tricks. The band ate some and drank a lot. Vince, of course, was drinking the heaviest. I noticed that his margarita glass was broken, so he ordered another one. When I looked at him again, the new glass was broken and he was insisting on a replacement. The perplexed waitress brought him yet another drink, examining the glass carefully to make sure there were no chips or cracks. As soon as she walked away, Vince put the glass to his mouth and bit into it, shattering the edge of the glass. "This guy is nuts," I thought. "He could cut his tongue out or tear his lips to shreds."

    Vince stood up, signaled the waitress, and accused her of giving him broken glasses on purpose. She swore up and down that the glass was fine when she gave it too him. Then she turned to me for explanation. I didn't want to get her or Vince in trouble: "Maybe the dishwasher is broken," I offered weakly.

    So she brought him another margarita and retreated to the corner with the manager to spy on Vince. Unaware that she was watching, Vince sunk his teeth into the glass again. Instantly, the manager ran over and tried to kick us out of the restaurant while the waitress called the police. I quickly settled the bill and broke the party up.

    Most nights were like that with the band: either something was going to get broken or someone was going to pass out.

    [Tommy Lee] We went out for Italian food, then watched some lame stand–up comedy because I thought that was what normal people did on dates.

    During the show, we entered the stage by being shot up in front of 25,000 to 100,000 people from a contraption underneath the stage, as if we were four giant Pop–Tarts. Those contraptions eventually became a metaphor for the tour. Whenever we wanted to eat or sleep, all of a sudden someone would pull the lever and — pop — there we would be, standing in front of a stadium full of cheering people ready to see the same song and dance we had been through hundreds of times already.

    With each show, it became harder and harder to play our greatest hits onstage. While I was out there playing "Girls, Girls, Girls" for the ten–thousandth time, all I could think about was getting back to my room and finishing whatever song I was working on.


The book costs $10.85 at Amazon.

Many hours of insanity for a very reasonable price.

The plethora of great pictures which festoon the book are worth it in and of themselves.

If, after reading the band's 430–page account of their rise and numerous crashes and burns, you think you'd like to be a rock star, well, more power to you.

I'll pass.

December 4, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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$4,000 comes out to something like 1,000 decaf soy lattes (yeah, I know, I'm an asshole for ordering them), so it pays for itself after about 3 years. Not even counting gasoline, or drycleaning and car interior detailing because of spills. Include all that and it might only be a two-year initial investment. How long were they married?

Posted by: duh | Dec 4, 2005 6:12:37 PM

Oh come on, Joe - the best line has to be Vince describing the time he took the porn star to Hawaii:

"After staying up for four days straight at the Maui Hilton, Savannah took one pill too many and dropped to the floor convulsing. I called an ambulance and followed her to the hospital. I'd never seen anyone look so beautiful and innocent while lying overdosed in a stretcher."

Pure gold!

Posted by: Russ | Dec 4, 2005 4:36:26 PM

I just got through reading the "50 Dumbest Rock-Star Extravagances" in Blender magazine. Tommy Lee came in at #36 for purchasing a Starbucks franchise in 1999 for $4,000. They considered it dumb because the franchise had zero paying customers - an exact Starbucks replica cafe was built in his house as a gift for his then-wife Pamela Anderson.

I thought it was pretty cool myself, not dumb. But then again what do I know about being a rock star?

Posted by: Shawn Lea | Dec 4, 2005 4:36:18 PM

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