Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Motley Crue

Emusic has Motley Crue's back catalog, so I downloaded a few tracks. I used to own 1981's Too Fast for Love, which is a pretty good punk/glam rock album. The title track is amazing, and there are a few more classic tracks on it, including "Public Enemy #1." Here's a horrible live version. I was introduced to the Crue by a coworker of mine in the late nineties. He was gay, so the fact that he liked them helped get over the ickiness I associated with them. Like "Girls, Girls, Girls."

At their best, Motley Crue capture the hedonism and recklessness of rock n' roll, where getting wasted is an end in itself and nothing bad can ever possibly happen to you. They reveled in being trashed and trashy, and their whole schtick was built on being bad boys who were tough enough for the dudes but cute enough for the chicks. Only the gnarliest of hesher ladies got into bands like Slayer or pre-haircut Metallica, but a lot acid-jean wearing ladies rocked out to the Crue.

My brother was into Motley Crue when I was 9, and I thought that they were totally scary. This was around the Shout At the Devil/Theater of Pain era. I never actually heard them until later, but between the satanic imagery and crazy make-up, they freaked me out. In high school, Dr. Feelgood was a huge hit, and the Crue became the epitome of the brainless, d-bag hard rock that Nirvana made irrelevant. Not that Dr. Feelgood isn't a decent hard rock album (which is a little like decent fast food). There are some good songs on it, and it is what it is. And what it is is a soundtrack for drinking shitty beer, smoking bad weed, and making out with chicks with feathered hair. Or being a pimply teenager.

In a lot of ways, Motley Crue in their heyday were kind of like a lot of rappers today; obsessed with sex and partying, hanging out in strip clubs, and entertaining in a slightly lobotomizing way. Their "Behind the Music" was the best one. (Best line: "He had just killed Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue." As spoken by Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue.) They had sex, drugs, death, and mainlining Jack Daniels. Looking at clips on YouTube, you realize how annoying it is to hear people boast about their wild partying days while pretending to act like they've repented. Do addicts really get to keep fucking up until they reform, and then brag about how much they've fucked up in the past?

They reformed recently, and I think Tommy's back in the band after quitting/being kicked out/badmouthing the group in 2007. Oddly enough, the Crue are sort of like the Rolling Stones now, in that they keep releasing records no one really cares about, and make a mint as a touring act playing their old favorites. I wonder if kids today get into Motley Crue in the same way they get into AC/DC and Led Zepplin? Personally, listening to this stuff makes me feel old and a little unclean. I just picture wandering around the Sunset Strip at dawn, sweating out whiskey and drugs, smelling like old sweat and cigarettes, with an empty pit in your stomach wondering how you'll manage to come down enough to sleep, and when you'll finally feel human again. But that's just me.

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