RIP Motley Crue. The wildest rock band of the past thirty years has rewritten the book several times when it comes to decadence. Over the past three decades they have not only gained a reputation for partying hard, but have gathered a loyal legion of fans from all corners of the globe.
With worldwide album sales in excess of 80 million, a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame and countless sold out tours, there is not much left for the band to accomplish. So why not go out on a high? Having signed a cessation of touring agreement in January 2014, the band have been touring tirelessly around the world as they say goodbye for the last time to fans.
Days before their appearance at the Download Festival in Castle Donnington, the band made their last ever tour announcement when they revealed they would be playing a number of European cities in November, before heading back to the States for their final shows, culminating in Los Angeles on 31st December 2015.
We caught up with the band in London after the final tour was announced to find out what fans can expect from the last few dates Motley Crue will ever play…
You’ve just announced the final ever tour dates for Motley Crue, including four dates in the UK. This must be an emotional time for you. How do you feel now having made these last announcements?
Vince Neil: It is emotional for all of us. It is the last time we’ll be doing these places as a band, but we still have so many concerts we’d like to do before the end. It’s a bitter-sweet feeling. Our final ever gig will be in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve, which is where we all started, so it’s all pretty emotional.
Can you remember the first time you came to Europe?
Nikki Sixx: I think the first time we came to Europe we played Download Festival didn’t we?
Tommy Lee: I think it was Monsters of Rock…
NS: Hey I can’t remember – we did a lot of drugs!
VN: It was Monsters of Rock in Donnington.
NS: Was it? Well we were here anyway! *laughs*
Europe’s always welcomed you with open arms when you’ve played here. Do you feel the same way? Is there an instant coupling when you play in Europe?
NS: For us, a lot of the musicians we grew up with come out of the UK, so coming over here and playing in this country was an emotional thing for us. A lot of people from Europe headed to Los Angeles, but we went the other way. I remember we were Iron Maiden’s support band, so we got to go all over Europe with them, and we really learnt the passion the European fans have for rock music.
You signed a cessation of touring agreement last year, so this will be your final tour as a band. Do any of you have any regrets signing that now the tour is underway?
TL: No, no regrets. I remember we had a big meeting about the band and what we have achieved together, and we spoke about how we were going to end this. With this tour, we’re choosing to go out on a high note, so it feels like the right thing to have done.
After all these years playing and touring, what have you learnt about each other?
VN: We’ve learnt a lot of things we never wanted to know!
NS: When we think about everything we’ve shared together, it’s something very few people get to do. We’re more of a family, and have experienced the highest highs and the lowest lows together. We’ve been best friends and we’ve been at odds with each other. We’re bonded with opur passion and love for music – it’s been almost 35 years so it’s been an amazing experience.
It’s remarkable that after all these years, and when so many other bands have faded away, you’re still here doing it. What is it that you think the appeal of Motley Crue is and how you’ve survived for so long?
VN: We’ve become a multi-generation band. It’s not just the original rockers who like us; its young kids, 20-somethings, 30-somethings and all types.
So how do you go about putting together a set for these shows?
VN: It’s simple – you’ve gotta play the hits. You have to play the songs everybody wants to hear, and it’s fun for us as those are the songs we want to play.
These gigs are the biggest productions in terms of stage settings you have ever done in Europe. Tell me a bit about what people can expect at the shows…
TL: Probably the biggest thing is a ginormous roller coaster attached to the drums that go out about 200 feet over the audience, we’ve also got a new addition called the Cruesnest. I don’t know how to explain it, but there’s a bunch of seats around the stage that some of the audience members can sit in and they rise up with us and they can see about forty or fifty feet up in the air. The show is just insane.
And you have flaming instruments too?
NS: Flaming instruments, yeah. We have so much pyro that they have to put fire-retardant on our stage clothes. There has been times when we’re playing our shows together and we’re running through everything and we had to jump off the stage as it got so hot around us. Pyro is a big part of our show, we’ve been incorporating it since very early on and we’ve learnt to do stunts. We feel a responsibility as artists to keep pushing the envelope. You see a lot of great stuff out there but it’s the same for every show, we really pride ourselves on pushing that so all our shows are original as they can be.
There’s a Motley Crue film in production isn’t there based around your book The Dirt?
NS: Well it’s interesting because in a perfect world the movie would come out at some time in this touring cycle. But now the movie is going to come out after we’ve played out final show. So in a sense for us, it’s extending the Motley Crue name even farther. The tour will end, but then the movie comes so it keeps the music alive. We’re talking about some time next year now to give you a rough idea.
So what happens next? You’ve got these shows to play and then on the first of January it will all be over. What are you planning for the morning after? Are you going to carry on making music individually?
VN: Yeah I’ll keep on making music, I’ll always be involved with music. I have restaurants I want to set up and a lot of cool projects I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time. Motley Crue takes up so much of our time, this will give us the chance to work on other projects.
NS: Motley Crue is our number one priority, it always has been. I can’t speak for everybody else, but as much as I’ll miss Motley Crue, it’s going to give me the opportunity to dive into some new stuff. It kinds hit me that I have more years behind me than in front of me, so you’ve got to strike and keep pushing those boundaries. None of us here in this band got here because we were lazy, and nobody in this band got here because they were not creative, so I have a feeling we’re all going to be doing stuff that’s very exciting. Do I think I’m going to be involved in something as big a Motley Crue? I don’t think it’s possible to be. That’s doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep on making music though. It’s not about the money, it’s about the passion and I’ll always have a passion for music.