Posts Tagged ‘Motley Crue’

Nikki

Sixx at the Marquee 1991 – pic: Ross Halfin

Just finished re-reading ‘The Dirt’ – the Mötley Crüe bio from some years back – so sharing a road tale involving Vince, his buddy Sixx, Mick and Tom seems appropriate. I was living in a tiny bedsit in South London back in 1991 – working was obviously not a priority – but rock n roll sure as hell was. Part of the weekly schedule was perusing Kerrang! Magazine – which from memory hit the streets each Wednesday. So as per usual, in early August, I headed to the Noizeagant and purchased the Big K, scanning the gig guide over a pint or two. In one of the news columns there was a blurb which stated something like ‘Livewire rockers The Foreskins play a one-off show at the Marquee August 14’.
Duh – I really shoulda put two and two together – cos I knew that in previous years – around the time of the Monsters Of Rock show, bands on the bill had done undercover Marquee gigs – Kiss in 1988, Poison and also Aerosmith (with a guest appearance from Jimmy Page) the year before. There was also the ‘livewire’ reference. Oh well, this was the pre-internet era so information was where you read it – or in my case, if you mis-read it ! Anyway – I think that the following Wednesday’s issue of Kerrang! – in the week leading up to Donington – they broke the newz and announced the ‘unannounced’ secret gig. Oh shit ! It was that very night ! I downed my pint, screamed ‘take me to the heights tonight’ – then jumped a train which would take me to the top – well, Tottenham Court Road station at least. The legendary Marquee was at that time situated at 105 Charing Cross Road, and I quickly made my way to the venue. Thinking back, I saw a slew of bands there during that summer – and although Cobain and his flannelette were about to sit hard rock and metal on it’s ass – there was still some great rock to be had at that time (the fact that Kerrang! ran a two page article on Nirvana in the aforementioned issue – was telling – and a sign of things to come – eg, the death of 80’s metal).

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Motley ‘Four Skins’ Crue play a rare club date –

Obviously, with the show sold-out I had to scalp a ticket – and when I got to the venue at around lunchtime there was already a queue to get inside. Motley never played clubs anymore so to see them in a dive with a few hundred capacity was a thrill. Ticket or no ticket, I joined the queue and started chatting to a couple of young kids who’d travelled by bus the night before to get to this secret Crue show. Think they hailed from Nottingham way. I looked through my cash and remember thinking that 50 quid was my absolute top bargaining price – and haggled with a few scalpers over the next couple of hours – before begrudgingly shelling out a whopping 70 pounds for a ticket in. What’s that worth in today’s money ? $300 or $400 maybe ? For some time later, one of my pommie mates would give me shit about it, so it must’ve been a lot of money ! Whatever – life is short, and it was the Crue in a club for f**k sake – their second club gig in ten years –  and now I had a ticket ! Rock n roll mission accomplished.

There was an Oi! punk outfit who hailed from London’s East End called The 4-Skins – working class punkers who were around in the early 80’s, and recall hearing a press rumour of legal action against the Crue for using their name. The spelling was obviously different – and the Crue had so many lawsuits against them, I doubt they cared. Many old punks would’ve bought tickets for this mid-August gig, thinking there was a 4-Skins re-union occurring. They of course were unaware they were nabbing tickets to the hottest gig in town – and some no doubt made a hefty profit from hungry Crue-heads. Well, on with the show, going on with the show.

