Exactly wo years after I sat in the hospital holding my daughter after one of the best concerts I would ever see in my life, tragedy struck
February 14, 1992 Vince Neil was kicked out of Motley Crue. I was devastated.
I was still working as a manager of a video store in Covina, when I heard Vince Neil on a local radio station (Pirate Radio). I was at work and a customer came in while I was listening to it and a tear fell from my eye. The customer kidded me about it, but only a little, my customers knew how big of a Motley fan I was. In fact working at a video store in Covina meant a lot of my customers went to school with Vince and/or Tommy. And in the 3 years I spent at The Video Studio in Covina, California, I met all sorts of people who had opinions of Vince Neil and Tommy Lee, I met ex girlfriends, class mates, and even Tommy Lee’s sister and mother once. My brother actually went to school with Vince Neil’s daughter. Most people didn’t have nice things about Vince, a lot of guys claiming they kicked his ass, blah blah, blah. Everyone loved Tommy though, a classmate of his told me he was always banging on the desk like drums and saying he was gonna be a rock star one day.
So yes, my customers knew I was a Crue Junkie and they fed me well. One of Vince Neil’s ex girlfriends sold me a bunch of stuff from those early days including an autographed copy of Leathur Records version of Too Fast For Love. For those who aren’t die-hard fans I’ll explain. Motley Crue couldn’t get signed at first, so they started their own record label called Lethur Records and released an early version of Too Fast For Love. The album sold over like 20, 000 copies and Electra Records snatched them up, dropped the song Stick To Your Guns, and touched up the rest, and released it under Electra. The copy I have is even before what The Crue sold. The one I have is an original before art work was changed (Vince Neil didn’t like the way his hair looked in it, from what the ex girlfriend says. And in the one I have the hair is real puffy and funny looking against the white background of the album. The ex girlfriend told me Nikki called him tampon head, that tells you what it looks like. So they cropped Vince’s hair in the copies they sold and on the version Electra put out.) My copy was Vince’s personal copy from what I’m told. And that was just some of the cool things I got from Vince’s ex. Thanks to her being a member at the video store I worked at, my Motley collection is huge!
So there I was at work, tears running down my cheek while Vince Neil announced on the radio that he was no longer part of Motley Crue. Yes, I was devastated!
Nikki and the rest of the band would later come out and say Vince quit the band, something still disputed to this day. Regardless the result was Vince going solo and Motley getting a new lead singer.
There were lots of rumors about who might replace Vince but the guy who got the gig was John Corabi, lead singer of a band called The Scream who had a small hit not to long before he left his band and joined up with The Crue:
I was desperately waiting to see and hear what this would do to Motley, and like usual it came from a video. I was visiting my dad when this video came on MTV:
I was ecstatic. It was like when I first heard Dr. Feelgood or the first time I saw the Too Young To Fall In Love Video. It was so new, so different, and yet it was Motley Crue. And the video has major “Clockwork Orange” references, easily one of my top 3 favorite movies. I couldn’t wait for the new album to come out.
Since the last time I had seen them live we had another child. Our first boy. We had moved to Oakland for a while, back to Lake Elsinore before returning to Covina. I was working at Tower Records in West Covina (The Video Studio sadly closed down) when the new album would come out, simply titled Motley Crue. Working there I got to hear what people thought and most people didn’t like it. I don’t think people were ready for it, but to this day it is still one of my favorites.
With songs like Misunderstood, Drift Away, and Loveshine:
This was a more mature Motley Crue and maybe some of the fans weren’t ready for it (like they weren’t ready for Theater of Pain, or how they wouldn’t be ready for Generation Swine in the near future, but we’ll get to that in the next post). I get people don’t like change, but that’s one of the reasons I stuck with the Crue so long, they grew with me… not that there aren’t some great rockers on the album:
The album was great, fuck all the haters, and when I saw tickets were going on sale for the “Anywhere There’s Electricity” show I was there to get them.
Since there was a Ticket Master right in Tower Records I went while I was at work and got 4 tickets for August, 1994 at the Palladium. I was going to see the Crue for the third time! Well most of them. Three of them and a new guy. This would be the only time I see them live without all 4 of the original Crue.
My then wife of course went to the show, it was only fair that she get to see the band without the contractions. I took my brother Michael, I believe some of you know him, (it was his very first concert) and my then wife’s brother (is that a confusing sentence? I took my ex-wife (though she was my wife at the time), her brother, and my brother.
This was just a few days before I would move to Las Vegas and it was quite different then the shows I was used to.
I was used to big arena shows, Palladium is tiny. Which for me made the night very personal.
Highlights: Nikki Sixx doing a bass solo and jumped into the crowd, body surfing while playing his bass. The new album was way heavier on the bass than the previous albums and Nikki’s bass was like the heartbeat of the show.
I also crowd surfed. It was my first time doing it and it was fucking awesome. If you have never been floating on top of the crowd as your favorite band rocks out, you haven’t lived. When you come down from the crowd you end up in that area between the crowd and the stage where a big security guard rushes you out and back into the show. One of the times I came down into this area I found myself staring right up at Nikki and he was looking at me. He held out his hand reaching down at me from the stage, I held mine out and shook his hand, mumbling “I love you”. I know, what a corny fruitcake. But I was starstruck. And at that moment I was a teen age girl, I know it and accept it.
Tommy’s extravagant drum solo was stripped way down, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t bad ass! Fit into the pounding solo was some of Tommy’s song Planet Boom:
The song is from the EP Quarternary, a special CD you could order where each member of Motley did their own song. I have a couple of copies of it including the Japanese import with several extra songs. What a “fan boy”.
Although the drum solo was simple, it hit the mark. It was the first time, and maybe the only time, I saw people form a mosh pit to a drum solo.
I should point out my brother had a great time at his first concert, though my ex wife’s brother did not enjoy it as much. He said he had a hard time figuring out what songs were playing. He didn’t know the new stuff too well and the old stuff did sound different with John singing, but that’s what I liked about it. It was so different. My ex had a good time too, after all there was no one in her tummy banging to get out and enjoy the show. Though she did have a little one in her tummy. We didn’t know it at the time, but she was a few weeks pregnant with out fourth and last child together (next post).
Well fuck my ex’s brother, the show was awesome! Though since it was so different, it was the only time Live Wire was not the song of the night. For me it wasn’t really one song but a group of them that stands out.
Towards the end of the show, some couches were put out on stage and a bunch of people were picked from the audience and went up and sat in them. It was set up like a living room and the band did an acoustic session, with about 10 fans sitting around on stage with them. I wasn’t one of them, but I still enjoyed watching it.
They did Home Sweet Home. a cover of The Beatles’ Revolution, Loveshine, and Don’t go Away Mad (Just Go Away). All acoustic. Definitely the highlight of the night for me.
It was an end of an era for me.
Shortly afterwards, I said good bye to Southern California where I had lived for most of my 23 years at that point and headed to the lights of Las Vegas. And by the time Motley would come back around life once again had changed drastically while staying quite the same.