L-R: Neil, Sixx, Mars and Lee
"When we started this band, all we needed
Needed was a laugh
Years gone by, I'd say we've kicked some ass
When I'm enraged or hittin' the stage
Adrenaline rushing through my veins
And I say, we're still kickin' ass
So ooh-ahh, kickstart my heart, hope it never stops
And to think we did all of this to rock
—Kickstart My Heart
e is a Hard Rock
band formed in and popular in The Eighties
by drummer Tommy Lee and bassist Nikki Sixx, joined by guitarist Mick Mars and lastly by singer Vince Neil. Like most of their contemporaries from the Glam era, they were probably more well known for their sleazy, sordid antics
than their music: during their first tour in Canada they were banned from Edmonton for carrying "dangerous weapons" (their stage spikes) and "indecent material" (Neil's porn) though customs, got accused of a bomb threat and threw a TV out the window of their hotel (all publicity stunts). They rose to international fame on the release of Shout At The Devil
, Theater of Pain
and Girls, Girls, Girls
, receiving heavy rotation on MTV
and selling millions of copies. Sixx has overdosed on heroin over a dozen times, three times near-fatal
(the first of these in which he was declared dead for a minute
, inspired the song Kickstart My Heart
In 1989, in light of Sixx's near-fatal overdose -at the plea of their managers- the band cancelled their tour of Europe and went into rehab (except for Mars, who cleaned up on his own). Finding sobriety and quiting drugs, the band recorded their highly successful Dr. Feelgood
, getting a Grammy nomination for Kickstart My Heart
and the title track. The band's popularity declined in the wake of the 90's and the Grunge
movement like it did for all the band of their kind. Neil quit/was fired (he maintains he was fired, Lee says he quit) from the band in 1992, being replaced by John Corabi who recorded the disappointing Mötley Crüe
. They reunited in 1997 to record Generation Swine
, receiving lackluster sales in part thanks to bad support from their label, Elektra records, ultimately prompting the band to form their own label, Mötley records (this made them one of the few bands at the time to have total control over their own publishing, recording and back catalog).
In 1999, Lee left to pursue a solo career. His replacement, Randy Castillo recorded New Tattoo
with the band before dying of cancer while on tour, and with no replacement set, they went into hiatus. During this time, they released an autobiography, The Dirt
, Lee started the Nu Metal
band Methods of Mayhem and married Pamela Anderson (divorced and re-married multiple times), Neil toured as an on-and-off solo artist, Sixx played in several other bands and Mars went into recluse
due to his inflammatory spinal arthritis *
Since 2005, the band announced their reunion tour, has co-headlining with Aerosmith
in 2006 (a true irony
, see below), and has run a small circuit in Europe. The group released their return-to-form
album Saints of Los Angeles
in 2008, for which they received a Grammy nomination for the title track. They started their personal summer tour Crüe Fest
with Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Trapt and Sixx:A.M. (Sixx's side-project) opening, becoming the most successful festival of the summer. Crüe Fest 2
featured Theory of a Deadman, Drowning Pool
, Charm City Devils and Godsmack (Godsmack singer Sully Erna appeared in the Crüe video for White Trash Circus). Although there are plans to turn their 2001 autobiography The Dirt
into a feature film, the project has been stuck in Development Hell
for several years.
Not to be confused with that other kind of motley crew
- Too Fast for Love - 1981
- Shout at the Devil - 1983
- Theatre of Pain - 1985
- Girls, Girls, Girls - 1987
- Raw Tracks (EP) - 1988
- Dr. Feelgood - 1989
- Decade of Decadence - 1991: part Greatest Hits Album, part compilation; features multiple remixes, covers, a live performance and unreleased songs. Out of print.
- Mötley Crüe 1994
- Quaternary, an EP made of leftovers (originally its possible title) from Mötley Crüe. Out of print.
- Generation Swine - 1997
- Greatest Hits: Has two new songs.
- Supersonic and Demonic Relics - 1999, Jun: Made up of unreleased tracks, demos, rare material, four songs from Quaternary and five songs from Decade of Decadence.
- Live: Entertainment or Death - 1999, Nov:
- New Tattoo - 2000
- The Millennium Collection: The Best of Mötley Crüe - 2003, Oct: The first true Greatest Hits Album, released as a part of Universal's Millennium Collection*; it contains no new material.
