Grunge has often been credited with killing much of the music of the 80’s metal scene. But as we now have the ability to look back it sure seems to have taken a bigger toll on bands like Ratt and LA Guns than it has for Motley Crue. Vince Neil recently acknowledged as much between Big Mac's and lipo treatment when he told Q magazine "I don't know why people say grunge killed rock. Only people whose careers were on the way out said that. It didn't seem to kill us.” Hmmm. Is that really true? How is it that Ratt’s career was over in 1991 but not Motley’s? And while Vince can say that now I doubt he felt that way when he released his second solo album, Carved In Stone, in 1995. Not even I bought that. And I buy everything. In retrospect the downfall of the Sunset Strip scene was predictable. Bloated bands offering nothing real or fresh. The first single off every album was an upbeat rocker followed by a generic power ballad. The same pattern. Same video. And when Guns N’ Roses broke it was clear there was a void that needed to be filled with angry music and we weren’t gonna get that from Slaughter. Or 1989 Motley Crue for that matter. But why is it that in 2014 bands like Ratt, Cinderella or even Judas Priest are viewed as less than Motley Crue?
Let’s be honest. Motley didn’t release a great album after Shout at the Devil. Even if you disagree with that you must acknowledge the general population doesn’t care much for anything they released after Dr. Feelgood. Don’t get me wrong. I suppose all bands from this era are nostalgia acts at this point, but Motley seems to generate more current buzz. Yet most of the people going to Motley’s farewell tour right now have no idea who John Corabi is or that they once had a female drummer. I’m not talking about guys like me. Guys like me know every detail. Guys like me would rather hear City Boy Blues than Kickstart My Heart. Guys like me will buy every Motley Crue record as it comes out. With the full faith and credit that it will suck. Guys like me look at going to shows and buying the records as an obligation. But guys like me don’t fill arenas. Depending on your city we might fill a club. So why Motley and not LA Guns? Tracii Guns had a theory. He once said LA Guns would’ve been bigger if they'd had a blonde singer. I don’t know about that but I do have my own theory on why Motley is revered more than any of their contemporaries.
Tommy Lee’s penis.
Far too many of us have seen Tommy and Pam’s “leaked” *cough* sex tape. And once Tommy honked a boat horn with his dick the course was set and the ship had sailed. At the time the video was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, Pamela Anderson was internationally famous for bouncing along a beach in slow motion and showing her enhanced goodies in Playboy every other month. Tommy Lee, and Motley Crue for that matter, were names that guys like me knew and the general world stopped caring about years earlier. Then came the most famous sex tape ever (Sorry Kim Kardashian.) And not long after Tommy and his crank were almost as famous as the tits in that video.
We all know what happened next. Motley were reuniting with original singer Vince Neil (Who had his own sex tape but with just an average size penis) to record an awful record and tour the world. They released a book called the Dirt. And while the road since that point had its ups and downs for Motley, Tommy and his dick parlayed their fame into a handful of really bad solo records. A really bad reality TV show. And a couple of stint’s in jail. The unintended beneficiary to all of this was Motley. They became iconic. Infamous. And now as they promise to leave us forever as a touring entity, I find it hard to believe that the general public would care as much as they seemingly do were it not for Tommy’s special purpose. (What do you think he is? Some kind of jerk?) They had fewer hits than Ratt but would Alice Cooper open for Ratt today? As the bank accounts of all four members grow, it’s the growth of an uncredited member that should take a bow. Well, maybe in few minutes. Not right now.
Does anyone have some hand sanitizer?