Available in the Motley Crue book - Vol. 1 The Eighties
Nikki Sixx jams with guitarist Greg Leon from a band called Suite 19
after seeing him play at the Starwood one night. Trying to put another
band together, Nikki recalls the drummer in Suite 19 also stood out,
so Greg gives him the recommendation and phone number of his former
drummer Tommy Lee. Greg Leon later plays in Dokken, then DuBrow, who
changes their name to Quiet Riot. He also forms the Greg Leon Invasion
and hires Joey Vera on bass, at Tommy’s recommendation. He later sells
the name Invasion to Vinnie Vincent after his days in Kiss.
Nikki calls Tommy who can’t believe it is actually him on the phone;
the same Nikki as in his London poster on his wall. They arrange to
meet at the corner of Burbank Boulevard and Lankershim Boulevard in
North Hollywood at a Denny’s coffee lounge for lunch where Tommy and
his friend Joey Vera meet him. They then head to Nikki’s place in North
Hollywood where he plays Tommy some demo songs, who starts beating to
them on his living room table. Tommy then sets up his kit permanently
in the front room of his place after a couple of days, happy to be playing
with Greg again. Nikki soon fires the dowdy Greg Leon and they find
a guy to replace him named Robin, via an ad in The Recycler.
With his friend Stick, Mick Mars rents the old Whitehorse truck from
former band-mate Harry Clay to get Spiders and Cowboy’s gear to a gig
at Bojangles Nightclub in Yuma, Arizona. Bob gets angry when the club
owner in Yuma demands he turn down the volume, so he pushes over his
stack at the end of their set and quits, thus playing his last Top 40
An overweight guy called O’Dean signs with the band as the vocalist
after an audition. Although he is a good singer, in time Nikki takes
a dislike to his vocal pitch and they find his white gloves to be an
un-cool image but they stick with it for the time being.
Tommy and Nikki search for a crazy second guitarist to off-set the dowdy
Robin when Tommy reads a classified ad that Mick Mars has placed in
The Recycler newspaper saying, “Loud, rude and aggressive guitarist
available” along with his name and phone number, placed after a brainstorm
with his former Vendetta drummer Steve Meade. Wanting to play original
music instead of covers with Spiders and Cowboys, Mick gets a call from
Tommy inviting him to an audition. He has his best friend John ‘Stick’
Crouch drive him, his guitar and his Marshall amps, which stick out
the trunk of his burgundy 1971 Mazda RX-3 coupe, to Nikki’s North Hollywood
house. Tommy opens the house door and thinks Mick looks like Cousin
Itt from the Adams Family. Mick and Nikki talk; both of them don’t remember
having met in the liquor store, then drinking together after Mick’s
set at the Stone Pony months earlier. They show Mick the opening riff
to a song called Stick To Your Guns that was written by Nikki on piano.
They think he does a great job, so they head out to buy a gallon of
Schnapps at Mick’s suggestion. Upon return, the three of them jam for
an hour on some more songs Nikki had written, including Toast Of The
Town and Public Enemy #1. After a couple more rehearsals with their
sissy rhythm guitarist Robin, Mick feels he is not the right guy, so
Nikki and Tommy say if he wants to be a fully-fledged member, he has
to fire him. Mick is given the job after saying to Robin that he is
the only guitar player. Robin cries upon being told the news from Mick.
Having used the same colour hair dye, Nice & Easy Permanent Blue Black,
certainly helped Mick’s chances.
With Mick now in the band, Nikki dyes
Tommy’s hair black to look like his and Mick’s. Tommy is convinced by
Nikki to get a tattoo, so they go to Sunset Strip Tattoo and he decides
upon a design of his favourite cartoon character Mighty Mouse, drawn
bursting through a bass drum with sticks in his hands by Kevin Brady.
