Today is the 56th birthday of Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, and to honor the occasion, let’s look at some fascinating facts about the band he’s played with for over three decades. Prepare yourself for epic tales of drugs, drinking, and debauchery, as we explore the deep, dark history of Motley Crue. You may want to shower before and after you read this.
1. They made one album without Vince Neil, and it didn’t do particularly well.
Vince Neil left the band in the early 90s to pursue a solo career, and the band replaced him with John Corabi, who had previously performed with The Scream. They would release one album, 1994’s self-titled effort, which contained the minor hit “Hooligan’s Holiday.” The album was panned by critics, and three years later, Neil returned for 1997’s Generation Swine.
2. Several strip clubs are mentioned in “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
The title track to 1987’s Girls, Girls, Girls has become one of the most enduring strip club anthems ever. And several actual establishments are mentioned in the lyrics, including: The Body Shop, The Marble Arch, The Tropicana (where Vince lost his heart), The Dollhouse (in Fort Lauderdale), the Seventh Veil, the Crazy Horse, and Tattletales in Atlanta. One can only assume these clubs benefited from all that free advertising the Crue gave them.
3. Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx had a bet over who could go the longest without showering and still score with a groupie.
The band’s exploits with groupies has been well-documented, but this might be the most fascinating detail: Lee and Sixx’s wager to see who could go the longest without showering and still hook up. The wager ended after an unfortunate incident involving vomit and spaghetti which would prove to inspire the title of the Guns ‘N Roses album The Spaghetti Incident. I would recount the details (you can read them here if you like), but let’s just say that if that happened to me, I probably would have taken a shower, too.
4. Samantha Maloney was the band’s only female member.
In the late 90s, Tommy Lee left the Crue to focus on his solo career, leaving a vacancy at the drums. The band would replace him with Randy Castillo, who would play on the 2000 album New Tattoo. However, when Castillo became ill, he was replaced with Samantha Maloney, who would play on the New Tattoo tour and subsequent live DVD. She would remain in the band until Tommy Lee’s return in 2004. One can only wonder if it was awkward playing “Girls, Girls, Girls” in front of her.
5. Vince Neil accidentally killed Hanoi Rock drummer Nick “Razzle” Dingley in a car accident.
This is one of the darkest moments in the Crue’s history. On December 8, 1984, Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley was a passenger in a car driven by Vince Neil. The pair, who were already drunk decided to make a run to the liquor store. Neil crashed his car into another vehicle, killing Dingley in the process. he would serve just 30 days in jail for the incident, later stating that he deserved a more severe sentence, and that his wealth allowed him to get off easy.
6. The original lineup reunited in 2004.
After being away for nearly seven years, Lee rejoined the band in 2004, and the group would announce their formal reunion in December of that year. This would lead to the massively successful Carnival Of Sins tour, as well as the 2008 release Saints Of Los Angeles, which would ultimately prove to be the band’s final album.
7. The band is calling it quits for good, with their current tour being their last.
Ok, so plenty of bands claim that whatever tour their currently on is going to be their last, but Motley Crue seemed intent to make it stick: they signed a Cessation of Touring agreement before embarking on their current tour, which will end in 2015. So, if you want to see the Crue one last time, I would suggest heading to one of these shows. This seems like the rare farewell tour that won’t lead to yet another reunion a few years down the line.
8. Nikki Sixx discussed his addiction in his book The Heroin Diaries.
No member of Motley Crue was more open about his issues with drug addiction than Sixx, who chronicled his heroin addiction in the 2007 book The Heroin Diaries. The book focuses on a year of Sixx’s life that took place between 1986 and 1987. In 2008, his band Sixx: Am released The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack as a musical companion to the book.
9. When the band ran out of heroin, they would shoot whiskey into their veins.
Motley Crue’s struggles with drug addictions both during and after their 80s heyday have been well-chronicled. But this might be the most severe indicator of how serious their problems were: they would shoot Jack Daniels into their veins. When you’re so desperate for a high that you take that measure, rehab is probably a good idea.
10. This year, the world of Nashville paid tribute to the band.
Apparently, Motley Crue has a bigger following in the world of country that we might expect, judging by the release of the country tribute album Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue. The album features Rascal Flatts taking on “Kickstart My Heart,” while Darius Rucker handles “Time For A Change.” If you’re curious to see what a countrified version of the Crue might sound like, it’s at least worth one listen.