Inside Motley Crue’s Live Excess: From Roller Coaster Drums to Fire-Spitting Bass
In essence, creating what appears to be a moment of unbridled danger “comes with a whole list of responsibilities,” Sixx says. “You have to know where your bandmates are. You have to know where the audience begins. If you’re outside, you have to be aware of any wind and if you’re indoors, of any breeze from the air conditioning units. And it has to be dark enough onstage for everyone to see the flame, but also bright enough for me to see where I’m going.”
More than anything else, Sixx has to be conscious of not lighting himself on fire. “The thing is hot, for sure,” he says. “At that point in the show I’m pretty much soaking wet, but by the end of the song the right side of my hair is completely dry. Also, because the flame shoots out right next to my hand, sometimes it will come back at me and touch a finger, or burn a knuckle. So it’s a whole thing.”
And yet, despite all this very literal playing with fire, Long reports that “we’ve actually never really had any mishaps.” He laughs. “I mean, we’ve stranded a few flying girls before, but we can always pull them in. But from a safety aspect we keep everything really tight. Even with Nikki’s flamethrower, we trigger it remotely, so all he has to do is aim. We have total control over everything. So if Nikki’s too close to the audience, or too close to Mick — because Mick’s always looking down — we can just stop.”
“We’re not winging it,” Sixx adds. “Because if you wing it, someone’s gonna get hurt. So all this stuff we do, it’s supposed to look pretty flawless and effortless, but at its core, there’s research. There’s development. There are licenses. There’s experience. There’s practice. There’s professionalism. Even though we hope it comes off as, ‘That guy’s crazy! His bass is shooting fire,’ it’s all very strategic and very methodical. And it’s all in the service of, ‘This is how we want to present Mötley Crüe.'”
As the Final Tour — and with it, Mötley Crüe’s more than three decades on the road — winds down, Long says that ideas about how to best present the band continue to be hatched. “Every night I’m still watching the show and asking, ‘How do we improve this?’ ‘How can we change that?'”
As for what might be in the works for the grand finale on New Year’s Eve? Long isn’t saying. “There’s a lot of stuff on paper for December 31st, but I can’t reveal too much. I guess the only thing I can say is there will be a hell of a lot more confetti.
“But, trust me, it’ll be a great show,” he assures. “Because the general principle with Mötley Crüe has always been, ‘If it’s impossible, that’s when the work starts.'”
Eric Church's Sunglasses and Trucker Hat Are Coming to Country Music Hall of Fame
- 'Renegade Role Model'