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He 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!

Around 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.

Mike 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.

Chronological Crue: Sure.

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.

CC: Right.

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 them down.

CC: Sure.

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.

CC: That’s right.

MF: There 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?

CC: [laughing] Yeh.

MF: She 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 [1981] 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.

MF: This 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!

MF: Nikki just totally f*ckin’ flipped.

CC: Sure.

MF: I 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 trimmed?

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.

CC: That’s 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?

CC: Yeh sure.

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…

CC: Greenworld.

MF: Greenworld, that’s right. That worked for a while.

CC: I 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 dropped out.

CC: Oh, OK.

MF: Allan 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!

Allan and 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 way.

CC: Sure.

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.

CC: So what was the final straw?

MF: The 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?

CC: Sure.

MF: Well 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 is."

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 is 1983?

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.

MF: That’s 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.

MF: 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.

CC: Definitely.

MF: There 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?" Hahaha.

CC: Hahaha. Classic.

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.

CC: What 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 West?

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.

CC: Any other incidents that spring to mind?

MF: I 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 know.

There was 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.

MF: Allan 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 Pearcy."

CC: Sure.

MF: 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?

Mike Flaherty, Tina Pierre, Nikki Sixx, Lynn PierreMF: 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?

MF: During 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 area.

CC: Well 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.
Click to download these documents in .pdf format (527k)


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