Nikki, Tommy and Mick go to check out
a rhythm guitarist James Alverson in Rockandi, a band playing predominantly
Cheap Trick and Sweet covers at the Starwood. With Mick not feeling
comfortable about a second guitarist, his attention turns to the singer
clothed in white, belting out a version of Cheap Trick’s song He’s A
Whore, after Tommy recognises him as Vince Neil from his school days
Royal Oak High. They corner Vince in the bathroom after the show. Tommy
calls him a “blonde-haired bitch” and then gives him his phone number
to ring about auditioning the next weekend. Vince is happy in his band
but agrees, so he doesn’t hurt Tommy’s feelings.
The un-named band makes their way into
Crystal Sound Studios on Vine St, Hollywood with engineer Laura Livingstone,
to record a demo tape of Nikki’s songs: Stick To Your Guns, Toast Of
The Town, Public Enemy #1 and cover song Tonight from The Raspberries’
1973 album titled Side Three. When the allocated two hours of studio
time runs out, Tommy makes out with Laura upon Nikki’s suggestion, ensuring
more studio time for them to finish the recordings.
Vocalist O’Dean refuses to take off his
white gloves to record clapping at the end of the last song being recorded,
Toast Of The Town. With a phone call later to Nikki and Tommy from Mick,
they decide O’Dean is not going to cut it as their singer, so he’s fired.
Mick says he wants the singer from Rockandi to be in the band, due to
the way he wooed the females in the audience when they saw him perform.
Tommy then drops off a tape of the songs
to Vince at his house and pleads with him to audition, but Vince says
he is unsure about changing bands and then fails to show up at the audition.
Vince, who frequently binges on cocaine, listens to the tape but feels
the nameless band is lame. Several different singers are then auditioned.
The next week, Rockandi is to play a
party in Hollywood but the guitarist and bass player don’t show up,
leaving Vince in the lurch. Vince calls his guitarist James who says
he has cut his hair short and wants the band to become a new wave act,
which infuriates Vince, so he quits and kicks himself for not auditioning
with Tommy. The next day Tommy calls Vince again, who says he washed
his jeans that had his phone number in it, even though he knows where
Tommy lives. He organises for Vince to come to SIR Rehearsal Studios
to audition one Saturday, where Missing Persons rehearses next door
(and are subsequently left padlocked in their studio.)
Vince rolls up as a passenger in a 280Z
driven by his blonde girlfriend Leah, who is his boss’s daughter, where
he works as an electrician currently building a McDonalds in Balwin
Park. A rich drug-addict, Leah bought Vince his first leather pants
for five hundred dollars and got him hooked on injecting cocaine. With
her appearance and manner she’s instantly nicknamed Lovey by the other
guys as she reminds them of Lovey Howell from Gilligan’s Island. Vince
sings along best he can to their songs, and everything gels between
the members. Nikki starts to re-write one of his songs to suit Vince’s
voice more, titled Live Wire.
Requiring a band name, Mick suggests
the name Mottley Cru, saying he jotted it down in 1976 when he was rehearsing
in the living room where he lived with his band Whitehorse. Other names
considered are XMAS, Trouble, Bad Blood, Holiday, and Suicidal Tendencies,
as the band tries to come up with a name that is already a commonly
known and used word or phrase. Nikki likes Mottley Cru and tidies the
spelling to say Motley Crue. Stick suggests they add umlauts over the
‘o’ to give it a militant, aggressive German feel, which is further
inspired by the Löwenbräu beer they are drinking at the time. Nikki
takes it a step further and adds umlauts over the ‘u’ as well. The band
now has its name – Mötley Crüe.
Allan Coffman, the thirty-eight-year-old
brother-in-law of Mick’s driver friend Stick, is interested in investing
in a band. He flies in from Lake Tahoe to meet the band members and
they demolish five bottles of Schnapps together. Allan returns another
day with his wife Barbara and their two daughters for Mötley Crüe to
perform a little showcase for them. He proposes that he promotes Mötley
Crüe, initially on an eight-week basis. The construction company owner,
member of the county board of zoning administration, and ex-Vietnam
MP officer and policeman, promises a twenty-dollar-per-week allowance
to each member and sets up Coffman & Coffman Productions in Grass Valley,
California; the name suggested by his wife Barbara, who is a Grass Valley
School District board member.
