was a percentage owner of Leathür Records. When did he bail him out of
jail? Why did Roth back out? Who declined to take over Vince’s vocals
in ’82? The band was punching each other over pentagrams. Rampart! This
is an Emergency!
midnight my time on Monday 27th October 1997, just as Mötley Crüe had
finished destroying Nassau Coliseum in New York, Chronological Crue
spoke on the phone with Mike Flaherty in Los Angeles, about his piece
of the Mötley Crüe action. Over his first coffee of the new week, Mike
begins talking about how he became involved with the Crüe.
Flaherty: I was working in Real Estate at the time and I was getting
kind of bored with it, because I used to be a musician many years ago.
I started going to a lot of the local clubs and I was kind of looking
for a new business to get involved with. I found a band that was
playing around town; a heavy metal band that was called Images. At that
time in 1981, The Knack was happening and long hair rock’n’roll bands
weren’t really happening much at that point. I got friendly with this
band and I ended up their Manager and went on to a certain degree of
success in local clubs like the Troubadour, the Whisky and the Roxy.
Mötley Crüe had just started happening real big in the local clubs.
MF: I wanted
to get more exposure for my band so I contacted Bobby Dean, who was the
Booking Agent at the Troubadour ,and asked if there was any possibility
of Images opening for Mötley Crüe. He said you’d have to talk to their
Manager in Nevada, Allan Coffman. So I said, "Give me his number." I
called Coffman and he said he was coming into town a few days later and
he’d like to meet for coffee.
MF: We met
at Hit City West recording studio on Pico Boulevard & La Cienegia
in Los Angeles where they were recording Too Fast For Love. I met with
Nikki and Allan. I told them I had this band I managed, that was a very
exciting band, and they would fit in well with Mötley Crüe and would
like them to open for you to get some exposure. They said, "We’ll have
to see the band next show." The three of us sat there and spoke for
about an hour and a half. The three of us really hit it off. We left
it, like... we’ll keep in touch and next show Images does, we’ll invite
MF: I got a
call a couple of days later from Allan, and he said he wanted to meet
me over lunch at the Beverly Hilton. He made me a proposition. He said
he needed somebody that a) knew more about the music business than he
did, and b) somebody that lived here in Los Angeles, because he had his
business stationed up north, and he needed somebody to do everything
from baby-sit, to importantly, get the band out of L.A. The band did
not want to ‘die on the vine’ here in L.A. so to speak, like a lot of
other bands here have, or did back at that time. Allan felt that it was
very important not to just keep playing clubs here. He offered me
basically 20% of Leathür Records and he gave me a contract to that
effect. He wouldn’t dilute his management deal with Mötley Crüe but I
figured that 20% of Leathür Records... if I make the band work, that’s
great! That could be a lot of money.
CC: Oh yeh.
MF: So Allan
and I actually became pretty close friends for a while. I went to all
the shows. I was working for the band. I would field the phone calls
coming in when Allan was out of town. Allan made a statement to me one
time. He said, "I trust your judgement. If I am back home in Grass
Valley or Lake Tahoe and a decision comes up that you have to make
Mike, you make it." He said, "If I wouldn’t agree with you, I still
would respect the fact that you did the best you thought you could." It
went on like that and we had a real good rapport. I was at a Ratt show
at the Whisky one night. Ratt and the Crüe were pretty good friends.
was a disc jockey; a female disc jockey on a local station called KROQ
which at that time was new wave. This disc jockey was Michelle Nuval. I
don’t know if you remember the old TV series Emergency?
played a Nurse's Aide to Dixie McCall [actress - Julie London] in the
TV show and later went on to become a disc jockey. She had this nightly
show on Sunday night on KROQ where she would play some good stuff. I
gave her a copy of Too Fast For Love and she started playing it.
