Motley Crue the Final Tour
On April 24, 1981, Mötley Crüe played their first two shows at the Starwood in West Hollywood, Calif., opening for San Francisco’s Y&T. Tonight, they are back in Los Angeles to play their final show at the Staples Center. To mark the occasion, here’s an excerpt from Martin Popoff’s book, Kickstart My Heart A Mötley Crüe Day-By-Day, a wild trip through the band’s 35-year career.
Perhaps there’s no heavy metal band so much a Sunset strip rock-dawg cliché as the four mutts of Mötley. And once that’s said, it’s easy to frame Vince, Mick, Nikki, and Tommy as the heavy metal cartoon characters most associated with the ’80s, each—bless their hearts—character offering endless hours of fun by proxy, each living lives so fast and flash that, if positives be proffered, they were beloved by millions as inspiration toward . . . I dunno, taking no shit or something like that.
But all through that neon decade, you couldn’t miss the Mötley guys, that’s for sure. And let’s not forget, in 1981, they were in a sense leaders. Loud and large guitar rock had died a death the world over, with the wilting and/or end of (to name a few) Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, Kiss, Uriah Heep, Boston, Rush, Derringer, Starz, Montrose, and Rainbow. One bridge band lit like a comet across the punk and postpunk breach and that was Van Halen. An aberration . . . I don’t know where to even put them . . . let’s just bow for a moment of silence.
Move into the ’80s, and LA had a bunch of baby Van Halens that no one would sign—but then came Mötley, and this is where Nikki, as visionary, was at the leading edge of hard rock, arguably for the first and last time. Frankly, Too Fast for Love was the first hair metal album, with most similar slabs not coming for fully two more years. But it was a record
with a kooky depth. The lead singer had twang, the guitarist, way too much dirty power for the sweet songs written, and then welling up from the rhythm section was a breathing, organic open architecture.
This band had more in common with Van Halen and the Who than pretty lead singers; there was a loose life to the tracks that instantly connected with the LA underground starved for something more electric hot plate than the ridiculous preciousness of skinny tie new wave, which didn’t even offer the guitars of punk. And there’s nothing more exciting than a buzz band pushed up on top of the police cars by the people, and that’s what Mötley were.
The book is available wherever books are sold and at the Backbeat Books website. Click here to learn more!