How Motley Crue almost imploded doing ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’
On the surface, Motley Crue Girls, girls, girls might not look or sound materially different from their previous three records or the work of their Aqua Netted peers in Poison or Ratt. But under its festive and hedonistic metal facade, Girls, girls, girls bristles with depravity and despair, painting a grim portrait of a group on the brink of self-destruction.
The Crue were riding high commercially as they began to lay the groundwork for Girls, girls, girls, even as their personal lives were in the gutter. Their previous album, 1985 theater of painhad gone double platinum thanks to the hit singles “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” and “Home Sweet Home” despite being “pure shit”, as frontman Vince Neil succinctly describes it in the band’s sordid autobiography , Dirtiness. The platinum-blonde singer was the only member of the band sober enough to come to that conclusion, having been ordered not to drink as part of his probation after killing Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle in a driving accident. drunk in December 1984.
Neil’s three-week prison stint and subsequent probation led to his ostracism from the rest of Motley Crue, who were all working hard to blow up their own lives. Bassist Nikki Sixx was plagued by drug addiction, hiding in his bedroom and shooting heroin and freebase cocaine with his girlfriend and the prince’s protege Vanity. Drummer Tommy Lee married actress Heather Locklear in 1986 and struggled to navigate his newfound domestic bliss while keeping his vices in check. And guitarist Mick Mars silently suffered from an inflammatory arthritis known as ankylosing spondylitis, self-medicated with alcohol and even had trouble picking up a guitar.
Watch Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” Video
Not a promising situation for the cash cow of Elektra Records, and when Motley’s managers brought them back into the studio to begin work on their next album, progress was glacial. Sixx, the band’s lead songwriter, had tried unsuccessfully to kick heroin and also got addicted to methadone. “In the studio, we were each mixing our drugs with something we had never combined them with before: guilt, denial and secrecy,” Sixx said in Dirtiness. “And those three words make the difference between an addict and a hedonist.” He received a scathing reality check from ex-girlfriend and fellow rocker Lita Ford, who was recording in the studio next door: “‘Before, you were ready to take on the world,’ I was told. she said, ‘but now you look like you’re letting the world get you down.'”
Sixx’s first song lasted Girls, girls, girls was also his most radical sonic departure: “Nona,” a one-and-a-half-minute ballad written for the bassist’s late grandmother that features the mournful chorus, “Nona, I’m crazy without you.Guilt-ridden Sixx came up with the song after failing his grandma’s funeral because he was too stoned. “I often have nightmares about my grandma’s illness and funeral, because not being there for her and my grandfather is one of the things I regret the most in my life, ”he said in Dirtiness.
Several tracks on Girls, girls, girls detail the group’s addictions, paranoia, and misery with morbid clarity. “Dancing on Glass” lyrics — “Valentine’s Day in London, found me in the trash– a reference to Sixx’s near-fatal heroin experience in London on Valentine’s Day 1986, where he turned blue after being shot by a drug dealer, got run over with a baseball bat by Andy McCoy of Hanoi Rocks during a failed resuscitation attempt and was left for dead in a dumpster behind the dealer’s slum.The second single “Wild Side” is a bastard version of the Lord’s Prayer intended for the label of the group that snatches money (“Kneel, sinners, before the religion of the street / Greed has been crowned the new king“), anchored by a staccato guitar riff and a marshal drum beat. And “You’re All I Need” denounces the craze for clichéd power ballads with the macabre story of a man who murders the woman who is killed. he loves because she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, inspired by Sixx’s suspicion that his girlfriend had cheated on him with actor Jack Wagner.
Watch Motley Crue’s “You’re All I Need” Video
Other songs are less cerebral. The bluesy “Bad Boy Boogie” leaves little to the imagination with zingers like “You better lock up your daughter when the Motleys hit the road” and “It’s just a lick and a promise in the back seat of my car.” “All in the name of…” begins with an unfortunate first pedophile verse (“She’s only 15 / She’s the reason I can’t sleep“) and features the deeply headstrong chorus “For sex and sex I would sell my soulThen there’s the delightfully sleazy title track, which verifies the name of several adult entertainment establishments and is matched only by Def Leppard’s “For Some Sugar on Me” as the club’s definitive anthem. of hard-rock striptease.
Musically, Girls, girls, girls makes a welcome pivot from the toothless pop-metal of theater of pain to Aerosmith-inspired blues-rock, full of searing Mars slide guitar solos and polished by producer Tom Werman. But despite its highlights, it’s clear the band wasn’t firing on all cylinders, as evidenced by the abundance of filler and a pasted live version of Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” to complete the 10-song list. “To like theater of pain, Girls, girls, girls could have been a phenomenal record, but we were too caught up in our personal bullshit to put any effort into it,” Sixx lamented in Dirtiness. “You can actually hear the distance that had developed between us in our performance. If we hadn’t been able to force ourselves to release two songs (the title track and ‘Wild Side’), the album would have been the end. of our careers.”
Watch Motley Crue’s “Wild Side” Video
Alas, when Girls, girls, girls released on May 15, 1987, it took Motley Crue’s career to even greater and steeper heights, selling 4 million copies in the United States and peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 behind whitney houstonit is Whitney – which Sixx found suspicious. “Doc [McGhee, Motley Crue manager] told me that when the album was number 2, we should have gone to number 1,” Sixx wrote in his 2007 book. heroin diaries. “We had the number 1 album in the country but for some mysterious reason (payola, anyone?) Whitney Houston was number 1. That sucks. Girls should have been our first number one album.”
Motley Crue would get their No. 1 album soon enough with the 1989 mammoth Dr Feelgood. But before he could reach the top, Sixx would have to hit rock bottom, overdose on heroin on December 23, 1987, and be declared clinically dead for two minutes before paramedics revived him with two shots of adrenaline to his heart. The experience inspired Dr Feelgood single “Kickstart My Heart”, which effectively closed one of the most tumultuous chapters in Sixx’s life and Motley Crue’s career. Yes Girls, girls, girls lacks the restrained, hard-rocking precision of its successor, the band deserves some grace. Considering the circumstances of its creation, it is a miracle that the album exists.
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