MOTLEY CRUE


"Saints of Los Angeles" (Motley Records / Eleven Seven; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

"Saints of Los Angeles" is a Motley Crue album through and through. It's got nasty guitar riffs, gritty vocals and lyrics, and a style that just screams Motley Crue! If you're a fan of the band, or ever have been, then you'll like a lot of this record. It yanks you in from the first track and keeps you coming back for more.

The first Crue album to feature the original line-up since 1997's curious "Generation Swine," "Saints of Los Angeles" has a lot going for it. The band sounds energized, dynamic and alive and the album's nostalgic concept album style will really speak to longtime fans of the band who were actually there and know what the band is talking about (the album is loosely based on the book about the band entitled, "The Dirt"). 

The one thing that the album doesn't have is a single song as strong as the ones that made the band famous. There's no "Doctor Feelgood" here or "Home Sweet Home." There's no "Piece of Your Action" or "Shout at the Devil." The songs on "Saints of Los Angeles" are all very good; it's just that none of them is great. Although I'd say the performance on this CD is better than that of "New Tattoo" (the band's previous studio album), I'd have to say that the songwriting on that record was just a little bit better. Just a little.

It almost doesn't matter. It's so good to have Motley Crue back recording new music that doesn't have us scratching our heads like "Generation Swine" did or shaking our heads like the self-titled "Motley Crue" did that it's easy to forgive "Saints of Los Angeles" its minor flaws. In fact, I'm convinced this record will grow on me with repeated listens, as it has already.

"Saints of Los Angeles" is a welcome return to form by a legendary veteran band. 

Motley Crue: Vince Neil - vocals; Nikki Sixx - bass; Mick Mars - guitar; Tommy Lee - drums. 

For more information, please visit http://www.motley.com.


"Carnival of Sins: Live" DVD (Clear Channel; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

I have to admit: When I heard that Motley Crue was embarking on a "reunion" tour, I thought "Big deal. All that means is that Tommy Lee's back behind the drum kit. Cool, but ... big deal."

Then the Reunion Tour turned into the monster it was, shattering box office records and drawing millions to the live performances. I was puzzled. What was it that drew people to these shows?

Now that I've seen the "Carnival of Sins: Live" DVD I know what it was. It wasn't just the fact that Tommy Lee was back where he belongs, it's that the Crue was back with one of the biggest rock'n'roll shows in history. Thankfully, for those of us who stupidly missed it, this DVD is here to show us what all the hoopla was about.

Most of this two-DVD collection is a full live set, recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan on April 27th, 2005 and we're talking all of the Crue's biggest hits: "Shout at the Devil," "Too Fast for Love," Looks That Kill," "Louder Than Hell," "Dr. Feelgood," "Kickstart My Heart" and many more. The band is in great shape. Vince Neil shows none of the exhaustion he displayed during some of his recent solo outings and the rest of the band is in fine shape as well, delivering not only dead on renditions of their best music but becoming part of the bigger show as well - part of a "circus gone bad."

The live production is stunning as captured here on DVD and must have been outrageous seen live. This isn't just a rock'n'roll concert, it's a full-on event with a cast featuring sexy women, fire-breathing little people, evil clowns with huge faces and a pyrotechnic display bigger than most Fourth of July celebrations. And it's all been "Motley-ized" to give it a twisted, almost perverted feel.

The sound quality is near perfect, with the mix by legendary producers Bob Rock and Mike Gillies sounding vibrant and sharp. I don't think any live Crue recording has ever sounded close to as good as this DVD sounds, and that's with just the stereo mix; the 5.1 mix should be truly awesome.

Disc 1 is worth the price of purchase alone. But Disc 2 contains bonus features that make "Carnival of Sins" a must buy for even the casual Motley Crue fan.

First up, there's a documentary on the creation of the tour. If you thought it was just a bunch of musicians deciding to hit the road together, think again. This documentary will show you how truly monstrous a production of this size is.

