Motley Crüe Is The Most Important Unimportant Band Of All-Time
Motley Crüe is the most important unimportant band of all-time.
Here’s why they’re unimportant: they only have one number one album and two top ten singles.
They’ve never won a Grammy Award. In fact, the only trophy on their mantle is an American Music Award for Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album (Dr. Feelgood), which they won in 1991.
They didn’t really advance, innovate, or revolutionize any genre of music—unless you think “hair band” is a legitimate category. They’re not particularly great musicians. They’re not transcendent songwriters.
Despite all that, I have not come to bury Motely Crüe. In fact, I’ve come to praise them.
They may not be artistic pioneers with an overabundance of musical prowess, but they are the epitome of what think of when we think of a hard rock band. Their music, as well as their behavior on and off the stage, is hedonistic, wanton, and licentious.
They are the living cliché of a rock band. Some of the clichés they invented while others they leaned into.
When you see a decedent and fictional rock band in a television show or movie, you’re seeing Motley Crüe.
Motley Crüe sing songs that champion reckless lifestyle choices (like “Girls, Girls, Girls”) and they live(d) that reckless lifestyle. In doing so, they have endeared themselves to millions of fans.
That last paragraph is part of the “important” part as well as the band selling more than 75 million albums and countless Motley Crüe concert tickets all over the world.
Love them or hate them, Motley Crüe provides the ultimate rock and roll fantasy. For millions, Crüe’s music and their escapades offered the perfect escape from the responsibilities and commitments of everyday life.
I’m not talking about the behavior that resulted in committing vehicular homicide, getting arrested, or dying from an overdose and then bolting from the hospital before being released. I’m talking about the behaviors that said “screw it” to society’s norms and expectations because I’m going to do whatever the hell I want to.
Motley Crüe extols the virtues of drunkenness, promiscuity, and general debauchery. We don’t want those values in our politicians, professional athletes, and offspring, but we do in our rock bands.
The escapism they heaped on fans should account for something. While the band has done some inexcusable things since forming in 1981, they have also transported millions of fans from the banalities of reality to the “Never Never Land” of rock and roll.
During their 30-plus years of existence, Motley Crüe has pretty much kept to their degenerate ethos. Yes, they’ve released just four albums in the past 20 years (and one in the past six) while launching 23 tours, and they have a bunch of greatest hits collections, but they’ve never really allowed themselves to get bloated like Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills & Nash.
To prove that point, the band not only announced that “The Motley Crüe Final Tour” will be their last but they signed a binding legal documenting stating as much. This legal document says the band will never tour again—at least under the banner of Motley Crüe—once the calendar turns to 2015.
How exactly will the Motley Crüe’s “Magna Carta” prevent further tours? I have no idea. They probably don’t either but that’s not the point.
What is the point is the band that epitomizes the sex, drugs, and rebellion promised by rock and roll is trying to end their career still embracing those concepts—at least as much as four guys can that are north of 50.
Motley Crüe is trying to end things the same way they started and that’s on their own terms.
Their final musical odyssey began July 2 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The first leg concluded on Aug. 31 at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in western New York.
They resume their tour Oct. 10 in Oklahoma City. On Oct. 15, Nashville welcomes Motley Crüe to the Bridgestone Arena.
Motley Crüe has two shows planned for Hollywood, Florida and the Seminole Hard Rock Live. The band also has two shows planned for Atlantic City. One is scheduled for Oct. 24 and the other for Oct. 25.
The highlight of the band’s final leg is when New York City hosts Motley Crüe at Madison Square Garden. That concert is scheduled to go down on Oct. 28.
After that, Crüe visits a bunch of mid-size cities like Moline, Madison, St. Paul, and Edmonton.
The penultimate date in the touring career of Crüe is Nov. 21. That night Motley Crüe performs in Vancouver, B.C. at Rogers Arena.
The city that will host Motley Crüe’s final concert is Spokane, Washington. The last time the band will ever rock a stage will be Nov. 22.
Opening for Crüe will be legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper. According to reviewers, Cooper doesn’t disappoint. Besides playing hits like “School’s Out,” “I’m Eighteen,” and “Welcome to My Nightmare,” Cooper also entertains fans with a boa constrictor, macabre decorations, and a very convincing beheading.
As for Crüe, their live show is packed with pyrotechnics. Their evening terminates with a pyro display suitable for a bicentennial celebration or a small war in Central America.
Motley Crüe has designed a setlist that will please just about everyone. If you’re into early Crüe or late 1980s Crüe you will leave the venue satisfied. The band also plays some of their new stuff (relative) like “Saints of Los Angeles” and “Mutherf—— of the Year.”
The band ends their set with “Kickstart My Heart” and then encores with “Home Sweet Home.” Other songs in their setlist are “Primal Scream,” "Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room,” “Shout at the Devil,” and “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.).”
When you attend a Motley Crüe concert make sure you make some noise. If you don’t you might be chastised in a Tommy Lee tweet.
After an Aug. 27 show in Allentown, Pennsylvanian, Crüe’s drummer posted the following on his Twitter account: “Wow! Allentown! You guys win the “Most Absent” award tonight! Thanks for trying to be there!!!”
The media’s excuse for the apparent subdued crowd was the fact that the band played the same songs when they performed in nearby Bethlehem in the summer of 2013. Fans who actually attended the concert said the crowd was restrained because the sound wasn’t very good.
By David B.