Motley Crüe (formed 1981)
Motley Crüe was originally founded by Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee. The band has sold over 72 million albums around the world and all of the original band members contributed to their best-selling autobiography The Dirt.
Motley Crüe: The Early Years
On 17.1.1981, Nikki Sixx left the band London and started to rehearse with Tommy Lee and Greg Leon (guitar / vocals). Greg and Tommy had previously played together in a band called Suite 19. Leon eventually left the band and Tommy and Nikki recruited Mick Mars.
Tommy Lee had known Vince Neil since high school and after several requests for Neil to join the band, he finally agreed.
The band's first release was 'Stick To Your Guns / Toast of the Town'. In November 1981, the debut album Too Fast for Love was released on their own label, Leathür. The album sold 20,000 copies and their popularity on the LA club scene eventually led to the band signing a contract with Elektra in 1982.
Motley Crüe: The Breakthrough and the Notoriety
The 1982 'Crüesing Through Canada' Tour saw the band involved in a number of highly publicised incidents. Motley Crüe were arrested at Edmonton International Airport when they saw that Vince's carry-on bag was crammed with porn magazines and for wearing their spiky stage costumes through Customs. Both incidents were PR stunts.
Secondly, there was an alleged bomb threat against the band when they played at Scandals Disco in Edmonton. However, this incident was also a PR stunt. The band was finally banned for life from the city when Tommy threw a television from a hotel window.
During the 1980s, Motley Crüe was as well known for their backstage antics with drugs and groupies as they were for their music. However, their mix of glam rock and heavy metal produced a number of best-selling albums, including Shout at the Devil (1983), Theatre of Pain (1985) and Girls, Girls, Girls (1987).
In 1984, Vince Neil was charged with 'driving under the influence' (of alcohol) and 'vehicular manslaughter' and sentenced to 30 days in jail, for a crash that killed his passenger, Nicholas 'Razzle' Dingley, the drummer in Hanoi Rocks. The band later released box sets entitled Music To Crash Your Car To.
Three years later, Sixx was declared dead on the way to hospital when he suffered a heroin overdose. However, one medic refused to give up on him and gave him two shots of adrenalin to the heart and revived him. The incident was the inspiration for the song 'Kickstart My Heart', from the album Doctor Feelgood (1989) which reached number 16 in the US charts. Shortly prior to the album's release, the band had been ordered into rehab and they have stated that their newfound sobriety had a positive influence on their music.
In 1991, the band released Decade of Decadence for their fans as a stopgap whilst they worked on new material. The album reached number two on the Billboard 200 chart. The next year, Vince Neil left the band. The departure is surrounded by confusion as Neil says he was fired, whereas Sixx claims that he quit. He was replaced by John Corabi. Their self-titled album of 1994 hit the top ten, but the band's commercial success had hit a downward spiral.
In 1997, the original line-up was reunited and the band released Generation Swine. The album reached number four in the charts but Elektra provided little support for the album so Motley Crüe left the label and set up their own, Motley Records.
Tommy left the band in 1999 and was replaced by Ozzy Osbourne's drummer, Randy Castillo, who died of cancer in 2002. Randy was then replaced by Samantha Maloney, who had previously drummed with Hole.
In 2001, the band's autobiography, The Dirt, made the New York Times bestseller list.
Motley Crüe: The Reunion
In 2004, an English promoter, Mags Revell instigated another Motley Crüe reunion. In February 2005, they embarked on a tour that started in Puerto Rico. The album Red, White and Crüe was released later that year. Rumours started that neither Tommy nor Mick actually played on the album, which achieved platinum status.