Actually, she was the first disc jockey in the world to play Mötley
Crüe. Allan was happy that we were finally getting airplay. When he
came back to town he invited this girl out for dinner at Carlos &
Charlies on Sunset. Well it turns out, and I kind of hate to say this
but it’s the truth, he starts having an affair with this woman. Allan
started neglecting the band and paying more attention to this woman
than he was Mötley Crüe. There was a New Year's Eve show at the
Troubadour with Mötley Crüe  and somehow Nikki, or it may have
been Mick, had become friends with David Lee Roth. David had agreed to
introduce the band in front of the audience at the Troubadour that
night and to sing an encore of Jailhouse Rock with Vince.
CC: Right OK.
disc jockey Michelle told Allan that she wanted to sing the encore with
David and Vince. Allan said, "Oh, that sounds like a good idea!" Well
the band just about shit, especially Nikki. He was like, here’s Roth
coming down here; a big star doin’ us a favour. Roth was actually
pretty cool about it. He didn’t like the idea, but he was gonna go
along with it. At the point of the final encore, Michelle and Allan are
by the stage. She was ready to hop up onto stage and David came down
stairs, ready to go on stage. When Michelle then hopped up on stage
with Vince before David got to the stage, David turned around and
walked away. He wouldn’t do it. So it ended up just Michelle and Vince
singing Jailhouse Rock.
CC: Oh no!
just totally f*ckin’ flipped.
remember we went back up to the apartment that night. Allan had rented
them this apartment on Sunset Strip... and Nikki and Allan weren’t
speaking. Allan was totally involved with this woman. Later on that
week, Allan kind of started picking on me. I had a neatly trimmed beard
at the time and he asked me to shave it. I said, "What do you mean?" He
said, "Oh, it doesn’t look professional." And I go, "Have you been in a
record executive’s office lately?" You know, this was 1981/'82. All
record executives and agents had beards at the time. You know, neatly
CC: Yeh sure.
MF: And he
said, "Well. I want you to look professional when representing Mötley
Crüe." I laugh about this because Allan told Bill (Larson) to wear a
suit or something.
right. (click here to read Chronological
Crue's exclusive interview with Bill Larson)
MF: I shaved
the beard down to a moustache to keep peace. I had a leather jacket. It
wasn’t a heavy metal leather jacket at all. It was like a bomber jacket
that I’d had for years. I went to the Troubadour one night wearing that
jacket because it was cold, and Michelle happened to be there. Allan
was up in Northern California at the time. The next afternoon, I get
this phone call from Allan. He goes, "Mike, I don’t know how to say
this to you, except just to say it. When representing Mötley Crüe, I
don’t want you to wear a leather jacket." I said, "Allan. I’m not goin’
out dressed in chains and studs, you know. This jacket I’ve had for 5
years and it’s like a bomber jacket." He goes, "Well I think you should
wear a tie." I thought I may as well go back to f*ckin’ Real Estate if
I have to wear a f*ckin’ tie, you know?
MF: I was
desperately trying to get bookings for the band, anywhere
outside of L.A. They were the hottest thing goin’ in L.A. at the time,
but even in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, nobody knew who the hell Mötley
Crüe was. We sent out copies of the album. We made a really nice Press
Kit and we just could not get the guys out of town. Allan was feeling
more and more pressure to do something with the band. We were still on
Leathür Records. We did a limited distribution deal with, ahhh…
Greenworld, that’s right. That worked for a while.
believe they went out of business?
MF: They are
now out of business. I think the record at one point became even too
big for them. That’s when Elektra bought it but that was after I
CC: Oh, OK.
owed me a lot of money for phone calls, postage, press kit printing,
even a birthday cake for this Michelle [laughing], drinks for other
disk jockeys... I took a bunch of disk jockeys out to dinner one night.