The four Mötley Crüe band members and Coffman & Coffman enter into an
Exclusive Management Agreement after Allan Coffman’s attorney, who also
represents Supertramp on behalf of their band manager Dave Furano, draws
up some contracts to commence the partnership. They sign it on the spot.
The ten-page agreement details aspects such as the duration of the agreement,
upfront loans, commissions and weekly allowances. Each band member receives
an advance of $250 the following day. Mötley Crüe signs a ten-year management
deal with Allan Coffman. John ‘Stick’ Crouch works for Allan as his
production man and representative on the ground in Hollywood.
Mötley Crüe performs their debut gigs, opening two sold-out shows on
the same night for Oakland’s Yesterday & Today (Y&T) at the Starwood
on the corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica Boulevard in West
Hollywood. Working at the club during the day, Nikki organised the support
slot with the owner David Forest, who also managed his previous band
London. The band works hard stapling posters on walls and lamp-posts
around Hollywood to promote their shows and Nikki’s rule is if a band
has one poster, Mötley needs four. The band has never run through a
full set in rehearsals before and doesn’t know the set list until Nikki
tapes a handwritten sheet of paper to the stage floor at the last minute.
Forest books ten to twelve bands a week at the Starwood and this show
is the first in years that he actually watches all of the band’s set.
The tale is told that a guy in the crowd spits on Vince during the first
song Take Me To The Top, so he jumps off stage and puts him in a headlock,
while Nikki smashes his bass into the shoulder of another punter keen
on giving the Crüe trouble. Tommy joins in and hits him between the
eyes with a drumstick, while Vince then hits him with a torch. In years
to come, this tale is seen as a publicity tactic. The girlfriend of
Randy Piper from W.A.S.P. is hired to film the shows from the club’s
balcony. These black and white videos of the Crüe’s first live shows
are still available in bootleg circles today.
Mötley plays two more shows this Saturday night opening for Y&T. By
the end of their second performance, the Crüe has the crowd screaming
for more and Y&T find themselves playing to a half-empty crowd. Mötley’s
stage attire includes a black telephone cord that Nikki wraps around
The band continues work in the studio, re-recording their demo. Not
really knowing the songs very well, Vince sings the lyrics from sheets
of paper and you can hear the paper rustling on the recordings. Not
knowing how to get their record finished, Mick’s friend Harry hooks
them up with the same pressing plant and printing company that produced
the two singles they released when they were in Video Nu-R a couple
of years ago. Allan Coffman finances one thousand 7” vinyl copies of
Mötley Crüe’s first 45rpm single, Stick To Your Guns backed with Toast
Of The Town, which are flung out for free at gigs. The third song recorded
Nobody Knows What It’s Like To Be Lonely, formerly titled I Got The
Power, isn’t used. The cover bears a Nikki Sixx designed Mötley Crüe
logo. The photos on the back cover are taken by Don Adkins Jr. as the
band’s first photo shoot taken at his Mum’s house in the City of Cerritos.
At Nikki’s suggestion, Vince tries to hide his black eye by covering
it with his hair.
The Crüe supports Stormer at the two-hundred-capacity Pookie’s sandwiches
and beer shop in Pasadena. A roadie drives Tommy’s van away before their
stage clothes are unloaded, so they play their first set in their street
clothes. An audience of twelve people watches the show while the Crüe
consumes $137 worth of beer.
Mötley plays their first show at the Troubadour and set a new attendance
record at the club. David Lee Roth from Van Halen takes a real liking
to the band and introduces their set to the crowd. He chats with Vince
after the show and they meet up the following afternoon, where Dave
imparts some of his knowledge of the music business.
The band moves up to Allan Coffman’s hometown of Grass Valley after
he feels they should play some gigs there for practice. They call the
shows the Anywhere USA tour and they sleep in Coffman’s guest trailer
and hitchhike into the town.
