HomeMusic EditorialThe Million Dollar Question: Motley Crue ’94: Why Was This Something That Didn’t Catch On? The Brainfart November 29, 2013 Music Editorial 16 Comments It’s October, 2013 and as I am writing this, I am listening to Motley Crue’s eponymous sixth studio album nodding my head along to the opening song “Power to the Music.” As I do so I can’t help but wonder why this didn’t catch on? The 2nd song “Uncle Jack” just came on and once again I found myself nodding my head only to have the nodding up and down turn to shaking my head back and forth in disbelief. What happened? Why did this not catch on? Why was this not embraced? Let’s go back in time little bit. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was 1992, I had just graduated high school, and word on the street was that Vince Neil had quit Motley Crue. Then it was also word on the street that Nikki Sixx had fired him. Either way, Vince Neal was no longer the singer for Motley Crue. Now I was a pretty big Motley Crue fan as a kid but at this point I was pretty much over them. I was discovering bands that were much more superior in musical and songwriting ability and the fact is that Motley Crue just kinda sounded silly to me. Don’t get me wrong, they had their moments of greatness with songs like “Live Wire”, “Dr. Feelgood”, “Wild Side”, etc but for the most part they were just all show and very little substance. My thought when I heard that Neil was ousted/quit the band was that maybe Motley Crue was going to move into a new direction and low and behold I was right. My friends and I pondered over who the band would pick to replace the pitchy, sing every other word Vince Neil but I can tell you now that former Scream vocalist John Corabi wasn’t even on the long standby list that we had come up with. I was already a fan of The Scream and John Corabi but the styles of The Scream and Motley Crue were so far on opposite sides of the field that I was immediately colored curious and equally as excited to hear the end result. When the album was released on March 15, 1994 I was at the record store before it opened to pick up my copy of the CD. I had already seen the video for “Hooligan’s Holiday” and while I didn’t hate it I was totally on the fence with it as it was so different from what I was expecting to hear. The minute I put the CD in my car stereo and “Power to the Music” kicked in I was floored. Everything about this album was massive sounding and I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. The playing was so good, the bass and guitar tone was so massive and in your face, the vocals were raw, gritty, and soulful and the drums were absolutely bombastic. Matter of fact, I would’ve never believed that this was even Motley Crue if I didn’t have the actual CD in my hand. Song after song I was just floored. My mouth was hung open and in an extremely rare moment was left totally speechless. The songs were heavy, dark, and groove laden and the lyrics were absolute outstanding. This was a completely new band with a new sound and in my opinion; this was a much better, grown up band. With lyrics touching on social commentary, current events and even poking a bit of fun at the over the top lifestyle they were famous for (Poison Apples), Motley Crue delivered an album that in my mind was an instant classic. I couldn’t wait to see these guys pull off the songs live. Motley Crue toured behind this new masterpiece but right away I realized something wasn’t right. Why was this once arena filling band now playing at the Roxy here in Atlanta and it’s not even sold out? The show was absolutely amazing and better than any show I had ever seen with Vince Neil on the vocals. Corabi’s grit and soul on songs like “Home Sweet Home”, “Dr. Feelgood”, and “Wildside” took these songs to a whole new level and the band sounded so heavy and full of oomph. Why were people not getting this? The album received really good reviews from critics but the Crue fans were screaming for Vince. “WE WANT VINCE! WE WANT VINCE!” No! Speak for yourselves dumbasses. I want THIS! Why did people not embrace this new Motley Crue? Why could they not hear how much of a better band they were? Why could they not hear that the quality of the performances? Why could they not hear that the songwriting was better than anything Motley Crue had done to this point? Well, I pondered this question for years and I finally settled on this answer: Fans didn’t embrace this because the Crue fans that wanted Vince back didn’t know shit about good music. Matter of fact, they wouldn’t know a great song if it bent them over a road case and fucked them dry. The fans that cried and screamed “We want Vince” could care less about the quality of the music. They missed the spectacle. They missed the idea of what Motley Crue was. They didn’t care about the songs. I mean, ok, so maybe they did like the songs but the quality of these performances and even the songwriting didn’t matter to them. They wanted the party. They wanted the titties. They wanted the memories of their youth. They wanted nostalgia. They didn’t want a new and improved band. They were more than content with Vince Neil’s fat, winded ass running around only singing every 3rd word and singing it 2 keys below and above what it was supposed to be. Crue fans will probably blast me for this but it’s the truth. Go to YouTube or hell, go to an actual Crue show and you tell me that Vince Neil is a great or even decent singer. If you say yes then I know you don’t know your head from your ass. Motley Crue with John Corabi is one of the biggest “what if” scenarios I can think of in hard rock/metal music. What if that sound, that line up, and that album had been embraced by Motley Crue fans? What if the fans would have embraced the substantial songwriting and delivery over the glitz and glamor of the blonde pretty boy who couldn’t carry a tune if it