Also included are music videos for "Sick Love Song," "If I Die Tomorrow," and "On with the Show." And I would be remiss to forget "Motley Crue's Greatest *its" (their censorship, not ours ... the * stands for a "t" in case you can't figure it out). This segment focuses on Tommy's "Titty Cam" and the part of the show in which he videotapes women in the audience who are ready, willing and anxious to flash him and the entire audience.

There's also the bizarre Claymation feature, "Disaster," in which Gumby-like Motley Crue members discover the world is about to end and decide to play the loudest, most lascivious rock'n'roll show in history as a way of going out with a bang. I wasn't so thrilled with the silly Claymation here, but if there's an asteroid with our name on it, I think that would be a great way to go.

"Carnival of Sins: Live" is a terrific DVD package that Motley Crue fans will flip over. The band has really gone to extreme lengths to give their audience, both live and on DVD, the best possible show they can deliver.

For more information, please visit http://www.motley.com


"Red, White & Crue" (Hip-O / Motley; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

Seriously. How many Motley Crue Greatest Hits packages do we need?

Apparently, at least one more. "Red, White & Crue" is the latest collection of the most popular songs of one of heavy metal's most popular bands. This two CD collection may not be the band's first greatest hits collection (and it probably won't be the last) but it's easily one of the best.

First, in sheer breadth, "Red, White & Crue" wins. With 37 tracks, spanning two discs and running nearly two and a half hours, you get a lot of Crue music for not so much dough. Sure, you can go out and buy the awesome "Music to Crash Your Car To" collection but, at about $50 a pop, that's gonna run you about $150.00 when Volume 3 is eventually released. "Red, White & Crue" will run you about $20 or less.

Second, the selection of songs is, for the most part, bullet-proof. Disc 1 featuring the band's earlier recordings is the obvious winner, with such Crue classics as "Too Fast For Love," "Shout at the Devil," "Smokin' in the Boys' Room," "Girls, Girls, Girls," "Kickstart My Heart," and "Dr. Feelgood" making an appearance. Disc 2 is hampered mostly by the inclusion of too much material from the band's dismal self-titled CD, featuring John Corabi on vocals rather than Vince Neil. All is almost salvaged by three new tracks here, including the soulful "If I Die Tomorrow," the throbbing "Sick Love Song" and a delightfully rough-edged cover of the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man."

The packaging here is also a plus with an attractively designed digi-pak and fairly extensive liner notes by Rolling Stone's David Wild.

Do you really need another collection of the Crue's most popular songs in your collection? If you've got any of the "Music To Crash Your Car To" box sets, the answer is a resounding no. If not, however, and you're looking for one, this is probably the best of the bunch.

So far.

For more information, please visit http://www.motley.com


"Greatest Video Hits" DVD (Motley/Hip-O; 2003)

Reviewed by Star

 

Crue Heads rejoice! Herein you will find the most comprehensive Motley video collection to date. Twenty-seven kick-ass Crue classics are the highlight of this compilation, including the banned, X-rated version of "Girls, Girls, Girls" and the uncensored version of "Primal Scream." Hats off to the Crue for going through the effort of making this DVD special, as opposed to a simple rehash of a previous release (Guns N' Roses "Welcome To The Videos," anyone?) This collection spans the band's storied career, including clips from the Motley Crue album featuring John Corabi on vocals.

Highlights include:
"You're All I Need," a controversial ballad which was banned from MTV for its extreme subject matter; 
"Enslaved," which exemplifies the band's vision lyrically and is hard to find but represented here; 
The live clip, "Wild Side," which showcases Tommy Lee's amazing drum kit from the "Girls, Girls, Girls" tour (truly a fantastic visual and one of the most innovative live props in rock'n'roll history. 
"Live Wire," which gives newer Crue heads a glimpse into the band's early, dark imagery with its occult themed stylization (The footage of bassist Nikki Sixx setting his pants on fire while performing is a classic stunt). 
And, of course, no Crue video collection would be complete without their rendition of Brownsville Station's classic "Smokin' in the Boys Room," a fun and lighthearted look at the glammed out Crue which remains a staple on AOR stations to this very day.

