Motley Crue has been around for nearly 30 years. Throughout the band's career, it has released a string of multi-platinum albums, played sold-out shows all over the world, upped the ante on revolving drum risers, become the subject of multiple unauthorized biographies and band documentaries, and found itself on the cover of all the tabloids and music magazines for either their outrageous lifestyle or in-band fights.
So, who would have thought the band bassist Nikki Sixx, guitarist Mick Mars, drummer Tommy Lee and vocalist Vince Neil would be gearing up for its first touring music festival, Crue Fest.
Apparently not the band, Mars said during a teleconference with Sixx last month. "We just wanted to play music together when we started out. We didn't think about doing a festival.
"Back then it wouldn't have worked out anyway, unless it was a bigger band that asked us to be on it."
"The time seemed right for us now," Sixx said. "We wanted to find some like-minded bands and bring the music to the people."
With Ozzfest cutting back to a single show in Dallas in August, and the starting up of the Rockstar Mayhem tour, the field looked good for Crue Fest, Sixx said.
"We're at the point where we have fans that are young and some that are old," he said. "Our demographics range from 12-year-olds to people who are older than 40. So, this festival is designed to please all our fans."
With the likes of Buckcherry, Papa Roach and Trapt, Sixx said the show is going to be a simple "rock show."
"We had more than 30 bands we looked at to join us," he said. "We chose these guys because they have good track records and have hit the radio with their sexy lead singers, loud guitars and snotty lyrics, just like us."
One band on the tour is Sixx's other band Sixx A.M., which released a soundtrack to Sixx's biography "Heroin Diaries."
"I was getting ready to do a tour with Sixx A.M., but this opportunity for Crue Fest came about and, since Motley Crue is my first priority, I trashed the tour and decided to work on this," Sixx said. "But the guys in the band told me I had to play with Sixx A.M. during Crue Fest. I really thought they'd be against it, but Tommy told me to do it and so did Vince and Mick."
The encouragement and support from the band members was very different in the 1990s when Tommy, Vince and Sixx were at each others' throats for one thing or another.
"A lot of time has passed since then," said Sixx about the intra-band conflicts. "And we've grown up quite a bit. We get along and we all are focused on Motley Crue and its future."
One major event leading up to Crue Fest was the release of the new Motley Crue CD, "Saints of Los Angeles," which hit the stores last month.
The songs on the disc are "loosely" based on the band's upcoming autobiography "The Dirt," Sixx said.
"It goes back from where we signed our lives to the devil with a recording contract, to getting our rights back and what is happening today," he said.
Recording the album was different than the last Motley Crue album, "Generation Swine," that was released more than a decade ago.
"Mick, who is an encyclopedia of guitar riffs, will lay some tracks down and e-mail them to me," Sixx said. "I'll put some bass lines on them and send lyrics off to Vince. Meanwhile, Tommy will put some drums to them and Vince will sing.
"It's very different than going into a studio and pounding things out. When we made 'Saints of Los Angeles,' we knew what we wanted and there wasn't any wasted time in the studio."
The difficult task was for Sixx, the lyricist.
"After 30 years writing songs, it's not all about 'Oh, baby, baby, baby."' he said. "While Mick can come up with new riffs, I have a hard time writing new words."
As of now, the band is trying to find a partner for a movie based on "The Dirt."
"We're just waiting for MTV to pull its head out," Sixx said. "Sometimes we choose to work with people who we feel are cutting edge, but then we come to realize that they really aren't."
"We supported them for so long," Mars said. "We always tried to plug them. We were the first metal band to say, 'We want our MTV.'"
"But they're not a music channel anymore," Sixx said. "So, we're hoping we can work something out so we can move on and find someone who wants to work with us."
"I hope when the movie is made that some unknown is cast as me," Mars said. "It will be his first and last role he'll ever do."
With the festival, new CD, autobiography and movie plans all done or in the process, the only thing left for Motley Crue is to create an amusement park, Sixx said."We can make it an amusement park/funeral home," he said as both he and Mars laughed.
If you go
What: Crue Fest, Motley Crue, Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Sixx A.M., Trapt
Where: USANA Amphitheatre, 5400 S. 6400 West
When: Tuesday, 5 p.m.
How much: $29.50-$95
Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499Web: www.smithstix.com
E-mail: [email protected]