Mötley plays at The Tommyknacker, not realising the night is themed
as a Hollywood costume night. After getting zero response from the crowd
playing Stick To Your Guns and Live Wire, they play Elvis Presley covers
Jailhouse Rock and Hound Dog, the latter being played five times throughout
the evening. After the gig they head to a party, where Vince scores
a bag of cocaine from one of the drag queens present. He heads to the
bathroom to shoot it up and realises it’s baby powder. A huge brawl
follows after the drag queen refuses to refund him his twenty dollars
and Vince draws blood with a punch in his face.
The band attends their very first radio interview, sporting black eyes
and fat lips from the brawl the previous night.
Determined to break the dependency of his girlfriend Leah, Vince escapes
from her by piling his clothes into Tommy’s van early one morning while
she sleeps. The band tells him that if he shoots up one more time he’ll
be out of the band, after arriving at a Country Club gig almost an hour
The band rehearses about nine songs every
day at Visions Recording Studio in Burbank, which Mick’s former Whitehorse
band-mate Harry Clay has just bought.
Later in the month, Coffman finances
a two-bedroom apartment on Clark Street about fifty steps from the Whisky
a Go-Go for Tommy, Nikki and Vince to live in. It is soon affectionately
dubbed The Mötley House. They agree to rotate bedrooms every month but
Nikki always has one to himself, while Tommy and Vince share the other.
Their room has a mirror on the back of its door until one night it falls
on David Lee Roth while he’s preparing his drugs (and he doesn’t spill
any). Tommy puts a leather couch and a stereo that his parents gave
him at Christmas in the front room. The only dishes they own are two
drinking glasses and one plate in the cockroach-infested kitchen. Mick
lives on N. Gertruda Ave, Redondo Beach with his blonde, guitar-playing
girlfriend Linda ‘Windy’ Correia and is still driven to and from rehearsals
by his mate Stick. The Crüe’s allowance is spent on rent, clothes and
booze, while their food is dependent on the generous girls they pick
up and Tommy’s shoplifting skills. The rotting brown front door of the
apartment doesn’t shut properly after the police kick it in. The front
window is smashed by a fire extinguisher thrown through it by Tommy’s
Manager Allan Coffman continues to try and grow Mötley’s standards of
business professionalism and maintain common goals amongst all band
members and management. He instructs the band members in writing to
substantially curtail their drinking of alcohol and indicates they are
each responsible for keeping themselves in top physical condition. A
system of fines is imposed: ten dollars for showing up late to rehearsals
and twenty dollars for showing up hung-over, twenty dollars for any
non-band member attending rehearsals, ten dollars for faulty equipment
and instruments, twenty dollars for ignoring a management memo, and
the loss of one week’s advance for any physical or violent actions.
He also writes constructive suggestions
to each member, telling Tommy that he is to develop and perform a drum
solo beginning with their next gig, and his hair is to be done in a
certain way before each performance. Vince is also told to take care
of his personal appearance at all times, along with being instructed
to take stock of his stage clothes since there is no longer a variety
in his live attire. A ten-dollar fine is imposed for every time he misses
a future vocal lesson. Coffman encourages Mick to communicate with him
more, instead of remaining silent on issues he is unhappy with, while
Nikki is instructed that all future communications need to be turned
over to management to create management-to-management relationships,
rather than artist-to-management ones.
Mötley’s stage show continues to develop and grow, helped by them renting
as much equipment from SIR as their budget allows, to make their stage
shows look bigger. Coffman also rents Cadillacs for the band to travel
around in; the Crüe damages the vehicles with their recklessness. Vince
and Tommy briefly help Richard Crouch make a tiered drum riser with
fifteen flashing lights in it, after being inspired by Queen. Years
later, they sell it to their friends in Ratt who feature it in their
Round and Round video clip. Allan Coffman hires Elvira for five hundred
dollars to introduce Mötley Crüe on stage for one show. Nikki starts
to light his leather stiletto boots on fire by rubbing pyro gel on them
and igniting them, since his friend Blackie Lawless had stopped doing
it as he was tired of burning himself. Mick buys a dozen lights from
Don Dokken, while an old stained bed sheet of Tommy’s is turned into
a Mötley Crüe backdrop.
