REVIEW: Motley Crue – Generation Swine (1997)

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.

2/5 stars

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32 comments

  1. U know I have always figured that Sixx just follows trends…my point back in 82 when Satan was the rage Hello Shout At The Devil,when glam was huge in 85,welcome Theatre of Pain,
    Time to get badass in 87 when the trend was back to the street…hello Girls…and u know grunge/drop down turnings to the Mötley Corabi album which I think is there 2nd best record if we’re keeping score and than to NIN as u said as this was popular at the time of the Swine record…..
    Having said all this I think Afraid was a great song but it never really caught on with the masses…..
    I give it the Swine album a 3/5…. But cuz Sixx was chasing trends deduct a half a point…so make that a 2.5/5…..
    Hahaha

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    1. You’re wrong about that, I’m afraid. Remember when the Crüe started out? Nobody looked or sounded like them. The pentagram on Shout was one thing but the look that they had on that album was copied by almost every US hard rock band by then. That’s why they changed to glam in 1985. Mention one band apart from the Crüe who looked that glam in ’85. Right, glam came AFTER Mötley did that. The same with the street look on Girls. Bands like Guns N Roses were still wearing lipstick when the Crüe arrived with Girls and voila, everybody and their mother was dropping the glam and going denim and leather and street.
      So it was actually the opposite; Sixx and the boys were actually creating those trends. But yes, in the mid 90’s, Mötley had started to look around them to see what was popular, so they were looking at trends by then.

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  2. One wonders how much it was the band following trends, as adroidtly pointed out by Deke, and how much was label pressure to sound one way or another, and how much was the producer, and how much was the drugs/booze/whatever else, and how much was the weirdness between the core guys at this point, and how much was whether they even wanted to get back together or not, and how much of it was some sort of weird protection of their ‘legacy’ versus a need to create something new to remain relevant…

    It’s endless. They got back together, made a crap record. Crue fans know it, they know it.

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  3. You know what Deke? That hadn’t occured to me before but it looks like you’re right. I even mentioned that Crue’s “jester suits” were “stryped” in a previous review, insinuating that maybe the striped suits were ripped off from a certain Christian rock band…

    HMO, don’t waste your money on this one unless you see it in the $4 range.

    Aaron – They were under a lot of label pressure at the time, but not so much over the direction of the album. It was all about getting Vince back. They wanted to stick with Corabi. The legendary story is, they went into a meeting with the label, and the label specifically only invited the three original members. They pointedly left John Corabi’s name off. So Sixx showed up at the meeting wearing a shirt that said in giant letters, “JOHN”. But they caved to pressure and agreed to get Vince back. In the end that worked out OK for them, they’ve been very successful, and I’ll admit that Corabi is a vastly superior singer, but not the frontman that Vince Neil is.

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    1. The jester suit was Nikki’s right? Well, I don’t think he looked at Stryper at all, I think he stole the black & white striped suit from Steven Tyler and Pete Way, who both used a similar suit in the 70’s. Which seems more logic as Sixx was a big Aerosmith and UFO fan. I mean, take a look at Way playing live and you’ll see that Sixx nicked about every stage move that Way does, even the way he holds his bass.

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      1. I think the jester suit was Nikki. I think the reason I associated with it Stryper is because at the time (1985?) I had never heard Aerosmith or UFO! You’re probably right though.

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  4. I remember reading in “The Dirt” Mötley Crüe book, Scott Humphrey said that Vince Neil’s voice in the studio was “best between beer two and beer six” (or something to that effect). Recording was tough with such a small window of vocal effectiveness, after a while the many distractions of Hollywood took over Vince’s thoughts and concerns! What a weird period that was for the Crüe! They WERE desperately attempting to follow the trends of the new groups. I can’t remember how many hair/ hard rock/metal bands and producers at that time were falling under the spell of Trent Reznor, Al Jourgenson, and the industrial types!

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    1. Rob Halford wasn’t immune to it…it was definitely a weird time for rock. Remember Vince did that one solo album with the Dust Brothers?