The uncensored version of "Misunderstood," featuring Corabi on vocals, delivers a distinct contrast to the band's other material. Musically, this track delivers a different side of Motley Crue that Vince Neil fans may have missed out on. Visually, this clip is disturbing and thought-provoking, providing a powerful message on the topic of suicide.

One of the best features of the disc is the ability to generate a personal playlist in order to view the clips in the order that you choose. Another great bonus feature is a recent interview with bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee, which provides insight as to the band's perspective on the videos and gives the viewer some great feedback as to the origins and concepts surrounding the bands many fantastic shorts.

Dedicated fans of Motley Crue will find that this DVD goes a long way toward satisfying their hunger for Crue material and this compilation certainly leaves me looking for more great videos in the future. This is a great retrospective from rock'n'roll's most notorious Bad Boys that is sure to keep Crue heads waiting for the big reunion that lies just around the corner. 

Grab a cold one and enjoy some of the best Rock videos ever made. The Crue Rules!


"New Tattoo" (Motley/Beyond; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

This is how I like my Motley Crue. Rude, crude, loud, raw, sex-drenched and merciless. Motley Crue is one of the few bands whose music still sounds like their attitude. "New Tattoo" is nasty, bad boy rock'n'roll. And it kicks some serious ass.

I wasn't sure what to expect after the past two Crue studio CDs: the strange but entertaining "Generation Swine" and the godawful, Vince Neil-less "Motley Crue." Would the band revert to the almost industrial sounds of "Swine" or the drab, overblown bore of that self-titled mess (I know, I know. Some people think it was the Crue's best ever; not me).

Here's where the Crue has gone: Back to the razor-sharp guitar, brutal bass and straight-forward hard rock drums that gave them their fame. "New Tattoo" is a guitar-driven Rock (with a capital "R") album that's slick without being slippery commercial and that's got a serious bite. It's the Crue's first recording with new drummer Randy Castillo and it's a step in the direction of the Crue's original glory.

The best tracks on the CD are the first track, "Hell on High Heels," "Treat Me Like the Dog I Am," the pseudo ballad title track, the campy but fun "1st Band on the Moon" and the anti-anthem "She Needs Rock'n'Roll." 

There are a couple of songs that don't quite measure up, too. "Punched in the Teeth by Love" has a great title but doesn't have the promised "punch" and "Hollywood Ending" is another slow ballad-type song that doesn't have enough hooks. The final track on the CD, the Crue's cover of the Tubes' "White Punks on Dope" is adequate but doesn't offer any real sparks either.

Also of interest is the fact that, on "New Tattoo," the Crue offer some of their most intelligent, stylish and thoughtful lyrics. Read along as you listen and you'll see what I mean.

All told: "New Tattoo" is the Crue's best CD since "Dr. Feelgood." It's a solid rock record that does exactly what you want it to do - rock hard.

Motley Crue is: Vince Neil - vocals; Nikki Sixx - bass; Mick Mars - guitar; Randy Castillo - drums. 

For more information, please visit http://www.motley.com


"Live 1983 - 1999: Entertainment or Death" (Motley/Beyond; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

What's great about this two CD live collection from the bad boys of rock'n'roll is this:

1) It's about damn time Motley Crue, an incredible live band, released a live album;

2) It's a collection of live Crue tunes recorded over the course of nearly two decades;

3) It's about as close to attending a live Crue concert you can get without being there.

Let me explain:

1) Motley Crue has been around for a long time. They've got a reputation for their wild, rock'n'roll party, live performances. Why haven't they put out a live album before? Yeah, there was the video but you can't take a video with you in your car (okay, maybe these days you can).

2) Most live albums these days are studio enhanced collections chosen  from a band's most recent tour. You get the old stuff, but it was recorded by the band last week. Here, you get classic Crue tunes from 1982, 1983, 1984 - all the way up to the last tour in 1999. It's great to be able to hear the difference in the band from the 80s to the 90s (don't worry, it's still all wild rock'n'roll).

