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JOHN CROUCH - Stick To Your Guns

Look inside Mötley Crüe's Too Fast For Love album and you will see that 'Stick' is thanked by the band for his "unselfish dedication." This was a dedication to Mick Mars in particular, sticking by him to see that he made it to number one.

At 12 noon on Wednesday May 31, 2006, Chronological Crue’s Paul Miles called the Grass Valley, California home of John 'Stick' Crouch and chatted with him for over an over about the days when he was “best friends on the planet” with Mick. The interview started with him being asked about the first time he ever first met Mick Mars.

Mick Mars ready to kick ass again on the Carnival of Sins tourJohn Crouch: I think the first time I actually met Mick – I barely remember – I believe it was at Lancaster when he auditioned for this band that eventually turned into Vendetta back then. I think it was Vendetta; it could have been Whitehorse. It could have been a whole bunch of different names. I was then associated with him and helped him and was a partner with him… Anyway, I just remember Vendetta and that’s the only name I remember.

Chronological Crue: Vendetta was a Top 40 cover band, was it not?

JC: Ah, they were a cover band but they had many of their originals. After Mick joined them they were more Top 40 ‘cause the original guitar player, Chris Noe, was more of a Steely Dan, or Robin Trower, or something like that. He liked whammy and that kind of melodic stuff more than the hard-edged rock stuff. And he’s the one that actually quit, in order for Mick to join the band. They were looking to get more of a hard rock and roll type of edge. So that’s how Mick got in the band.


JC: So I think that I met him at Lancaster when he auditioned and I always thought that was when he still had red hair and a big old bushy moustache. I don’t really recall. I just remember it was a very cold night and I had a fill of anti-freeze and I enjoyed myself and I do remember meeting Mick; I don’t remember what he looked like.

CC: So what were you doing at the time? How did you come to meet him?

JC: I was just hanging around with Vendetta – whatever name they had at the time. I was friends with them. I had met them at a bar called Pier 52 in Hermosa Beach, California that I had started going to frequently and I grew to know several bands that played there periodically and eventually became friends with a couple of the better ones that I knew from in that area.

CC: OK, so Kenny Morse…

JC: Well Kenny Morse on vocals and Johnny Gall was the keyboardist. Barry the bassist – and I can not remember Barry’s last name, I don’t even know if Mick does to tell you the truth. That's it – Barry Leab... Bear Slut he was called... And Steve Meade aka Kinky McKool, Mick’s second drummer (the first was Steve Jackson)… So anyway, I was friends with them and would hang out after gigs and help them load equipment on a Sunday night when their gig was over. I would help them with their equipment and we’d talk and I’d party all night with them and stuff, and just hang with a group that I enjoyed very much.


JC: I had another group prior to that... I really liked the bass player. I remember they lived in a house either in Redondo Beach or Manhattan Beach. The bass player looked like he could have formed ZZ Top. He looked like a mountain man but his bass tone was so good; you felt it more than you heard it. That was the ultimate; that was great. Anyway, they kind of split off and that’s when I became more friends with Vendetta.

CC: So this is around ’79, 1980?

JC: Yeh it had to be; somewhere in that era, yeh. I think… Mick joined, and I lost my job and they sort of said, ‘Well we’re goin’ on the road for a couple weeks and we could use an extra hand and we’ll give you an equal share’ and I had my burgundy RX-3 – my little 1971 RX-3 coupe, little rotary engine that would go anywhere and never break down – as a chase car, an extra vehicle in case they broke down. So we went on out to Yuma, and out to Colorado River and other places, and we definitely had a good time. Anyway, so that’s how eventually Mick and I became good friends because I’d be hangin’ out and stuff. We’d be talking and I’d be helping him with his guitar stuff of course at all the places they played at or whatever, and I just became part of the group you know… hung out, got to do this, enjoyed music and drank with them.

CC: By this time, Mick had changed his name…

JC: Oh yeh, he was Mick Mars then. Actually I probably even met him as Robert Deal; I’m not even sure. I’ve always been terrible with names anyway. I knew someone from that audition and I was looking at this new guy with long blue-black hair and his name was Mick Mars at the time he joined the band, when he started playing music with them.

CC: Mick was playing covers with David Day in Vendetta…

JC: Oh, he was playing all kinds of weird stuff before…

CC: And then Ten Wheel Drive who changed their name to Spiders & Cowboys.

JC: Yeh, I had met David Day a long time ago when he was at the music store and we’d go there and get drinks and talk and stuff… and a couple of his other buds I had only met casually a couple of times, so I don’t really know them that well you know.

CC: Yep.

JC: You see Mick is mostly a home-body; he always has been. We were always older than everybody else anyway. You know what I mean?

CC: Definitely.

JC: We were already in our late 30s-early 40s by then.

CC: So the story goes that Mick was playing some of those gigs that you joined him on, out in Yuma, and a club owner out there demanded that he turned down the volume…

JC: Oh yeh, they all did.

CC: So he pushed over his stack and quit playing Top 40.

JC: Oh, we finished the gig – we finished the gig. We kicked up a big stink like we always did but we always finished what we started. That was the tour at the end. Originally I had Allan [Coffman] come down and see them. He had come down and seen them and liked them but just at that point, these guys were going their separate ways. I don’t remember who decided who was going which way or how… but anyway, it broke up.

an early promo picture of Mick MarsCC: So at this same time, this is when Nikki and Tommy are getting together and starting to form Mötley.

JC: Well you see, I drove Mick to other little casual gigs in between and played at some god-awful places. We put a stack in my RX-3 and we’d go out there. He didn’t have a car – never did have a car. I was his transportation. Especially at the time after I didn’t have a job and I was committed to him – I was committed to him. And we talked and he knew I had Allan in my pocket.

CC: Right.

JC: So far as, we could go find some other people and get to gig with and we were going to use that.

CC: So Allan was just keen to get involved in backing a band.

JC: Well, one time I was on vacation in Grass Valley where he lived, and my sister lived, and my brother lived, and my parents do too, and lived… and somehow we got into the conversation where I talked about Vendetta and said they were really good and I really liked them and their original songs and they play good together, blah blah blah, you know?

CC: Yep.