      I think the Crue blew perhaps their biggest opportunity with this album. Perhaps it could have been a great Corabi album that sold nothing. Or, perhaps it could have been a return to classic sounding Motley with Vince. But they just had lost all objectivity at that point.

      Beer two and six…yup that sounds like the Humphrey quote!

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      1. I remember that album! Got it somewhere! I think Vince referred to them as tuneless hacks somewhere! And I think the Dust Brothers took the high road, though I am sure any Crüe/Neil recording session was fraught with drama, drinks, hookers and blow! As long as the check clears, I am sure it’s all good! I am a big Corabi fan, and he got involved in that tsunami for a coupla years.

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  5. Seems like I’m the odd man out here. I know that this is the most hated Mötley album of all, but fact is, I think it’s a really good album. It might not have the classic Crüe sound, but I think that many of the songs here are really good. Sure, the production might leave a whole lot left to offer and Brandon is so embarresing that I’m almost speachless, but I’d take this album over mediocre stuff like Theatre Of Pain, Girls Girls Girls or the painful compromise that was New Tattoo.
    Btw, the bonus track A Song To Slit Your Wrist By wasn’t a Crüe song at all, it was taken from Nikki Sixx’ very underrated sideproject 58. It was covered last year by Lita Ford on her latest album Living Like A Runaway, reviwied here by yours truly :)

    http://etainmentnewsreviews.wordpress.com/hard-rock/hard-rock-reviews-2012/lita-ford-living-like-a-runaway/

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    1. I reviewed 58 myself…I don’t think you will like that review too much Jon :)

      I just bought from Discogs the Japanese version of Generation Swine with Song To Slit Your Wrist By. It hasn’t arrived yet. I’m curious how the song is credited. I personally couldn’t tell much difference between this and the one on the 58 album. Are they identical?

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      1. Well, different tastes makes things interesting and fun as long as you have more things in common, right? I really have to read that review. And probably reply to it. :-D

        The song is identical, they did nothing to it at all.

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        1. I look forward to your reply! Sort of!

          It’s funny because while I posted my review of 58 recently, I wrote it about 10 years ago. So I actually haven’t heard the album in possibly that long!

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        2. See what you think if you listen to that album today, then? :)

          Btw, I also has a lot of older reviews lying around on my computer and I’m adding those whenever I get five minutes. I’m concentrating on new records so I’m posting my old reviews in between those when I have some time to spare.

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        3. That makes sense. I can’t help but extensively revise my reviews as I go though, it’s funny how you CAN feel completely differently about an album a year or 10 later!

          Embarrassing example: After listening to Dedicated To Chaos twice, I decided it was a 4/5. Then I listened to it again…and again…and again…and had to revise my rating and review twice :)

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    2. I think it was the opposite about “A Song To Slit Your Wrist By”. it was 1st recorded by motley for generation swine, (and later added as a bonus track), and then re-recorded for the 58 album. 58 was released on 2000, and generation swine on ’97.
      I don’t know if there are any different versions between these 2 songs, but on the 58 album, N Sixx & david darling are credited for the songwriting, so maybe they changed some stuff on that new version?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve done a pretty detailed analysis and the two tracks are 100% identical. In fact on the Japanese version of Generation Swine, it’s even credited to “Nikki’s side project 58”.

        Cheers!

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        1. oh man!!! That’s so bad!!! I wanted this japanese version so bad just for the supposed to be “motley Crue” version of that song! Why the hell is it on a Crue album as a bonus track, if they never even played it? All my fantasies of trying to imagine John Corabi sing that one are gone!!!
          So what, it’s actually a demo version of 58……good to know, I’ll pass on that generation swine japan edition.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Cool I was copy and pasted for the first time ever at Landano.com!
    Hahahaha….
    Interesting rebuttal but as well Sixx was a follower in fashion as well ,he sure did nix the Pete Way look…..by the way Mike got any UFO?

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  7. Mike, Vince Neil is playing Tbay tonight. No I’m not going to see him for $60 if it was the Crue yeah but not solo seen that sideshow back in 06 and I was not impressed! Anyways case in point it’s -40 here right now with the windchill!!
    Hahahaha……
    Home Sweet Home is where I’m staying tonight!

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