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Motley Crue book - Vol. 1 The Eighties
Vince Neil is arrested at the Troubadour after punching out a female
patron, who takes offence at the official US Marines uniform he is
An international distribution deal is signed with Greenworld Records
Ltd, which helps spread the Crüe’s debut album throughout the United
States and to the UK, where it receives rave reviews. This six-page
contract grants Greenworld the right to license, manufacture,
advertise, distribute and sell the Too Fast For Love album. Twenty
thousand copies of a third pressing of Too Fast For Love are
manufactured and distributed, this time with red lettering on the cover
and a black label on the vinyl. Greenworld later goes bankrupt in 1986
but spawns Enigma Records.
As Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil leave the Rainbow with girlfriends Lita
Ford and Beth Lynn, some bikers start pushing their girlfriends around
after making advances on them. Displeased with the treatment handed out
to his girlfriend, Nikki removes a chain from his waist and wields it
around in the air during the fight that begins. Two undercover police
officers arrive, one of them grabbing Nikki’s hand as he reaches for
his chain, and biting it to the bone. Not realising it is a cop, Nikki
retaliates by hitting him across the face with his chain until the cop
pulls his gun on him to arrest him. They hit Nikki in the face with
their clubs seven times, breaking a cheekbone and giving him a black
eye in the process. Vince runs off as Nikki is driven to the West
Hollywood Police Station, but the cops stop in an alley on the way and
repeatedly kick him in the stomach and face. Charged with assaulting a
police officer with a deadly weapon, the police tell Nikki they will
send him to state prison for five years, with no parole or probation.
He spends the night in jail before Lita hocks her Firebird TransAm for
one thousand dollars and gives the money to the cops, who drop the
charges. They walk the three miles back from the police lock-up to The
Mötley House in time for their show at the Whisky. Nikki only has to
wear black eye makeup on one eye for a while. The incident is dubbed
the sequel to Riot on Sunset Strip.
Mötley continues to sell out shows at the Troubadour, the Whisky and
the Country Club. Crüe gloves are now available through mail-order in
the U.S. as record stores continue to sell out of their debut album.
One store even has a painting of Vince on the wall outside. Mötley
invites lots of record companies to shows, but are shown no interest,
even though they have sold thousands of albums within four months.
British rock magazine
Kerrang! publishes the first magazine photo of a Mötley Crüe member: a
full-page, full-colour picture of Vince. The Crüe is rumoured to tour
the U.K. late in March and early April as the support act for Wishbone
Ash but it never eventuates. Another rumour in the press says the Crüe
will perform a co-headlining tour with Anvil in August, including
playing the Reading Festival but it also does not eventuate.
The Los Angeles Department of Health Services issues an official notice
of violation to Nikki Sixx for the non-removal of rubbish from The
At The Mötley House, Nikki writes lyrics for a song called Knock ‘Em
Dead Kid about his recent run-in with the Los Angeles Police outside
the Rainbow. The following morning, an eviction notice is served by a
lawyer, bringing The Mötley House days to an end after nine months of
complete mayhem. Nikki moves into Lita Ford’s residence at Apartment 6,
4859 Coldwater Canyon, Sherman Oaks, CA, while Vince
moves into Beth’s apartment. Mick is still living with his girlfriend
Linda in Redondo Beach.
Tommy Lee moves into a
small house with a pool in the backyard with his new Canadian stripper
girlfriend and Penthouse Pet named Candice Starrek, having recently
dumped Lisa for her. They met when Tommy was helping a stripper friend
of Nikki’s to move into Candice’s house. Candice was seeing Greg
Guiffria from the band Angel at the time, who also lived at the house.
Tommy asked Candice to come and see him play with Mötley at the Whisky
A Go-Go about three weeks ago and they have been seeing each other
Tommy and Vince give new band Metallica a major break, as they help
them land a support performance with Saxon at the Whisky for their
third gig. They introduce Metallica’s bass player Ron McGovney to the
Whisky’s booking agent, who locks in their performance after hearing a
Mötley plays a sold-out show at the three-and-a-half-thousand-seat
capacity Santa Monica Civic, which is produced by racing car promoter
Steve Quercio, who has seen them play the Whisky and wanted to help get
them to the next level. The evening is compared by Elvira and Mötley
shares the stage with a couple of Funny Cars owned by John Force. As
they play, they set fire to various instruments and debut their new
song Knock ‘Em Dead Kid. The performance and number of ticket sales for
a local Hollywood club band finally attracts the attention of record
labels and the event becomes a turning point for the Crüe.
