Monday, 15 September 2008

Motley Crue - The Dirt

A sure sign of a good rock & roll (auto)biography is the number of times you find yourself thinking 'Why aren't you dead?'. True, Nikki Sixx technically did die once of an overdose (hence 'Kickstart My Heart'), and the Crue's lifestyle wasn't without its victims (RIP Razzle).

The Dirt takes the intriguing approach of having each member contribute chapters. Even John Corabi (briefly the singer in the early 90s) gets to put his side across, and you can't help feel that he was a nice bloke who wound up in the wrong band at the wrong time.

Which can't be said for the man whose stack heels he filled. Having initially tried to evade Tommy Lee's attempts to get him in the band, Vince Neil claims that he only eventually joined because they caught him when he was down. Throughout the book he comes across as the least likable member, and even though one major mistake in the earlier editions was probably never written by him and should have been caught at a proofing stage (in reference to Razzle, Neil says how much he missed him, including his 'Finnish accent'. New editions correctly state 'English accent') it's hard not to blame him. The sad story of what happened to his daughter, however, should not be wished on anyone.

Other highlights include contrasts in the contributions. Mick Mars writes that he used to down pints of vodkas on stage but the rest of the band thought it was water; in the following chapter Neil writes that Mick Mars pretended to drink water on stage but they all knew it was vodka.

And then there's the UK tour that never was. I clearly remember the story breaking in Kerrang! that they cancelled the tour - due in the winter months - citing that snow on the roof would weaken the buildings and the venues wouldn't be able to hold their lighting rigs, drum cages etc. It turns out that this came from a phone call made by Mick Mars in response to an extreme crisis in the band - the 'death' of Nikki Sixx.

One name that doesn't come up is that of Matthew Trippe. Circa 1988 he made claims (published by Kerrang!) that he, for a while, was Nikki Sixx. The story went that the original Sixx (Frank Ferrano) was injured in a crash after Too Fast For Love and a lookalike (Trippe) was drafted in. Trippe claimed to have written most of Shout At The Devil and Girls, Girls, Girls. He was then arrested for his part in a robbery and a now fit again Ferrano rejoined. He brought a lawsuit that he eventually dropped in 1993. The original article is most likely on the Internet somewhere - however I did find this:

The Dirt is a fantastic read, and has gone a long way towards promoting Motley Crue to the upper echelons of rock history, a place their musical output doesn't quite justify. As tales of excess go, they don't get much better than this.

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