Ahen Mötley Crüe weren’t Mötley Crüe, in the very early 1980s, they were a band, like so many other bands, looking for fame and fame or at least a record label that would one day give them enough money to to no longer have to rely on scraping the mold off the moldy food in their contaminated kitchen. Back then, Mötley Crüe still lived in a house they called – well, creativity comes with the years – the Mötley Crüe house.
In the Mötley Crüe house, which was located directly on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, not only an insane amount of things happened, but also a lot of insane things. Tommy Lee, the drummer, the most beautiful man in the world and the epitome of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle par excellence, happily accepted a deal with a severely overweight groupie to sleep with her in exchange for her car, a Jaguar XJS – his absolute dream car! – should go, the carpet was full of burn marks because bassist Nikki Sixx had been set on fire to try and put on a show for the stage, and the Christmas tree that the band had stolen and put up was decorated with the underwear they left behind of the diverse lady visit, needles and shit draped. Yes, with shit. Later they simply set it on fire. And let’s not even talk about the kitchen and the food in the kitchen.
Rock’N’Roll is always the potential of the possible and in the Mötley Crüe house, Mötley Crüe recognized the endless possibilities that Rock’N’Roll’s boundless promise of freedom could offer them. It only took a few years for the band to go from being just another heavy metal band to becoming one of the most storied heavy metal bands around. They wore their hair backcombed, their trousers too tight, their eyeliner pulled perfectly and had long been inducted into the Hall of Fame at the end of the 1980s.
Not because they had the one hit or album that the world will ever remember, no, Mötley Crüe became one of the greatest rock bands imaginable because they were the epitome of rock ‘n’ roll themselves. They personified the (in their case un)holy trinity of sex and drugs and very loud music like no band before and no band since. A band born from the dirt of this world. Everything was loud and hard and dirty. And everything, really everything, was damn possible.
The face is marked by the excesses that he calls his life
That was forty years ago now. The world has changed. Rock’N’Roll has changed. But Mötley Crüe are still there. Somehow they survived everything. Madness, women, heroin and every now and then death. And now Mötley Crüe are back in town. Die town is only Mönchengladbach, but that doesn’t matter, because rock’n’roll is a universal language that is understood both on the Sunset Strip and in the more provincial part of the Rhine-Ruhr area and today, that’s where the Mötley Crüe world tour, the band just went to the open-air area of the so-called Sparkassen-Park.
It’s just before Pentecost weekend, the weather is fantastic, there’s the smell of beer and bratwurst in the air and the men present, who you could imagine at a biker meeting in exactly the same way, are wearing their robes and their proud bellies in front of them. The hot girls, who used to camp outside the band’s backstage rooms and hotel suites are still there today, the tattooed tribals have faded a bit, the skin is now orange, but that’s okay. Time goes by. What remains is a glimpse of better times.
Actually as a joint headliner, today demoted to the support act, Def Leppard heat up the audience a little. A little That’s pretty good, because Def Leppard give the impression on this evening that they are not Def Leppard, but a veteran Def Leppard cover band, which gives a full 70 percent at the folk festival in the neighboring village. The real energy doesn’t hit the stage until an hour later, in the form of Motley Crüe frontman Vince Neil. Neil is now 60 years old, the form is more of an unform, the face is marked by the excesses that he calls his life, but the will to show is so there and the shrill, haunting voice of the singer, it still works .
The band needs exactly one song, namely, the first Wild Side, and the peaceful festival character of the open-air show turns into a mangy cauldron. Everything is correct. Everything fits, the hair, the pants that are too tight, of course the eyeliner, but also the metal poses that are still staged.
There are places and moments that really shouldn’t exist anymore and the stage in Mönchengladbach will be such a place that evening. In the middle of the set, Tommy Lee comes out from behind his drum kit and greets them German Fansbut is saddened that he has seen “too few tits” that night, prompting numerous female fans to oblige and show him what he would like to see, as the cameras capture on location and broadcast to the big screens .
There’s a band on stage whose greatest achievement over the past 30 years has been simply surviving, putting on a show that seems like an anachronism – and being celebrated and almost canonized for it. Rock’N’Roll as the great promise of freedom – here in Mönchengladbach, it still works.
You have to imagine that, yes, exactly, unfortunately you really have to imagine that in this case, because we are not allowed to take pictures here, which in turn has to do with the strange notion of press understanding on the part of those responsible for the press. It’s very strange with the strange press woman from Livenation, but also part of the really big problem, because next to everything that took the breath away from the classic rock’n’roll that Mötley Crüe embody, are not least also organizer responsible. The capitalization of Rock’N’Roll in general and that of concerts in particular.
Capitalism is of course something great, because without the super-capitalistic impetus, which one never wanted to admit but also never really wanted to hide, heavy metal would never have become heavy metal, but every show that is played now is so well clocked that it there is no longer any freedom for artists who are simply artists. Puke on the stage. Fall off the stage. Or just find the stage a few hours late. That’s no longer possible today. Like so many things are no longer possible. Groupies, drug excesses, decorating Christmas trees with faeces? Doesn’t have to be. But opposition to the system we live in, wasn’t that always the core promise of rock music? It was hollowed out and is now just an empty phrase.
After his death, he immediately fired the next shot
On this evening, spectacularly enough, that doesn’t matter at all, because Mötley Crüe take the freedom they need even in the tight-fitting corset and thus show once again what an enormous potential rock’n’roll as a counterculture is based on. In a present that has marked narrow-mindedness as a fetish and freedom as an enemy, this is perhaps more necessary than one can imagine.
Political correctness, my ass! That’s the unkillable message that an unkillable band like Mötley Crüe still embodies today. The band stopped making new music a long time ago. They just tour. As if their mere presence would be enough to provide inspiration once again, to reconsider a concept such as counterculture and to redefine it.
On December 23, 1987, Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx died again. He was out and about with the guys from the bands he was friends with, Ratt and Guns’N’Roses, they trundled through the strip clubs in Hollywood and finally shifted the party to Slash’s hotel room, where they sniffed the finest Peruvian and Colombian export goods and mixed it up wildly Made up of alcohol, pills and heroin mixed up.
At some point, Nikki Sixx was dead. The others didn’t notice at first. Then they tried to revive him. Then they called an emergency service. He managed to bring the clinical dead back to life. As Sixx left the hospital, he saw two teenagers sitting around a candle mourning after hearing about his death on the radio. He let them drive him home and took the next shot.
It doesn’t matter, those who are said to be dead live longer, as is well known.
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