No book has ever managed to bring me back in time the way Mötley Crüe and Neil Strauss' The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band did. Yes, it doesn't make me any younger, I know. But in high school and college, there were four bands that drove me wild: Kiss, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Mötley Crüe.
As soon as I read the first page, I was immediately brought back in time. To the evening of June 15th, 1990, to be exact. I had just turned 16 the month before and this was going to be my first live concert ever. It was also the finals week at school and I had a physics exam the next morning. And my dad warned me that if I failed that exam, I would never be allowed to attend a hard rock/heavy metal concert again for as long as I lived under his roof.
But I couldn't care less, for in a few hours I was going to see two of my teenage heroes, Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, play live in front of me. After hitting number one on the Billboard charts the year before, the Dr. Feelgood tour had finally come to Canada and the band was playing in front of a sold out crowd of more than 18,000 fans at the old Montreal Forum. We took the subway to the Atwater station, my friends Simon, Sylvain, Jean-François, and I, and we felt like we were on top of the world. The first thing I did was buy a tour T-shirt that said:
Loudest tour on Earth
Dr. Feelgood World Tour
After being forced to listen to the crap Tesla were playing for about an hour, the interlude between the opening act and the headliners felt like it was taking forever. And then, the lights went out. And when Mick Mars started playing the intro to Kickstart my Heart, I don't believe I've ever been this excited or screamed louder in my entire life. The 90 minutes or so of music which followed made us all experience the sort of euphoria that only a concert like that can generate.
Over the following years, I would see countless shows in various venues, from tiny clubs to the violent riot that followed the Guns N' Roses travesty at the Olympic Stadium. But nothing made an impression on me the way Mötley Crüe did that night.
And when I started reading this book, I felt like that teenager again. I couldn't help it and had no choice but to use my Mötley Crüe CDs as a soundtrack for this reading experience.
Simply put: The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band made for one of the most enjoyable reading experiences of my life! Sex, drugs, and rock and roll like you've never seen before!
Here's the blurb:
After six multi-platinum albums, seven consecutive Billboard Top 20 albums, and four Billboard Top Ten singles, Motley Crue are the undisputed heavyweight champs of rock music. Since the '80s they've been the voice of a barely pubescent Generation X, the anoited High Priests of pentagram rock, pioneers of Hollywood Glam and the creators of MTV's first "power ballad". Their ravenous sexual appetites consumed celebrities from Heather Locklear to Pamela Anderson to Lita Ford, while their legendary scuffles involved everyone from Axl Rose to 2 Live Crew. Now, for the first time, the most influential, enduring and iconic rock band of the 1980s reveals everything in a tell-all of epic proportions. They've collected automatic weapons, pushed the envelope of total drug abuse and dreamt up backstage antics that would make Ozzy Osbourne blanch with modesty. They are the trailblazers of modern excess. Provocatively written and brilliantly designed, this book includes never-before-seen photos and behind-the-scenes paraphernalia. Whether you're a fan of Motley Crue, a fan of rock'n'roll or just a fan of outrageously bad behaviour, you owe it to yourself to read this book - and experience the madness first hand.
If you are a child of the 80s and you have experienced the hard rock and heavy metal scene of that decade and the 90s, you are aware that all these rock and roll bands were comprised of the usual bad boys. Hence, since the members of Mötley Crüe were known far and wide as the Bad Boys of Rock and Roll, it does give you an idea of how outrageous they could be. As a fan of the band for years, I thought I knew a thing or two about how bad and how mad Vince, Mick, Nikki, and Tommy were. Believe you me: You have no idea just how bad these guys were.
First of all, I had no idea how well-written this book would turn out to be. Neil Strauss is a music writer for the NYT and I love his style. Having read/watched countless interviews with the band, I wasn't expecting that level of quality as far as the writing is concerned. And yet, the narrative recounting the wildest days of what could well be the wildest rock and rock band in the history of music, grabs hold of you and draws you into this unrepentant biography that is impossible to put down, no matter if you are a Mötley Crüe fan or not.
I was afraid that this would just be a "we don't give a fuck" look back at the heydays of the band, that they would use this work to glorify their despicable behavior and decadent deeds. Far from it, to my surprise. The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band is an incredibly detailed account of four notorious musicians, but throughout the book you understand that in retrospect, far from the fame and fortune that used to be theirs, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, and Tommy Lee aren't proud and are often ashamed of the way they used to conduct themselves.
I also liked the fact that the structure of the book doesn't simply focus on the periods during which the band sold millions of records everywhere around the world and played in front of sold out crowds every night. Indeed, nearly half of the book focuses on Mötley Crüe's fall from grace after the multi-platinum album Decade of Decadence and its popular tour. Every part of the book is split into POV sections in which the four members reminisce about the events that marked those particular periods of the band's history.
I was shocked by how sensitive and emotional the writing can get at times. Vince Neil's chapter in which he relates the death of his young daughter made my eyes water. Understandably, this is a work that relies on the shock-value of many of its revelations to make an impression. Still, as entertaining as the book can be, there are touching moments throughout.
I've rarely read a more entertaining and interesting work. A "must read" for all rock and roll fans out there! And for Crüe fans, it's Vince, Tommy, Nikki, and Mick like you've never seen them before!
The Bad Boys of Rock and Roll -- always and forever!
The final verdict: 10/10
For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe
And if you are one of the 80 million people who bought a Mötley Crüe record at some point, take out that lighter and hold it up high as you watch the video that made all the girls cry!