Mötley Crüe’s scuzzy antics in Vancouver make the Newt pine for Brownsville Station

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 1, 1999

So why would I want to go see Mötley Crüe when I don’t even care for its juvenile brand of exploitative crotch-rock? Good question. Maybe it was because I wanted one last look at the unseemly underbelly of ’80s rock, one last wander through that wasteland of spandex and eyeliner before scraping it from my shoes and stepping into a new millennium of rock. Not only that, but I wanted to kiss off the decade of decadence in the company of my old buddy Scott, who used to be Billy Idol in a Billy Idol tribute band.

You can’t get much more ’80s than that.

We got there right at the Sunday (March 28) show’s scheduled start time of 7:30 p.m., but only in time to catch the last two songs by the Loving Dead, the local band that earned the warm-up spot by winning the Crüe-sponsored Kick Start Your Career competition. They took a decidedly glam-rock approach, and came off like Kiss without makeup—but with better singing and better songs. The lead guitarist certainly had his Ace Frehley licks and poses down pat. And guess what? They had better sound than the Tragically Hip did three weeks earlier. What’s up with that?

Up next was Noise Therapy, the local thrash-punk outfit that has been touring with the Crüe for the past couple of months. It was their last show on the tour, and the mischievous Mötley members made sure they’d remember it, sabotaging their equipment with Vaseline, altering their banner to read “Needs Therapy”, dousing them with flour, and bringing out a sheep to tempt the “animal lovers” in the group. But Noise Therapy—which at times resembled a killer cross between Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers—overcame the practical jokes with an electrifying performance. And they enjoyed excellent sound, even better than that of the headliners, strangely enough.

Mötley Crüe had all the banks of blinding white lights, though, and wasted no time in flashing those suckers, punctuating the raucous chords of “Dr. Feelgood” with intense blasts of illumination. By the second tune, “Girls, Girls, Girls”, the L.A. sleaze merchants were using visuals of another sort to dazzle the audience—namely, the perky breasts of two scantily clad dancers, whose strip-club antics were employed throughout the night. During “Shout at the Devil”, one of them donned a nun’s habit and whipped the other’s butt, hoping to shock the crowd into forgetting what a bogus song they were hearing.

“Speak of the devil,” yelled drummer and convicted wife-beater Tommy Lee when “Shout” was over, “here’s the bad guy!” He went on to profusely thank everyone in attendance for sending him so much love when he was in the clink for four months, then grabbed a dry-ice fire extinguisher and led a chant of “titties, titties, titties” while searching the crowd for women who wanted their nipples freeze-dried. But since the crowd of nearly 5,000 looked to be 90 percent male, his little escapade didn’t amount to much, and he sulked back to his drum set, vowing, “I’m gonna tell! I’m gonna tell everybody that there’s only three titties in Vancouver!”

Geez, Pamela, how could you let a prize like that slip away from you?

Mötley Crüe is well-known for flaunting its lowbrow image, of course, but it has upped the ante in the lewdness department, as if desperate to reclaim its past glory but unable to do so on the merits of any new music. After 90 minutes I cut my losses and headed for the exit, because the band had used up all four of its worthwhile tunes, and I wasn’t gonna hang around and risk suffering through a gutless rendition of Brownsville Station’s “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room”.

Now, Brownsville Station—there’s a band that could kick ass without the aid of strippers. Where’s Cub Koda when you need him? We want Cub Koda! Bring back Cub Koda!

Is Cub Koda still alive?!

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