To hear Motley Crue tell it, Saturday night will be the last time they perform for a Houston crowd together. The glam-metal archetypes, storied rock and roll survivors all, say that this is it for them. The Final Tour. They even made a big show of signing a contract pledging never again to perform as Motley Crue. So clearly, they're serious here, guys.
But does anyone believe it? How can you? If Motley Crue has proven anything since they crawled out of some Sunset Strip gutter in the '80s, it's that they're impossible to kill. Pretty safe to assume that, like their heroes Aerosmith, KISS and Ozzy, the Crue will break up and make up (in makeup) until they're all dead. After all, if drugs, divorce, rehab and prison can't rid us of Motley Crue, a legal document-cum-press conference doesn't stand much chance, now does it?
Because let's face it, it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to come up with instances where Motley Crue clearly should have called it a day, yet clung desperately to those leather pants. Here are just a few of the most memorable times they forged on against all sanity.
5. The Time Tommy Lee Went to Prison Crue drummer Tommy Lee is still fondly remembered by many home-video connoisseurs of a certain age for his long-donged performance in the world's first superstar celebrity sextape with his then-wife, Pamela Anderson. What many, many fewer folks recall about the relationship is that Lee kinda-sorta went to prison for beating the shit out of her.
After a domestic altercation in their home in 1998, Anderson called the cops on her husband, who was charged with spousal abuse, child abuse, and possession of illegal firearms. Lee was sentenced to six months in prison, where he had to be segregated from the many, many inmates who would've loved the chance to strangle a rich, famous guy who hit the Baywatch girl. The drummer served 16 weeks, which no doubt taught him to respect women at last.
Rather than firing the drummer and retiring in shame, when Tommy was sprung, Mötley Crüe celebrated by releasing a record thoughtfully titled Greatest Hits. Keep those hands up, boys!
4. The Time Nikki Sixx Died...Again OK, sure, Nikki. You're a notorious rock and roller celebrated for his creatively hedonistic debauchery. We'll let one death slide. But two? Two deaths? Talk about excess.
The first time Crue bassist Nikki Sixx died was in 1986 at some heroin dealer's house in London. Sixx OD'd and stopped breathing, prompting the dealer, who apparently had very little medical experience, to attempt to beat the life back into him with a baseball bat. When that curiously failed, he helpfully deposited Sixx in a dumpster and fled. Satan, who's really more of a death-metal guy, rejected the bassist, returning him to the mortal plane. Sixx woke up in the garbage.
Wake-up call, right? Ha! Just a year later, when Motley was touring with Guns N' Roses, Nikki once again OD'd on heroin, this time in Slash's room at the Franklin Plaza Hotel in L.A. When the elegantly wasted party guests noticed that Sixx was turning blue, they called the paramedics. The bassist was declared dead on the ride to the hospital, but one of the paramedics was a fan, and he refused to give up. Two shots of adrenaline to the heart later, and Sixx was back on his feet long enough to hitch a ride home to shoot up again.
When your songwriter is dying on an annual basis, perhaps it's time to slow things down, yes? Maybe take your own advice and just go away? Yeah, right. This is Motley Crue!
3. The Time Vince Neil Killed That Guy By far the darkest chapter in Motley Crue's history came in 1984. The band's Finnish brothers-in-arms Hanoi Rocks were celebrating the start of their first American tour in L.A., and the party was at Vince Neil's house. Because grain alcohol was something of a priority for Motley Crue in those days, a grotesquely inebriated Neil decided to make a liquor-store run, and he brought Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle along for the ride.
It was a short one. Neil plowed his Ford Pantera into oncoming traffic, seriously injuring the passengers in the other car and killing Razzle. After testing his BAC at .17, nearly twice the legal limit, police took Neil in for what would be a very long prison stay...of 20 days. Thanks to L.A.'s celebrity-friendly law enforcement, Vince Neil, who had just killed a good friend, walked away with a slap on the wrist, including millions in restitution to his victims and 200 hours of community service.
When the badly shaken Neil returned from the clink, Nikki Sixx welcomed him home with a bump of heroin. Why was this band allowed to exist, exactly?
Story continues on the next page.
2. The Time Vince Neil Quit Much of the time, even Motley Crue can't stand Motley Crue. This was especially true after the band's marathon Dr. Feelgood tour, which saw them travel the world together for the first time without the helpful social lubrication provided by hard drugs. Shockingly, the band discovered that perhaps they didn't like each other all that much.
Especially Vince Neil, who maybe wasn't quite as sober as the others when they entered the studio for a follow-up to their biggest hit ever. Even today, the band says Neil quit; Neil says he was fired. Who cares? The point is, Motley Crue tossed off an album featuring singer John Corabi that tanked hard. Neil's solo efforts were similarly rejected by a world that was discovering the delights of Nirvana and Metallica. Everyone, it seemed, had finally had enough of the Motley Crue drama.
Naturally, they hired Neil back four years later. The '90s were not kind to Motley Crue.
1. The Time Mick Mars Got Ankylosing Spondylitis To be perfectly fair, every member of Motley Crue has dealt with his fair share of trauma and pain over the years. But what guitarist Mick Mars goes through every day is something else. At 62, Mars is Motley's oldest gang member, and the only one dealing with chronic physical pain from a disease that's hard to pronounce.
Mick's got Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis that has fused his spine and causes chronic inflammation and pain in his joints. The guitarist says the disease has squashed his spine so hard that he's now a full three inches shorter than he was in high school. Another helpful symptom of the disease is something called "iritis," which causes him blinding flashes of pain every time a bright light is pointed at his face. Presumably, that's most of the time.
After mostly treating his condition with alcohol for a decade or two, Mars found himself down to 90 lbs. in 2005, addicted to painkillers and in desperate need of a hip replacement. Nikki Sixx stepped in, helped save Mick's life, and then shoved him right back out on stage again! Hey, the show must go on.
Mick Mars should not be dragging his deadlocked spine and artificial hip through airport security. He should have spent years already comfortably retired to a tastefully appointed strip club somewhere. If Motley Crue doesn't stop now, they're going to have to dolly the poor guy out onstage every night.
Motley Crue performs their final Houston concert (allegedly) Saturday night at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, with special guest Alice Cooper. Gates open at 6 p.m.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
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