It’s around this time that the band makes
their first video clips, capturing live performances of Take Me To The
Top and Public Enemy #1 at International Rehearsal Studios. Bell Piper
Production performs the video and camera work on the clips, before they
are edited by Tony Corrente at Music Lab.
Covers appearing in the set list include
The Beatles’ Paperback Writer and Elvis’ Hound Dog mixed with Jailhouse
Rock, and Savoy Brown’s 1976 song My Babe. Another song played is Two
Timer from Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell’s 1981 solo album Nip in
the Bud. The Mötley song Merry-Go-Round emerges as a favourite amongst
crowds. Nikki wrote the song about a guy in his early-twenties that
he came across when he lived in Seattle. Nikki watched him sitting on
a merry-go-round at some apartments before being taken away in a straight
jacket after losing his mind. The songs Why You Killing Yourself and
Nobody Knows What It’s Like To Be Lonely are phased out of the band’s
set, while On My Radio (formerly titled On My Video) and Straight To Hell never see the light of day.
A drunk Nikki and Vince arrive early for their show at the Whisky a
Go-Go. Someone makes a distasteful remark to Nikki, so he smashes the
guy’s head into the bar, smashing glass and drawing blood. A bouncer
walks the two band members upstairs where a girl at the bar jerks off
Nikki. Upon leaving the club, Nikki finds Vince passed out under a car,
so he drags him home only to find one of Tommy’s female leftovers handcuffed
to his bed. After passing out, Vince soon wakes up and the girl is gone
from his bed, so they all head to a party at the Hyatt House. Nikki
has sex in a closet with a drunk, huge-breasted girl, before inviting
Tommy in on the action without her knowledge. Nikki then gets an unwilling
young partygoer to join in the game as well, who loses his virginity
in the process.
Not initially recalling the previous night’s drunken events, Nikki is
phoned by the girl from the closet last night, who tells him she was
raped by a guy in his car after hitching a ride home after the party.
Relieved that he didn’t do it, but upon thinking of what he had done
to the girl earlier, Nikki realises he perhaps went too far the night
Vince’s looks continue to bring comparisons to David Lee Roth from Van
Halen, who jams onstage to Jailhouse Rock at the Troubadour with Mötley.
Mötley Crüe members sign music publishing agreements with Kim Fowley’s
Rare Magnetism Music for the publishing rights and royalty management
of their songs.
Vince gets into a fight on Halloween at the Rainbow Bar and Grill. He
gets arrested and locked up on a battery charge.
As preparation for the recording and release of the band’s debut independent
album, Mötley Crüe and Coffman & Coffman enter into a Limited Partnership
Agreement. The six-page agreement details the formation of the partnership
for the purpose of operating a record company Leathür Records, duration
of the agreement, splits, and percentages. Allan Coffman uses an eight-page
Limited Partner Agreement from July 1969 as the template for this contract.
Although both Mötley Crüe and Leathür Records have been in existence
for nearly six months, neither the band name nor the record company
name were formally registered until Coffman registers them in Nevada
County, California. The name is thought up in a local Denny’s coffee
shop and changed from the spelling Leather Records, after this preference
is already registered.
After breaking up with girlfriend Laurie Bell, and then a tall, blonde
German fashion model called Evelyn, Nikki dates a blonde groupie named
Beth, whom he met at the Troubadour one night as she hung out with the
guys in Ratt. From a rich family in San Diego, Nikki enjoys doing drugs
and having sex at her apartment. After they party hard with Vince at
the Rainbow one night, they then head back to The Mötley House on Clark
Street, intent on having a threesome. Nikki eventually heads to his
room, and Beth Lynn soon becomes Vince’s new girlfriend.
