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Motley Crue - "The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band" (Book)

Motley Crue - "The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band" Book cover image

Reviewed by on April 15, 2009

"When these guys go out they try to fit a life of mayhem into each night."

The Dirt is a group autobiography by the four members of Motley Crue (Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars), the band that basically started the eighties Sunset Strip bands, and brought rock music back to the mainstream. The book is broken up into dozens of chapters, told by different members of the band from their perspective. There is little to no filter in the voices of Motley Crue as they tell their stories of drugs, sex, murder, drugs, sex, and drugs. Essentially, the book reads as a list of disturbing facts told by the original sultans of sleaze.

Starting off as a broke group of four the band stayed at a house just off Sunset Boulevard now referred to as the “Motley” house. FACT: The band was so broke they stole everything except liquor and hairspray. To them this was a moral stand. FACT: To exterminate the roaches (constantly crawling on the walls) hairspray and lighters were used. The walls were charred black. FACT: One night when David Lee Roth was over (not sharing the cocaine he was chopping on a giant mirror), a door fell on Roth’s head, splitting the door. Roth never missed a beat, continuing to chop (and not share) his cocaine. FACT: After each show the crew would invite the crowd over to party at their house. Amidst the debauchery (including many women, drug dealers, and a closet rape) Nikki could be found sitting Indian style in the center of the floor, writing lyrics for their second album “Shout At The Devil”.

That second album made the band famous outside of Los Angeles, opening an opportunity for a world tour with the Price of Darkness. FACT: The band’s first tour was opening for Ozzy Osbourne. While on tour they were constantly trying to one up each other. One day, Nikki snorted the largest line of cocaine known amongst the group. Ozzy responded by snorting a line of ants off the concrete. Osbourne followed this by peeing on the cement then licking it up and challenging Sixx to do the same. Sixx urinated, went down on his hands and knees, but was beat to the punch. Ozzy was already down on all fours lapping up Nikki’s pee. FACT: Tommy Lee was so out of control with drugs and alcohol that after a show his managers would physically have to chain him in his room to stop him from going out. One night they chained Tommy to a bed, an hour later he was found passed out in the hotel restaurant, lying on broken glass, from a door he had just kicked in. FACT: During the “Shout At The Devil” tour Vince was so messed up on drugs he required cortisone shots prior to going on stage.

With drugs comes death, as well as (at least in the cast of Motley Crue) murder. As disturbing as many of the stories in “The Dirt” read, these are just plain sad, showing the dark side, the side that can’t be corrected nor taken back; the ramifications of a lifestyle of selfishness and disregard for their surroundings. FACT: During the third day of a party at Vince Neil’s house, Neil took his car to buy more liquor. Losing control of his car he killed one of his friends (Razzle from the band Hanoi Rocks) and two innocent bystanders. Vince did nineteen days in a jail where he was given six packs of beer and groupies were allowed inside for sex. FACT: Diagnosed with a bone degenerative disease, Mick Mars continued drinking bottles of vodka, daily, to a point where he was almost terminal before reversing his ways. FACT: After a long heroin drug binge, Nikki Sixx overdosed to point his heart stopped. His dealer (who had shot him up) jumped out a third story window screaming “I just killed Nikki Sixx”. Sixx was taken to the hospital where he was initially pronounced dead, then came back to life. After a few hours, wearing only leather pants, he escaped from the hospital to go back home and shoot up. He woke up the next day with a needle sticking in his arm, surrounded by a pool of blood.

After the first fifty pages or so the tales of sex are almost repetitive. These guys would get shots of penicillin to fight their social diseases like most take a multi-vitamin to increase their level of vitamin B. FACT: Tommy Lee dated a girl the others referred to as Bullwinkle because when she came, she came hard, capable of shooting across the room. FACT: On tour, partying with two groupies, Nikki and Tommy made a girl put a phone inside her vagina and call her mom. FACT: While on probation Vince was unable to drink so to pass the time he would bring girls up to his room, have them undress and face a wall; usually six or so girls, creating a sexual obstacle course for the night. FACT: The morning after Tommy Lee had sex with Heather Locklear he brought Polaroid photos into the studio to show the guys. FACT: During a period of isolation, Vince moved into a house that he transformed into his own Playboy mansion complete with stripper poles, drug dealers, and outdoor mud wrestling.

Did I mention the underlying theme of this book is drugs? As John Corabi (lead singer during a brief time when Vince Neil quit/was fired) summed up their lifestyle: “When these guys go out they try to fit a life of mayhem into each night.” FACT: During the making of their first album Vince used needles to shoot heroin, both Nikki and Tommy threatened to kick him out because he was using needles. Two albums later Nikki was so strung out and dope sick he pulled a gun on a radio because he thought the DJ was talking to him. This happened more than once. FACT: Aerosmith reached out and told them they were going to die if they didn’t get help with their addictions. They were so out of control they were getting advice from Aerosmith. FACT: During the “Girls, Girls, Girls” tour a pimped out Excalibur driven by a drug kingpin followed their tour bus. The license plate read DEALER.

This book is for anyone that wants the real story on this band. The first half of the book is an incredible tale of a one in a million bands at the time that made it. The second half is really for the fans of Motley Crue only: more on perseverance, trouble that comes with fame and money, and the songs. “The Dirt” is not deep, nor is there time for retrospective thoughts as the members of Motley continue to battle their demons of addiction through the entire book. The early struggle is noble in that despite the roadblocks this was a group of motivated individuals set on being rock stars regardless of how many women they would have sleep with and how much drugs needed to be consumed to get there. You find little regret in the voices; however, after years there is a sense of being grateful more people didn’t die along the way.

Highs: The tales of debauchery on the way up (while still down).

Lows: Listening to the management side of what happened. Who cares?

Bottom line: This book is perfect for the serious Motley Crue fan, or person seeking the opposite of the Ten Commandments.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)