JC: And he wondered if they were possibly interested in him supporting the band and I said well let me talk to the guys down there. And he actually did come down; I think they did showcase for him one time and he was like, ‘Yeh that is good music.’ Not as hard-edged as Mötley Crüe of course ‘cause they had keyboards in their music; they had organ.

CC: Sure.

JC: But they sounded good in their own way; they had good tunes. Johnny Gall would do lyrics and of course Mick always had his tunes… but anyway, eventually it got to the point that they broke up and the guys would just hang out at his apartment – I guess that was at Redondo Beach at the time.

CC: Yeh that sounds right.

JC: We would just hang out and at night get stupid and I’d keep him from getting in trouble. And then he told me he had put an ad in The Recycler, I guess it was. He told me what it was and he told me about how he got a call from this guy out in North Hollywood; told me to bring out the equipment as he was going to get it together.

CC: So that was the famous ad in The Recycler that read “Loud, rude and aggressive guitarist available.”

JC: Yes, that was that ad. So we got one speaker cabinet hangin’ out the trunk of the little RX-3 coupe and the other speaker cabinet in the back seat with his guitar case and we had his seat pushed as far forward as we can… fortunately he’s short so it wasn’t too uncomfortable. We got everything packed in there and headed up to North Hollywood.

CC: And you went to Nikki’s house in North Hollywood…

JC: Yeh it must have been some time in the summer like June or July or something man, ‘cause I just remember it being hot. There was no air-conditioning in my little car; you had to roll down the windows.

CC: Well that was apparently April of 1981.

JC: April?

CC: Yeh.

JC: Well, maybe the first time we went over there, maybe it wasn’t that hot. I remember while we were getting the band together, we went over the hill many times and it was blistering hot. Over in the San Fernando Valley it got very hot. They would get to 102 when it was like 85 down in the beach areas so that was a big climate change for Mick and I every time we went over that hill.

CC: Yeh sure.

JC: ‘The blow-dryer effect’ is what we actually called it.

CC: John, can you tell me any recollections that you have of that first meeting with Nikki and Tommy that day.

early Motley Crue - Mick Mars on far rightJC: Well, there was Nikki… and they were young, and there was this tall, skinny-ass boy over here at this drum set… oh man, and Nikki lookin’ how he looks… and we went, well… We set it up and I think the first time that Tommy did something on his drums, I think both our jaws fell down to the floor and Mick and I just looked at each other like ‘Oh fuck, this is the guy. This is it. This has got to be it.’

CC: So did Mick have any real foresight going into that…

JC: Well not until they actually played music, but I mean, I think as soon as they started just chunking things together, things started right away you know. Nikki gave him some lyrics and told him how it goes and Mick would start hitting his guitar and Tommy would start filling the back and getting the beats going and stuff. Mick and Tommy actually had no problem. Nikki Sixx was never known at that time – I don’t even know if he is known now for his expertise in guitar playing… bass playing.

CC: Sure.

JC: We were just hoping he stayed in key and kept the beat you know.

CC: The story goes that they showed Mick the opening riff to a song called Stick To Your Guns that Nikki had written.

JC: Ah, probably. That may have been the first one. That’s what was put on the 45.

CC: Yes that’s right. Obviously this was before then…

JC: Yeh Mick picked it up and starting chucking some sounds out and Nikki would go ‘OK, I’ll try that’ and Tommy would go ‘Yeh!’ getting enthused and everyone… When Tommy got enthused, everyone believed that it was gonna take off man. Unbelievable! So we felt if we could just find a cute boy to be out in front and sing…

CC: Well, there was an overweight guy called O’Dean who had apparently just signed, just before…

JC: O’Dean, yeh.

CC: Was he at that first rehearsal?

JC: Well no; first time it was only just the three guys.

CC: OK yep.

Motley Crue in 1981JC: We went up to his house before we went to any kind of rehearsal studio. We spent most of the time… I can’t remember how long but quite a while. It was the only way to get the guitarists together and… Well, at that time there was Robin, or whatever his name was, on rhythm guitar.

CC: Yeh that’s right, a guitarist.

JC: And Mick was like, [mumbling] ‘I don’t want a rhythm guitar. I don’t need a rhythm guitarist.’

CC: So Mick had to get rid of him?

JC: I don’t know if he was forced to fire him or what transpired. I didn’t really pay attention to that stuff and what they had to say about that.

CC: John, not a lot is known by the fans about Robin and also O’Dean. I wonder if you might be able to share some…

JC: I only remember his last name. I do not have the slightest idea what their complete names were. Robin was only there a couple of rehearsals, and well, you know, the guy just wasn’t one to talk and… No hard feelings… and so he was gone, and then…

CC: O’Dean stuck around a bit longer including…

JC: Well, we were forced to with O’Dean ‘cause it was like we thought this guy was gonna show up and he didn’t show up and this guy O’Dean at least did something you know. He showed up and he made the noise and we thought we might work with this to get a demo together. And that’s when it was like, ‘Oh God, this guy is way off the wall! What’s goin’ on? Jesus, this guy is…’  Mick was like, ‘Tommy where’s that fabulous Vince guy man? Get his butt over here’ type of thing, you know? He knew what Vince looked like; we didn’t know if he could sing. His voice wasn’t that strong and stuff. You had to take the cute some time before you get the talent – and then get the talent later, know what I mean?

CC: I do.

JC: So, he knew how to strut and his voice was weak and Allan got him to take lessons; I took him several times to those lessons [with Gloria Bennett] until he got a girl friend to do it… sorry, I’m getting a bit ahead here. You might remember a timeline of exactly how long it was, but once Vince got into it, that was it – that’s when we sat down and that’s when we came up with the name, OK.


JC: Now the truth of the umlauts is: I suggested the two dots go… let’s put the two dots over the o. That means we look more German. European bands are always trying to look more American and we can do the opposite kind of thing. I didn’t remember Mott the Hoople or any of that other shit; I just remember seeing bands sometimes with umlauts and it was more of a European thing.

CC: Yeh with Blue Öyster Cult and Motörhead I guess…

JC: And Nikki’s actually the one who said let’s put them on the u also, once we came up with the Crüe spelling. So, I don’t know what they remember but I was actually the one who mentioned the umlauts. Nikki took it one step further.

