27 Years of Motley Crue: A Detailed History



Mötley Crüe is in town this Sunday night at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, supporting its new album, Saints of Los Angeles. (Preview here.) To celebrate, we've combed through the group's long, sordid career and distilled it down to a year-by-year history detailing the tears, the booze, the drugs, the women and oh yeah, the music.

1981: Mötley Crüe – the umlauts in its name inspired by a Löwenbräu beer bottle – forms in Los Angeles.

1982: The Crüe is apprehended and detained at an Edmonton airport for possession of “dangerous and indecent material” – their spiked-and-studded stage outfits and Vince Neil’s porn stash.

1983: The band releases its first big-selling, and parent-scaring, album, Shout at the Devil.

1984: Driving shitfaced drunk, Vince Neil crashes his Pantera sports car; his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle, is killed.

1985: The Crüe rockets to superstardom with its third album, Theatre of Pain, which features the smash power ballad “Home Sweet Home.”

1986: Tommy Lee marries actress Heather Locklear.

1987: Nikki Sixx “dies” from a heroin overdose – he’s revived with adrenaline shots to his heart on the way to the emergency room.

1988: The band cancels a huge European tour to clean up its drug-addled lifestyle, although the reasons given by management range from “exhaustion” to logistical problems with group’s stage lighting rig.

1989: Tommy Lee punches manager Doc McGhee in the face before the band fires the latter; Vince Neil punches Guns ’n Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin in the face at the MTV Video Music Awards.

1990: Mick Mars marries Emi Canyn, a member of Crüe backup singers “Nasty Habits”; Nikki Sixx marries Playboy playmate Brandi Brandt.

1991: Mötley Crüe celebrates its ten-year anniversary with the aptly titled greatest hits compilation, Decade of Decadence.

1992: Vince Neil exits Mötley Crüe (whether he quit or was fired remains disputed); he’s replaced by singer John Corabi.

1993: Tommy Lee divorces Heather Locklear; Mick Mars divorces Emi Canyn.

1994: Though he’s looked like one for a while, Mick Mars actually becomes a grandfather for the first time when his daughter Stormy has a baby girl, Shandi (named after a KISS song).

1995: Tommy Lee marries Pamela Anderson.

1996: John Corabi is fired as Mötley Crüe singer; the infamous Tommy Lee-Pamela Anderson sex tape surfaces.

1997: The Crüe reunites with Vince Neil and releases its seventh album, Generation Swine.

1998: Tommy Lee spends four months in jail on a spousal abuse conviction after assaulting Pamela Anderson.

1999: Tommy Lee quits Mötley Crüe and forms the rap-metal band Methods of Mayhem; he’s replaced by former Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo.

2000: Mötley Crüe releases New Tattoo; former Hole drummer Samantha Maloney replaces Randy Castillo for the accompanying tour.

2001: Crüe biography The Dirt is published, proving the band has done more drinking, drugging, and humping than any other rock band in history.

2002: After the Crüe goes on hiatus, Nikki Sixx forms the “supergroup” Brides of Destruction along with Tracii Guns of L.A. Guns.

2003: Vince Neil appears in the inaugural season of The Surreal Life alongside MC Hammer, Corey Feldman, Emmanuel Lewis, and others.

2004: With much fanfare in Los Angeles, Mötley Crüe announces its reunion and upcoming world tour.

2005: Crüe fever grips the globe as the band spends most of the year performing around the world; during the tour, Vince Neil breaks his leg onstage and Tommy Lee suffers minor burns from a pyrotechnics explosion.

2006: Tommy Lee stars in Rock Star: Supernova, the reality show in which he, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, and ex-Guns ’n Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke form a band and look for a singer.

2007: Nikki Sixx publishes The Heroin Diaries, the contents of which demonstrate that at one time he was way more fucked-up on drugs than anyone had previously imagined.

2008: Mötley Crüe releases Saints of Los Angeles – its first studio album in eight years and first in eleven years to feature the original lineup.

-- Michael Alan Goldberg

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