Mr Rockbrat at the Marquee 1991

Mr Rockbrat at the Marquee 1991

The wait for the doors to open was made easier by swilling warm Tennent’s and chatting with other rock disciples. At some stage I recall a camera crew filed past – interviewing fans as they walked along. The accents were American so I presume they were Crue crew – and someone told me they were filming for a documentary. I think that some of this Charing Cross Road fan footage – along with the Marquee gig itself – was including in the ‘Anarchy In The UK’ video. Once the doors swung open, a horde of punters headed for the stage area, yet I headed upstairs and got a front row view from up there on the balcony – directly in line with Sixx. This was a memorable gig – one which stands out in a lifetime of loud, sweaty rock shows. There was no opening band – and from memory, after a short intro tape, the band just sauntered on stage and belted into their set – a set which was to be savoured: Wild Side, Shout at the Devil, a thumping Primal Scream, Looks That Kill, Red Hot,…. and to hear early Crue cuts like Live Wire and the encore Piece Of Your Action churned out in a small club was very very cool. A take on the Pistols Anarchy in the U.K.was also aired to maximum response. Personally, apart from Motorhead and The Runaways, I am yet to hear anyone do true justice to a Sex Pistols song – though the Crue’s effort on this night was sizzling. At one point in the show, Sixx, sporting black overalls, stage dived into the crowd – and later I recall he gave me the thumbs up during the set. Say what you want about Tommy Lee, the guy is an incredible drummer – the engine room behind this legendary outfit, and he is always great to watch. Every punter in the club that night was drenched in sweat – and it was pure rock n roll energy. This was a warm-up show but the Crue gave their all, and the evening was one of my rock highlights. I did the bus ride to Donington Park three days later and although the Crue rocked – they were not as potent as they were at the mid-week Marquee gig. The smaller stage of a small, sweaty club was where the Motley magic lay for me. With my ears ringing from Mick Mars’ Marshalls, I walked towards the Tube – ending the motley_crue_marquee_ticketevening a short while later with a Doner and chips. A decade earlier, Motley Crue had reigned supreme on the Sunset Strip club scene – and it was mind-blowing to see them back in a club after conquering the rock world !

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ImageFrom memory, I purchased this around 85 and it rules. Double LP, gate-fold sleeve, pressed locally via Concept Records. Around this time period, heavy metal was all I knew. Money earnt from my menial factory job was spent on metal records….and I’ve never regretted it. Actually this compilation really is a sneak peek at the barren musical landscape that was Australia in the mid-80’s. Hard rock and heavy metal was indeed – underground. Mr Rockbrat laughs when, nowadays, you run into people – straights, who tell you they went and saw Slayer on the weekend, or they have the new Sabbath CD ! Alas, metal maniacs, it was not always like this. Anyway, I found this gem whilst rummaging through my wax recently and as I cast my eyes over it, it got me thinking how much I learnt from it. Who needed school text books when the ‘istory of ‘eavy metal had to be learned, right ?!  The collection is pretty much a snap-shot of 83-84 heavy metal releases. WASP, AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Scorps, Sabbath, Twisted Sister, Ozzy, Motorhead, Dio, Motley, Priest, Kiss – big guns of the genre at that time, who all have tracks on here. But it was the inclusion of bands like Warlock, Y & T, Titan and Coney Hatch which had me in a spin. Often, the first place you would hear new bands was on compilations, and such was the case with Metal Madness. The Rock Goddess tune ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ – tuned me on to this kick-ass chick three-piece and I still listen to them today. Girlschool got a start – as did Lita Ford ! A rickapoodie and a fandooglie !  The Sabbath tune ‘Trashed’ was with Gillan up front – it confirms what I said before that the comp in fact pieced together some of the most recent releases from this time period (never could stomach Ian Gillan’s shrilling vocals). Points to the compiler – Grand Wizard Glenn A Baker – for doing that. The inclusion of local acts Titan, Boss and Melbourne’s Bengal Tigers showed Baker – or an assistant, had their ear to the ground, but the inclusion of Spinal Tap was not funny – or was it ? Is this a joke ? Is this a joke ? How the hell did Canned Heat get a look in ? Including the Kiss plodder ‘Get All You Can Take’ from their then-released Animalize opus, was a masterstroke in absurdity. ‘Heaven’s On Fire’ or ‘Thrills In The Night’ woulda been my Kiss cuts from that rekkid – but it mattered not. Adelaide’s Titan, as you may or may not know, released ‘Head Scare’ on Raven Records. I think some of those members ended up in Almost Human, did they not ? This release was followed-up by the equally rockin’ ‘Headbanger’s Heaven’ double LP a short while later. Again, the record introduced me to some great HM bands, many of which still get spun on the rockbrat turntable. As the wacky Baker states in the liner notes ‘ if you can’t get off on this brain-bending compilation, you’re beyond all hope’. Comments from the Super Coach.

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surely Lita is deserving of larger venues than these !

Tell you what, you could blow some serious money at the moment on the live rock circuit here in Australia. I cannot recall a time when there are so many bands announcing tours – a far cry from those days in the mid-8o’s when we had only the likes of Purple, or Queen, or Dio etc to cater for the rock hordes…..not that I mean ‘only’, I mean sheesh, I would give my right arm to see Queen or Dio nowadays, but the touring rock and metal acts who visited the Oceania region, were few and far between. It seemed like there was only one big show every few months…that’s my point….. But now ? Is the super-strong Australian dollar the reason behind so much touring activity ? I mean, I cannot remember a year where so many acts are touring downunder……here are some of the names locked in:

Deep Purple, Journey, Status Quo, Lita Ford, Joan Jett, The Darkness, Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Deniz Tek, Motley Crue, Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, Robert Plant, Slayer, Anthrax, Santana, Blue Oyster Cult, Flamin Groovies, Buzzcocks, Steve Miller, Neil Young, Iggy and The Stooges, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Rose Tattoo, Angels, Bryan Adams, Steve Stevens, Bruce Springsteen and the great Wilco.