3) I don't know if there were any dubs or fixes on this CD - I never listen for them anyway. But this CD has that sophisticated bootleg sound that makes it seem more real, more like it was recorded as it was played rather than it was repaired in the studio. It's not too slick and it's not too rough; it's just right. "Stadium Sound" comes to mind but hell if I know why.

Of course, some of the songs work better than others, whether it's because they're better suited to live performance or because they just haven't stood up to the test of time. Winners include "Dr. Feelgood," "Shout at the Devil" and "Home Sweet Home." "Ten Seconds to Love" isn't so lucky and "Helter Skelter" strangely loses a little of its chaotic appeal. 

This may not be the best live CD Motley Crue could have released, but it is a very good one. It also happens to be the only one - unless, of course, you happen to know a very good bootlegger. 

Visit Motley Crue at http://www.motleycrue.com


"Greatest Hits" (Motley/Beyond; 1998)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

Unlike the previously released "Decade of Decadence," this collection of MOTLEY CRUE's greatest hits doesn't focus on re-mixes, bonus tracks and new cuts. Instead, it focuses on gathering together the Crue's best songs, digitally re-mastering them, and presenting two new songs, both of which are better than anything that appeared on the last two Crue albums.

There is a re-mix here ("Glitter") and the song selection may not be what you would choose as the Crue's best tunes (but then, everyone's list would be different, wouldn't it?). But "Greatest Hits" is a powerful collection of Motley Crue history, going all the way back to "Too Fast for Love" and all the way through "Shout at the Devil '97."

The two new tracks, "Bitter Pill" and "Enslaved," are both closer to the classic Crue sound that made the band huge in the 80s, and farther removed from the near-industrial sound the band experimented with on its self-titled album featuring John Corabi on vocals and the follow-up, "Generation Swine" that re-united the band with Vince Neil.

As an added bonus, some stores are offering a free bonus CD, "Live Around the World 1989 - 1990," that includes four live recordings of "Girls, Girls, Girls," "Red Hot," "In the Name of Rock and Roll" and "Dr. Feelgood." This CD delivers a taste of the dynamic live Motley Crue experience and one has to wonder why the band hasn't released a live CD as of yet. (Editor's note: See review above).

Don't think that just because you have "Decade of Decadence," the last Motley Crue "greatest hits" package, that you don't need "Greatest Hits." These are two different albums, and the sound quality of the latest CD is worth the price of picking it up alone.


"Shout at the Devil" (Motley/Beyond; 1983)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

 

Motley Crue hit the big time with this, their second full-length album. Originally released way back in 1983, this CD took them to the top of the hair band metal heap.

This newly re-mastered release contains the original eleven tracks, plus demos of "Shout at the Devil," "Looks That Kill" and "Hotter Than Hell" (later to be re-titled "Louder Than Hell) as well as an unreleased track, "I Will Survive." 

The good news is that the CD ages surprisingly well. It's almost impossible not to bang your head (although not as vigorously as you did before) to the sounds of "Shout at the Devil," "Looks That Kill," "Red Hot," "Too Young To Fall In Love" and others. And the re-mastered, HDCD sound is way better than the original release - crisp, clear and still full of oomph!

As far as the demos are concerned, it's "Hotter Than Hell" that's most interesting. At first glance at the CD's track listing, I thought that perhaps it was a cover of the classic KISS song. (I had seen Motley Crue open for KISS about the time that "Shout at the Devil" was released and figured that a cover was a possibility). As you listen, however, you discover that it's actually an early version of "Louder Than Hell," which was re-titled and re-tooled a little later. The unreleased song, "I Will Survive" is a simmering little tune that's adequate but not necessarily a must-hear. 

Thanks to this re-mastered release, "Shout at the Devil" is still as potent as it was upon its original release. And it remains one of the band's best releases.

Motley Crue: Vince Neil - vocals; Nikki Sixx - bass; Mick Mars - guitar; Tommy Lee - drums. 

For more information, please visit http://www.motley.com.


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to RoughEdge.com Home

Copyright 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:43 -0500 .