I just finished reading the book The Dirt, a semi-autobiography of the 80’s band Motley Crue. It’s a great read that is pretty mesmorizing. All four band members write about their childhood, the crazy period where they become the most famous band in America and then the post-fame period where they turn to drugs and amazingly hot chicks.
The middle section of the book is how the Crue got from a great live act to becoming a hit. They were constantly selling out shows on the LA Strip but none of the record labels wanted to sign them to a record deal. This was the early 80’s and the entire industry thought that New Wave was the thing to be and Rock was dead. A 20-year old intern at Electra convinced the head of A&R to let him sign them. They then rel-released their first album and went on the next year to sell 5 million records. Even with that success, the label wanted to drop them because they didn’t like their image. After the next year when they were the top selling artist of the year did Electra decide to stick with them.
Throughout the book Nikki Sixx emerges as the only one who understood what the band’s direction was. He wrote most of the songs and consciously decided they should be a crossover from hard rock to mainstream. He also seems to be the glue that held the band together. He also was dating Lita Ford for most of their early days but eventually broke up when they went on tour for 18 months. They toured with Ozzy, who was even crazier than they were. He eventually married Baywatch star Donna D’Errico.
You also read how much drugs they took in both their early days. They were constantly doing coke, heroin, and anything else they could get their hands on. As a result they destroyed almost everything in the path and they hooked up with anything that moved. Both Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee overdosed and almost died, Vince Neil got into 3 drunk driving accidents, and Mick is a full-blown alcoholic even today.
You also read about Tommy Lee’s marraige to Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson (who he dated for only 4 days before they were married). Also about Vince’s solo band and all the tragedies they’ve encountered along the way.
The beginning is pure rock and roll and the end is just sad. You would never think that their lives would be so hard but they all really struggle just to make it day to day. I guess a bunch of ego and booze and drugs will do that to you.
Note: i just saw here they’re making a movie from the book with Val Kilmer and Christopher Walker rumored to play Ozzy and David Lee Roth.