CC: Right.

JC: Mick would tell me after having gone on his first European tour and back (I think I was still talking to him at the time) that the umlauts on u’s sound really cruddy; it doesn’t really make sense to them ‘cause they don’t put umlauts over u’s normally.

Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, Vince NeilCC: Yeh that’s right.

JC: He said it means more like Croh; more of a guttery sound, type of thing. Anyway, that’s just something Mick told me after he came back from the first time they were in Europe. I remember that distinctly.


JC: Anyway, I’m probably jumping around a bit… but when Mick put the ad in The Recycler he got the call from Nikki… I used to go over there to Mick’s just about every evening when I was working and we’d just hang out and get drunk and make sure he didn’t get into any trouble. I was pretty much his bodyguard at the time ‘cause I wanted to protect him.

CC: His bodyguard? Did he really need a bodyguard at that stage?

JC: Well he had blue-black hair… long, blue-black hair. He dressed girlish. You know, people didn’t like that back then – long hair on a guy. That wasn’t a scene back then. The late-‘70s was not good. Heavy metal was not the best thing in the world at that time. You had the punk guys who didn’t like the heavy metal guys. In fact, one time that he was not with me and he was goin’ around town, he actually got punched in the face. I had to take him to the hospital.

CC: Right.

JC: I went about ten miles in two minutes to the hospital in Hollywood.

CC: In the Mazda.

JC: Anyway, he got his two front teeth pushed in. His two top teeth, they were pushed in and all they did at the hospital was push them back. Then there was another place down Redondo Beach that had music and he got sucker-punched.

CC: John, you apparently started bringing your sister Barbara Coffman to rehearsals…

JC: Actually she was not involved in the Crüe that much. It was my brother-in-law; Allan was always the one. He came down and saw them. I guess we were out in Sun Valley or some god-awful place with another crappy, old PA system. He came down and saw them, and he went back. And then the family came down – my sister and my two nieces and Allan came down – and they put on a little showcase for them. So, I don’t know where that came from that Barbara came down. My sister was… I even asked her that not too long ago. ‘What do you remember?’ ‘I don’t remember; I wasn’t that involved.’


JC: It was Allan Coffman’s thing… but she would back him and of course it was Coffman & Coffman Productions and she was a Coffman, so.

CC: That’s right. And that’s when Allan…

Coffman & Coffman cheque made out to Mick, and signed on the reverse below by John CrouchJC: She did the posters and she did other things... I was not in that end of the business, so I can’t tell you anything about any deals with record companies – I know nothing about that. I worked with Allan; I was with Mick.

CC: Sure.

JC: I was Allan’s representative of Mötley Crüe. I paid the bills down here. He gave me cheques, I paid bills. I arranged for S.I.R. Rehearsals. I arranged for all the props; I even picked up the props for any gigs we had, when we used strobe lights, when we used the dry-ice fog and when we used… I got the flash powder. When we got the flash powder, Nikki would do this little pyro gel stunt and I went out and got the pyro gel. You know, I was the person that got everything together for any gig that they had when we were doing this with them as Coffman & Coffman Productions.

Motley Crue contract with The Roxy signed by John Crouch as Producer

CC: Excellent. You would have been at those early rehearsals. What stories can you tell us about some of those early rehearsals before they actually played live?

JC: Rehearsals… when Coffman & Coffman Productions were with them then?

CC: Sure.

JC: OK. When we started at S.I.R…. Well S.I.R. was one of the more reputable rehearsal places and equipment rentals in Hollywood. We were back in their studio two – Sound Stage 2 – as they called it. They [Mötley] were never happy with the place as they couldn’t put out with the volume that we played at. Mick would play at his full volume and of course Tommy would want to do it all the way and the poor miserable PA would be trying to crank things up and there’d be feedback all the time and we’d break it. And drinking… there’d be drinking, as people in the music business would be drinking.

S.I.R. in HollywoodCC: And it seems Schnapps was the drink of choice at the time.

JC: Oh no, actually… they were drinking whatever, but Mick and I by then were drinking what we called in our terms a ‘Dirty Mother’ – just Kahlua and Brandy with no ice.


JC: This woman turned me onto these damn things and I was hooked ever since. It was almost like another drug, I’m tellin’ ya. Three or four a night, and if you did any more than that you were gone forever. You were sick and heavin’ and I’ll swear to that ‘til the day I’m done. Anyway, eventually Mick started liking those. But being young back then, they’d drink beer. Hell, they didn’t care what it was – was it alcohol? Was it cheap? Can we afford it? How much can we get for this? The amount of times Mick and I would go across the street to the liquor store and we’d buy those little miniature ones… You know, like you could get on the aeroplane? For like a buck a piece?

CC: Yeh.

JC: We’d each get one Kahlua and one Brandy and pour it in this cup and that was… pff, wow! Anyway, let’s go back and do some more giggin’ huh? Even though there’s arguments and there’s frustration with them and ‘oh screw this’ and ‘fuck that’ and all that whatever, which most musicians do as they’re trying to create, those are some of my best times… just hours sitting there listening to them play… just me.

CC: Wow.

JC: Just me.

CC: They eventually got enough songs together and built their set and they were ready to perform their debut gig, which they did at the Starwood.

JC: Actually their official debut was here in Grass Valley.

CC: OK, where was that at?

JC: Well… at a nice little bar up here and then at a place called the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City, which is like an old theatre place… and yeh, there was quite a few kids there. The first place was just like a bar and it was like ‘oh god’ and they told them to turn it down.

CC: Was this the time they went up to Grass Valley…

JC: Yeh this is before we had our very first official gig down in L.A. you know?

CC: Before the ‘Anywhere USA’ shows?

Mick Mars in 2006JC: This was our debut to Grass Valley because Coffman & Coffman were the producers of Mötley Crüe and they were going to bring them up.

CC: OK. So this is before the first Starwood shows?

JC: Yes, this was just before. It was like, ‘Let’s do a nice little 45-minute set’ or whatever we ended up doing, and I don’t even know if we even charged money; it may have been like a buck a piece or… I don’t know what it was... (long pause)

CC: What do you recall of those Starwood shows?