- Music to Crash Your Car to: Vol. 1 - 2003, Nov: A box-set with several remixes, demos and live shows.
- Loud as F@*k - 2004, Apr: A box-set that comes with a music video DVD.
- Music to Crash Your Car to: Vol. 2 - 2004, Jun: The second box-set, containing live recordings, demos, remixes, the rest of Quaternary and the rest of Decade of Decadence.
- Red, White & Crüe - 2005: Two-disc Greatest Hits Album containing three unreleased songs*, a few remixes, some shorter radio versions of their hits, their cover of Smokin in the Boys Room from Decade of Decadence, one Japanese-release-only song, and a cover of The Rolling Stones' Street Fighting Man.
- Carnival of Sins Live - 2006
- Saints of Los Angeles - 2008
- Greate$t Hit$ - 2009: Contains one remix of The Animal in Me and the earliest print of the album had a second disc, Crüe Fest 2: Behind The Scenes.
- Vince Neil: Vocals, occasional guitar
- Tommy Lee: Drums, piano, backing vocals.*
- Nikki Sixx: Bass, lyrics, backing vocals
- Mick Mars: Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, mandolin, sitar, occasional backing vocals
- John Corabi: Vocals Guitar, Bass
- Was selected for his deeper voice, but became the Replacement Scrappy.
- Randy Castillo: Drums
- Recruited at the recommendation of Sixx's then-girl friend, Lita Ford. Previously played on Ford's album Dancin' On The Edge, and later in Ozzy Osbourne's band between The Ultimate Sin - No More Tears.
"Tröpes, Tröpes, Tröpes":
- All Drummers Are Animals: Tommy Lee has possibly the wildest reputation of anyone in the band, which is saying something.
- Alliterative Name: Mick Mars
- Anime Hair: Sixx, managing to pull off a real-life example of this.
- Awesome McCoolname: Sixx, Mars, the whole band, really.
- Back from the Dead: Er, kinda.... Sixx was declared dead for two minutes after overdosing on heroin in the 80s, only to be revived by two adrenaline shots to the heart. Then he wrote "Kickstart My Heart" about the incident.
- Bikini Bar: "Girls, Girls, Girls"
- Breakup Song: "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)"
- Canon Discontinuity: The fans of the band, and even the band members themselves, like to pretend that the self-titled 1994 album and Generation Swine never happened.
- Chorus Girls: "Girls, Girls, Girls"
- Cluster F-Bomb: A concert staple.
- Cool Bike: They love this trope.
- They pose mounted on some on the cover of Girls Girls Girls.
- Cover Version: Better known are "Helter Skelter" (The Beatles) on Shout at the Devil, "Jailhouse Rock" (Elvis Presley) as an extra track on Girls Girls Girls, "Anarchy in the UK" (Sex Pistols) on Decade of Decadence and Demonic and Supersonic (later live on Carnival of Sins),"White Punks on Dope" (The Tubes) on New Tattoo, and "Smokin' in the Boys Room" (Brownsville Station) on Theatre of Pain.
"Is this the PMRC
Or is this the DEA
Or is this the CIA
I thought it was the U.S.A."
- Darker and Edgier: Shout at The Devil
- Dr. Feelgood: The Trope Namer.
- Domestic Abuser: Tommy Lee did jail time for abusing his ex-wife Pamela Anderson and was also arrested for abusing his ex-fiance Bobbi Brown. Vince Neil has been accused of violence against women on numerous occasions.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Aerosmith was inspired by their high heels, teased hair and heavy make-up (and their constant use of the word "Dude") to write the Trope Namer, specifically about Vince Neil. They were right, you know◊.
- Fourth Date Marriage: Tommy Lee met Pamela Anderson at a party in February, 1995. 4 days later they were married.
- Gallows Humor: See YMMV entry.
- The Garfunkel: Somehow, the lead guitarist (who tries to cultivate a mysterious image).
- There's also the fact that Mick is rather uncomfortable being the center of attention. He is, and always has been, a very private person.
- Radio and TV host Eddie Trunk states in his book Eddie Trunk's Essential Guide To Hard Rock & Heavy Metal that Mars can actually get pretty talkative if interviewers (ie himself) go out of their way to engage him, which he notes is a rare occurrence.
