Monday, November 26, 2007

One from the archives

Well, I've mentioned before my love for Motley Crue's autobiography, The Dirt. It's time to finally post about it!

I am not a big fan of The Gilmore Girls, but I have watched it from time to time. Lorelei had a fine explanation of this book: "It's like, just when you think you've read the most disgusting thing, they come up with something else." That's a pretty fair explanation. If they were to film this book as written, it'd get an NC-17 for sure, for large amounts of sex scenes, heavy drug use, snorting of ants, drug-fueled violence, depiction of a telephone inserted into a girl's vagina while another girl talked on it, depictions of urination in a bar, multiple drug overdoses, and other things I won't mention since I don't want this blog to be NC-17.

The book is told in all four of their voices. Each of the bandmates (Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, and Vince Neil) take turns narrating their tale from their own perspective. Sometimes, other guys (like their producer, their manager, and the guy they hired to replace Vince Neil when he quit) get to talk. But mostly, it's the band. The bones of it are the traditional Hollywood story: the early years, when they all share a shithole apartment and play every gig that comes their way; the big success where they get record deals, women, private jets and everything; the personal descent into drugs and alcohol; hitting bottom; then clawing their way back.
Motley Crue is a little different in that they've done this cycle a couple of times.

One thing about this book, and probably the reason I like it so much, is that it's honest. They say, straight up: "The reason we drank and drugged so much is that we thought it was fun." They don't try too much to rationalize their mistakes. They talk about cheating on their wives and girlfriends, fighting with each other, destroying property at hotels, the whole nine yards. They're also honest about other, harder things. Mick Mars has suffered from a rare degenerative disease called ankylosing spondylitis since he was in his twenties. The disease limits his motion and has condemned him to live in crippling pain. He never revealed it until this book. Vince Neil talked about two deaths that hit him hard: that of a friend of his in the 1980s, which he himself caused by driving drunk; and the cancer death of his three-year old daughter. Tommy Lee described his version of what happened between him and Pamela Anderson that caused him to go to jail for spousal abuse. And Nikki Sixx opened up about his painful upbringing and its influence on the rest of his life.

I don't want you to think that these guys wind up looking good. With the exception of Mick Mars, they really don't, and I would say Mick Mars looks more like a tragic figure than "good". But with the heavy population of drug dealers, strippers, groupies, mud wrestlers (yes, Vince Neil's ex-wife), drug addicts, sleazy record business types, cops, judges, rehab counselors, and loudmouthed fellow musicians in this book, and with the four larger-than-life narrators, it's a good time. Motley Crue, as they themselves would admit, have always been about fun, cheap entertainment. I don't think they're doing too much of that with their music anymore, but the book provides quite a bit of that.

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