JC: Yeh I’m getting to that point… just give me a second… I’m starting to get emotional… These waves of emotion will come across me every now and then… ‘cause they do really mean something to me…

CC: Sorry, I didn’t pick that up.

JC: Hold on…

CC: Take your time.

JC: Sometimes when I recall some of these past things, I get these emotional things… excuse me… (long pause) Sorry about that. So anyway, what do I remember about the Starwood shows? Well, a lot of hired equipment, and running up and down these little narrow stairs… The guys putting on a hell of a show, kickin’ ass and taking names later and having a good time, which we always did.

CC: Excellent, and the crowd loved it.

JC: Plenty of drinking, and I don’t know what else they were doing in the room ‘cause half the time I was getting equipment set up or tearing down… setting up and tearing down, or having to haul up those little stairs with another volunteer or two that dug them; I think they were friends of Tommy’s or Vince’s… and that’s what I remember mostly. They were out partying after the gig and I was handling equipment – that’s what I did… and watch out after Mick.

CC: So it would pretty much just be yourself handling the equipment?

JC: Yeh constantly. But in the beginning we didn’t have money to pay for a full crew.

CC: Sure.

JC: Later on we had Barry and... Clyde, technically he became Tommy’s drum tech and… um…

CC: Tim Luzzi?

JC: Oh yeh, Loser! That’s right. I always called him Loser – that’s cool. Yeh, and he became the bass tech. I would make sure they were around and I’d get the truck and we loaded equipment together and we’d drive off, usually me following the truck to the next gig and then I’d have my car and have to run around and had to pick up crap. They’d be, ‘Oh I need this, oh I need that, oh I need this, oh I need that.’ And I would be like, ‘Yep’ doing my 300 mile drive every gig night we had, just about, as I got all the stuff we needed... Like an extra piece of Styrofoam ‘cause they rehearsed cutting the head off and now they need another piece of Styrofoam ‘cause they couldn’t piece that one back together – that was the gig we had at… they did at the Santa Monica Civic. The Elvira night, when Vince cut the head off the dummy.

Vince cutting the head off the Styrofoam dummyCC: That’s right.

JC: Yeh, the Styrofoam head. I think that was the first night that Nikki set himself on fire too – with pyro gel – if I remember correctly. I think that might have been the first time because that was the first time we had a big enough venue, I think, that would do it. I think that was before we… Yeh, I don’t know the exact timelines any more but I remember we were doing it up there… and in San Francisco... and some other places. But, anyway… yeh the Starwood; it was a blur. Yeh I’m drunk, I’m smokin’, I’m doing whatever I wanted to do to keep us goin, and they’ll stay up all night 24/7 for three or four days… and I’d be making sure their equipment gets to where it’s got to go… and oh, they broke strings, so now I had to go down and get more strings… and drum sticks – always drum sticks – Jesus Christ, that boy went through drum sticks! Man… bam! There goes another stick. Bam! There goes another stick. ‘Tommy we only have ten pair and you’re down to eight of them already. We don’t have that much money!’

CC: John, in the middle of 1981, Allan financed a two-bedroom apartment on Clark Street just around the corner from the Whisky...

JC: Oh yeh, I think Mick and I went there maybe two, maybe three times at the most. Yeh it was a dump…. One of those rock’n’roll places: stuff everywhere, all beat up and torn apart… I figured that’s what the boys would do to it.

CC: Until they got evicted.

JC: Mick and I only went there two or three times I think; I don’t think he ever went there after a gig, or maybe we popped in one night and left. We were not partiers. We were not; he’ll tell you.

CC: You just went back to Redondo Beach?

JC: Oh yeh.

CC: That was Linda Correia he was with then yeh?

JC: Windy, yeh. Windy… that’s what I called her; I don’t know if that was her real name. She was kind of into guitar playing too but nothing ever came of that at the time I don’t think. So anyway… he has always done that, he’s already been there. We didn’t have to do all that stuff [that the other Mötley guys were doing]. He didn’t need another girl right now; he was happy with what he had.

CC: Sure. John, what are your views on the music they were creating at the time? Did you have any favourite songs, or any songs that you really didn’t like, or in fact still don’t?

JC: Anything they did, I liked. It didn’t make any difference to me, you know. They obviously knew what would work and not work. I don’t think there was really anything… I mean, everything they tried worked but sometimes I’d go, ‘This is too weak, I don’t really like that one’ and they’d go ‘Let’s try this one; I’ve got something else. Oh I’ve got this; oh I’ve got something else over here’ you know, that type of thing?


JC: So, everything was good. I was happy... they’d just come along… and I’m just sitting here, putting all my marbles in the bag and see what happens here. My thing in life was to see that Mick made it. (long pause)

CC: The band then gained quite a reputation, for their live shows especially, and their music. They just kept playing the local Hollywood scene predominantly. And a bit of a label bidding war broke out. Can you tell me what…

JC: I really don’t know label bidding wars or nothing like that. The only one I ever dealt with was Elektra – with Tom Zutant. I met him ‘cause that was when he made the deal. That’s when I was helping Mick and I brought Mick and met the guy, and then I kind of just waited for Mick to finish. I was his chauffeur at that … you know, I was his chauffeur, I was his buddy, I was everything.

CC: Yeh. I wasn’t asking for more from a case of not knowing all the ins and outs of the deal itself, but just the kind of vibe and the sentiment from what you recall…

JC: I always just knew that… everyone knew, and even Allan, that we had to put something together. We needed to get the music out. This is it.

Mick Mars on Motley Crue's Carnival of Sins tour 2005CC: The time had come.

JC: Where you going to find a better drummer? (long pause) Man, that boy could hit... hit those drums.

CC: Certainly could… still can!

JC: And then Mick… anything else was just the gravy. We already got the meat and potatoes.

CC: Yep.

JC: We got someone singing who could make the girls woo and stuff... and the guy to keep the beat and he had lyrics – hooks that would kill you to death, you know?

CC: Definitely.

JC: It all hooked you. Everything was a hook man... So, everything they’d ever done, I enjoyed. I just enjoyed sitting there listening. Some of the best times, you know. Best times of my life.

