MOTLEY CRUE – Generation Swine (1997, 2003 Motley Records reissue)
It is hard to believe that the mighty Crue, who had released the record of their lives in 1994 (Motley Crue with Corabi on vocals) put out this bunk next. Such was the 90’s. Fans did not embrace Corabi as predicted, the album flopped, and immediate pressure was on the Crue to kiss and make up with Vince Neil. So that’s what they relectantly did.
The Crue were already in experimental mode when Corabi was still on board. They had already said that this album wouldn’t be produced by Bob Rock (a shame, that was) and that it would be more “raw” and “heavy”. Then, as time went on, you started hearing things like, “The new album is Motley Crue meets Sisters of Mercy with the intensity of Nine Inch Nails”. Bands that have nothing to do with the Crue’s roots. In the end, the band was spinning tires so fast that Corabi couldn’t handle it anymore and Vince was brought back. All of this is well documented in the latter half of Motley Crue: The Dirt. A five-piece Crue with Neil singing and Corabi on rhythm guitar was briefly considered (damn! that would have been sweet!), but it was the original four-piece sans Corabi that became the next Motley Crue lineup.
And what they made together was just…what the fuck is this? Remember when Crue showed up at the AMA’s and lip-synced that new techno-y sample ridden version of “Shout at the Devil”? What the hell was that?
I place the blame squarely on the head of producer Scott Humphrey. Humphrey was actually from around here. People who know Humphrey personally have said he’s always been a tech-head. Just listen to his records with Rob Zombie. That’s fine. But here, Humphrey uses all his techno-wizardry to suck the life out of Motley Crue, no mean feat. The band must also share the blame, as they should have stopped the directionless proceedings before it got too far. In the end though, Motley Crue continued on with this sound, even over Mick Mars’ very strong objections. Mars was sidelined in the recordings, but it turns out Mick was right about Generation Swine.
Generation Swine (formerly: Personality #9 while Corabi was in the band) is the most confusing, un-Motley disc ever recorded. The drums are processed and sampled to the point where there may as well have been no live drummer. It may as well be a computer rather than Tommy Lee, for what it sounds like. The guitars, also sampled, squeezed, processed and spat out by a computer, show little of Mick’s spark and feel. I can see why Mick was pissed off. Vince’s return was hardly worth bally-hooing, as he’s barely able to wheeze out a passable melody here. In fact, both Sixx and Lee take lead vocals, too. What kind of reunion album is that?
The real shame of it is that these songs could have turned out quite well. Check out “Let Us Prey”. It is easy to imagine what this sounded like when Corabi was singing it. In fact he insists that his vocals are still intact in the mix, and that you can hear him scream on the choruses. Corabi also says his rhythm guitar parts on the album are intact too.
But I digress. The point is, songs like “Let Us Prey”, “Generation Swine”, “A Rat Like Me”, and “Anybody Out There?” show enough of the original Motley spirit that this could have been a halfway decent album. However each of those four songs are choked to death under a muffled blanket of samples, sound effects, bells & whistles, and processed unnatural guitars and drums. It’s a shame because any of those four songs (the only solid hard rockers on this disc of slow paced dreck) had potential. Also decent was the single, “Afraid”, although it sounds more like Def Leppard.
To add weirdness on top of the confusion, the album closes with a track called “Brandon” sung by Mr. Thomas Lee Bass himself. “Brandon, I love you. I love her. She is your mom.” Yes, he actually sings that. God knows what he was thinking when he wrote that lyric. Nikki Sixx’s “Rocketship”, a hippy dippy ballad for his wife is slightly better, but why not get Vince, the singer of Motley Crue, to sing it? Nikki’s not an especially good singer – that’s why he plays bass. Yet he insists on singing three songs, on Vince’s comeback record. I still don’t get that.
People, do yourself a favour. It doesn’t matter that Vince Neil came back for this album (it was mostly finished before he came back anyway). Check out the 1994 album with Corabi, a truely heavy beast that will probably blow your head off if you’re not wearing a helmet. It is a beautiful record. This is not. And don’t worry about the bonus tracks on the reissue. The demos are no better than the album tracks. Nobody needed a demo of “Confessions” with Tommy singing.
Excluded: A techno song only released on the Japanese disc called “Song To Slit Your Wrist By”. An expensive trinket. I don’t own it myself. The only time I saw it up close and personal was at a record show in London, and the vendor was asking $70 for it.