The Dirt : Motley Crue, by Neil Strauss and the band

"I had come to discover that my favourite form of entertainment was just mixing everything and then seeing what happened to my body. " - Nikki Sixx

 

 

 

 

I'll say this right off the bat. Everybody with an interest in rock music should read this book. Everybody who's ever been in a band, is in a band or wants to be in a band should read this book. Anybody who's going out with someone who's in a band, was in a band or wants to be in a band should read this book. Unless you've actually had something to do with any of the members of Mötley Crüe, in which case you should avoid this book like the plague. Kids, if your mother was a Mötley Crue fan and you grew up in the 1980's then I suggest you check your DNA records. There's a pretty good chance that you may have a completely different father to the one you know about. Especially if your mother slept with Mick Mars, who seems to have the ability to impregnate women at will, if the pages of this book is to believed.

 

"The Dirt" is a sensational book. It contains the type of gossip that tabloids would pay millions for, and yet you can buy yourself over 400 pages of it for $15.95 American and I tell you, it is a compulsive read. I simply couldn't put this down. The band speak in their own words, although cleverly edited I'm sure by Neil Strauss, and what's admirable about this is that they really don't hold back. Not one little bit.

 

Never, and I repeat never, have I read a book where a bunch of people have bared their souls, and more importantly their sins, as much as this. This is, quite possibly, the most open, frank and honest book you'll ever read. Because of that fact, no matter how outrageous things get, (like the story of Ozzy Osbourne licking up piss) it never sounds made up. Everything feels real in this book and when you get the impression that one of the guys is making himself out to be the good guy in regards to a certain issue, chances are he'll be rebuked in the next chapter by someone else. It's riveting stuff.

 

The book charts the story from the early days in a roach festered apartment off Sunset Strip (which Har Mar Superstar now lives in) through signing to Elektra, through the drugs, the women, the depression, the alcoholism, the arguments (of which there were countless), through their critical and commercial rebirth with the Dr. Feelgood album and then how they threw it all away afterwards. Everything's in here. The lipstick, the leather, the hairspray, the alcohol, the drugs, the women.

 

It's the most hilarious, most thrilling almost captivating book I've read in a long time. There were numerous times when I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. The dirt is dripping with gossip, but it's well written and told in the most entertaining of fashions. If this were a filmed documentary, it would have some of the most quotable dialogue ever spoken. For instance, here's Vince Neil, talking about how he felt when he was fired from the band;

 

"I had two choices: I could kill myself or I could go to Hawaii with a stripper and get over it. I chose the latter."

 

"The Dirt" tells of four dysfunctional people who came together to form one of the biggest, most outrageous and most notorious bands that there's ever been. If the 1980's were the decade of decadence then Mötley Crüe are the ultimate illustration of that. This is a story of a different world to the one I inhabit, a world where women fall at ugly men's feet, where drugs and alcohol are easier to find than water and where the houses are so big the electric bill alone costs 2500 dollars a month. As for the guys themselves, Nikki comes across as a troubled lad who grew into a troubled man, tried to escape his problems by injecting heroin and eventually pulled himself together. Tommy comes across as a spoilt brat who's never grown up and has never understood the true meaning of anything, except his children and his family. Mick Mars comes across as the most grounded of the group and the one I actually feel sorry for and Vince Neil comes across as the big headed arsehole I always thought he was.

 

However, there's more to it than that. The book is open, the book is honest and the book contains the kind of hilarious anecdotes that I wanted to find within its pages when I first picked it up; but it contains much, much more than that. The down sides are there. The troubles are there, the feelings and emotions are there and unbelievably, there's a strong sense of humanity in there too. The chapter where Nikki finds out he has a sister, postpones the chance to meet her, only to return from a tour to discover that she'd died is enough to make you cry but the chapter where Vince describes the death of his daughter Skylar is truly, truly heartbreaking.

 

This is an astonishing book. I urge you to read it. In fact, I order you to read it. There isn't anything else like it on the shelves. You don't even need to be a fan of Mötley Crüe to enjoy it. I'm not a fan of theirs, that's for sure but as I write this, Mötley Crüe have reformed and are currently preparing for a trip to the UK (God help us all) and after reading this book, I'll be down the front if they ever make it to the Flat Land..

 

Words : Damian Leslie

 

The Dirt : Mötley Crüe : Confessions of the world's most notorious rock band.

Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Six with Neil Strauss.