If money is no object – you could see some great shows…..

Is there really an audience still out there for GnR ? You be the judge, but having the bearded Texans on the bill, along with the might Rosie Tatts could make me think not….me thinks Axl and his cut-outs are in danger of being wiped off the stage. Another visit from Iggy ? Sheesh, go see Deniz Tek instead….better yet, just have Tek in the Stooges !  Surely this must be the last time Kiss will be here…please – make it the last time. Take your unsold ice-blocks back with you and leave us with our 70’s memories.

Damn shame that Aerosmith are playing a large venue in Sydney like the Olympic Stadium….oh and shit like Grinspoon should bless their lucky stars they are opening the bill for legends.  My only advice is to arrive after the opening acts have done their ahem ‘thing’ and just see Boston’s finest. Joe Perry back in Australia – it will be great to have him back…..

image (c) Todd Kirby

image (c) Todd Kirby

Let’s start with some context. Around 1984, my three favourite bands were probably Maiden, Motley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne. Whilst Mr. Rockbrat was focusing on ‘Animalize’, ‘Stay Hungry’, ‘Last In Line’, ‘Out Of The Cellar’ and Blackie’s boys in WASP – I was listening intently to Ozzy’s ‘Speak At The Devil’ and ‘Bark At The Moon’. These were good albums, but not a pinch on the ‘Blizzard Of Oz’ and ‘Diary Of A Madman’ albums which were, as time has proven, landmark albums. My walls were emblazoned with posters of Ozzy circa ‘USA 83’ Festival and posters of Randy Rhoads. I played those first two Ozzy albums to death. Fast forward to 2011. My mate Bucko is good enough to lend me a copy of the new Ozzy DVD, “30 Years After The Blizzard”. After watching it, I look back on those years of the early to mid 1980’s and realise that what I dug about Ozzy all along – was Randy Rhoads. With the exception of the live footage on the DVD, I think the DVD is nothing short of a disappointment. There’s a documentary on the DVD that for the most part made me cringe. Ozzy and Sharon Osborne hold court, telling all and sundry how great Randy was. Bottom line is, without Randy, Osbourne could have quite possibly been a nobody in the 1980’s, a drunk who was the ex lead singer of Sabbath. Of course he’s gone on to sell squillions of albums and is a household name worldwide – and the Osbourne’s owe it all to Randall Rhoads.

