Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Motley Crue – 1994 – Welcome To The Numb, Smoke The Sky, Droppin Like Flies, Driftaway – John Corabi Era – Part 3

Continuing on from Gerri Miller’s Metal Edge interview with Nikki Sixx.  The below excerpts in italics are taken from Metal Edge circa 1994.  The lyrics and comments are added by me.

“WELCOME TO THE NUMB”
It’s about sensory overload via television—”people shove stuff down your throat. Too much information, you can see it in my eyes. Welcome to the numb.”  It’s too much—we shut down.

If Nikki thought there was a sensory overload back in the early nineties, what does he think now.  We are connected 24/7 and we are interacting with people from bedrooms to bedrooms, all over the world.  We watch what we want, when we want it.  We download what we want, when we want it.  Everything is open online.  We don’t shut down, we evolve.

The lyrics are screaming that they don’t want to be part of the machine, however they are part of the machine.  They are one with the machine.  The created videos to appear on television, to promote their brand.  The did interviews that appeared on TV to promote their brand.  I was never a fan of artists that complained of the machine.  Look at Swedish House Mafia, they did what they wanted, became successful, and then walked away from it all, as they didn’t want to be part of the machine.  They didn’t hang around and complain about it.

“SMOKE THE SKY”
A full-throttle burner that smokes indeed, this song arose from a riff Mick came up with at rehearsal. It takes a pro-marijuana stance and stems from a period in which, “after being clean for a few years, I decided to smoke pot and smoked a ton of it.  It says, ‘Get off my back.’  But I’m 100% clean now,” Nikki underlines. “I can’t do it, or I’m all the way up Peru’s butt.

Any song that starts off with a pull and a cough, deserve respect.

Home grown vision compliments the senses, opens up my mind.
J.F.K. sold us freedom, or was it just a business toke?
63 went up in smoke.
He was the great seducer crawling from our T.V.s.
Breathed hope into our future, before he died, he smoked the sky,
Smoke the sky.

“DROPPIN’ LIKE FLIES”
This apocalyptic rocker talks about “a war zone in the streets,” a “modern Babylon,” crack, disease, and a wasted future and was created at a jam session. “There’s a lot of references to death, destruction, and the end of the world,” Nikki sums up.

I really dig this song.  It’s heavy and that break down interlude sounds like it came from Korn’s debut album that came out a year later.  This album was way ahead of its time.  You can tell Bob Rock, brought the heaviness that he mastered with Metallica to this album.  Even thought it didn’t set the charts on fire, or the sales department, it is an important album for the musical trends that came afterward especially the sound of Modern and Alternative Rock acts.

Hate is growing fast in a hazy cloud of crack, but it helps us fade away.
Some inner city queen French kisses his disease with one foot in the grave.
Oh, and this junkyard we call home is primed and ready for another war.
My, my, my, the children have no chance and these eyes have seen this all go down
before.
We’ve all raped it, the future’s wasted.
Can we take it?
Is nothing sacred?

“DRIFTAWAY”
Probably the closest thing on the record to a ballad, this song was written by John, who brought it in when he joined the band. Nikki helped him “tighten up” the lyrics, which go in part, “I try to make the best of another lonely day/I close my eyes and slowly drift away … close my eyes and dream my life away.”

When i first heard this song, I thought of The Scream.  It had John Corabi all over it.  It was a clichéd rock song and to be honest, I don’t believe it was a good fit on the album.

Motley Crue wrote and recorded over 20 songs for this album.  Another three made it on the re-released version and another four songs made it onto the Quartenary EP, released in Japan.  Those songs will be for another day.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories

Motley Crue – 1994 – Poison Apples, Hammered, Till Death Do Us Part – John Corabi Era – Part 2

Continuing on from Gerri Miller’s Metal Edge interview with Nikki Sixx.  The below excerpts in italics are taken from Metal Edge circa 1994.  The lyrics and comments are added by me.

“POISON APPLES”
A rocker with a punky vibe, this song was originally called “Hangin’ by a Thread.” Nikki wrote it last year in “Hawaii on vacation, when Bob [Rock’s band Rockhead] was out with Bon Jovi. I recorded the riff on a ghetto blaster and played it for the band, and they said this is really cool.  It got thrown into the Motley stew and turned into a bastardized version of the original. But nothing about it kicked ass.” Meanwhile Nikki was working on a possibility for his solo song with the title of ‘Poison Apples.  

Subject wise “The first part is my story what that time of my life was about. The second part is more about the band, and takes aim at the “tabloid sleaze” press preoccupation with Tommy Lee and Heather Locklear’s now-defunct marriage.  Lines like “Sex smack rock roll mainline overdose/Man we lived it night and day” refer to past excesses, and homage is paid to one of Nikki’s favorite bands, Mott the Hoople.  “Ian Hunter’s one of my favorite lyricists and Overend Watts is the reason I play,” he says. “Tommy Lee played honky-tonk piano on it.”