It amounted to about $14,000 all up, including my 20% of Leathür
Records sales, but I’ll get back to that in a minute. Allan came back
to town a couple of days after the leather jacket incident and he found
out it was Michelle’s birthday party. He invited her and I and a date
out to a restaurant. That was on a Thursday night. Well on the Friday
night, Mötley Crüe were to play the Whisky with Ratt opening. So
Thursday night, Allan and I went out to… oh, this is a funny story!
Michelle, and a date and I, went out to this restaurant and had a nice
dinner. Allan had been drinking quite a bit. I got home about one
o’clock in the morning. About three o’clock, the phone rings and it’s
Vince at the West Hollywood Sheriff Station in jail. This is a result
of what happened... that the song Knock 'Em Dead Kid was written about.
Vince and Nikki were coming out of the Rainbow and there were two
bikies there that said something about their hair and Nikki and Vince
jumped them. You probably know the story. Nikki took off his belt and
was swinging it right when a Sheriff's Deputy came up and hit the guy
in the eye. Well, we had to play the Whisky next night and Vince was in
jail, so Vince says, "Please get in touch with Allan." I try to find
Allan but he’s nowhere to be found. I was up all night long trying to
find Allan, even at Michelle’s but they weren’t there, so I guess they
went to a hotel. I made the mistake of calling his wife Barbara in
Grass Valley wondering if she knew where he was. Allan comes in to my
house about seven o’clock in the morning wearing the same thing he was
wearing the night before, reeking of alcohol and still looking a little
buzzed. He goes, "Has my wife called?" and I go, "Well as a matter of
fact she did call but I called her first." He goes, "Oh shit!" He calls
her back and comes up with this story. He hasn’t addressed the
situation. Vince is still in jail.
CC: Was it
Vince or Nikki?
MF: No it
was Vince. It could’ve been both of them, but Vince was the one who
called me. No, I’m sure it was Vince. [Note: It was actually Nikki that
spent the time in jail.] Anyway, he calls his wife and tells her he
went out with a couple of disk jockeys the night before. He had a few
drinks and got pulled over and he shows his police identification,
because Allan used to be a San José Police Officer before he was a
Contractor. He said he showed these two police officers his old
identification and they said, "We’ll give you professional respect.
We’ll drive you to a hotel so you can sleep it off and we won’t arrest
you." That was his excuse. So he covered that up. I go, "Allan, you’ve
gotta go and get Vince out of jail, we’ve got to play tonight." So we
go down the West Hollywood Sheriff Station and I stay out in the lobby,
while Allan goes in there for about an hour until he comes out with
Vince. He tells me later that he had to pull a lot of strings and the
fact that he was a former police officer helped. He finally got him
out. That afternoon at sound check at the Whisky, Nikki goes, "What did
you guys do last night?" I said I went out with Allan, Michelle and a
date." Nikki was livid. Nikki was a very astute businessman. He cared
very much. Everything was very calculated, and I mean that in a good
MF: He saw
Allan kind of falling apart. Allan was running low on money. We had
finally decided that since we can’t book the guys out of town, what
we’ll do is promote our own shows. I remember we drove up to an area
called Oxnard, an hour or so north of Los Angeles, and we rented the
auditorium up there. Allan had put a deposit down on it and we were
going to promote a show, with I think Ratt and another band called
Stormer opening for Mötley Crüe. The Oxnard Auditorium kept calling and
calling. This was several weeks after the show [that was on 26/12/81]
and they were wanting the balance of their money. I kept telling Allan,
"Allan I need a cheque." He said, "I’ll get it, I’ll get it" but the
money never came.
So what was the final straw?
final straw I think was… it’s hard to even put my finger on what the
final straw was. The band was stagnating. Allan was paying much more
attention to Michelle. I kind of referred to him as ‘Andy Griffiths
from Maybury with $2 and a Rock’n’Roll Band’ and I think that’s a good
way to describe him. I just decided that I’d had enough. I’m just going
to drop out because my relationship with Allan at that point had gone
downhill. It kind of hurt me personally because we’d started out really
tight and as a team and it was just little things that happened. For
example the leather jacket thing. I know Michelle called Allan the
night after the Ratt show at the Troubadour and said, "Mike’s wearing a
leather jacket." So I just told Allan, "Look Allan, just pay me what
you owe me. Let’s shake hands. Best of luck to you. I’ll give you a
letter signing back my 20% of Leathür Records and we’ll be friends.
