Be warned. The story of the most destructive band in history isn't a pretty one... With the possible exception of Ozzy Osbourne, no band has consumed as many drugs and as much booze without dying as the LA quartet Mötley Crüe. The story of their career (which the band elected to tell in graphic detail in their unmissable 2001 autobiography, The Dirt) is one of dirty needles, damaged minds and sex -- lots of sex. And the miraculous thing about the Crüe is not that they lived to tell the tale (although that is, in a way, a kind of unholy miracle): it's that all of their wildly uncontrollable habits are clearly audible in their music, now available from Universal. Just listen to these albums: if you concentrate hard enough, you can hear the sound of the coke coming off the tables, the squeak of the bed-springs and the sheer sleazy grind of California rock over the last two decades.
In 1981, bassist Nikki Sixx left his glam-rock band London and met up with drummer Tommy Lee. Both were strung-out adolescents in search of good times and a record deal (in that order) and had a knack for creating fists-in-the-air anthems that didn't require a high IQ on the part of the listener, although they did know how to play loud and dumb. Recruiting a guitarist, Mick Mars (who reminded Sixx of Cousin Itt from The Addams Family) and singer Vince Neil (who Mars referred to, perhaps unwisely, as a 'blonde b*tch' at their first meeting), the band named themselves Mötley Crüe (the umlauts were intended to make them look tough) and recorded an album, Too Fast For Love, which was released in November 1981 on their own Leathür Records label. An insanely catchy, riff-driven record, TFFL turned rock fans' expectations upside down, and ultimately led to the formation of an entire glam-metal movement based in Los Angeles. Without Too Fast For Love, there would have been no Bon Jovi and no Guns N'Roses.
Picked up by Elektra, the Crüe released a string of classic albums in the 80s, with Shout At The Devil (1983) controversial for its cod-satanic elements and Theatre Of Pain (1985) a slightly darker, more introverted record (perhaps stemming from Vince Neil's car crash with Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle, who was sadly killed in the incident). However, Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) was as rock 'n roll as anything they'd done before it, and together with 1989's enormous Dr. Feelgood (which also marked the Crüe's wake-up call into rehab, after Sixx 'died' and was revived with adrenaline after a heroin overdose) catapulted the band into the mainstream.
By the 1990s Mötley Crüe were a full-blown stadiums act, with all the freedom (big production budgets, a string of models and porn stars) and hindrances (censorship issues, management and inter-band strife) that this entails. Neil left the band in 1992 and it was Scream singer John Corabi that provided vocals for the 1994 album, Mötley Crüe, which attempted to match up to the angst and power of newer metal bands, and -- while it's a strong record by any standards -- failed to match the sales of its predecessors. However, by 1997's Generation Swine Vince was back and the Crüe's fortunes revived, leading them to issue Greatest Hits (1998), Live: Entertainment Or Death (1999) and a rarities collection, Supersonic And Demonic Relics (also '99). All offered a unique perspective into the life and work of the Crüe, with remixes, live and demo recordings and unissued tracks all part of the package. By 2000's New Tattoo, the band were working at full steam once again, despite the departure of Tommy Lee.
Motley Crue are also one of the only bands in history to successfully acquire ownership of all their master recordings. In 2003 they licensed their catalogue to Universal Music and saw re-issues of all their albums as well as the first instalment in their box set, "Music to Crash Your Car To-Volume 1", a 4 CD set that is the first of three volumes chronicalling the bands storied career. Volumes 2 and 3 come in May and October of 2004 respectively, and the first ever video greatest hits DVD on the band was also release in 2003, entitled "Greatest Video Hits".