Tom Zutaut, a sales assistant at Elektra Records, heads out for a bite
to eat at a coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard one night, when he sees a
huge crowd of kids trying to get into the Whisky a Go-Go, underneath a
marquee that says “Mötley Crüe Sold Out.” He then notices a Mötley
display in the shop window of record store Licorice Pizza on the
corner. Telling the doorman he is an A&R representative for
Elektra, he makes his way in and is impressed by the show in front of
five hundred punters. He talks with Allan Coffman afterwards about
having the band come into Elektra for a meeting, who refers him onto
their distributor, Greenworld. Visiting their booth at a local trade
show, Greenworld’s Alan Niven puts Zutaut back in touch with Allan
Coffman. After first rejecting Zutaut’s request to sign the band,
Elektra chairman, Joe Smith agrees to allow him to sign the band, so he
wines and dines the band on his company expense account until they are
about to sign.
Virgin Records staff sees a great show at Glendale Civic Centre and
offers to sign the band. The band receives a performance fee of four
thousand dollars for the night’s show. Virgin then brings a briefcase
filled with ten thousand dollars as a cash advance on a one hundred
thousand dollar deal to a meeting with the band, and tells them all
about how their label operates out of England.
Wearing a Crüe
construction hat, Vince now starts to cuts the head off mannequins on
stage with a chainsaw during Piece Of Your Action, which is the first
track Mick plays slide guitar on.
Mick gets his first tattoo: a small scorpion design on his right hand
inked by Robert Benedetti at Sunset Strip Tattoo. It is later detailed
further by Sunset Strip’s Greg James. As Mick now starts to become well
known in the Crüe, Michelle Meyers, the last vocalist in his former
band Whitehorse who used the stage name Micki Marz, tries to sue him
for stealing her ‘thunder’, as she is receiving favourable reviews for
her performances around Los Angeles in a Janis Joplin tribute band. The
meteoric rise of the Crüe overwhelms her complaint and she bitterly
leaves the music industry.
Tom Zutaut puts a
comparable offer on the table to that of Virgin Records. The band says
they will accept the deal from the local Los Angeles base of Elektra,
over the Virgin offer of about twenty five thousand dollars more. A
celebration at Mexican Restaurant Casa Cugats follows, where band
manager Allan Coffman gets drunk and starts thinking he’s back in
Vietnam. After ripping a payphone off the wall, Tom Zutaut drives him
back to his hotel room, but not before he rolls out of the car in the
middle of an intersection, crawling on his belly like a soldier with a
rifle. Zutaut calls Mick the Purple People Eater as he says he has a
Mötley Crüe signs their record deal with Elektra Records; a 41-page
agreement between Elektra Records and the four band members that
details the terms and condition related to their new seven-year
engagement. A further four-page Royalty and Advance Agreement between
Elektra and the band members is also signed as an agreement to the
splits, royalties and advances for the re-release of Too Fast For Love,
as well as the next five albums to which the band contractually
obligates itself. An advance cheque for $28,500 is received as part of
the execution payment for the agreement. This follows the signing of an
eleven-page agreement between Greenworld and Elektra Records to
transfer the Too Fast For Love license from Greenworld to Elektra
They celebrate with a
dinner at Benihana on La Cienega Boulevard. After drinking the heaviest
throughout the night, Vince keeps biting and cracking his margarita
glass as he hassles the waitress. The manager kicks them out while the
waitress calls the police.