Don’t you love that knowledge.  How the song starts of as one thing and it ends up going through a metamorphosis into something else.    

Tabloid sleaze just maggots on their knees
Diggin’ in the dirt for slag
Moonshine, strychnine, speedball, shootin’ lines
Anything to push their rags

Nothing has changed these days.  If you want to be misquoted or if you want to have words taken out of context, do an interview for the mainstream.  If you want your fans to know what you mean, connect with them.  Let them be the interviewers.

Pretty little poison apples, see the scars tattooed on our face.
It’s your disgrace.
Pretty pretty poison apples, mama said,
“Now don’t you walk this way, just find some faith.”

The lyrics on Motley Crue are world-class.  I like how Nikki refers to the band as pretty little poison apples.  He is merging the Garden of Eden with LA and the dreams of a young kid trying to make it.

“HAMMERED”
Cool, heavy, with grooves galore, this song is “about a sleazy piece of shit person in anyone’s life.”  Some might infer that it’s about Vince Neil but when asked about it, Nikki insists that it isn’t.  I don’t know where I was coming from when I wrote it.  It’s a song about a dirt bag.  We all know plenty of them.  Written very quickly at rehearsal, its characterized by Nikki as having a Deep Purple vibe.

To be honest, when i first heard this song, I took it as a dig to Vince Neil.  According to Nikki, Vince quit because he wasn’t into music anymore and he wanted to devote his time to car racing.  According to Vince, he got fired, because he didn’t like the direction the new music was heading/  Apparently it was all keyboard driven.

Regardless of what story you believe, one thing is clear, Vince Neil delivered a superior hard rock album with Exposed, which came out 1993, a whole year before Motley Crue.  In my mind, this made Nikki’s words mean shit.

Act like Jesus crucified again
These four walls are closing in
Who and what do you think you are
A rich mother fucker in a fancy car?
Concrete jackal suckin’ on the past
Goldcard junkie kissing money’s ass

You can tell that Nikki is directing the words to a person who is suing him.  Vince Neil sued Motley Crue in 1992 after his firing, for 25% of the Crue’s future profits and $5 million in damages for being fired.  In addition, Exposed was selling close to the million mark.  As we know once, Motley Crue came out with their 1994 album, they only moved 500,000 units.

Hey, Mr. big time Hollywood,
Tell your story walkin’ if you think you could
Your money’s runnin’ low from your cocaine whores
Nothin’ but a rat scratchin’ at my door
Hey, now I’ve said all I’m gonna say
Time will judge, see who fades away

There was an incident where Vince and port star Savannah went to Hawaii.  After 4 days of partying on pills and cocaine, Savannah overdosed.  As much as Nikki denies it, this song is having a dig at Vince.  Time did judge, and it was Nikki that needed to get Vince back into the fold.

TILL DEATH DO US PART
This soulful heavy rocker is “about pride and standing up for what you believe in, standing up for yourself till you die.  It reminds me of ‘Danger’ off the second album,” says Nikki.  “It’s mid tempo but not really a ballad. It’s very emotional.”

Autobiographical lines include “I’ve walked my walk, talked my talk, lived and died in my songs. Temptation cuts so deep/Its fires still burn so strong/You know I’ve lived a few mistakes and I stand by them … Sometimes my words may cut too deep and I step on a toe or two/Half dead and barely half alive but I live by the truth.”

Nikki notes, “A lot of people tend to look at us from the outside in,” drawing wrong conclusions because of what they read.  But “I don’t really care, to be honest with you. The only thing that’s important is family and friends.”

Till Death Do Us Part is the best song written by Motley Crue.  They should have re-recorded this as a B side or a bonus track with Vince.  Of course Vince wouldn’t sing it, he has made that clear in previous interviews.  The album was meant to be called Till Death Do Us Part.  The guys even tattoed the name on their bodies.

Poison Apples – YouTube

Hammered – YouTube

Till Death Do Us Part – YouTube

 

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music

Motley Crue – 1994 – Power To The Music, Hooligan’s Holiday, Misunderstood – John Corabi Era – Part 1

They should have changed the name.  Called the band Hammered or S M C L or Wild Side or something like that.  It’s another Bob Rock production.  He does an awesome job (lets just forget St Anger) at getting / capturing the bands at their best.  He even demanded that Lars take drum lessons before recording his drums for the Black album and for James to take singing lessons before doing the vocals for the ballads.

Gerri Miller was Metal Edge to me.  She was on every story or on every interview that mattered.  The below excerpts are taken from Metal Edge circa 1994.

“POWER TO THE MUSIC”
Groove-laden and funk-edged, this album opener started out as a repetitive detuned riff  dreamed up by Nikki,  and “pushed John [Corabi] to the limit vocally. We were going, ‘Push your throat till it blows out.’ He never sang like that before.” 