- Great Balls Of Fire: A Crüe show wouldn't be complete without it.
- Greatest Hits Album: The Crüe loves putting out greatest hits compilations. So far they have released five greatest hits albums and three box sets.
- Groupie Brigade: Just read The Dirt. Good lord...
- Hair Metal: One of the all-time definitive examples.
- Handicapped Badass: Mick Mars. See Heroic Willpower.
- Heavy Meta: While the entirety of the song isn't about this (see Back from the Dead), the break in "Kickstart My Heart" (quoted at the top) qualifies. It could be said that, being a break in a song that otherwise ranks high on the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness, this could be the part where Sixx's life started flashing before his eyes. Also doubles as a Badass Boast.
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: In this case, not for the sake of metal; they were drinking Löwenbräur while they were thinking of a name (one of Mars' previous bands had a member call the group "a motley looking crew").
- Heroic Willpower: Mick Mars. seriously, dude looks ancient, has a very debilitating form of arthritis and his entire lower spine is fused solid, does he let that stop him from playing guitar? hell. no.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, nicknamed the "Terror Twins".
- Home Porn Movie: In the late 1990s a sex tape featuring Tommy Lee and his then-wife Pamela Anderson was stolen from their home and sold to a pornographic video distributor, causing a huge stir in the entertainment media. The Lees sued the distributor and attempted to get the video taken off the internet, but failed.
- Similarly, Vince Neil made a sex tape in which he had a threesome with porn star Janine Lindemulder (you likely know her as the nurse on the cover of blink-182's Enema of the State) and Penthouse Pet Brandy Ledford. As with Tommy Lee's video, it was leaked and found its way to the internet.
- Intercourse with You: Their love of groupies and strip clubs have always been a strong theme in their lyrics (and everything else they do).
- Lead Bassist: Nikki Sixx is a Type C. He, along with Tommy Lee, was responsible for founding the band. Nikki also does most of the songwriting for the Motley Crue.
- Lighter and Softer: Theatre of Pain, which is noticably softer and more mainstream than Too Fast For Love and Shout at the Devil.
- Long Runner Line Up: The original crew. Amazing that they lived long enough to qualify.
- Made of Iron: Every original member of the band. During the peak of their popularity they all did incredible amounts of alcohol and drugs in addition to indulging in other forms of reckless behavior. Yet they're all still alive.
- Myspeld Rökband: See the explanation on Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut.
- Ode To Sobriety: "Kickstart My Heart" is a type 1, as is "Dr. Feelgood".
- Power Ballad: Several of them, but the most famous one by far is "Home Sweet Home." During the peak of the song's popularity MTV was receiving so many requests to play the music video that they enacted a rule that it could only be played once per hour.
- Rated M for Manly: Take away the outfits (which they've abandoned) and it's guy music.
- Sanity Slippage Song
- Sex Drugs And Rock And Roll: The Crue were infamous for their backstage antics and the debauchery of their personal lives. In the band's autobiography The Dirt Nikki Sixx even admits that during the 1980s they were trying to establish a reputation as the wildest and most out-of-control rock band on the planet. In order to accomplish this they drank heavily, did every drug they could find, and had sex with every groupie in sight. But after Nikki died of a heroin overdose (thankfully a paramedic was able to revive him via two adrenaline shots to the heart) the band's management convinced them to enter rehab and sober up.
- Shot to the Heart: The song "Kickstart My Heart" was supposedly inspired by Nikki being revived by an adrenaline shot to the heart after almost dying of a heroin overdose.
- Stage Names: Neil and Lee shortened their names a bit, while Mick Mars is Robert Allan Deal and Nikki Sixx is Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna, Jr. (Sixx has been his legal name since 1975).
- The Tyson Zone: A full list of the controversies surrounding them would probably take up most of this page.
- Title Only Chorus: TONS of them, and it's just as likely to happen no matter how long the title. Better-known examples include "Shout At The Devil" and "Too Young To Fall In Love."
- Villain Protagonist: Jimmy in "Dr. Feelgood", a drug dealer whose nickname is the song's (and album's) title.
- What The Hell Is That Accent: Mick Mars at the end of "Kickstart My Heart"