Heavy metal band Motley Crue, which was formed by bass guitarist Nikki Sixx (1981-present) and drummer Tommy Lee (1981-1999, 2004-present) in Los Angeles in 1981 and later recruited lead guitarist Mick Mars (1981-present) and lead singer Vince Neil (1981-1992, 1997-present), gained success with their platinum debut album “Too Fast For Love” (1981) and the subsequent multi platinum releases “Shout At The Devil” (1983), “Theatre Of Pain” (1985) and “Girls, Girls, Girls” (1987). Their fame reached its peak in 1989 with “Dr. Feelgood,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified 6x platinum by RIAA for selling more than six million units in the U.S. It won a 1990 American Music Award for Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album. The album produced five singles, including the Grammy nominated songs “Dr. Feelgood” (#6 on the Billboard Hot 100) and “Kickstart My Heart.” The band's popularity gradually declined following the departure of their lead singer in the early 1990s. Their first album with a new vocalist, “Motley Crue” (1994), only received gold certification. In an effort to reach the level of success that the band had achieved in the 1980s, Motley Crue was reunited with Neil in 1997 and released the No.4 hit “Generation Swine” (1997), which unexpectedly gave the group a gold record despite its strong charting debut. After “New Tattoo” (2000), they took a long break and did not perform with the original lineup until Lee rejoined the group in 2004. They have since enjoyed a renaissance thanks in part to the 2005 compilation album “Red, White & Crue,” which went platinum in the U.S. and the new studio album “Saints of Los Angeles” (2008, #4 in the U.S.), which spawned their third Grammy Award nominated single with the title track. In addition to 9 studio albums, Motley Crue has released 2 live albums, 6 compilation albums, 2 extended plays and 9 video albums. They have scored 25 singles.
Motley Crue, who once ranked number 29 on the VH1 list of “100 Greatest Hard Rock Artists,” was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording. The group also released a bestselling autobiography called “The Dirt” (2001). A film version of the book is set to be released in 2011 with Larry Charles sitting in the director's chair.
Childhood and Family:
Bass guitarist Nikki Sixx (born Frank Carlton Ferrana, Jr. on December 11, 1958) left the band London and teamed up with drummer Tommy Lee (born Thomas Lee Bass on October 3, 1962) and vocalist/guitarist Greg Leon (both previously worked together in a band called Suite 19) to form a new group on January 17, 1981. Leon, however, decided to leave the group. He was replaced by guitarist Mick Mars (born Robert Alan Deal on May 4, 1951). At the time, the trio did not have a name yet and settled on Motley Crue, a name suggested by Mars. After getting the name, the trio made attempts to recruit lead vocalist Vince Neil (born Vincent Neil Wharton on February 8, 1961), a former high school friend of Lee who at the time was a lead singer for the Los Angeles based group Rock Candy. Although Neil initially declined the offer, he eventually decided to join Motley Crue after the other members of Rock Candy began side projects.
After having performed together for over a decade, Neil left the band in February 1992 and was replaced by John Corabi (born on April 26, 1959), who would remain with the group until the band was reunited with Neil in 1997. Two years later, Lee took a break to pursue a solo career and the band hired Randy Castillo (born Randolpho Francisco Castillo on December 18, 1950), Ozzy Osbourne's drummer during the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, as Lee's replacement. Following the death of Castillo on March 26, 2002, (died of cancer) the group made no efforts to find a new drummer and went on a hiatus. The band resurfaced with the original lineup in 2004.
Saints of Los Angeles
Motley Crue released their first single, “Stick to Your Guns/Toast of the Town,” on their own record label, Leathür Record, which they founded with their first manager Allan Coffman. Their debut album, “Too Fast for Love,” was released independently on November 10, 1981, and produced by Michael Wagener. The album rose to No. 77 on the Billboard 200 and was eventually certified platinum by RIAA. The album included the lead single “Live Wire,” which later appeared on the soundtrack for the film “Charlie's Angels” (2000) and was named one of the “40 Greatest Metal Songs of All Time” (#17) by VH1 in 2005. In support of the album, the group embarked on a live performance during 1981 to 1982. They went on to tour Canada in 1982 in a show called “Cruesing Through Canada,” but the tour was a financial flop.
Elektra Records later took the group under their wings and re-released “Too Fast for Love” on August 20, 1982. After the group returned to California, Elektra also released the album “Shout at the Devil” on September 26, 1983. Produced by Tom Werman, the album charted at No. 17 in the U.S. and No. 23 in Canada. The song “Looks that Kill” rose to No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks. It also went to No. 18 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The next single, “Too Young to Fall in Love,” peaked at No. 90 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 17 on the Mainstream Rock tracks. The album also contained the instrumental “God Bless the Children of the Beast” (written by guitarist Mick Mars), the popular title track and a cover of The Beatles' “Helter Skelter,” among other tracks. “Shout at the Devil” was certified 4x platinum by RIAA after selling over four million copies in the U.S. By 1983, the band had changed their management to Doc McGhee, who was known for his work with Bon Jovi and Kiss. After touring the world in 1983 and 1984, they launched the third studio album “Theatre of Pain,” which was again produced by Werman, on June 21, 1985. The album, released in the wake of Neil's arrest for manslaughter on a drunk driving charge, marked another commercial success for the group. It rose to No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and charted in the U.K. (#36) and other European countries. It earned quadruple platinum certification in the U.S. on June 5, 1995, thanks to the hit singles “Smokin' In The Boys' Room” and “Home Sweet Home.” Their version of “Smokin' In The Boys' Room” went to No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “Home Sweet Home” charted at No. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100. Motley Crue headlined the “Welcome To The Theatre Of Pain Tour” (1985-1986) to support the album.