CC: Excellent. As the Too Fast For Love album started selling lots of independent copies the label war broke out with Elektra and things started to change.

JC: Yep.

CC: And that became… the change of management took place.

Allan Coffman's business cardJC: The problem with Allan too was he just didn’t know, or couldn’t quite get them to the next hump. He was trying but he just didn’t have it. He wanted to, but then he got… he was being side-tracked; he was getting a big head. He was always thinking, ‘I’ve got Mötley Crüe – the hottest thing in Hollywood.’ He had the hottest band in Southern California.

CC: Yep… but he just couldn’t take it to that next level.

JC: Yeh, so… I still don’t know what he was getting into… I guess he was getting into it… and he was snortin’ and stuff, but I don’t know for a fact ‘cause I never saw him.

CC: Sure.

JC: I did my thing and he did his thing… and I didn’t want him to know what I was doing, you know?

CC: Yeh exactly.

JC: As far as I’m concerned he was still a straight-laced dude, you know. I wasn’t into that shit. I heard stories. I can’t confirm; I can’t deny them. I heard stories. I never asked him.

Allan Coffman's gravesite todayCC: Yep.

JC: And he’s dead so I can’t ask him anymore. He died March 2nd of 1992. In fact, I was just at his grave today.

CC: Wow.

JC: He’s just a couple of graves up from my parents… that’s where my parents are buried.


JC: Here in wonderful Grass Valley. I am currently living next door to the house that Allan and Barbara had lived in at the time.

CC: And what was the illness that he had?

Allan Coffman's gravesite todayJC: Oh he had a brain tumour… and they cut him open and it was inoperable, so… patched him up and… I saw him about… Oh, I think I was up in the February on vacation and I went over and saw him and his speech was pretty slurred but he was still coherent enough and alert enough to know I was there and I spent a little time. And then I went home a couple of days, then in about three days later they told me he died.

CC: Yeh.

JC: But this bullshit that they couldn’t find him or something – he was right here in Grass Valley. He was never anywhere else but here in Grass Valley. He wasn’t hiding from anybody... Couldn’t find him over all these years or blah blah blah… whatever that bullshit, crap was that they have written down about him. And I’ve never asked my sister if this is bullshit or something; whatever about he had this gun and suicide and all that crap – I can’t confirm or deny any of that but I have my doubts about that. I don’t know that he ever owned a gun. I do not believe my sister would have allowed him to own a gun. Our family does not believe in guns; we hate guns.

CC: Right, OK.

JC: OK – even though I had to shoot a gun in the military, that’s fine; I was in the military. I don’t believe in guns; I don’t like them. The little bit of property I have, I don’t… I have deer; I have squirrels, and raccoons, and…

CC: Wow. We’ve just got kangaroos down here mate.

JC: Well yeh, you’ve got funny looking things. I have deer. You have all those weird animals.

CC: We do... called Aussies.

JC: You have that little piece of land that all the weird things never got off of. They’ve just got in there and taken over… all those odd-ball animals. That’s cool.

CC: So, Allan apparently took his termination from the Mötley camp pretty hard…

JC: Well, he might have; I don’t know. Again, once he left Southern California I didn’t call him.

CC: Right, OK.

JC: You know, when he broke his ties… news to me. I heard things… and Mick mumbled things about things, but I don’t remember what he said ‘cause most of those conversations I don’t want to remember. I told him I wouldn’t remember and everything you could tell me, you don’t have to worry about me telling anybody… so I don’t have a brain that remembers much anyway. I just know generalities and things that went on that were important I feel… but anyway… I mean… I knew after that Canadian thing, I thought ’Oh Jesus man, this thing is…’ What a fiasco that thing turned out to be [referring to the Crüeing Through Canada tour in June 1982].

CC: You were on that tour, were you?

JC: Well yeh, I was in the truck. I was on the truck at the border man. I didn’t know if I was going to get in. I have a previous conviction for marijuana from back in 1972/73.


JC: And I didn’t know if they were going to let me in. They didn’t even hassle me about it. They hassled one of the other guys and were worried he would get in and we’d be short somebody and we were there for about… oh man, six or seven hours it must have been. And of course we were broke because we were on a shoestring… we wanted to get some food... you know, we just wanted to put on a show man… we’re just…

CC: Yep, rockin’ and rollin’.

JC: I was looking forward to getting the band somewhere, but it never got that far… It was weird. I knew after that, when I came back and that kind of blew up; I had my doubts whether Allan could take us any further and tour or not. And I didn’t know how broke he was getting. He did go bankrupt; he did declare bankruptcy afterwards.

CC: Yeh.

JC: I know that for a fact. And of course then my sister and him divorced and eventually he did marry another Barbara but no big deal – that’s fair. That was the house I went over when I saw him last.

CC: OK, and were you still friends with Mick while that was happening?

JC: Oh god… No. I don’t think… ’92? No, I didn’t talk to Mick.

CC: No sorry, I mean as Allan and Barbara were divorcing.

Mick Mars action figureJC: Oh yeh, well I was still with Mick until… god… Mick and I were still talking and I would see him occasionally. I went out to… when they were doing recording out at Mickey Dolenz's old farm recording studio out in the Valley; one of The Monkees… I was there when they did that thing. And then I was up there… ‘cause I was driving him so I had to be there.

CC: Sorry, was that The Annex?

JC: Huh?

CC: Was that place called The Annex?

JC: Yeh, oh that’s right – The Annex. That’s right, exactly. Of course, I drove him there because he didn’t have a car. Who else was going to get him there? Everyone else lived in the Valley. We lived out by the beach because we’re smart; where it’s cool and you’re going to get nice breezes, instead of somewhere where it’s dastardly hot and smoggy.


JC: But anyway, so we’d get wasted as we always did… and rockin’ and rollin’… and party on… and it was when they were doing the next recording out there by the Holiday Inn in the Valley you know… oh, Cherokee was that? What that the name that had ‘rock’ in it?

CC: Yeh, I think so.

JC: Anyway, that was when they told me not to come around any more. But I still talked to Mick and stuff but they told me not to come around the recording studio and stuff.

CC: Right, OK.

