“Dr. Feelgood”: Motley Crue's Track By Track Guide to 1989 Classic - Rolling Stone
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“Dr. Feelgood”: Motley Crue’s Track By Track Guide to 1989 Classic

Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil reveal what inspired the album’s songs: lesbians, near-death experiences and Heather Locklear

This summer Mötley Crüe will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dr. Feelgood by playing the 1989 album straight through on Crüe Fest 2. Luckily for them, the tour doesn’t begin until July 19th, because when Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx took Rolling Stone track by track through the disc, they had forgotten obscure gems like “She Goes Down” and “Slice Of Your Pie.” “The next time I do an interview I promise to listen to my own music,” says Sixx. “When you talked to Vince he probably had no idea too. I’ll probably listen to it on the way into rehearsals next month. We’re going to brush off the cobwebs then.” For now, here are their hazy memories of writing and recording Dr. Feelgood:

“Dr. Feelgood”
Vince Neil: “I knew it was a classic from the time I heard that very first ‘bomp bomp bomp bomp’ — that intro just kind of grabs you. This song has been popular for 20 years. It was funny because I was watching VH1 and they had the Greatest Hard Rock Songs and ‘Feelgood’ was 15 or something. I was like, ‘Wow, of all time.’ Then you have Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith and AC/DC and ‘Feelgood.’ I was like, ‘Wow, that’s cool.’ It’s our signature song in some ways.”
Nikki Sixx: “I remember it had a whole other set of lyrics. I had sort of forgotten that and I found them in a box recently. I was like, ‘oh, wow.’ It had a whole different theme to it. It was called ‘Dr. Feelgood,’ but a whole different thing lyrically. In the end it was inspired by drug dealers. Is there ever just one? A good drug addict always has more than one dealer.”

“Slice of Your Pie”
Vince Neil: “That’s one of those … shit, I don’t know. I haven’t heard that song in a while. I can’t really comment on it. I’m going to be playing it soon, so I better start listening to it.
Nikki Sixx: “I can’t even remember. I just remember that had a good groove to it.”

“Rattlesnake Shake”
Vince Neil: “I always enjoyed that one. It’s got a good swing beat to it, and we added a horn section in. It’s got a good vibe to it. It’s almost got a little blues to it.”
Nikki Sixx: “I can’t really remember what the song was about. There were some really good grooves going on with the music. I think we touched more back into the feels that were having with Shout at the Devil, which had a real sexy Zeppelin backbeat to it.”

“Kickstart My Heart”
Vince Neil: “What can you say about ‘Kickstart’? It’s full blown in your face. It’s about Nikki dying.”
Nikki Sixx: “That was a song I had written very quickly and had brought into rehearsal. I thought it was a throwaway, something that would belong on Too Fast For Love. It just really took on a life of its own and fit on the album a lot better than it should.”

“Without You”
Vince Neil: “That’s a great ballad. I love singing that song. We’ve done that a few times at concerts. For me, it’s a great song to sing. It really lets me go and get my voice out there. I remember shooting the video down in Corpus Christ, Texas. We had a black panther and all kinds of crap. It was a goofy video, but it’s a great song.”
Nikki Sixx: “That was a very simple idea for a song, which I had written a lyric about Heather Locklear and Tommy. They were coming over to my place all the time. I thought to myself one day, ‘Without You’ coming from Tommy’s perspective, life would not be the same. It was a good relationship at that time. It was sort of a romantic moment. I apologize for that.”

“Same Ol’ Situation”
Vince Neil: “That’s about chicks leaving you for chicks. It happens. It definitely happens. It’s worse than a chick leaving you for a guy because there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Nikki Sixx: “That was about a girl leaving a guy for a girl. The subject plagues men worldwide. I love it because when Elektra heard it they were like, ‘Oh, this is perfect for a single.’ In a Mötley fashion, we were like, ‘Wonderful. We’ll tell you later that it’s about lesbians.’ “

“Sticky Sweet”
Vince Neil: “Didn’t we do that one already? Oh, no, that was ‘Slice of Your Pie’ … I remember the song — Bryan Adams and Jack Blades and Steven Tyler are on background vocals on it. We recorded this album in Vancouver, that’s where Bryan lives. It just so happens that we were recording Feelgood next to Aerosmith in the same studio recording Pump. Steven would come by and sing background vocals.”
Nikki Sixx: “I can’t really remember that song. I think it was another big groove song. It will be cool to play live.”

“She Goes Down”
Vince Neil: “There’s some sex being done in the background of that song if you listen real closely. We can’t say who’s doing it though, but prostitution is legal in Vancouver.”
Nikki Sixx: “I can’t remember the lyric much. I think there’s a line in there like, ‘She goes down on all my friends/She goes down …” I think it’s about that other age old problem of loyalty, not that we were necessarily the most loyal of loyals ourselves — but its always easy when you have the microphone to point the microphone at other people. Robin Zander is on background vocals. Cheap Trick was always one of our biggest influences. We love that band.”

“Don’t Go Away Mad”
Vince Neil: “That’s a great song. We’ve been playing it for years. I love to play guitar and sing that song. It’s kind of a feel-good song. When that song comes on everybody wants to sing along with you.”
Nikki Sixx: “I saw that line in a movie somewhere, I can’t even remember what movie. I thought, ‘Great idea for a song.’ A little tongue in check. A little sarcasm there.”

“Time For Change”
Vince Neil: “That’s a big, big chorus song. I don’t think we’ve ever done it live. It’s almost gospel-y in parts.”
Nikki Sixx: “I can’t even remember what that song is about. At the time we had been traveling a lot and had seen a lot of things around the planet. If I remember correctly, and I probably don’t, it had something to be with that.”

In This Article: Motley Crue


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