Annoyed that Zutaut had gone over his head to sign the band, Elektra’s
head of A&R, Kenny Buttice, convinces the label that the Too Fast
For Love album needs to be remixed before they release it, so it is up
to radio standards. Roy Thomas Baker is chosen to perform the work; he
has previously produced classic albums with Journey, Foreigner, the
Cars and Queen. Vince re-records his vocals and the whole album is
re-mixed at RTB’s house in the hills on Sunset Drive. Roy throws huge
parties full of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, which Mötley takes a liking
With his limited
experience in the music industry, Crüe manager Allan Coffman feels he
needs further assistance to take the band to the next level. Elektra
Records also places pressure on him, as they now want to hand the band
over to a major management company. He decides he needs someone with
experience in radio and touring, and subsequently hooks up with Bill
Larson, a young Michigan concert promoter with a background in radio
promotions. Coffman’s house is mortgaged to cover the band’s expenses,
and he sees an opportunity to sell some of his fifteen percent
ownership in Mötley Crüe Inc.
As the remixing of Too Fast For Love nears completion, Allan Coffman
and his assistant of four months, Eric Greif (who also manages Greg
Leon), decide a Crüesing Through Canada tour will provide Mötley with
valuable road experience, and possibly keep them out of trouble on the
Los Angeles streets for a while. The tour is designed to have maximum
controversial impact to gain important media attention from outside
L.A. Coffman plans to meet up with Bill Larson after the tour and bring
the band to Detroit for a welcome back to the U.S.A. show. The Crüe
flies north, as their luggage travels by truck with the roadies. Vince
forgets to include his luggage on the truck, so he has to take it on
the plane. Nikki instructs the band members to wear their stage gear on
the plane and when they land at Edmonton International Airport,
Canada's federal police and Immigration officials interrogate them for
over three hours. They confiscate around two thousand dollars worth of
stage gear, including whips, chains, studded belts and spiked
wristbands, deeming them to be 'dangerous weapons.' Vince's small bag
of Playboy and Hustler magazines is also confiscated. The road
entourage is delayed for around seven hours as Canadian border guards
search for contraband. The small Calgary booking agency, Performing
Artists Consultants, had told them to be expecting to play 800-1700
seat halls depending on whom they were supporting, but on arrival they
find no such venues booked. Coffman knew the venues were small but
never let on to the band.
Booked at Scandals Disco in the Edmonton Sheraton Caravan Hotel, the
Crüe plays four sets. Rudy Sarzo and Don Airey from Ozzy Osbourne’s
band watch the show. Nikki has a beer bottle thrown at him, which cuts
open his right hand. He keeps playing while throwing blood onto the
small crowd. A guy goes to take a swing at Tommy backstage between
sets, but ends up having his teeth knocked out by Allan Coffman’s knee.
Coffman breaks a finger in the fight. Nikki tells an interviewer
backstage, “We’re going to be huge because we’re entertainment. Our
next album will be called TV & Violence. We’re the television. Our
audience is the violence. Together, we’ll take over the world!”
Mötley Crüe is rushed by police to evacuate their show after a call is
made threatening to “waste the band on stage.” Six policemen arrive and
search the complex, and once satisfied, allow them to continue to play.
The Crüe members refuse to play unless the police are present, so two
policemen stand vigil by each side of the stage as they finish their
set. Decades later, it is revealed that the death threat call was
actually made by Allan Coffman's assistant Eric Greif to the Edmonton
Sun newspaper as a successful publicity stunt for nationwide press and
great stories to tell back in the States.
The manager of the Sheraton and two bodyguards waiting at the Riviera
Rock Room where the Crüe is about to play, demand two hundred and sixty
dollars for damage caused to a trashed eighth floor of their hotel. The
bill is cheap considering a bored Tommy threw a small television out
the window of his room onto the pavement below.
After playing their
last two nights in Edmonton, Coffman ends the tour because he had run
out of money to keep it going. The remaining shows in British Columbia
are cancelled and the Crüe returns home to L.A. amid national press
coverage on the horrific exploits of the American band. The booking
agent considers suing the Crüe for a million dollars. Eric Greif wears
the financial brunt of the cancellation since he took personal
responsibility for the gigs through his company Kondor Recording and
Production. By the time the band's confiscated stage clothes are
approved for return, the items have already been destroyed.
Elektra Records proposes a two-page addendum to the band’s record
contract detailing their intention to decrease royalties just six weeks
after the contract’s signing, but the band doesn’t sign it.
A Scandinavian tour for the first two weeks of August is negotiated
with a Finland agency but the tour doesn’t eventuate.
