Motley Crue on Rock Hall Chances and Why Bands Need Retirement Contracts

"The whole 'reunion of the reunion of the reunion' thing [is] about money and not about music," says Nikki Sixx

Motley Crue discuss their chances of entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and why all bands should sign retirement contracts Credit: Paul Brown

When Mötley Crüe announced they would embark on their Final Tour, all four Crüe members punctuated the January 2014 announcement by signing a legally binding Cessation of Touring Agreement, stipulating that their lengthy run of farewell concerts would not last beyond 2015. Now that the end of the line is starting to come into view — the final L.A. shows are eight months away — the band says they have no regrets about bowing out in such a definite fashion and hope other veteran bands follow their lead.

"When it's time, it's time," Crüe singer Vince Neil tells Rolling Stone. "We don't have to quit; we just are. You want people to remember you as this, as going out with the kind of concert that we're putting on. Not in 10 years, when it's Motley Crue playing some funky place. So many bands do that, where they don't even have the same singer anymore, or the same guitar player, and it's just some bad rendition of the band.

"Now I'm seeing other people doing the same thing," Neil continues, "like Jeff Gordon, the NASCAR driver. This is his last year; he announced his retirement. It's not like he can't compete; he's competing every single race. Just like us — we're not just playing little clubs and half-empty places. We're playing sold-out shows!"

Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx says signing the Cessation of Touring agreement wasn’t a publicity stunt, but a declaration of independence directed at the music industry. "When we made the decision," adds Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, "a lot of people were scratching their heads, going, 'There's more money to be made!' I'm like, 'You mean there's more commissions for you to make?' When is the right time for a band to walk away? 

"I hope that when somebody else announces their final tour, they're willing to sign a contract like us" - Nikki Sixx

"We've been very fortunate," he continues. "We've made lots of money; we've been able to keep investing in our live shows and taking time to make great albums. Now we'll be able to move on — and hopefully you're going to be able to hear great stuff from all of the band members. Fans come up to me and say, 'I'm so proud of you guys for doing it this way!' I really hope that when somebody else announces their final tour — their last goodbye — that they're willing to sign a contract like us, and make it known that it's real, because the whole 'reunion of the reunion of the reunion' thing — that's about money, and not about music."

Neil agrees. "The farewell tour, then the reunion tour, then the last farewell tour, then the new reunion tour — it's just like, come on, make up your mind," Neil laughs. "Everybody keeps coming up with these loopholes for us to get back together and play again: 'So, this Arabian prince is throwing a party; how much money is it gonna take?' It's not about that, you know? I think if we got in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that's probably the only way we'd get back together and play."

In light of recent Hall of Fame induction festivities, one can't help but wonder if the Crüe — who have sold over 100 million records worldwide since forming in 1981, and who have influenced countless hard rock bands over the ensuing decades — will ever receive their due from the Hall. 

"We'll probably go in [the Rock Hall] at some point, but we might not all be alive when it happens. Our grandkids will pick up the awards!" - Vince Neil

"Honestly, I don't think it'll happen," Crüe guitarist Mick Mars says, laughing. "We were there when the thing was being built; we had to wear hard hats while we were walking around the building site. They were like, 'One of these days, you guys will be in here!' Right. [Laughs] I'd have to say, 80 percent no, 20 percent yeah. But it's like when you're a kid in kindergarten, and you take a nap and get a gold star as a reward. I don't need a few handful of people to say that I got a gold star, because I already got it from my fans. I see the crowds, I see the enthusiasm, I see all that stuff, and that's already satisfying enough for me."

Crüe drummer Tommy Lee says he’s somewhat torn on the question of even wanting to be in the Hall in the first place. "I do give a shit about it, because it's a time-stamp, it's the acknowledgement of your peers and fans and the music industry," he explains. "But then again, there's a part of me that goes, 'If we don't, that's fucking cool, too!' In my heart, I know that we came, we saw, we kicked its fucking ass; I don't need a pat on the back, or an induction, or another platinum album or two. Maybe I'm just not good with compliments." He laughs.

"I'm not one of these cranky guys about it," Sixx adds, noting he'd like to see influential 1970s glam rock heroes like T.Rex, the Sweet and Mott the Hoople get inducted. "But I think if they got it a little bit righter, people would respect it a little bit more. Honestly, there are a lot of bands previous to Mötley Crüe that deserve to be in, if it's actually about influencing other musicians and making an impact on the planet. You know, the bands that have gotten in the last few years, it's cool; but let's go back and look at the people who curated this great music a little bit more. I mean, I'm a huge Mott the Hoople fan; if Mötley Crüe got in before Mott the Hoople, I'd snap! [Laughs] I'd be like, 'I'm sorry, but Ian Hunter, this is for you!'"

"Look, Kiss just got in, for chrissakes!," laughs Neil. "They should have been in 15 or 20 years ago. We'll probably go in at some point, but we might not all be alive when it happens. Our grandkids will probably have to pick up the awards!"