The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band

I want it to be known that I am in no way a Mötley Crüe fan, not in the slightest. But, the reason I read this was because it was number 32 in the 66 most important moments in metal history according to Loudwire (my fave music website along with NME). It sounded like a worthwhile read.

The book is a history of the band, with each chapter being told by each band member, which was a great way to tell the story. After reading one band member’s account of something that happened we would move onto another band member who would tell a similar story, or sometimes a different story.

The author used some of the dirt he got on a band member to good effect. He would get some information one band member had never told another member before, go off and tell the other guy, then use his reaction in the next chapter. An example is when in one chapter Vince (the singer) slept with Nikki’s girlfriend, and in the next chapter we got Nikki’s reaction after the author told Nikki about it. All very high school gossip stuff, but quite entertaining.

Calling Mötley Crüe the world’s most notorious rock band is probably quite an accurate label if this book is anything to go by. They did drugs and alcohol to the absolute limit and two of them came very close to death from their excesses. They also liked the ladies a lot, and even during the middle of a concert the lead singer would disappear from the stage during the guitarist’s long solo to “meet a lady”.

Hair spray was of course an important part of glam metal

Some of the stories were quite disgusting as they were quite terrible human beings at times. Three of the band members just did not have inhibitions, they would do anything for sex and drugs, but not necessarily for rock ‘n’ roll. However, the stories that Nikki told about some of the antics of Ozzy Osbourne were quite nutty, including the time he snorted a line of live ants. Sharon Osbourne though was great, she kept Ozzy strictly in line when she was with him on tour, and she even had Mötley Crüe under her thumb when they toured with him. When she was gone though, Ozzy reverted to quite an animal.

The more I read this, the more I wondered about the accuracy of the storytelling. Each member seemed able to recount in great detail events that happened in the eighties, despite being either totally drunk, drugged out of their minds, on an ego high, or any combination of the three. A lot of was corroborated by their managers, assistants and others, so it is probably accurate in most accounts.

The one band member that seemed to be a decent dude was Mick Mars, the guitarist. He was drunk a lot but that was mostly due to a rare condition he has called ankylosing spondylitis which is an extreme form of arthritis. He got it at a young age, and by the time he was in the band he was in a lot of pain and could only stand still on stage while playing. He also seemed to be the most musically talented.

So it was a well-written book with lots of juicy rock ‘n’ roll excess and personal stories about four guys who as teenagers became a huge band, made lots of money (staggering amounts), lost a lot of that money each time their short marriages ended, and by the time this book was released in 2001 realised that they had better start growing up.

In a way this book is a guide on how to start a rock ‘n’ roller band. It teaches you that in order to be successful you have to be willing to do anything, be very single-minded, and to do all of things that the fans expect you to do like setting your pants on fire with lighter fluid and throwing TV’s out of hotel room windows (there was a great story about Keith Moon leaving the hotel in a limo on the way to the airport and asking the driver to turn the car around and go back to the hotel so he could throw the TV out of the window). What I learned though is that being successful is not a lot of fun if you can’t handle it, so I’d just rather remain somewhat normal.

Certainly one of the most important events in metal history.

The next book on my Kindle is “Star Maker” which so far is good reading.

Book count 2018: 4

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