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MÖTLEY CRÜE
THE ORIGINAL GLAM METAL


    Poor Motley Crue. OK, there were other very important bands (Van Halen and Def Leppard), but in 1981 the Crue helped create the template for a genre. British glam, Cheap Trick, pop hooks, punk attitude, and heavy metal were fused and the sound of a decade was born. You'd think they'd be legends, right? They're not though… they're pretty much lumped in with every cheeseball cash-in '80s act. The fact that they were a truly original band with relatively little cheese and were totally the real rock'n'roll deal counts for nothing.
    Let's be honest though, cool as they were, Motley haven't helped themselves.
Too Fast for Love may have been exciting in 1981 but it was done with a lot of blind faith and enthusiasm… and isn't actually any good. If you take the time to read their filthy but fascinating autobiography The Dirt, you will find even Vince and Nikki confessing that Theatre of Pain and Girls Girls Girls were less than brilliant albums too. In 1994 they did an album with a different singer, and 1996's Generation Swine was a poorly received update of the band's sound. New Tattoo took them back to their classic sound but wasn't very good. [One little note: with US sales certified in excess of 17 million not including Dr. Feelgood, it's just possible there are one or two people who wouldn't agree with me on this!]
     So basically there is
Too Fast for Love, which was groundbreaking but largely mediocre, Shout at the Devil, a serious metal album with the whole occult thing going on, and their masterpiece (and only genuinely brilliant album), Dr. Feelgood. Sure, it was a perfect slice of rock & roll with sleaze leering from every groove, but one classic does not a legend make. There's time though. Vince Neil is a fat, drunken, obnoxious mess, but he may yet pull himself together. Tommy Lee may finish rapping and return to the fold (it really isn't Motley Crue without him). If this happens and if Nikki writes the album he is capable of, we could see Motley Crue back on top. It would take a minor miracle and major radio support, but stanger things have happened. They are in a much worse situation right now than Def Leppard but from where I'm sitting I'd put my money on Motley Crue to make a real comeback over the Leps. Motley Crue are a genuine American hard rock band, with attitude and I hope they do make it.
     There's one more thing about Mötley Crüe: Nikki Sixx is the coolest guy on the planet. I don't know how he does it. Everything about him tells me he's a scumbag: I've heard he and Tommy Lee started a racially-fuelled riot. Nikki died of overdose, was rescued in hospital… and promptly went home and shot up more heroin. His lyrics are just sick sometimes (not in the good sense, either), and although every album they've done has songs on it that I like, I only really rate
Dr. Feelgood. Somehow Nikki just comes across as cool though… he's a dude. No one is more rock & roll. He just exudes the whole nasty, rebellious, bad-boy attitude that made Motley a lot cooler than almost everyone else.

Best album:  Dr. Feelgood… Motley were always sleazy and this album has fat grooves that even without the lyrics seem to leer at you. It rocks a lot harder and more convincingly than almost any other album of its time. This combines Aerosmith-like funk, bluesiness, and sass with unerring commercial edge and serious attitude. There's absolutely not a bad track to be found. It sold a shedload but really deserved to sell a load more. It's a lot more cool than the other sappy stuff released in 1989; a genuine hard rock record -- really hard at times ("Kickstart my Heart") with a couple of ballads and a strong pop single, "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)", for good measure.

Official website: www.motley.com

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