tommy lee

The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’: Edie vs. Tommy Lee in the Bouncy Castle of Doom!

Welcome to The Adventures of Edie Van Heelin’, an ongoing series I’ve been working on in my spare time.  But who is Edie?

Edie Van Heelin’ is the lead guitarist of Van Heelin’, the all-female tribute to Van Halen.  When she’s not too busy rocking the stages with her stellar curves, and hot covers of classic Van Halen, she leads a secret life as an alien-battling superhero!  With the ability to communicate with animals, and an urgent drive to keep them safe, Edie is a modern-day hero with a classic rock sensibility.  You’ll often find her clad in her trademark heels and fishnets, all while kicking ass, taking names, and saving animals in danger!

Edie’s cast of characters include:

  • Fanboy Mike, an ally and Van Heelin’ superfan.  Mike lives in Canada, where he often encounters strange aliens and UFOs.
  • Tommy Lee, sometimes friend, sometimes foe, and always annoying!  This party-hardy rock star always seems to rub Edie the wrong way.
  • Green aliens and animal allies!  Can Edie keep her animal friends safe while also keeping the aliens (and Tommy) away from Fanboy Mike?

This story is a collaboration with a good friend of mine who inspired the character of Edie.  Like all my fiction, it’s a mixture of reality with a healthy dose of fantasy!  We hope you like it.

“Jump” in and get rocked with Edie Van Heelin’!  This episode was inspired by Tommy Lee’s new music video, “Bouncy Castle”.

 


 

prelude

Fanboy Mike sat on the porch of the cottage at midnight on this July night.  It was still warm; too warm for slumber.  Unable to sleep, he thought he may as well get up.  Sipping his drink, Fanboy was content, if restless.  There was nothing in the air but the sound of crickets.  He breathed deeply, inhaling the sweet country air.  Insomnia sucked but there was no better place in the world to have insomnia.  If only his friend, Edie Van Heelin’, was here to enjoy it with him.  He knew that his high-heeled, animal-loving rock star would love it.  He hadn’t seen her in a while.  He missed their adventures.  Crazy times, they had.  There was the time that aliens blew up her hot tub.  There was another time she ended up stuck on a UFO with Tommy Lee.  Mike chuckled to himself thinking about it.

Taking a deep sip of decaf, Fanboy Mike decided to take a late night stroll.  He put his mug down and grabbed his headlight.  He strode down the porch steps, into the night.  He took a few steps forward and sensed rustling in the trees.

“Just a skunk or racoon,” he reasoned.  “Nothing to be afraid of.”  He heard a branch snap and then turned on his headlight.  Mike jumped back in shock.

Right in front of him was a green alien.  Fanboy wanted to scream, but the alien stunned him with a beam that rendered him silent.  There was a flash of light, and then quiet.  Both Mike and the alien had disappeared.

EDIE VAN HEELIN’ vs. TOMMY LEE in the BOUNCY CASTLE OF DOOM

CHAPTER 1

In California, Edie Van Heelin’ was just finishing up tucking her little ones into bed.  It had been a busy month.  In addition to playing guitar in her critically acclaimed Van Halen tribute band Van Heelin’, she had also become a guardian of animals.  It seemed like every waking moment involved rescuing some animals in distress.  Not that she minded.  The only thing she loved more than the animals was her own family.  It had been a busy month, but Edie was now going to indulge herself with some hot tea, and husband time.  Mr. Van Heelin’ was cuing up the next episode of the Sopranos in their big marathon.

“Ready?” he asked with his finger gingerly poised on the remote.

“Ready!” said Edie eagerly.

It was at that exact moment their evening was interrupted by the noise of techno music.  Bad techno music.  If you could even call it music.  What they heard was little more than amateurish noise, far removed from the excellent music they usually enjoyed.  Loud beats and shrieking sirens with no direction; just pure idiotic noise.  Mr. and Mrs. Van Heelin’ plugged their ears and frowned.