Mötley Crüe records their Too Fast For
Love debut album over a drunken four days at Hit City West Studios on
the corner of Pico and La Cienega boulevards. The time in the 24/16
track studio costs them sixty dollars per hour as a special after-hours
room rate extended to Vince. They quickly fire the studio’s engineer
when he wants his own rate above and beyond this room rate. German producer
Michael Wagener is brought to the helm of the brand-new Soundcraft 2400
series console board, having previously been in the metal band Accept
and recently engineered and mixed their album Breaker; he has also previously
worked with Judas Priest in the studio.
Too Fast For Love costs six thousand dollars to produce, which is advanced
by Coffman and later paid back with proceeds from live shows. Since
they are still an unsigned act, they release the album on their own
Leathür Records label. The first pressing sees two thousand copies produced
with white lettering on the front cover and a close up picture of Vince’s
crotch, with one hand forming a sign some say means the devil’s horns,
while the deaf recognise it as hand language meaning ‘I love you’.
A friend of Coffman’s named Michael Pinter
flies in from San Francisco to take the photos for the back cover. Vince
is concerned with his hair not showing in the photos, since they are
photographed with a white background. So it is touched up to make his
innocent tease look like he’s wearing a beehive toupee, which infuriates
him as he only finds out once it’s too late to change it. Mick also
feels uneasy with the photos used, feeling he looks too much like Joan
Jett of The Runaways.
The album is initially available at gigs
and some record stores that the band members take them to. Allan Coffman
also distributes a lot of copies himself, driving from store to store
in his Lincoln rental car. Mike Flaherty, a fifth owner in Leathür Records
and Crüe promoter as engaged by Coffman, also assists. Thanks are
given inside the album to Skull and Cross Bones for their unselfish
dedication - two Mötley roadies named Barry McQueary and Mark
celebrating the album’s release with a party at The Troubadour,
Runaways guitarist Lita Ford introduces herself to Nikki, who initially
says his name is Rick. His attitude changes when she says she wants to
shares her drugs with him, so she bites a Quaalude and puts a half in
Nikki’s mouth; their courtship begins.
Mötley Crüe is first played on the radio
by disc jockey Michelle Nuval on KROQ one Sunday night.
The second pressing of Too Fast For Love
has red lettering on the cover and a white label on the vinyl, not to
mention a fixed-up Vince Neil hairdo. Four thousand copies are pressed
and sold. Five thousand copies of the recording are also produced on
Nikki gets a tattoo of a black rose design, inked on his right upper
arm by Kevin Brady at Sunset Strip Tattoo. The design also includes
a small spider in a web.
The Crüe steals some turkey potpies from the liquor store cater-corner
to the Whisky and hang beer cans, panties, snot and hypodermic needles
on a stolen tree for Christmas. They set the tree alight with gasoline
before leaving for their show at the Country Club. Vince has a Santa
suit made for the show but declines to wear it on stage at the last
minute as tensions between he and Nikki increase. This soon leads to
Nikki wanting another singer. Stephen Pearcy rehearses with Mötley and
is offered the position but he declines, preferring to stay in his band
Mötley Crüe plays the Troubadour this New Year’s Eve. David Lee Roth
agrees to perform Jailhouse Rock with the band as an encore but disc
jockey Michelle Nuval, with whom Crüe manager Allan Coffman is having
an affair with, hops on stage and sings it with Vince instead, just
as David Lee Roth makes his way to the stage. Nikki currently dates
a redhead named Lynn Pierre, while Mike Flaherty dates her sister Tina.
Choose the year:
pre81 / 81 / 82 / 83 / 84 / 85 / 86 / 87 / 88 / 89 > The Eighties
90 / 91 / 92 / 93 / 94 / 95 / 96 / 97 / 98 / 99 > The Nineties
00 / 01 / 02 / 03 / 04 / 05 / 06 / 07 /
08 / 09 > The Naughties
10 / 11 / 12 /
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