19 Things We Learned Hanging Out Backstage With Mötley Crüe
It’s four hours before Mötley Crüe hit the stage at the Pepsi Center in Denver, and Nikki Sixx is sitting on his tour bus, leafing through a book about the 1936 Olympics and talking up his badass Uno game. “Last night I played with my wife and daughter until 1 a.m.,” says the bassist, 55. “I’ll play anyone in Uno and crush them.”
This guy was declared dead after a heroin overdose in 1987, but a lot has changed for all four members of the Crüe since those crazy days. “When you’re young, you drink all night, fuck a thousand chicks and snort as much blow as you want,” says Sixx. “I’m sober now. I have the desire to conquer more things.”
Right now, Mötley Crüe are on the first leg of their final tour, packing arenas across America with special guest Alice Cooper. We spoke to all four members of the group for a story in the new Rolling Stone. Here are 19 things we learned from the interviews.
1. Initially, even the band’s own promoters thought they were bluffing about this being their last tour.
“They said to us, ‘This is a good marketing thing,'” says Sixx. “It really bummed us out. They said, ‘You know, this is good for five years.’ We were like, ‘There’s no fuckin’ way. Who do you think we are?’ They said, ‘The Who has done this, as has Kiss and tons of others.’ That’s when we came up with an idea to legally bind us into a contract so we’ll never tour together again.”
2. The “cessation of touring agreement” does have a loophole.
“If all four band members agree we could overrule our own contract,” says Sixx. “But that’s never going to happen. There are people in this band that would refuse to do that, and you’re talking to one of them. There’s no amount of money that will ever change my mind. Even if we get offered $10 million to do 10 shows a decade from now. The way we’ve set it up, including this conversation right now, we’d just have way too much egg on our face. It’s never going to happen.”
3. Mick Mars wants to write a book when the tour wraps.
“My story is going to be a little different than everybody else’s though,” he says. “I don’t want to follow the lines of, ‘We went on tour, then I screwed this chick and this chick gave me this.’ Who cares? I want to write about the music and the ups and downs of the business.”
4. They travel on separate busses.
“That’s just obvious,” says Vince Neil. “Nikki has nine people on this bus. Tommy has his kids all the time. Everyone has their own schedule. There’s also not much for us to talk about unless it’s about the show.”
5. Not all the tension from the old days is gone.
“There’s still turmoil,” says Sixx. “There are differences and friction. It’s like having a girlfriend and you can’t stand her, but it’s the best sex of your life and you keep going back for the sex, even though she drives you crazy. That’s kind of what Mötley Crüe is.”
6. Tommy Lee’s drum roller coaster, known as the Crüecifly, initially scared the shit out of him.
“It’s gnarly,” he says. “At the highest point it’s about 55 feet in the air. I have to admit I have a little poo-poo in my pants the first time that thing goes upside down.”
7. Playing drums upside down, while suspended 55 feet in the air, is no easy feat.
“My job is to make it look easy,” says Lee. “But it’s twice as difficult as playing on the ground. Gravity pulls your arms down and your feet off the bass pedal. You’ve got to constantly keep your feet on the pedals and your arms in the upwards position. Jesus Christ, could I have picked a more difficult thing to pull off?”
8. Mick Mars has no plans to retire from music once Mötley Crüe is over.
“I want to make a solo album,” he says. “I don’t want to sit around my house and get fat and old. I’m already old enough. I want to work until I’m dead.”
9. The Dirt movie is going forward.
“Nikki and I just sat through a two-hour table read,” says Lee of the movie based on the band’s bio. “It wasn’t the actual actors from the movie, but people they hired to read the entire script. Fuck, it was such a trip to listen to 30 years of your life go by in two hours. It was just surreal. On the drive home, Nikki and I were looking at each other like, ‘What the hell did we just watch?’ I can’t wait until they start shooting the thing. It’s supposed to be soon, at least I think.”