This DVD ranks as a cash grab to me. If it was going to be done with any kind integrity, they would have been bothered to interview guys who were actually there; like Rudy Sarzo, Tommy Aldridge, Frankie Banali or even guys like Kelly Garni from the early QR days. Instead, there are interviews with guys like ‘Blasko’, who I’m told is Ozzy’s current bass player and would have been about 11 when Blizzard Of Oz came out. How is he qualified to talk about Rhoads? Also adding their insight into Randy Rhoads are Zakk Wylde, who in 1988 emerged as a carbon copied version of Rhoads and is currently vying for pie eater of the month (and hey Ghode, there is only one Black Label and they hail from Western Sydney OK). Sure, he’s got all of Randy’s licks down pat, but one can’t help get the feeling that he’s another who’s leveraged his own career off of Rhoads. Most of the documentary shows Ozzy sitting in the studio next to his producer Kevin Churko, who also would have been about 12 when Blizzard came out.  C’mon Sharon, the guy who actually produced the album, Max Norman wasn’t available? Instead we get some guy who had no connection to the album pressing the play button, grinning an assured smug and commenting about the recording? Please. Gotta keep it all in the Oz family right. Even in sobriety, Ozzy comes across as incoherent and bewildered – with a permanent puzzled look – and for a guy who says he doesn’t want to be remembered for “the dove, the bat, and the Alamo”, he never fails to mention them in every interview I hear or read. Always good for a few more sales hey Shaz. Pissing on The Alamo –  He’s just damn lucky The Duke wasn’t alive in 1982 to sit him on his ample ass. What’s interesting, is that one month after the ‘Alamo incident’, Rhoads was killed, yet apparently, he’d already told Osbourne he was wanting to leave the band and do other musical things. Sharon Osbourne comments on the documentary that Randy had had enough of Ozzy’s behaviour……Anyway, where was I, yes, the interviews. Bill Ward, Steve Vai, Nikki Sixxcheeseburgers, that leather whip crackin’ Rob Halford and Lemmy add some authenticity, but overall, as a documentary it left a lot to be desired. It goes without saying that neither ex Uriah Heep man Lee Kerslake or our own Bob Daisley got a mention – so there in lay the problem. The DVD documentary is about the ‘Blizzard’ album, and with the exception of Ozzy – there is NO ONE ELSE, offering comment who was actually on the album – be it other musicans, producer – not even the janitor from the studios! Instead we get Ozzy’s current bassist trying to tell me all about it! Hey dude – metal up your ass. Talk about dis genuine. I’m always about dubious about re issues, more money for the Osbournes, but on this one, I can smell a rat., and this is a grab of Simmons like proportion. In fact – NO ONE from those first two albums was interviewed. Before I forget – Along with Ozzy (who I assume wrote the lyrics), 99% of the music on those first two albums was penned Daisley and Rhoads, with Daisley’s songwriting skills coming to the fore. Dont underestimate the contribution that Daisley made to the Blizzard of Oz. By the time he joined Ozzy’s band, he had 10 years as a top notch songwriter under his belt, from Kahvas Jute to Chicken Shack, Mungo Jerry, Widowmaker and Rainbow – he was a crucial factor to the success of those two first Ozzy albums. As is well known, on the original Diary of a Madman LP notes, both Kerslake and Daisley weren’t credited. They were both fired in late March 1981, just after the recording session, and replaced for the tour by Aldridge and Sarzo, whose photos were put on the album and they were credited as studio musicians – though they didn’t play on the album. Anyway, as I mentioned elsewhere, the live footage on this DVD (including video of the New York Palladium from May 2, 1981) is very cool, and worth while picking up for that reason alone. Almost 30 years later, I still love Randy Rhoads. As I’ve written elsewhere, along with Ron Wood and Johnny Thunders, Rhoads is one of my three favourite guitar players of all time. His legacy is already assured, though I still don’t think the definitive documentary on his life has seen the light of day.

Now in today’s day and age it may be more convenient to log on to the net and download the album you want, or to buy it on eBay, and sure, agreed, purchasing music has never been easier – BUT, buying records was much more fun and way cooler twenty five to thirty years ago. Let me tell you why. Here is an album called ‘Time To Rock’. It is a sampler album from WEA/Atco Music and was released in 1987 and it showcases 12 of their biggest and most prolific metal bands signed to them at that time. I purchased this in the sale bins at Utopia Records (when they were located in Martin Place), in 1987 for the bargain price of $8.99. What’s cool is that it comes with a sew on cloth patch as well. What did I say about digital downloads being more convenient – but boring. Anyway, I certainly discovered a couple of cool bands from this sampler album and this is one album I’ll never part with. Not just because all the tracks are great – but because the whole album, from the packaging to the inserts to the free patch – represent a time when it was cool to discover new bands – and we didnt live in such an age like we do today where everybody has to own every bloody bands discography and have 10 000 albums on their Ipod! People may be time poor – but they own 10 000 albums. Whatever. Anyway, this album includes tracks by Motley (live), Faster Pussycat, Metal Church, Manowar, Ace Frehley, Guns N Roses and Testament too. After hearing the track of these bands, I went out and bought the bands albums – all from listening to this comp. I became hipped to Raven, and their great ‘Life’s A Bitch’ album, but also the Japanese band EZO, as well as Metal Church, whose ‘The Dark’ album I wore out the grroves on. Side 2, track 1 – Manowar’s ‘Fighting The World’ – Does it get any better ? Anyway, maybe you have a favourite compilation album that you’d like to share ?

 