Good luck to you." You know?
Allan accepted that. A couple of weeks went by and I still hadn’t
received any money from him. I go to the Troubadour one night and I see
Vince there. Vince is kind of buzzed and he’s like, livid at me. He’s
like, "You don’t have any faith in us..." I said, "W-wait a minute. No
No. Vince. I told Allan to explain to you guys what happened, you know.
I wish you all the luck in the world. If I can help you – great. But
I’m not getting along with Allan." Vince didn’t accept that. He was
ready to punch me out. I later ran into Tommy. Tommy’s a real cool guy.
He understood. I’ve never seen Nikki since. I saw Mick once. Nice guy.
Allan never explained to the guys why I dropped out. I guess he didn’t
want the guys to think... He was a little intimidated by the guys and
he had so much money invested. I will give Allan credit for that. He
did put his money where his mouth was, as long as his money held out. I
had a house that I had bought to remodel before I had got involved with
Mötley Crüe and it was for sale. He asked me if I could take out a
second loan on it to raise money. I said, "No Allan. I can’t because
I’m selling it and I don’t want to encumber it anymore than it already
CC: So where
did things go from there?
MF: It seems
Bill [Larson] had a call from Allan Coffman a week or two after I came
uninvolved and he became involved. I recently had a chat with Bill
after you put me in contact with him. We had a real nice chat. I wish I
could’ve talked to him before he invested his money, but anyway. I
ended up suing Allan about a year later and he did not show up in
Court, so I explained to the Judge what it was all about. I had all my
bills and expenses there. The Judge gave me a Default Judgement, I
think it’s called, for $14,000. I contacted the local Sheriffs here in
L.A. and they served the judgement on the Sheriff up in Grass Valley
and then served it on Allan. A few weeks later, I got a thing in the
mail that is a No Asset Bankruptcy, so that wiped out the judgement. I
guess this is a year later after I broke with the band.
CC: So this
MF: It would
be ’83, yeah. It would be probably late ’83.
CC: Well the
Crüesing Through Canada tour was mid ’82 and you’ve mentioned
previously to me that it was before then that you dropped out.
right. They were just planning a tour with Wishbone Ash of Europe, or
maybe that was the Canadian tour.
CC: I think
that was Europe.
OK. What had happened as I recall, and I heard this second hand.
Somebody was actually scamming Allan and there really was no Wishbone
Ash tour. Now I could be wrong about that, but that’s the story I
heard. Somebody told Allan, "Look for $10,000 I’ll get you on the
bill." So Allan came up with the money and the tour fell apart somehow.
This was all happening right as I was quitting. Then I heard they went
up to Canada. I heard they had problems with Customs, with the
costumes. I kept my ear to the ground back then, as I felt like I was
part of the beginning days; which I was.
CC: Do you
see it as ‘just desserts’ for Allan perhaps?
MF: I always
wondered what happened to Allan. I figured he went back to Contracting.
I gotta tell you, I don’t hate the guy. He got caught up in his own
ego. He did have every penny could rake together, invested in the band.
I wouldn’t mind sitting down over a drink with him today and talk about
the old times. I really don’t hold any grudge. He was like a little
Hitler in a way, or a Napoleon. He was riding in limousines and he’d
never ridden in anything other than a pickup truck. He was meeting with
all these executives. People were trying to get in touch with him.
