Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the dirt

I was not excited to read this book...  it was thrust upon me by a well-intentioned neighbor who realized I was a child of the '80s, same as her, and thought I'd lavish it.  I took it reluctantly because I realized, in order to not be rude, I'd have to read it.  In its entirety and I'd have to discuss it when I returned it.  So I'd better know what I was talking about.

Prior to reading this book, I thought I knew who the band was.  Well, I knew Tommy Lee - he was married to Heather Locklear, then Pamela Anderson and he did a funny short series called "Tommy Goes to College" a few years back that I still giggle over when I remember some of the episodes (I didn't see them all - just happened upon one or 2 before it ended).  I also caught one smidge of an episode of some contest he was hosting searching for a lead singer for his newly formed band.  If memory serves me right, a girl won (good for her).  Couldn't tell you the name of the band, the name of the singer but I think that Dave Navarro was involved.  I had never heard of him before then.

I remember he & Pamela had their names tattooed on one another's ring fingers instead of going with the traditional wedding band, and once, while he was married to Heather, I caught a picture of the 2 of them on the beach and they both made me cringe... including Heather, who I always thought was such a doll (and I have come to love in the last 10yrs or so).  Sadly, I also remember Tommy had a tragedy during one of his kid's birthday parties when another child drowned.  I wondered, "can this guy not get a break?" and wondered why I had any sympathy for him at all back then.  I guess because I can only imagine the absolute heartbreak of the parents & the guilt of poor Tommy Lee.

Had you asked me anything about Motley Crue before I read this book, I would have THOUGHT I had something to say, but it would have all been about Tommy, and all about him outside of the band.  I couldn't have told you the name of any other band member, not even Vince Neil, who I'm familiar with but had no idea he was the lead singer of the band until I started reading...

I realize I never intended to know anything about Motley Crue - they obviously weren't my thing back in the day.  I have a funny memory from college - back in '84 I would guess - of a friend of mine & I in the Student Center and he asking me, "Who's your friend in Motley Crue?"  I look to where he's pointing & there is my long-haired friend Brian with 3 other long haired rowdies walking by.  I asked him what made him think I knew those guys and he said, "one of 'em just said, 'there's Dawn.' "  Oh, ok, I guess I do know them, I told him smiling.  I still laugh when I remember Pete calling them that - and of course I replayed that scene in my head over & over again as I read the 428 pages of this monster...

Monster book for a monster band...  they lived hard, played hard, rocked hard - truly.  I got alot out of this book - a truly NEW appreciation for them, altho, still, aside from "Girls, Girls, Girls" (and only then the chorus), I still can't tell you a name of any songs. 

But now I can tell you who is in the band:  Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil &, of course, Tommy Lee.  Nikki was the brain & heart of the band.  The biggest drug-head but the best business man.  He truly took it seriously.  Mick was the sullen & mature one.  A few years older, a bit more rock-experienced, he was quiet & shy, stayed out of the limelight, didn't get caught up in the trash - and if he did, he didn't say much about it.  Ready to admit his shortcomings, he deals with his limitations very, very well.  And seems to have no expectations whatsoever.  Vince, the beauty, ended up being the most level-headed, altho he could not stay off the booze...  he knows his heart & follows it so I say good for him.  Tommy... oh, Tommy...  the little boy, the romantic, the big silly kid.  He had (has) natural talent and if not for him and his energy, Mick would not have given them a second thought and Vince would not have given them a try.

As with almost every book I read, I found some profound thoughts and words.  Here's what "the dirt" had to stay that I want to keep with me:

Vince (quoting David Lee Roth):  Don't just sign with any manager.  Don't take a deal only for the money.  You have to watch where the money goes, and how it comes back.

Mick:  I guess I always felt like I was too old, even at seventeen.

Mick:  I had taken a long time to go nowhere.

Mick:  Grown men who cry in the middle of a fucking crisis will die, because you can bet your ass that the enemy won't be crying.

Vince:  I often imagine that Skylar is still with me - sitting next to me in the car or lying in a warm lump next to me on the bed.  I guess that makes me crazy, but it also keeps me sane.

Mick:  If there is one thing I've learned, it's that overconfidence is the same thing as arrogance.  And arrogant, egotistical people are the weakest, most feeble-minded people ever.  If you've got it, you don't have to flaunt it.

Tommy:  And silence equals death.

Nikki:  After all the heroin, cocaine, and alcohol, I was finally waking up to who I really was.

Vince: It's important to be true to yourself, and not lose your identity by trying too hard to conform to everyone else's expectations and rules.

I'm not bitter.  I'm just better.

Acknowledgements:  to do something the Motley way is to do something the hard way.

I almost hate to return the book.  It's a keeper.