JC: You’re not part of the enterprises, so they don’t want you around. Even, ‘we don’t care what Mick wants; you’re not going to be around.’

CC: I see.

JC: And of course Mick at that time, not having money again and kind of like, doing it to make it… he did whatever he had to do and told me, ‘I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to make it you know? This is my last chance basically.’ And I understood. So… but we were still friends.


JC: But I was at the US Festival…

CC: Yeh, the US Festival in ’83.

JC: Yeh that last US Festival when they played and I knew there was something up then too because well, they were supposed to leave me a backstage pass. They were not ready, so I snuck my way into backstage. And management was surprised – Mick wasn’t – management was surprised about that. They were like, ‘How’d he get back there?’ Well I’ve got my ways; I can talk to people. You be nice to them; they can be nice to you.

CC: Yeh exactly.

JC: And I told them as I rolled up and they said, ‘OK, go on.’

CC: Was that the last you saw Mick… at the US Festival?

JC: No, let me see. I’m just trying to remember. Last time I saw Mick has got to be right before he stopped living at the apartment at Marina Del Ray.


JC: I don’t know if they ever mention that. I don’t know… I never read anything Mick really wrote in that Dirt book ‘cause they only did an excerpt from the part that Vince told about the house and… then it cut off after the first couple of paragraphs or so and… I don’t buy books. I haven’t bought the book; I don’t have any need to buy the book. As it came out I wasn’t really paying attention to them anyway.


JC: I’m trying to think when it could be… trying to think; I was trying to remember that because it was just after I started working at… somewhere about ’84/’85 was the last time. He was living at that apartment in Marina Del Ray and I had gone to this seminar back then that was all about real estate write-downs and maybe use a friend’s collateral so you can get a loan, so you can get this house and you can re-sell it for a profit type of thing…

CC: Sure.

JC: Anyway, you use someone else’s equity or wealth to help you build your wealth type of thing. And I thought ‘Gees, I guess Mick owes me ‘cause all I’ve done for him.’ I haven’t asked a cent from him. I never asked anything from him – just friendship. So I was all jazzed up; I go over his place and I thought ‘Wow. He has a little money, maybe he could co-sign, I could get something started here and I can make some money.’ Then we can go do things, you know, and just do things together making money.


JC: Anyway, it was just a wild hare I got so I went over to his place and knocked on the door and a bunch of people were there and there were doing… snorting, drinking, you know, stuff like that. And later I was inside and was starting to explain what I had been up to and the idea I had to try and help me out to make some wealth or whatever… and he just went off on me! He was, ‘Why is everyone trying to take my money? Why is everyone using me?’ He just freaked out!

CC: Mmm, wow.

JC: He was my best… we called each other ‘Best Pals on the Planet’. So this had to be at the time when he was really starting getting into ‘caine, because he was not a cocaine user per se; he was a drinker.

CC: Yeh.

JC: And we all know why he drank; he drank ‘cause he was in pain and he drank ‘cause he was a musician and that’s what people in rock’n’roll do anyway… we party. He would more than most because of his pain [from Ankylosing Spondylitis]. He’d had that ever since I’d know him too. He didn’t know what it was back then, just there was… he thought maybe arthritis or some kind of crap… too poor to find out back then. So… he just went off in the end, and basically told me to get. So I left and I waited a couple or three weeks – I don’t remember an exact timeline – and eventually went back. He was gone; he’d moved out.

CC: Right.

JC: He may have gone back on tour or whatever but there was no forwarding address. I think I might have contacted McGhee Enterprises or whoever was handling them locally in Hollywood and they would not give me information or get a hold of Mick… I don’t think they ever did. Anyway, from that time forward until last year, I hadn’t even seen him. Last year when they went back on tour, I got a wild hare up my ass and a whole bunch of emotion in me and decided to go see them in Reno. That was March 25 of last year I believe.


JC: My brother and I went. I made an attempt to try to get a hold of their security at the gig. I went around back and I got a hold of the venue security guy and he went over and talked to a big old mountain of a guy, who I knew was either Mick’s personal bodyguard or part of their security, who had his back to us. He was talking to him and talking to him and the guy never even turn around to look at me.


JC: And I’m not a very forceful guy. You know, I’m pretty passive… even though I could talk crap like most people but you know… when shove comes to push, or push comes to shove, I was like ‘ah screw it, let’s go listen to them.’ So, we went to the concert – my brother and I – and had a good time.

Mick on stage during the Carnival of Sins tour early in 2006CC: Enjoyed the show, yeh?

JC: Yeh and eventually after the intermission I had worked myself up to Mick’s side of the stage on the side. But, I guess I never really got a hold of his attention or… I’m not going to make a real spectacle of myself... and I tried to see if I could get his attention and he might not have even saw me. Anyway, with the lights on you can’t see that far into the rows usually anyway… and, I went home.

CC: Right.

JC: That’s when I got all this emotional stuff and I joined… even paid money to join their stupid fan club and I started writing to see if people could try getting in touch with Mick… and say I was trying to get in touch with him but never have. Even if he got the information, he hasn’t tried to get in touch with me so I wouldn’t know if he has or not.

CC: Sure.

JC: Anyway, then I started reading things… excerpts from this and that… thinking that doesn’t sound right, that doesn’t sound right – I need to set the record straight. I’m not just this little friend. I was a lot more than his little friend. They could not put a show on without me.

CC: Yep.

JC: I worked the show. I put on the show. When you have the fog coming out; I turned on that machine right there. I put the dry ice in there. I took care of that. When you saw a strobe light come on; I did that… before they got into the bigger venues where it’s controlled by a control board and they have their light and sound man and all that crap. Before then – I did all that.

CC: Fantastic.

JC: You saw a shot of smoke – boom, boom, boom, boom – go off… when we got in trouble up there in Concord and stuff; I set that off. In fact, I even wired some of it up. I had to do other things so I had to have somebody else finish the wiring it up, but I set that off.

CC: Excellent. John, what are your views on Mötley’s achievements over the years up to now? How’s that make you feel?

JC: Makes you feel good. (long pause) I was staying until Mick made it. (long pause)

CC: Yep. Yeh he’s done well.

JC: He deserved to make; he made it… So what if I got screwed. Oh well. Life goes on…

CC: Yeh.

