It was pointed out to me recently how “Generation Swine” and “Saints Of Los Angeles” both came out on June 24, 11 years apart.
How fortunes can change for a band in a decade?
Before 1997, Motely Crue was riding high after “Dr Feelgood”. They renegotiated their Elektra contract for a lot of money and dropped “Decade Of Decadence” with 3 new studio recordings. Life was good.
And then Vince left or was fired (depending on whose story you believe). Regardless, the Crue got Corabi and delivered a stellar self-titled album in 94. But it didn’t sell the way Elektra wanted it too, and since they were footing the bills, they wanted the blond guy back in. Yep, Elektra Records A&R in 1995, referred to Vince Neil as the blond guy.
The Crue camp remained defiant and went ahead writing songs for an album to be called “Personality #9” with Corabi. But money wins in the end and Corabi was out and Vince was back in.
It’s never been confirmed, but the Chinese whispers were in full voice, and the story doing the rounds mentioned how Corabi’s wage was coming from the other guys. Basically, Elektra paid Nikki, Tommy and Mick. Management took their cut, legal took their cut, Corabi got paid a wage and the rest was shared between the other three based on the band agreement.
By 1996, Metallica had gone all glammed up artsy gothic, Megadeth put on flannelettes, Bon Jovi became a balladeer, NIN was becoming a force to be reckoned with, Pearl Jam was at the height of their powers and a band called Smashing Pumpkins was starting to smash the charts around them.
So where did Motley Crue fit into this?
I think even the guys in the band were not sure as well, because when “Generation Swine” came out, you heard it was a confused album.
A few streets away from where I lived, we had this mad super Crue fan called Tony G and when this album came out, we all purchased it on the same day, went home to listen and then met at a park down the road. No one said if they liked it or didn’t. Then Tony G turns up. I asked him what he thought of the album.
“It’s a load of crap”, he screamed. And that was that, we never spoke about “Generation Swine” again because everyone was scared of Tony G. He was older and 6ft 2. No one was going to disagree with him.
Anyway “Generation Swine” did not re-capture their “Dr Feelgood” glory. During the tour, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil punched on and Tommy leaves, then comes back and leaves again. Nikki gets into a slanging match with Elektra and eventually he terminates the contract and somehow gets the copyright of the Crue songs back in the hands of the band. They form their own label and away they go.
Randy Castillo comes in, “New Tattoo” comes out, Randy dies, Samantha fills in on drums, Nikki gets it going with Samantha and his marriage goes to pieces while the Crue play theatres and cancel shows all over the world. I know, their Australian tour got canned. And after “New Tattoo”, the Crue went on hiatus.
In between, they got some stories together and a book called “The Dirt” came out. The band got back together for a few select shows and demand was so huge, those few shows turned into a huge world tour which was encapsulated in the “Carnival of Sins” DVD release.
So a new album was the next logical choice. “Saints Of Los Angeles”, is the album and it’s written by the “Sixx AM” members for Motley Crue. Tommy Lee has no song writing credits whatsoever on this one and to me, it’s a huge loss to the sound and feel. I know people don’t like it, but the album was the right fit for the Crue at that point in time.
If any new fans came across “Saints Of Los Angeles” how could they not like it. It tells the bands story. “Down At The Whiskey” tells the true story of paying your dues and playing for free. “Welcome To The Machine” highlights how record labels rip you off and the album ends the way the band started, “swinging”.
But the thing that blows me away is the rollercoaster ride between “Generation Swine” and “Saints Of Los Angeles”.
If you want to have a career as an artist, you need to be a lifer, and be ready to ride the journey. It’s not always bright lights and success after success. There are hard times and good times. Doors shut and other doors are opened. And when everyone wrote them off, they came back stronger than ever. And signed off the way they wanted to, on their own terms.
For a band who were just average musicians at best, they built a career 30 plus years long. And that period between 1997 and 2008 could have been the end, but it wasn’t.