“What the heck is that?” shouted Mr. Van Heelin’.

“I better go look outside!” shouted Edie back.

Mrs. Van Heelin’ put on her brand new pair of silver platform boots, and stepped outside onto the lawn.  Looking up, she saw the source of the noise.

“Not these guys again!” she shouted in exasperation.  A UFO was flying wildly overhead, polluting the skies with the noise of that terrible techno music.

“Time to be a superhero?” asked Mr. Van Heelin’.  He was getting used to her always being on a mission to save somebody.

“Afraid so!” she shouted back.  “It’s those damn aliens again!”

Mr. Van Heelin’ came out to give her a good luck kiss.  “Get home safe!  I’ll keep the Sopranos where we left it.”

With that, Edie clicked the heels of her boots together.  They suddenly fired to life!  Edie’s new rocket boots were a gift from a tech-wizard fan from the snowy climbs of Northern Ontario Canada; she just couldn’t wait to give them a test flight.  She saluted her husband as she lifted off into the night.

CHAPTER 2

“Woooooo!” shouted Edie in glee, as she rocketed through the black skies of California.  These new rocket boots were awesome!  They were fast and she could easily catch up to that mad UFO.  Nobody was about to ruin her night with crap techno music.  Although now that she was starting to think about it, she got a bad feeling about the whole situation.

“Bad techno…why does that remind me of something?  I can’t quite place my finger on it.”

She flew closer and closer to the alien ship.  The saucer gleamed silver in the starlight.  Edie began to slow her speed, as she didn’t want to rush this mission.  Caution was in order.

“I know what to do,” said Edie.  “I’m going to call Fanboy Mike.  He knows everything about music.  Maybe he even knows something about this really bad techno crap.  I’ll let him hear it – I bet he can tell me what’s up.”

Edie reached into her utility belt and found her phone.  She dialed up Fanboy Mike.  She had just spoken to him earlier tonight and she knew he was at his cottage with Mrs. Fanboy.  It was late, but he would understand the urgency.  He’s dealt with these nasty aliens before too.

The phone rang.  No answer.  “He must be asleep,” said Edie as she hit redial.

Mrs. Fanboy answered groggily.  “Hello?”

“Oh, hey Jen.  Is Mike around?  I know it’s late but this is urgent.”

There was a silence from the other end.

“Oh my goodness he’s not here!  He’s gone!  His coffee mug is on the front porch but he’s gone!”

This wasn’t good.  “Don’t worry Jen.  I’m on the case.  I’ll find our Fanboy and get him home safe.  Don’t you worry!”

Edie hung up and wondered if there was a connection between these annoying aliens and her beloved special fan?  Deciding not to waste any further time, Edie hit the afterburners on her rocket boots.  Soon she had overtaken the aliens and landed on their ship’s upper hull.  Her rocket boots had many features, including electro-magnetic soles!  She activated the magnets and was now firmly standing on the ship.

The wind whipped her hair straight back.  Now she had to figure out how to enter.

Edie began crawling over the surface of the ship. She found what appeared to be an upper hatch but it was locked shut.  She tried to open it with her fingers but failed.

“Broke a nail!” she complained.  “Whoever’s flying this thing will have to pay.”

Edie searched her utility belt and found something useful.  “Speaking of nails…” she smiled as she hoisted a titanium nail file from her belt.  She wedged it between the panels of the ship.  “This oughtta do the trick!”  Within seconds, she had triggered the panel to slide open beneath her.  Edie fell and landed, superhero style, in the hallway of the spacecraft.  She reached back into her utility belt and found a Toy Story band aid to cover her broken nail.

“Seen one, seen ‘em all,” said Edie as she examined her UFO surroundings.  “It’s even louder in here!” she complained as she plugged her ears.  “No problem though.”  Edie searched her belt again and found her special earplugs, very high tech.  They filtered out the noise but allowed her to pick up other sounds.  Soon the techno music was rendered down to a simple but stupid “thump thump thump”.

