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The darkness of Motley Crue

Before I saw the Motley Crue movie on Netflix I wasn’t quite familiar with them. However, by the time the movie was over I was needed to dig deeper into this band of degenerates.

I knew the basics, they were punk, made it big, and were wildly addicted to drugs. The biopic movie “Dirt” written by the band covered the most famous aspects of their career and gave me a general idea of their antics and history. Days since the movie’s release, streams for Motley Crue are soaring on streaming platforms as a new generation of rock fans begin to discover the hysteria of Motley Crue.

Side by side comparison of the actors and the actual Motley Crue band.

Side by side comparison of the actors and the actual Motley Crue band.

The movie starts out with exploring the drive and beginning of each member in the band. There is the drummer, Tommy Lee, who comes from a good home but just has an insatiable energy for music. After Tommy notices the lead of the band, Nikki Sixx, in LA the two decide to pursue Nikki’s brand of heavy metal music. We are introduced to Nikki early in the movie as a sad and unfortunate boy whose father has skipped town and left him alone with his deranged mother. Nikki, in an effort to escape his mother’s rule, stabs himself in the arm and blames it on his alcoholic mother in order to get away from her. As the movie later depicts, their fraught relationship plagues him throughout his career.

After finding their lead guitarist in ad for the paper, the band is almost ready, but they need a singer, someone Nikki says has “long blonde hair and is able to look pretty.” Luckily, the drummer knows a friend from highschool an they find hi singing at an LA pool party for a cover band. They decide since he has blonde hair and able to attract women to his performance they will let him in the band despite his lack of talent or popularity.

With the members of the group in place, they start practicing Nikki’s music and book their first gig at a divey club. Ready to deliver an unforgettable concert experience, dressed in makeup and with “big hair” they end up fighting some of the audience yet gaining some fans by their punk attitudes and electrifying performance. After their raucous first night they get booked to play in more clubs in LA and eventually get recognized by a young agent from Electra Records to become almost instant successes. And so their path to destruction begins.

Their rise in LA is important since after the explosion of punk music in New York in the 1970’s, LA had become the new headquarters as the music got darker as it developed into the 1980’s. The music would eventually inspire grunge and alternative rock groups like Sound Garden and Nirvana in the 1990’s.

As the biopic presents, these guys were loaded on cocaine, alcohol and heroin all the time. Everyone, including Ozzy Osborne who is in the movie, wanted to party with them. Their dressing rooms are filled with drugs and women, they go to the strip clubs of each city they tour in and blow as much cash as they make in true punk style. In true rock fashion they black out every night and make a mess of every hotel, gaining a reputation as the most difficult group to manage in the music industry.

Eventually, the partying takes a turn when the lead singer gets into a car crash and Nikki overdoses on smack. But their debauchery only heightens their fame and drives them deeper into drugs, people loved their indulgence in excess.

A photo from the Biopic '“Dirt” about the band Motley Crue.

A photo from the Biopic '“Dirt” about the band Motley Crue.

From that point on in the movie, the band’s relationship with drugs becomes tainted, while their lead singer decides to get clean Nikki dives further into heroin and doesn’t look back.

Despite their success and constant touring, Nikki’s personal afflictions are starting to affect the productivity of the band. It’s impossible for him to be the best man at his bandmate’s wedding and eventually Nikki overdoses and is pronounded cliniclly dead for several minutes. The band was heading to tour on their hit “Girls, Girls, Girls” and from the outside it looked like the band had it all, the girls, the drugs and the fame but the heroin was taking over. Afterwards, he began to try to get clean.

Somehow, these four guys are still alive. The movie doesn’t get into the specifics of their journey but covers the most dramatic moments, giving an entertaining snapshot into the live of these rock-stars. The documentary moves quickly but is never boring. One of the most surprising aspects of the film was Machine Gun Kelly’s portray of Tommy Lee. I had never seen MGK act before and I must say he did an excellent job of bringing the energy of Tommy Lee come to life. After MGK’s massive feud with Eminem it’s inspiring to see him capitalize on his notoriety with a solid performance in a major film. I’m sure we will see more features from him to come.

Even if your not a fan of rock and punk music you will find yourself gripped in the lives of these four unlikely characters who came together and took over the world with their dark brand of rock ’n’ roll.