was put in a backpack and sewn to his shirt? The world will never know and this Motley Crue fan decided to side with the band that put out not only the best Motley Crue album of their career but one of my all-time favorite hard rock/metal albums. Like this:Like Loading... Colin Brown says: December 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm Absolutely agree – far away the best Crue album. Bought and heard when I was 16, loved every second of it. Jeff Meilleur says: December 5, 2013 at 11:56 pm You’re all wrong, metal was out and grunge was in. Changing the name wouldn’t have mattered and Swine sold no better. The record company forced Corabi out. They tried to promote it, but Pearl Jam and Nirvana were the new sound. People never gave it a chance. They should have been successful like Sabbath and VH continued to do so. Dave Laatz says: December 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm This line up did not work because they didn’t want it to. Plain and simple. IF they did want it to work, they would have pushed it harder, more promotion, The music business is all about the business and not the music. Hasn’t been in a long time. Why do you think acts like One Direction, Britney Spears, etc get so popular? Marketing. Very rarely does something happen in the biz that isn’t planned out well in advance. If Crue REALLY wanted that line up to work, the would have marketed it more/better… Matt Bistany says: December 5, 2013 at 2:26 pm In 1994, I had already loved the Crüe a decade and I also loved ‘the Scream’. Initially, the hard part I had was trying to get past the bands name on this release. I had been through this many times already (Dave or Sammy? Bon or Brian? Rob or Ripper? Bruce or Blayze)? And it continued with Skid Row, Warrant and Van Halen (again). I think the fans’ just have a hard time with the band name. “Mötley Crüe records make me feel (blank). I want this record to sound like their release (blank). The Motley Crüe lineup on every disc I have from them is the same and should always remain so”. I do like this record but also (nostalgia perhaps?) missed Vince; until he came back and ‘Generation Swine’ was released. That’s when I could have written this article. Christian Smentek says: December 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm Easily their best work… and I have ‘em all. Corabi leaving killed Tommy’s spirit, and the band was never the same again. When the Crue played in Chicago on support of this record, the line wrapped around the corner. Corabi walked right passed the line and walked through the front door of the venue, not a single person shook his hand or said hello to him. Christian Smentek says: December 5, 2013 at 1:11 pm Easily their best work… and I have ‘em all. Corabi leaving killed Tommy’s spirit, and the band was never the same again. When the Crue played in Chicago on support of this record, the line wrapped around the corner. Corabi walked right passed the line and walked through the front door of the venue, not a single person shook his hand or said hello to him. Chris Akin says: December 5, 2013 at 9:56 am I could have written this article, word for word. This is EXACTLY how I have always felt about Crue ’94. Any fan that likes any of the Vince stuff better either can’t hear, has a vagina, or a combination of the two. One of the greatest rock albums of all time, that should be considered (but isn’t) on the same playing field as TOYS IN THE ATTIC or EXILE ON MAIN STREET. Michael Rhodes says: December 5, 2013 at 9:56 am Aside from the whole Vince-mania, part of the reason this album was overlooked was because it really was ahead of its time. Play any other Crue record and your mind will instantly say “Eighties”. Put on this record, and you will wonder why this isn’t being blared out of every rock station in America today. It’s relevant and timeless. That’s the sign of a real classic. I’m fortunate to call John a friend and have written with him here in Nashville, TN. If you love his work, go out and support it. Utilize facebook and twitter and tell your friends to go drop what they typically would for a couple of Starbucks coffees and support a real artist by purchasing his cd. John recently released an acoustic record with several remakes of Scream, Union, and Crue songs (along with some new ones) and it is available now. It’s f’ing great!!! He’s just returning from playing sold out venues in Europe and getting ready to work on his first solo, full-on, rock record. Let’s help him make the best record possible by supporting his current recording. Tommy Jacksonville says: December 5, 2013 at 7:11 am Deff. The BEST album they ever did. I love All the crue albums up to this one, all after is crap. But this album rocks them all by far! #1 Sean Callahan says: December 5, 2013 at 6:41 am NIKKI SHOULD BRING BACK CORABI ! DO THE WORLD TOUR WITH BOTH VINCE N CORABI . GIVE THE FAN’S WHAT THEY WANT ! Sean Callahan says: December 5, 2013 at 6:41 am THIS MOTLEY LINE UP BY FAR THE BEST ! THE ALBUM KICKED ASS ONE OF THERE ALL TIME BEST ! Libbles N Florida says: December 5, 2013 at 1:41 am My all-time favorite Crüe release since before it was released to the public!!! Corabi takes Crüe to new heights! Henry Seligmann says: December 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm They should have called this Brides of Destruction Rick Stymus says: December 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm The BEST Crüe cd hands frickin down . Should have kept Corabi, who was a billion times better than Vince, just sayin’ Mark R Hillman says: December 4, 2013 at 10:41 pm It’s simple. They should of changed their name. Mötley Crue was Vince and this band should of changed their name with the direction of music. I love the album to but it’s simple why it bombed . Rockwith Springer says: December 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm Boom!