JC: I didn’t ask for a contract. I needed a contract. I didn’t ask for one because they were like, my friends. I didn’t think I needed one.

CC: How do you think Barbara, your sister, views Mötley these days?

JC: She doesn’t think about them. They’re not her cup of tea, so she doesn’t have any thoughts on them. Good for them. She went on… we go on. The Crouch’s don't mind; we just keep going.

CC: Certainly do. John, just before we wind up, I’m just wondering if there’s perhaps any other little facts or incidents that you feel has not been heard by fans before that you’d perhaps like to share with them… anything we haven’t covered today.

(L-R) John 'Stick' Crouch, Allan Coffman, Richard CrouchJC: Well, I do want to set one record straight too for my brother: he built the drum riser.

CC: OK. Was that the white one with the lights in it?

JC: Yeh, the white… that big old, heavy, motherf@cking, god-damn, wooden piece of shit that we carried around all the time. Yeh, that thing!

CC: That they sold to Ratt.

JC: Well, whatever, yeh. Yeh we sold it to Ratt when we got tired of it; that’s right. That was enough – boy! It was god-awful heavy by the end… that’s not one thing you want to lug around. There was one time at the Whisky, I think it was, there was just two of us at six o’clock in the morning getting that thing out of there and putting it into a rented U-Haul trailer.


JC: And at the same time, New Wave was starting, punk bands were starting, kind of thing… Oh my god, with coloured hair and things… and they think we’re bad in heavy metal – look at these people! We just wanted to get the hell out of there. ‘Let’s get the hell out; these guys are freaks. We might be insane, but these guys are freaks. We’re out of here.’

Motley Crue at the Whisky in 1981, complete with drum riser built by Richard CrouchCC: Where would it be stored in between gigs?

JC: Oh, well we had a storage locker out in Sun Valley. This place also rented Penske trucks, which we used to haul the equipment around to various places. Yeh, all the equipment was out there and so we’d gather up and meet out there, rent the truck, load it up and we were either going to Santa Monica or we were going to the Country Club out in San Fernando – that was a nice place to gig. That was a sweet. That was the sweetest gig… The stage was the same level as on lift off. The floor was sunken and the stage was on ground level so we’d just roll right out.

CC: I see.

JC: Everywhere else you go you’d be upstairs, downstairs, around… all over the place you know. It was hell for people who had to carry long, wooden, straight things, like that drum-riser! So, anyway that was a sweet place. It was big. It was so much fun. That place was packed! Oh god, that place was lovely.

CC: Awesome.

JC: I think we got 1500 people in there. People out the door… that was a huge building. I guess for the first couple of Starwoods you had your friends there but once the other people heard us they didn’t leave either.

CC: Yeh.

JC: In fact, I remember it was Y&T – I think you mentioned it – Y&T was playing after us and most of the people left by the time they were on. They were supposed to be the headliners and the place was like… ‘Oh, you can hear a pin drop.’

CC: Emptied out.

JC: Yep. That was like second gig… I can’t remember. But anyway, that was pretty cool. And I remember Mick and I were in the car the very first time we heard Mötley Crüe played on the radio.

CC: OK. Wow.

JC: (long pause) Yeh that was sweet.

The finished drum riserCC: Yeh, I can imagine.

JC: (long pause) Yeh man… Anyway, my brother’s name is Richard.

CC: OK, yep – Richard Crouch.

JC: He told me – I actually just called him – that he drove Allan’s pickup truck from construction, because he built houses and stuff… He actually drove Allan’s pickup down from Grass Valley to Hawthorne where my parents and I lived. Tommy and Vince might have helped build that drum riser ‘cause I don’t think he stayed at my parents house more than an hour and I’m sure it took more than an hour to build that damned thing. So, my brother paneled that thing together and it was definitely sturdy. It put up with a lot of abuse. It was heavy – god, man! He also built the two boxes that Nikki or Vince would stand on and I would turn the light on.

CC: And what happened to the famous Mazda?

JC: The Mazda? Oh, I eventually sold that. I actually gave it away; I didn’t even sell it. It wasn’t worth anything; I think I gave it to a guy. I ended up buying an ’84 RX-7 and now I’ve got an ’85 RX-7. I’ve got my Mum’s ‘89 Oldsmobile Cutlass. So I’ve got an old folks car and I’ve got my RX-7… So, let’s see if there was anything else. Oh, you want to know a bit about the three variations of the album cover?

CC: Oh yeh.

JC: Well I’m the one that drove out to Glendale, or wherever the presses were… the printing guys were. That was out in Glendale somewhere and most of the pyro stuff I got was always out in Glendale too and out behind the… I don’t know if you know the Los Angeles area but we’ve got the L.A. Zoo and then behind there that’s Glendale and there’s Eagle Rock and, anyway… You can look it up on a map – I don’t know how much you know about this place…

CC: I’m like one of those strange Australian animals that has never left this country.

JC: Oh OK! So I drove out there to the printers because the first hundred, two hundred, three hundred, whatever it had to be, were ready because the pressers out there 100 miles away were ready to press and they were chomping at the bit. We had to do so many to get some… you had to print three hundred or five hundred or whatever the lot was… whatever the run was…. Everything’s on a budget.

CC: Yeh.

JC: Anyway I got out there and I saw the thing ‘cause we didn’t want to hold it up or anything as it was at the pressers. So I opened it up and thought, ‘Oh, shit! This isn't going to make it' after seeing that the cover picture was faded black, almost gray, in color. Then I looked over and noticed Vince's hair and really freaked seeing that it was about a mile high and went ‘Shit. Look at Vince’s f@cking hair! Oh God. Man, what have they done?’ And I’m standing there needing to give them money so I told the person at the printers, ‘I can’t give you money until I talk to Allan.’ So I got on the phone – I used their phone ‘cause cell phones weren’t around then – as I was not going to drive fifty miles each way in order to contact Allan to OK paying for their mistake. 

CC: Yeh.