The fourth album, “Girls, Girls, Girls,” was released on May 15, 1987. Displaying their passion for whiskey, strip clubs and motorcycles and telling stories of abuse and sexual adventures, the album rocketed to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and achieved platinum status within just two months of its release. It went double platinum in September 1987 and eventually quadruple platinum in June 1995. “Girls, Girls, Girls” produced the singles “Girls, Girls, Girls” (#12 U.S. Hot 100, #20 U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks, #26 U.K.), “Wild Side” and “You're All I Need” (#83 U.S., #23 U.K.). In support of the album, they embarked on the “Girls, Girls, Girls World Tour 87/88.”
After performing in the Moscow Music Peace Festival, which was held in Moscow in August 1989 with other high profile hard rock acts like Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row, Motley Crue topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart with the fifth album “Dr. Feelgood,” which was released on September 1, 1989. Marking the band's first album after their goal of becoming sober, the album became the group's bestselling release with over six million units sold in the U.S. It has been certified 6x platinum by RIAA. “Dr. Feelgood” was also a No. 4 hit in the U.K. and won a 1991 American Music for Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album. The first single, “Dr. Feelgood,” (released on August 28, 1989) became the band's first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 (#6) and their first and only gold single in the U.S. The song was nominated for a 1990 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. The band received their next Grammy nomination for the second single “Kickstart My Heart,” which rose to No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 18 on the Mainstream Rock tracks. The song's video was nominated for a 1990 MTV Music Video for Best Heavy Metal Video. The album also produced the Billboard Hot 100 hits “Without You” (#8), “Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)” (#19) and “Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)” (#78). The group followed the album with the highly successful tour “Dr. Feelgood World Tour '89–'90,” which ran from October 1989 to September 1990.
On October 19, 1991, Motley Crue launched the compilation album “Decade of Decadence,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and was certified double platinum by RIAA. The remix version of “Home Sweet Home” peaked at No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. After the album's release, Neil left the group in February 1992. With new vocalist John Corabi, the group released an eponymous album on March 15, 1994. The album debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and earned gold status in the U.S. in May 1994. “Motley Crue” spawned two Mainstream Rock track hits with the songs “Hooligan's Holiday” (#10, also #36 U.K.) and “Misunderstood” (#24).
Motley Crue was reunited with Vince Neil in 1997 and released “Generation Swine” on June 24, 1997. Produced by Scott Humphrey, it debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and went gold within two months of its release. Despite the solid charting debut, the album was unable to return the band to the level of commercial and critical success that had been expected for the reunion. The lead single, “Afraid,” made the Top 10 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts and charted at No. 58 in the U.K. The follow up single, “Beauty,” only peaked at No. 37 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. After the failure of “Generation Swine,” the group parted ways with Elektra Records in early 1998.
The second compilation album, “Greatest Hits,” was released in 1998 under Motley Records, which is currently distributed by Hip-O Records and the Universal Music Group. The album went gold in the U.S. It was followed by the compilation album “Supersonic and Demonic Relics” on June 29, 1999, and a live album, “Live: Entertainment or Death,” on November 23, 1999. “New Tattoo,” a follow up to “Generation Swine,” was launched on July 11, 2000. Their first studio album for Motley Records and their first with drummer Randy Castillo, it debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 41 and sank shortly thereafter. It yielded one charted single on the Billboard Mainstream Rock called “Hell On High Heels” (#13). Motley Crue was set to begin their tour in support of their album when Castillo fell ill and eventually died in 2002. He was replaced by Hole drummer Samantha Maloney on the 2000 tour. After “New Tattoo Japan Tour 2000” (2000), the group took a long break.
While Motley Crue was on hiatus, Sixx played in the bands Brides of Destruction and 58 while Neil toured as a solo artist, performing primarily Motley Crue songs. Mars, who was diagnosed with a rare hereditary form of arthritis, chose to withdraw from the public eye in 2001. It was also in 2001 that the autobiography “The Dirt” was first published. Written by the band's members with the aid of New York Times writer Neil Strauss, the book was on the New York Times Bestseller list for four weeks.
Motley Crue was reunited in 2004 and began their reunion tour in February the following year. The group’s fifth compilation album, “Red, White & Crue,” was launched on February 1, 2005, and earned platinum status in the U.S. and double platinum in Canada. It contained three new studio recordings, the lead single “If I Die Tomorrow” (#4 U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks), “Sick Love Song” (#22 U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks) and “Street Fighting Man,” a cover of the Rolling Stones. The live album “Carnival of Sins Live,” which was recorded from the group's 2005-2006 “Carnival of Sins” tour, followed in 2006. They went on to hit the road with the “Route of All Evil Tour” (with Aerosmith) in 2006, “Mötley Crüe Tour” and “Crüe Fest” (with Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Sixx:A.M. and Trapt) in 2007.
The album “Saints of Los Angeles” was released in Japan on June 17, 2008, and the U.S. on June 24, 2008. It debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and sold about 99,000 copies in the first week of its release. The album also made the top 10 in Canada (#3), Finland (#6), New Zealand (#8) and Sweden (#5). The title track peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks, becoming the group’s second highest charting single on the chart after “If I Die Tomorrow” and was nominated for a 2009 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance, their first Grammy nomination in 18 years. In support of the album, the band toured throughout 2008 and 2009. In the summer of 2009, they headlined the “Crüe Fest 2” tour.
Recently, in 2010, Motley Crue performed in “The Dead of Winter Canadian Tour.”
American Music: Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album, “Dr. Feelgood,” 1991