Bob Deal (aka Mick Mars) at left

If someone can convince me otherwise, I’d say that in 2011, there is clearly no reason for the Motley’s to still be around. They are hardly cutting edge, or indeed relevant, and it’s for nostalgia and that alone, that keeps the punters going to see ‘em. Another couple of years and there will be some 30 year CD reissues and tour or some other way to fleece the people out of their money. Maybe Nikki could write another book about his days on heroin (yawn) or the likable drummer could release some more hip hop nonsense…..I dunno. Man these guys are just so bad ass. At least whilst they’re still around I get to see Vince ballooning out, so there’s one positive. The only guy in the band spared from the poison pen is the silent one on guitar, Robert Deal. He is in no way offensive, mainly cos he keeps his trap shut. How old is Mick Mars nowadays anyway ? As old as Ian Hunter ? Mick has to be 60 right? He was in bands going back to round 71 or 72, so that’s 40 odd years now. Anyway, here is an old photo of Mick that’s worthy of your attention. In the early to mid 70s, Mick was in a band called White Horse, (before he was in Vendetta) and apparently White Horse used to go by the name of “Mottley Croo”, before they became Whitehorse. Mick Mars and Eddie Van Halen occasionally shared the same bill as Whitehorse and Mammoth (early Van Halen) crossed paths quite often along the club circuit in 1974. Let’s take a look at the photo. Bob is at far left, and is sporting a mo – the handlebar variety, as was quite common amongst musos in the mid 70s, though I dunno why. Vincent Cusano sported the same look in his days with Treasure. Whitehorse had a drummer with a built in cage who used to play upside down – so now you know where Tommy Lee got the idea.  Check out a book called Motley Rock Stories, by Jack Valentine, Jack was in Whitehorse. His books tells the story about his time in the California rock scene in the early to mid 70s, road tours, and of courses his time with Mick Mars (Bob Deal). Buy it  Here

Kane Roberts - one of Rockbrats 3 best power metal balladeersBack in 1988, I’m sure that the terms ‘power ballad’ or even ‘hair metal’, were not part of the vocabulary. These terms only came into use in the early 2000s when used to describe late 80’s hard rock bands who had big hair. Back then, EVERY band had record company pressure to come up with a big , soppy ballad to include on the album. For songwriters like Desmond Child, this late 80’s period spelt one word only – pay dirt.  Speaking of which, trailblazers Bon Jovi were well ahead of the pack with stuff like ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ and the like, and so it was that all the big haired bands then had to come up with a big, radio friendly ballad – it if was a hit and sold a zillion copies then even better, and there were certainly some bands who rose to meet this challenge. Bands like the thin sounding Warrant and Poison had big power ballad hits, as did Aerosmith, the Coop, White Lion and Whitesnake. Both Bad English and Mr. Big had big hits with ‘When I see You Smile’ and ‘To Be With You’, and I liked both of these songs a lot. I dug The Babys, and after years of treading the boards with Talas, any success that  bass player supreme Billy Sheehan had with Mr. Big was well deserved. Ozzy and Lita Ford paired up nicely with the great ‘Close My Eyes Forever’ and stalwarts KIX cut one of the finest ballads of that period with ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’.  ‘Still Lovin’ You’ by The Scorpions was great, but I was never hooked on ‘Winds Of Change’.  The ballads by Def Leppard were as expected, polished, but just a little bit sickening for mine. Not surprisingly, Journey has a bunch of good ballads in this period, as did Damn Yankees with ‘Can you take me high enough’. KISS had a couple of good ones too, including the tune, ‘Forever’, that Stanley penned when a journalist asked him how long the band’s reunion facade will last, but let’s face it, there was some pretty bad ones too. LA Guns ‘The Ballad Of Jayne’ came complete with strings. There was also the god awful ‘I Remember You’ by try hards Skid Row, and the couple of ballads that the musically limited Motleys released, ‘Without You’ and ‘Your All I Need’ were aped straight from the Bon Jovi / Sambora song book. ‘House of Pain’ by the musically retarded, god awful Faster Pussycat was just bad, bad, bad and ‘November Rain’ by Rose Tattoo imitators G ‘n’ R just made me puke. More of the formulae ? Try on Firehouse or Tesla, Winger, Slaughter, Bonfire  and Saigon Kick. Yawn. Yet here’s three of the better ballads that you may not be so familiar with. All girl metallers Vixen has a great song off their debut album called ‘Cryin’, and former Alice Cooper axeman Kane ‘Rambo’ Roberts released a brilliant ballad called ‘Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore’ off his debut solo album too. However, if I have to select my favourite ‘power ballad’ from those heady days, it would be a tune called ‘Right By Your Side’, by Chicago’s Enuff Z Nuff, off their 1993 album ‘Animals With Human Intelligence’. This song, and indeed the album, received some critical acclaim, but ultimately failed commercially. Go check out these tunes by Enuff Z Nuff, Vixen and Kane Roberts and let me know your thoughts.

Rockbrats best three power ballads of the late 80s / early 90’s –  1) Enuff Z Nuff – ‘Right By Your Side’, 2) Kane Roberts –   ‘Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore’ and 3) Vixen – ‘Cryin’