Motley Crue- Shout at the Devil 40th Anniversary- Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil

Even now on the fortieth anniversary of their breakthrough album Shout at the Devil, the Motley Crue moment is crystallized in my memory. After appearing earlier that afternoon on my Dallas/Ft.Worth radio show, Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil now was running from side to side at the front lip of their huge stage during a 1989 stop on their Dr.Feelgood  tour in front of 18,000 fans, everyone on their feet. Motley Crue is ripping through a pile-driving version of “Looks That Kill”, and from my vantage point on the  side stage floor, Vince ran straight at me out onto a wing which extends almost to the first loge of seats just above my head, which are occupied by row after row of dancing, innocent-looking young women. Suddenly, as Neil reached the edge of the stage closest to these wide-eyed young female fans, the girls simultaneously all lifted their tops to expose matched pairs of bare breasts. In that instant, Vince Neil dropped the wireless microphone from his face to his side and, looking down at me in breathless bewilderment and amazement, rolled his eyes as if to say,”Can you believe this is my life?” It wasn’t Spinal Tap. It was pure Groucho Marx.

Motley Crue as model citizens? Hardly. Harmless except to themselves? Mostly, but not to the friends and family of Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas”Razzle”Dingby, who paid with his life for riding with Vince Neil in 1985; or Tommy Lee ex-wife Pamela Anderson, who was kicked by Lee while she held their infant son ( Lee did four months in jail for assault ); nor harmless to the family of 4 year-old Daniel Karven-Veres, who drowned in Lee’s pool during a June 2001 birthday party. Essential to the evolution of rock music? Probably. It’s arguable that without Motley Crue and Guns’n’Roses, grunge bands including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden would not have had a reason to exist, or at least not in the same rock binge-and-purge way. Likable, funny guys those Crue characters? You bet, in that same lovable way that a puppy pees on your shoe as you are scratching his ear. You’ll hear when you listen to Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil with me this week In The Studio for  their four million-seller Shout at the Devil. – Redbeard