Vince is the last Mötley member to get a tattoo. His first inking is of
a snake with a musical note on his upper left arm.
Tom Zutaut calls Doug
Thaler at Contemporary Communications Corp. in Manhattan to try and get
Mötley on the bill for the forthcoming Aerosmith tour, but Doug has
just added an old agency client of his to the tour in Pat Travers.
Live Wire is the first release on Elektra for the band. The 7” single
is backed with Take Me To The Top and Merry-Go-Round, as the Crüe is
back playing to big crowds in Los Angeles again.
Nikki meets Alice
Cooper for the first time, who is working on his new album Zipper
Catches Skin in a neighbouring studio at Cherokee in Hollywood. Alice
is holding scissors when they meet, which are later heard as an effect
in the song Tag, You’re It from the album.
The Too Fast For Love album is re-released on Elektra and enters the
Billboard chart at #157. A few changes to the album cover are made with
the front photo and logo being enlarged and the rear album photo
getting reduced. A new band picture is included on the lyric sheet
inside. The song Stick To Your Guns is omitted from this new version,
due to copyright issues since Nikki sold the song amongst others to
former nightclub manager and now KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer prior to
its recording. In Canada only, Elektra releases the original Leathür
version of the songs with a re-vamped Too Fast For Love cover.
priority is Australian band Cold Chisel, and after a lack of support
for Mötley is shown, the label’s head of promotions is fired. Tom
Werman is brought in to Elektra as head of A&R around this same
time and he instantly clicks with Nikki.
Mötley starts to demo songs for their next album, including Looks That
Kill, Hotter Than Hell, Knock ‘Em Dead Kid, Red Hot and Running Wild.
Under the Power of Attorney in his management contract, Allan Coffman
sells five percent of his fifteen percent stake in Mötley Crüe to Bill
Larson for twenty five thousand dollars, which he acquires from the
life savings of his parents; his father being a retired school
professor and his Swedish mother, a housewife. Twenty-one-year-old
Larson drives from Davison, Michigan and stays with Coffman for a
couple of days, before they head into Los Angeles where they meet with
industry executives. Larson meets the band at SIR Rehearsal Studios,
but Coffman does not tell them what the arrangement is.
Mötley does a photo shoot and interview for porn magazine Oui.
Afterwards, Tommy disappears for three days with one of the female
models. The article and pictures are published in the November 1982
issue of the magazine with Cheryl Rixon on the cover.
The Crüe plays an awesome Halloween show at the Concord Pavilion in San
Francisco with Y&T and Jimi Hendrix impersonator Randy Hansen and
the Machine Guns in support. Three new songs are performed for the
first time: Looks That Kill, Shout At The Devil (written at Lita Ford’s
mother’s dining table in Long Beach as she cooked dinner) and Red Hot.
During the encore song Red Hot, Nikki walks over to a candelabra on
stage and touches his shoulder to the candle’s flame, instantly
igniting his leather jumpsuit while he continues to play. Within
seconds, the Concord Fire Department gets on stage putting Nikki out
and subsequently fines the band one thousand dollars for starting the
fire on stage.
Wishing to clarify his position with Mötley Crüe, Bill Larson makes
copies of his legal agreements he had entered into with Allan Coffman,
and gives them to Mötley’s merchandise guy. He in turn gives them to
Nikki and Mick who don’t realise that Larson’s percentage was provided
out of Coffman’s share, and they think that Coffman is ripping them
off. Miscommunication and misunderstanding aside, the trust is broken
and Coffman makes an attempt to provide a workable solution where he
removes himself from the band as a shareholder but remains involved as
a personal manager for the next three years. In exchange for this
transaction, Coffman seeks financial compensation for his investments
of the past eighteen months, all to no avail as the Personal Management
Agreement dated this day is never reached.