JC: I should point out that Vince's hair was not their fault but that of the photographer. However, the inferior printing of the front cover was. So I told Allan it looked like they ran out of ink. The black is not black… faded black. It looked like the ink was grey… blue / dark grey and Vince’s hair – oh God. He was like, ‘What did they do? I told them to airbrush them to pick them up.’ I told him it looked real bad and he  told me to go with what we had as there was no time to wait for a new print run and to get them over to the pressing plant ASAP. I said, ‘OK. You got it buddy.’ I was like my mouth’s shut ‘cause right now I’m working for you. That was another fifty or sixty mile excursion across the greater Los Angles area basin. Allan also told me not to say anything to the guys; that he would be down in a couple of days and he would talk to the guys. As I was working for him at this moment, I said no problem. It was at that get together that Vince said that his hair looked like it was on fire. So I paid for the covers, threw them into my RX3, and got them to the pressers… and that was the first cover.

CC: Right.

JC: I still have one of those that’s sealed. I’ve also got one that somehow Nikki Sixx signed… I was probably going to get all the guys to sign it but got busy and I probably threw it in a box somewhere off to the side so they never signed that one. So I did manage to hold on to one of those completely sealed; I did hold on to one of those. I was like ‘I’ve got to keep one of these off to the side; someday it’ll be worth something.’ I did  get one of the later pressings signed by all four of the guys.

Too Fast For Love album signed to John Crouch

CC: Yep.

JC: And then to find out that my brother-in-law lied to me and had other crap after he passed away. That got auctioned off recently; a year or so ago.

CC: Yeh.

JC: He lied to me and my sister both. He told her it didn’t exist; he told me it didn’t exist. The other Barbara auctioned it off a little while back.

CC: That’s right, yep.

JC: So I found out from somebody who I had a chat with on the Mötley Crüe thing… told me about it and even sent me a list of what sold, prices it sold for. I went, ‘Oh shit! That motherf@cker.’ Anyway, I knew there was more stuff out there. I knew he wouldn’t have got ridden of it. I went back and they were already gone. I went back to Crystal Studios and they were already gone. The pressing place didn’t have anything… ‘cause I was going to snag them.

CC: Yeh right.

JC: So anyway, some guy bought a heap of these that were unopened. He paid about $10,000 for 10 of them or something… he paid about a thousand bucks a piece for them. They paid $300 a piece for the 45s; I’ve got a couple of those.

CC: Cool.

JC: The original ones; not those remakes that they have out now.

CC: Yeh that’s right.

JC: I’m lucky I have them. Most others got thrown out [into the audience]. I probably had a couple in my hand and I probably just threw them in a box thinking, ‘Oh I might keep a couple of these; I don’t know if I’ll play them. Some day they might be worth something.’

CC: Exactly.

JC: Right now I’m thinking why shouldn’t they be inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, right? If Blondie can make it, they can f@cking make it!

CC: Yeh… matter of timing I think.

JC: Twenty five years… I just went on their site and you have to be going twenty five years from your debut album or something before you can be inducted. That’s with the twenty five, so this year with the next induction, they can actually be voted in…. or put up for it or whatever.

CC: Nominated, yeh.

JC: I don’t know what they’re going to do about that but that’s what they said – after twenty five and they’ve just had their 25th Anniversary. And I missed out on that star too… that star they got in Hollywood. I really feel I should have been a part of that.

CC: You didn’t go down there for the ceremony?

JC: I didn’t even know about it!

CC: Ah, well you should read my site more often.

JC: How was I supposed to? It wasn’t on the news.

CC: You’ve got to read the DATES section of my website. That’s where all the fans go to see what’s coming up…

JC: I didn’t even know about that then.

CC: That’s where everyone keeps up to date.

JC: Well I’m here; I’m not hiding. My name’s in the phone book. I’m not hiding and nowadays you can search for anybody on the Internet.

CC: Sure.

JC: I mean it’s not that hard to find anybody.

Motley Crue 1981 R'N'RCC: Have you got photos from the old days?

JC: I don’t have any pictures. I didn’t have a camera. I couldn’t afford a camera; couldn’t afford film… couldn’t afford to develop them if I had film. That wasn’t my purpose. My purpose was to get Mick number one. If I was really into it I could have had a chance to get all kinds of crap. I could have held on to all sorts of early t-shirts, and posters, and… That wasn’t what I was there for.

CC: Yeh.

JC: That wasn’t my purpose. My purpose was to take Mick to number one.

CC: Well done. How did you get your nickname of Stick?

JC: Ah, 'Stick' came from the nickname of 'Thai Stick'. I spent eighteen months in Bangkok, Thailand, from January 1969 and July 1970, when I was in the army. After getting out of the military and after having made friends with Vendetta prior to Mick's arrival, I had scored some thai stick marijuana and shared some with the band. I handed them this really skinny joint and they laughed at me saying that this tiny joint would not be enough for everyone. I told them to trust me that it only took a couple of hits and we proceeded to smoke it. Now, thai stick takes a couple of minutes to come on but I did not tell them that only to trust me and, after finishing, they had to go back to play their next set laughing at me saying that they did not feel a thing. However, upon getting on the stage, the joint hit them and they all went, 'Wow!'  and had a good time. So after that, they started to call me 'Thai Stick'. After Mick arrived, he changed my nickname  to 'Thai' as this was the next phase of Vendetta. And when Mötley came, the boys changed my nickname to 'Stick'.  This was the third and final form of my nickname as it will be recorded in the annals of rock and roll history.

CC: Cool. So thank you very much for taking the time to contact me and set the record straight; I think that’s important. I appreciate it very much.

JC: OK Paul. Feel free to keep in touch. I’m glad you honoured your commitment; I do appreciate that.

CC: Integrity is very important.

JC: Um… I thought, yeh. So…

CC: Well it is with me.

JC: Some people will tell you it is but… again, that’s water over a dam, under a bridge over somewhere.

CC: Well keep looking forward man and I wish you all the best.

JC: You too. Bye.


Stick initially emailed Chronological Crue wanting his story told so people can come to their own conclusion as to what importance his contribution was to the Crüe. He believes that most will see that he was instrumental in the beginning of the Crüe and perhaps will come to the same conclusion as he has; without him, there perhaps would not be a Mötley Crüe as we know it today. Stick - on behalf of the Crüeheads worldwide, thank you for your important contribution.

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