By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Here’s what the announcement said:
ON DECEMBER 6th ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST ROCK BANDS WILL REUNITE IN THEIR HOME SWEET HOMEFOR A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT & PERFORMANCE
MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2004
Intrigued? By now you’ve probably heard that the band in question is Mötley Crüe, who’ve decided to kiss and make up. They made the announcement at an old-fashioned Hollywood pile-in-the-press conference at a "secret location" revealed only once your press credentials became official.
After a colleague fished the announcement from the recycling bin and handed it to me, I pictured the scene from Gimme Shelterwhere a female journalist asked Mick Jagger, "Are you still not satisfied?," to which he delivered a cheeky answer in a room full of press people. This would be my chance to go down in heavy metal history by putting on my best Joanne Journalist voice and provoking Nikki, Vince, Tommy or Mick to give the best sound bite of the whole event. Should it be "Are you still ‘Too Fast for Love’?" or "When was the last time you saw ‘Dr. Feelgood’?"
The media has come from Las Vegas, England, Germany and beyond for the press conference at the Hollywood Palladium: Metal Edge, Rock Hard, Heavy Rock, Classic Rock(who knew?), Metal Hammer, Metal Hammer(Germany), Las Vegas Rock City News, Skinny Magazine(what the hell?), plus every major news outfit in town. A helicopter with the Red, White and Mötley Crüelogo — a naked chick against the U.S. flag — circles in the evening sky above Sunset and Argyle.
The Palladium balcony is full of camera crews, plus chairs for reporters, with their publication’s name taped to the back, though the L.A. Weekly sign must have been overlooked. Rock journalists are somewhere between chemists and Arrowhead Water deliverymen on the attractiveness scale, and the guys are almost never over 5’7". In this setting, "Same Old Song and Dance" is given an entirely new context, and sounds like a song as indispensable to rock history as "Jumpin’ Jack Flash." Pamela Anderson byproducts are everywhere — gorgeous blond women who must have studied the former Mrs. Lee’s every cosmetic and fashion move. The mood, all arranged by the publicity experts at BWR, is best described as "professionally cool anticipation," but I have to wonder if the reporters from Rolling Stoneand The Wall Street Journal have any Mötley Crüe CDs in their car amid the Interpol and Radiohead.
Just when we thought the helicopter had landed, the band pulls up in a hearse. We would later learn that a fire marshal had pulled the permit at the last minute, so they had to resort to Plan B. Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil look more or less the same as they did on their infamous VH1 Behind the Music, but guitarist Mick Mars literally looks like an extra from The Nightmare Before Christmas. We’re told he recently had hip replacement surgery, but is this world tour a good idea for a man whose complexion is nearly transparent?
A panel of five serious white guys — agents and promotional people — tell us how Mötley Crüe "is clearly one of the most influential bands in rock." The phrase "This is worldwide, baby" is uttered without sarcasm. The VH1 guy says, "We at VH1 were hoping this day would come for a long time." Of course he does, the Behind the Music special is a classic of every sin and vice we want from our heavy metal heroes.
The band’s new video, "If I Die Tomorrow," is screened, raising the question: Does the world really need another power ballad? That query hangs in the air as the dirge-ish tidal wave of riffage trudges on. Don’t ask me how the song is; it was forgotten before the screen went blank — though several whooping "woo-hoos" were heard from the press corps.
Finally, the four members sit down for a brief Q&A session. Tommy Lee, looking a bit distracted and aloof, mutters, "This one’s for the fans." Sixx, the only one who bothered to break out the mousse, does most of the talking. One kind reporter asks Mars how his health might affect the tour, to which the mötley ghoul answers, "I’m gonna kick your fucking ass," without the exclamation mark. Neil sincerely offers, "We want to show we’re still mötley." As a show of solidarity, all four collectively flip off the fire marshal — an "asshole on a power trip," according to Sixx — and they leave to take the stage.
Though constantly raising my hand like Horshack to get the attention of the microphone-wielder, I never got to ask my question, though if any Mötley Crüe member wants to call, I’ll gladly play Nina Blackwood and pose this: "Libby Molyneaux, L.A. Weekly. So, how do you predict your backstage antics will compare to the ’80s on this new tour?"
Nudie Cuties and Beyond
As the fourth Shock-a-Go-Go festival of bizarre cinema unleashed its 36-hour onslaught against taste and common sense Friday night at Hollywood Boulevard’s Vine Theater, film fanatics staked their claims with sleeping bags and pillowed beds protected by the repulsive sorcery of "I think someone got sick on that seat, man."