Hey, listen people, we’re victimized, circumcised, crossed the line of no return.
The critics say we devastate, socialites just masturbate.
Won’t the losers ever learn?
Who said the music’s dead in the streets?
Don’t know what they talk about.
They gotta put a bullet in my head if they want to keep me down.
Let me hear it.

This came out at a time where the airwaves were ruled by Grunge.  You can tell the band is angry.  The song is heavy.  It’s got groove.  You can feel the anger.

Who said the MUSIC’s dead in the streets?  Rock music was alive and well.  Just because the labels abandoned it, it didn’t mean that the audience abandoned it.  For the labels to kill rock and metal, they had to put a bullet in the head of every fan.

Mothers tell their sons of cyanide and suicide,
Blame it on the devil’s tongue,
Suck me like a parasite, military 3rd Reich.
Blood burning bastards wasting blood.
Who said the music’s dead in the streets?
Don’t know what they talk about.
I want my music waking up the dead.
Don’t tell me to turn it down
Turn it down.

I love the lyrics in this verse.  This is a grown up Motley Crue.  A pissed off one.  Telling the  3rd Reich label heads to suck em off.  If you are a fan of The Scream, you can hear John Corabi’s influence all over this song.  He wasn’t just a fill in, he was a contributor. He got the raw end of the deal, blamed for the fall of Motley Crue.  He made them relevant.

“HOOLIGAN’S HOLIDAY”

The kick ass kickoff single went through a major metamorphosis from what it was originally. Initially a demo sort of like ‘Highway Star ” recorded by Nikki and John at Nikki’s house.  It was brought to the table, “but everyone was not too high on it.” Their attention turned to other tunes, “but we felt strong about it. We had agreed we’d try anything anyone wants to try. We totally rewrote it—only the chorus and title are the same.” It took just two hours to record, and the results “f.ckin’ floored” Nikki. “It’s amazing what you can get out when everyone’s putting in 100%,” he notes. ‘The song no one wanted to try became the first track. Shows you gotta try everything.” As for the title, the phrase came from a broadcast during the L.A. riots: “It’s a hooligan’s holiday out there.” Nikki then made a correlation to an Aerosmith title. “If they’re on a permanent vacation, we’re on a hooligan’s holiday,” he says. “It’s not a very serious song.” Three other versions exist. One is shortened, for radio, “which we hated doing so we called it 4Brown Nose’ version. It’s us laughing at ourselves.” There’s an 11 minute extended version and a seven minute  “Derelict Vision” club mix by Skinny Puppy, with a companion video version too graphic
for TV.  

The “Hooligan’s Holiday” video, based on tho movie A Clockwork Orange, features performance sequences and scenes showing Nikki and Tommy dressed as Teddy Boys, a type of hooligan in London in the late 1950s. 

Drop dead beauties stompin’ up a storm, lines of hell on our face.
Bruised bad apples crawling through the night, busted loose, runaway, oo, runaway.

Everybody wants a piece of the action.
Everybody wants a piece of the pie.

Cross-eyed derelicts comin’, iron horse between our legs.
Tattoos, black manes flowin’. Everyday’s a holidays.

It’s a riot.  It’s a free for all.  The wronged (the bruised  bad apples) are rising up.  Its angry.  The injustice.  I feel like i am at rock concert, where the crowd loses control.  I like the reference to Piece of Your Action and Slice of Your Pie.

“MISUNDERSTOOD”

A 40 piece orchestra flavors this killer combination of beautiful melodic acoustic music and blistering rock, the oldest song on the album, ‘it’s my way of looking at life,” says Nikki. ‘People often say life’s misunderstood them. I always thought. That’s bullshit.’ It’s up to you to live life to its fullest. You have to go for it as much as you can.” Song lyrics like Doin’ time in a broken home” and “I’m an angry man, always had to fight to survive my past” are taken from Nikki’s own experience. “I think it’s relatable to fans—we’ve all gone through that with parents. It’s a deep song,” he says. It has a lot of abusive notes in it. It’s not a happy song.” The orchestra’s involvement was planned from the outset.
They hired a conductor, who worked on arrangements.

Little old man contemplates suicide twice a day
Life’s passed him by
Little old woman scared and blind, left alone in desperate times
Life’s passed her by

Little boy with vacant eyes, daddy won’t be home tonight
And he don’t know why
His mother, she sits alone tangled in the web she’s sewn
Lives lie to lie

This is Motley Crue reincarnating itself as Led Zeppelin.  It’s an epic song and its a grand statement.  They could have went with the pop format but they went with their instincts, their gut feeling and this is the product.  The acoustic verses and then the drums kick in references Stairway To heaven.  The behind the beat drumming references Kashmir.  Good music is good music.  It doesn’t fit in any genre, and this is what the Motley Crue album did.  It started a new modern rock/metal genre.  It was way ahead of it’s time.

Power to The Music

Hooligan’s Holiday

Misunderstood

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