Generation Whine 

Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil might badmouth former drummer Tommy Lee, but they're struggling without him.

The Cre: A new decade of the same old songs.
  • The Cre: A new decade of the same old songs.
There's a description in the press release that accompanied Mötley Crüe's latest album, New Tattoo, that accurately sums up the band's appeal: "If you want to get laid, listen to Mötley Crüe," it asserts. "We're the smut mags of the music industry." Singer Vince Neil, who admits he hasn't even read his own press material, doesn't have any gripes with the sensationalist description of the group.

"That's cool," he says via phone from a tour stop in Virginia Beach. "I like that. I think our band is about having fun, having sex, and just being what a rock and roll band is and nothing more, nothing less."

At the height of their popularity in the '80s -- a decade known for hairsprayed manes, spandex, loose women, and heavy drug use -- the members of Mötley Crüe lived a life that was "too fast for love," as the title of their 1981 debut put it. Between Neil's 1985 conviction for vehicular manslaughter, drug overdoses, and sexual improprieties (Neil and former drummer Tommy Lee have both been captured in the act in bootleg videos), Mötley Crüe stayed in the headlines even after it fell off the charts.

That Neil is still with the group is a wonder, since, in 1992, the group unexpectedly kicked him out and two years later recorded an embarrassing (even by Crüe standards) self-titled disc with singer John Corabi. Neil rejoined the group for 1997's Generation Swine, an album that was supposed to put the band back in the hard rock spotlight. But with songs such as "Brandon," a ballad Lee wrote for his newly born son, the album only further damaged the band's already dwindling reputation.

"I was really unhappy, because I think we were manipulated by our producer [Dave Ogilvie], who was sort of a chart chaser," bassist Nikki Sixx says of Generation Swine. "He's very close to the band, and we're in this pool together, and he poisoned the water. It was a very negative experience. There's some great songs, but I don't think they got to be Mötley Crüe songs."

While both Sixx and Neil refer to New Tattoo as a return to form, the band had to make the record without drummer Tommy Lee, who left last year to devote all his time to Methods of Mayhem, a rap-meets-metal hybrid that attempts to cater to the Limp Bizkit/Korn set. Neither Sixx, who says Lee brought the group "weird manipulating drama," nor Neil shies from badmouthing Lee.

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