People were wanting interviews. To back track a little bit, he had
assigned me the job of trying to keep the guys clean and sober. That
was not an easy job.
was a University here called Cal State Northridge in the northern part
of L.A. County that has a college radio station. It’s a pretty popular
college radio station in the large part of the San Fernando Valley. One
of the disk jockeys there wanted the Crüe to come out and do an
interview. Allan was going to meet me there. He was driving or flying
in. I was to pick up the boys and meet him at this college radio
station. He told me, "No matter what you do. Don’t let them drink." So
I went up there around noon and babysat them because the interview
wasn’t until five or six o’clock that night. Sure enough I kept them
sober and met Allan there. They were recording this interview. It
wasn’t being broadcast live. The four guys were sitting there. You
almost had to be there to appreciate the humour, but the disc jockey
was asking them questions like, "Nikki, what are your musical
influences?" He’d go, "Um… well… ahh… Scorpions I guess." They’d ask
Vince a question and he’d go, "Ahhhh… ummmm." The interview went on
like this for about fifteen minutes then Allan said, "Can we stop the
tape?" The disc jockey goes, "Sure!" Allan reaches into his pocket,
pulls out a $20 bill and goes, "Mike, will you go get a case of beer?"
MF: We have
like a half hour break. The guys chugged some beer and sure enough they
were Mr. Personality again, you know. So that was not an easy task. I
really liked the guys. I got along best with, in the early days, Nikki
and Tommy. Mick was just Mick. He was a nice guy but he’d go along with
anything, you know. Then Vince and I got along real well until Allan
kind of screwed up our relationship because he didn’t pass on why I had
quit. It’s all in the past, but it was fun.
were some of the scenes you remember from when they were recording the
Too Fast For Love album, when you were in the studios there at Hit City
MF: I wasn’t
actually in the studio as much as you might think. At that point I was
running around getting out Press Releases. We had a single out at the
time Toast Of The Town and Stick To Your Guns. I was assembling a Press
Kit to mail out to the different clubs, so I was also assembling the
mailing list of clubs and contacts. I was also going to booking agents
and that type of thing. I know there were some strange things that they
experimented with musically. They took half of a Marshall stack and put
it at the end of a hall to get more of a natural echo effect that they
couldn’t get. Little things like that. I actually found myself a little
bored in the studio. I was out there promoting at that point on behalf
of the band.
other incidents that spring to mind?
remember we went to a record signing party at a Mall and on the way
back it was: Allan driving, I was in the middle, Mick was on the
passengers side, and Tommy, Vince and Nikki were in the back seats.
There was a lot of tension in that car coming down the Freeway that
day. Vince said something to Nikki that a couple of kids at the record
signing party mentioned that they didn’t like the pentagrams or the
devil stuff. Nikki said, "Well if you don’t like it you can quit,
because I quit London to do what I wanted to do, and that’s what I want
to do." The words went back and forth and Nikki and Vince started
punching each other out in the backseat. I looked at Allan and he was
just letting it ride, and finally after about two minutes he said, "OK.
That’s it." Which was actually a pretty good way to handle the
situation. Let them get it out a bit and let Daddy come in and… you
also one night before a Christmas show at a club called the Country
Club in the Valley. Allan was out of town. They were rehearsing for the
show at S.I.R. Allan would always rent the studio to have an hour extra
before Nikki, Mick and Vince would come in, so Tommy could practise his
drums. See, you could practice guitar in your house but you can’t
practice drums. Anyway, I was getting there just as Tommy was finishing
up and the band was setting up. I guess Vince was like, really majorly
screwed up. He came on stage and did the opening song, which was I
think Take Me To The Top. Nikki said something to the effect that
you’re off key, or something like that. Vince threw the microphone
across the room and stormed off. So Nikki puts down his bass. I’m
sitting on the couch on the opposite end across from the stage. He
walked over to me and sat down. I didn’t know what to say, so I said,
"So Nikki, what’s new and exciting?" He goes, "I’ll tell you what would
be new and exciting. A new fucking singer." They went ahead and played
the Country Club show, the Christmas show, but they started rehearsing
with Stephen Pearcy from Ratt, which a lot of people don’t know.
