In the late 1980s Mötley Crüe – Vince Neil (real name Vincent Neil Wharton), Mick Mars (real name Bob Deal), Nikki Sixx (real name Frank Carlton Serafino Ferrano) and Tommy Lee (real name Tommy Lee Bass) – were bona fide rock gods.
The greatest career move they ever made was splitting up. The lack of any new albums gave the myth time to grow, aided by a mucky band biography, The Dirt, which never once required the reader to care about the music to find it a page-turner.
The band were often surrounded by controversy, usually of their own making.
Events which kept them in the news included vocalist Vince Neil killing his best friend – Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas ‘Razzle’ Dingley – in 1984 when he crashed his car whilst driving drunk, and bassist Nikki Sixx marrying Baywatch star Donna D’Errico – he also inserted a telephone receiver into a groupie’s vagina and then telephoned room service!
In 1987 Sixx actually died of a heroin overdose but was revived from the dead . . .
Meanwhile, Tommy Lee counted amongst his conquests Pamela Anderson, Heather Locklear and a girl who was so ugly the rest of the band called her ‘Bullwinkle’ – but Tommy would not break up with her because she could spray female cum. Guitarist Mick Mars accidentally shot his girlfriend in the early 90s and once tried to hang his brother . . .
There were also amateur porn videos with their partners and porn starlets, and the usual drugs and drinking binges.
In August 1982, having just signed with Elektra Records, Mötley Crüe were arguably at their dumbest and most irresponsible in a career noted for dumbness and irresponsibility. Having their self-produced album Too Fast For Love re-mixed by former Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker, they were invited to attend a party at his Sunset Drive mansion in the Hollywood hills.
Firstly they snorted cocaine off the lid of his Plexiglas piano where, he said, Freddie Mercury wrote Bohemian Rhapsody “while getting a blowjob”. The subsequent four-day blow-out included Jacuzzi orgies, women used as human dinner plates and enough booze and drugs to fell a herd of stampeding buffalo.
Despite being dazed from too much cocaine, alcohol and Jacuzzi sex, resourceful Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx managed to escape, scale a perimeter wall and – still naked from the hot tub – attempt to drive home. He promptly smashed his Porsche into a telephone pole and attempted to hitchhike the rest of the way stark naked with a dislocated shoulder.
The festive season of 1984 wasn’t a particularly jolly one for Vince Neil, although it was considerably better than that experienced by Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle Dingley (who incidentally hailed from the Isle Of Wight).
After a hardcore drinking binge, Neil and Dingley decided to take a drive to the local store for some continued sustenance. Unfortunately, Neil, who had elected to drive, was by this stage well over the limit.
Accelerating too quickly, Neil caused his 1972 Ford Pantera to hydroplane as it passed through a puddle of water and within seconds they had careered head-on into an approaching Volkswagen. Dingley died within moments of the collision and both passengers of the VW were seriously injured.
Neil survived the crash and was convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter. He served only 18 days in jail, but did 200 hours community service and was ordered to pay $2.6 million in compensation.
Neil was sacked by the band in February 1992 and launched a solo career, then returned five years later for what appeared a final payday.
To celebrate the 1997 reunion of Mötley Crüe, and the release of their new album Generation Swine, the Skeleteens soda company released a beverage called ‘Motley Blue’. In addition to a tangy ginseng-and-jalapeno flavour, the soda boasted the added attraction of turning your faeces blue!
Tommy Lee was arrested in 1998 following a 911 call made by his wife, Pamela Anderson. Lee was charged with spousal abuse, child abuse and unlawful possession of a firearm, and was given a six-month jail sentence, placed on probation for three years and ordered to give $5,000 to a shelter for battered women.
In their mid-80s salad days, Mötley Crüe were all about attitude over songwriting, group members managing to suspend normal human traits such as fear of death, in pursuit of a good time.
Now and again they struck lucky musically, but generally, Mötley Crüe were to Van Halen and KISS what Netto is to Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. But if you wanted to wear mascara and drink Southern Comfort, The Crüe were the band for you!