Motley Crue are certainly a band who are living up to the idea of rock and roll excesses, and then some. Drinking, debauchery and trashing hotel rooms is one thing, but insulting and assaulting people is another. The band publicly belittled the female head of their former label, Elektra, calling her a four-letter word that starts with c in Spin magazine. Elektra dropped them, despite the fact that the band had signed a multi-million dollar contract in 1991. In addition, drummer Tommy Lee and bassist Nikki Sixx of the hair-metal band are being sued by a security guard in Greensboro, North Carolina after a melee at a concert there, during which time Sixx allegedly used a racial slur. Luckily, Lee has had his swastika tattoo removed.
In case you missed it, Lee just got out of a Los Angeles County jail after doing four months for a probation violation stemming from assault on his ex-wife and home porn movie co-star, Pamela Anderson. Lee was reportedly upset that she never came to see him in jail.
In addition to consulting with lawyers, the band has their hands full with a new commercial venture: a boutique store on the famed shopping strip of Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles called S'Crue. Get it? Screw! (Oh, that junior high humor.) The shop will feature 18 years' worth of memorabilia and more, including custom Harley Davidsons, album plaques, and both singer Vince Neil (who can be seen in his own explicit home movies) and Sixx's clothing lines, Bad Bones and Outlaw, respectively.
Even with all of this going on, the band is out on the road touring behind their greatest hits record released on their own Motley Records imprint. The cleverly titled Greatest Hits is nearly identical in content to (the out of print) Decade of Decadence, which was released in 1991. This new record jumped to the Top 20 upon its release the week of November 3, though it had fallen to Number 87 at press time. Maybe they think they have some new fans since that year, but most of their set list won't reflect their work since then. Because the band is stuck in the pre-grunge age of 1989, they'll be playing "Dr. Feelgood," "Smoking in the Boys Room," "Girls, Girls, Girls," "Home Sweet Home" and "Kickstart My Heart," while acting as if the past ten years haven't really happened.
I hope the security guards and photographers are wearing protective gear at the Aerial.
-- David Simutis
Motley Crue perform Sunday, December 6 at the Aerial Theatre, 520 Texas. 8 p.m. 629-3700.
Amy Grant -- What is the academic definition of "sappy"? The American Heritage dictionary gives its slang definition as "excessively sentimental; mawkish." This pop-Christian workhorse, who's been around since I was knee-high to a preacher, just released her 15th album, Behind the Eyes. Chances are, as with her previous works, you won't be able to walk away from the album (or the show) without going into diabetic shock due to excessive sweetness. You are not allowed to mope in Grant's world, as "It takes a little time sometimes / To get the Titanic turned back around." Fellow Contemporary Christian artists Michael W. Smith and CeCe Winans perform with Grant at this year's Christmas show, all backed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Wholesome entertainment for the whole family, if you're into that. Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra perform Friday, December 4, 7:30 p.m. at the Compaq Center. Tickets: $25-$75. Call Ticketmaster at 629-3700. (Melanie Haupt)
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Gillian Welch -- The question with Gillian Welch was and remains: Can an upper-middle-class white girl from the Hills of Beverly sing the Appalachian country-blues? And the answer still is: maybe.
There's no doubt that Welch is good at what she does. And the issue with her is less one of authenticity than it is art vs. artifice; after all, America's greatest contemporary folk singer, Bob Dylan, grew up in a middle-class Jewish merchant family in Minnesota. Welch no doubt has the best and most honorable intentions, and she obviously loves and admires the musical field in which she's chosen to plow her furrows. Her loamy alto is rich and note-perfect -- maybe too note-perfect -- and she and her songwriting partner, guitarist David Rawlings, write better-than-solid songs which faithfully follow her chosen form.
So what's the problem? For me, it's Welch's inability to forge an emotional connection, and her lack of a certain loose rawness that one finds in the likes of a Lucinda Williams. This becomes even more apparent in live performance, where Rawlings's imagination and occasional incandescence as an accompanist may come to the forefront in person.
Even though Welch gets closer to the fire on her recent second album, Hell Among The Yearlings, than she did on her debut, in this courtroom, the jury is still deliberating. (Rob Patterson)