CC: Wow! OK.
asked me what I thought. He said, "Shall we put Stephen Pearcy in the
band?" I said, "I don’t think so because as good a singer Stephen is,
Mötley Crüe is Mötley Crüe with Vince. Allan said, "Look at it this
way. You may have had 10,000 people in L.A. who have seen Mötley Crüe
with Vince, but once we go nationwide and worldwide, there’s millions
of people that can see Mötley Crüe with Stephen Pearcy." So I said,
"Allan, it’s up to you guys and the band, and certainly up to Stephen
But I was kind of pushing to keep Vince in the band because I just felt
that was the Mötley Crüe that would go someplace. On the same token
Stephen Pearcy was Ratt, you know. It turned out that they did offer it
to Steve, but he turned it down because he wanted to stay with Ratt
which I guess in the long run worked out well for them. I’m glad too
because Steve’s a nice guy. There was a lot of friction and I think the
friction increased the more they had to stay here in L.A. They were
like, "Well. Where are we playing this month? The Whisky, the Roxy and
the Troubadour?" I think that’s where the problem came in.
CC: Do you
have any photos of yourself with the band back in those days?
Yeh I do. I’ve got a picture of me and Nikki with two girls. It was the
New Year's Eve show that David Lee Roth was going to do Jailhouse Rock.
It was right around midnight, and it’s of he and I and these two girls,
who were actually sisters that we were both dating. At the stroke of
midnight we all kissed, so it’s a picture of that kiss. It’s kind of
cute. The picture was taken in front of the Troubador dressing room
door. They had showered and changed into street clothes. They always
did. I never saw them off-stage in makeup, etc. The girls in the
picture are Lynn and Tina Pierre. Nikki was dating Lynn, and I was
dating Tina. Nikki was also dating Lita Ford around that time and she
often stayed over at the apartment. He was also with a tall blonde
fashion model from Germany named Evelyn. There’s an interesting
postscript to this photo and time. About a year ago, I attended a
wedding for one of my wife’s friends. My wife’s best friend, who was
sitting at the table with us, mentioned Mötley Crüe in the course of a
conversation. It turns out that Lynn and Tina are her best friends!
Both are now happily married with kids and houses in the suburbs. Small
World! Later, she mentioned me to Tina, who said she remembers those
days very fondly.
CC: So what
else have you been up to since those days?
the Crüe days, I learned that I really loved promoting. I started a
weekend swap meet or flea market every Saturday and Sunday in Beverly
Hills. Later, I produced and promoted computer shows, record collector
conventions at the Roxy, and since 1988 I’ve been producing motorcycle
shows and swap meets in Glendale, Santa Barbara, Riverside and
Lancaster, which are all Southern Californian cities. I’m really
excited about my new venture, and instead of telling you about it,
check it out at www.mcswap.com. I also have a motorcycle parts
business. Check out the All-American Cycle page in the Harley Mall on
my site. [Note: This web site is no longer operational.] I’ve also been
happily married for five years to a beautiful ex-dancer. The boys would
be proud! We often go to the Rainbow Bar & Grill for dinner and
dancing. It hasn’t changed after all these years. Girls, Girls, Girls
and Hooligans Holiday are the two most requested songs in the disco
it’s been a pleasure chatting with you Mike. There’s some pretty
awesome insights there. Thanks for your time.
MF: I’m glad
we’ve talked. It’s been great talking. You have a great site! More
power to you and continued success to you and Mötley Crüe. Thanks.
In June 1999, Mike Flaherty contacted Chronological Crue and
airmailed a copy of the Leathür Records Limited Partnership
Agreement and his Assignment of Interest legal documents,
as were discussed in the above interview.
download these documents in .pdf format (527k)
Want more ?? Click to see the complete
listing of Chronological Crue interviews.
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