I was quietly minding my own business when I saw the news on Twitter: the band Mötley Crüe was retiring after one last tour. Unlike other bands who have been going out on “one last tour” for the last twenty years or who wait a few years after “retirement” to do a reunion tour, Mötley Crüe took the unusual step of making it legal with an official “cessation of touring agreement.” After a 72 date farewell tour, Mötley Crüe will no longer be a band after 30 years in rock and roll.
Now one could argue that this isn’t that big of a deal; the band hasn’t really been relevant in years as the heyday of hair metal has long since passed. While they still have a devoted fan base and would occasionally tour, all of the band members have been doing their own thing for quite a while. Nikki Sixx hosts a radio program, Vince Neil has ventured into the restaurant/tequila business, Tommy Lee has tried his hand at the reality show/sex tape game and Mick Mars does whatever it is that Mick Mars does (can you believe that dude is 63??). Many of them have periodically severed ties with the band, only to later return. So this clearly isn’t a band that is breaking up in their prime or a decision that came out of nowhere. Looking at the big picture, it’s kind of refreshing that the band realizes that they are at the natural end of their collaboration.
However, this news still made me sad. I may not be a rabid fan of Mötley Crüe, but I have always considered myself a fan. I have a soft spot for all bands from the hair metal genre, as this was the music that dominated my early years. If Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden were the soundtrack to my high school years, Mötley Crüe, Poison, Warrant, Skid Row and the bands of that ilk dominated my tween years. They were played at every middle school dance I attended and were blaring at every party. I used to marvel at way girls in my class would tease and blow their hair out like the girls featured in the music videos for these bands; I was far too lazy for that kind of commitment to styling, which is probably why I fully embraced the low level of effort for grunge. Hair metal bands provided the anthems for early crushes; getting to slow dance with the boy you liked to a power ballad was the ultimate accomplishment.
Mötley Crüe was always my favorite of the bunch; I don’t know what it was that set them apart from the rest but I pretty much wore out my copy of Dr. Feelgood back in the day (a cassette tape, obviously). I was too young and sheltered to put much thought in what “Dr. Feelgood” referred to or to consider the questionable depiction of women in their songs and videos. All I knew was that these were super catchy songs and they were exposing me to a lifestyle that I didn’t necessarily aspire to but that was definitely interesting to watch. Of all the bands in their genre, Mötley Crüe had the reputation of being the wildest and hardest partiers of the lot. I never thought any of them were particularly cute, but they were endlessly fascinating. Apparently my fixation with bad boys is longstanding.
As I grew older, my musical tastes expanded and (somewhat) improved but there was always a little room for some Crüe in my life. They frequently popped up on the workout mixes that I’ve made over the years; I defy you to listen to “Kickstart My Heart” and not get energized. They remained a guilty pleasure and were usually a safe option to play in on the jukebox in most bars. I’m sure “Girls, Girls, Girls” will continue to play in strip clubs in perpetuity. I am one of the people who actually downloaded their last studio album, Saints of Los Angeles. So while it makes sense for them to call is a career for the band, part of me will be a little sad that they no longer exist. Even if they weren’t a part of my everyday life, it’s still kind of a bummer when a group you grew up with disbands (even when it is as amicable as this appears).
Mötley Crüe’s farewell tour will be rolling into my area this summer and I totally expect to be in attendance. I saw them perform about five years ago at the same venue and it was a very fun show – just as over the top and ridiculous as I would have expected and some of the best people watching that I’ve ever seen. Seriously – it was worth the price of admission just to watch people in the crowd relive their glory years. For this final tour they will be hitting the road with Alice Cooper, who I have always secretly wanted to see, so that only sweetens the pot. Mötley Crüe may not be the best musicians or the most complex of songwriters, but they almost always guarantee a good time.
So as the Crüe rocks off into the sunset, it seems only fitting to send them off with one of my favorite tunes. They are taking their own advice and just going away:
If you want to check out the band one last time, check out their tour dates.