A video clip is made for Mötley’s single Live Wire. An unreleased video
of Take Me To The Top is also filmed and edited very similarly to Live
Wire, also displaying the Crüe’s live stage show at the time.
recording their second album at The Annex in Northridge with Jeffers
Dodge engineering, which Nikki wants to call Shout With The Devil, as
he and Lita fool around with satanic black magic. They record songs
that include the unreleased Run For Your Life, Running Wild In The
Night and I Will Survive. One night Nikki, Tommy and his drum tech,
Clyde ‘the Spide’ Duncan, get hassled by a couple of policemen as they
have a few drinks in a bar around the corner from a North Hollywood
recording studio, so as they leave, they urinate through the open
window into their patrol car before running off. Tommy throws a brick
through the control room window upon returning to the studio, causing
Jeffers to be banned from the facility even though it is managed by his
girlfriend. The following morning they work on the track I Will Survive
at The Annex. It is Nikki and Vince’s idea to do some backward masking,
so they lay on their backs chanting into microphones above, while
Jeffers suspends a gong on a rope above them, making a shimmering sound
effect as it spins in circles. When the half-track is played backwards
they hear “Jesus is Satan.” Jeffers’ second engineer disappears, found
hours later praying in the back forty of the ranch studio, believing
they are all possessed by Satan. The motor in Tommy’s car blows up as
he drives home from this recording session, while Mick pulls over
because his car alarm comes on and his lights keep flicking on and off.
One of Nikki’s picks flies off the table in the studio and sticks in
the ceiling. Tom Zutaut witnesses a knife and fork rise off Nikki and
Lita’s table and stick into the ceiling.
A week prior to Christmas, Allan Coffman is advised by an attorney on
the telephone to cease and desist as their manager. Coffman has been
trying to get them to stop taking drugs while record company executives
encourage it. He is also against them progressing towards a more
satanic image. The Crüe feels he is not able to manage their success
growth and they can’t understand where all the money from sell-out
shows and the record company advance is going. It also seems that he is
contributing substantial amounts of band money to the political
campaign of George Deukmajian, the arch conservative Republican who
runs for Governor. The news devastates Coffman, who has mortgaged his
home three times to pay for the Crüe’s stage show theatrics and other
expenses, personally contributing around three hundred thousand dollars
over the time of his management. Coffman files for Bankruptcy. Bill
Larson’s association with the band also ends, as his contract is tied
in with Coffman’s.
Allan Coffman takes his termination very hard. His wife Barbara comes
home to find her husband pacing their back yard with a gun in his hand,
contemplating suicide. He later gets divorced from her and marries
another lady named Barbara and becomes a born-again Christian. Bill
Larson’s father passes away six months later, after suffering a heart
attack from worrying about the fate of his son and their lost life
savings. Bill suffers clinical depression for a couple of years
following the incident and eventually files a lawsuit to try and get
his twenty five thousand dollars back, but it is thrown out of court as
no-one is able to find Coffman to serve the subpoena. Bill Larson
continues to work in the music industry and goes on to become a
co-founder of HardRadio. Mick’s friend and band production guy John
‘Stick’ Crouch is also ousted from the Crüe camp, due to his
relationship with Coffman.
The Crüe plays a show in front of three thousand people called New
Year’s Evil at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, said to be one of the
greatest glam shows ever! Mötley invites as many managers as possible
to see the show, realising this show is a do-or-die event in their
careers. Big Crüe fan, Ronnie James Dio, tips off his booking agent
friend Doug Thaler about the Crüe. Doug played in Ronnie Dio and The
Prophets back in the late-sixties before almost losing his leg when
their tour van was involved in a head-on collision in Massachusetts.
Pat Travers’ manager Doc McGhee is keen for Doug to join his company,
so they both attend the Mötley showcase from Florida and love it. They
ride home in an empty merchandise truck after the entire product is
sold. Santa Monica authorities ban the proposed Miss Nude Heavy Metal
prelude, citing laws prohibiting “depravity of minors”, as a band
called The Wigglers open the show, featuring Vince’s former Rockandi
guitarist James Alverson. The Crüe is fined one thousand dollars by the
local fire marshals as they come off stage for the use of fire in their
show, which included twenty-foot high mortars. Backstage, Nikki takes a
black makeup pencil and walks over to a wasted Joe Perry from Aerosmith
before smearing the pencil under his eyes, inspired by the Road Warrior
characters in the film Mad Max. Joe thinks it looks cool on Nikki.
Meanwhile Vince is in tears as his phone has been cut off, due to the
band’s desperate financial state.
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
10 / 11 / 12 /
13 / 14 / 15 /
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