“This is the worst, dumbest music I’ve ever heard,” complained Edie.  “Nowhere near as good as Prodigy, Chemical Brothers or Daft Punk!  You have to be a real cement head to make this kind of music!”  Fortunately the earplugs were doing their job.  Time to come up with a plan.

Edie Van Heelin’ had many weapons in her arsenal.  Unfortunately she left her electric guitar at home, so a battle of music was not going to happen this time.  She did, however, have her army of animals at her command.

“Time to bring this adventure down to Earth!” said Edie.  She knew just the animal to help.  She concentrated deeply and focused on the mighty American eagle.  “Help me eagles!  We need to ground this spaceship right away!”

Within minutes, her call was answered!  A huge flock of American eagles descended upon the UFO.  They flapped their mighty wings, all the while tolerating the horrible techno music.  Inch by inch, the spacecraft began its descent.

Inside, Edie Van Heelin’ prepared for impact.  She braced herself against the walls of the craft.  She could feel that the craft was fighting to stay aloft, but the eagles were winning.  Soon they’d be down.  Then Edie would be fighting these aliens on her own terms.

The landing was surprisingly soft given it was a battle between eagle and alien.  The craft shuddered and shook, and soon became motionless.  If not for that damned techno music, she’d have thought nobody was home.  But that music made it clear, somebody here was having a party.  If so, she needed some help.

“Vim!  Vigor!  To my side!”  Edie summoned her animal allies.  A few moments passed, and she was soon joined by two, big gray squirrels:  Vim and Vigor!  They entered the UFO through the top hatch and joined Edie, chasing each other around her.

“Settle down boys!” said Edie.  “We’re on a mission!”  The two squirrels stood on their haunches, alert and waiting for their next command.

Edie knew the layout of this model of UFO.  She knew where the bridge was.  “Follow me!” she commanded the squirrels.  Vim and Vigor followed her as she ran in her platform boots through the corridor.  Edie remembered last time she had to storm the control room of a UFO.  She was with that idiot Tommy Lee.  “What a goof that guy was,” she said to herself.

The techno music was deafeningly loud inside the UFO.  Strangely though, it was quieter up by the control room.  She expected that to be the source of the music.  Edie and the squirrels stood on either side of the control room door.  “You go right, I go left!” she commanded.  Vim and Vigor nodded in understanding.  With a finger wrapped in a band-aid, Edie signaled them and kicked open the door with her platforms.

Vim, Vigor and Edie Van Heelin’ stormed the control room.  An empty control room?

“What the…?” asked Edie.  “Nobody flying this thing?”  The two squirrels were as perplexed as she was.

“Come on guys!” she commanded.  “Follow the noise!  There’s gotta be someone here on this thing.  But even if there isn’t, we’re turning off this amateur techno nonsense!”  The two squirrels nodded in agreement and scooted on down the hallway, following Edie and the sound of the techno.

CHAPTER 3

Edie and her Squirrel Team 1 navigated the labyrinthine corridors, following the music.  It grew louder and louder.  The team noticed the hallways becoming messier and messier.  Spilled liquids, underwear, and dirt lined the corridors.  Underwear?  Leopard spotted g-strings?

“I have a bad feeling about this,” said Edie.

A loud shout was heard down the hall, dead ahead.  “YEAH DUUUUUUUUDE!”

“Oh, shit,” said Edie, letting out a rare swear word.  “Not him.”

She sighed as the trio reached a closed door.  The door was vibrating with bass.  She nodded to the squirrels, and kicked the door open with a mighty boot.  She didn’t even have to look inside to know who was behind this noise.

“Thomas Lee Bass,” she announced.  “By the authority of the Earth Animal Protection Squad, the three of us are arresting you for excessive noise!”  She paused a moment and added, “Plus crappy techno music!  The Prodigy, that’s more like it.  This crap, you can stuff it up your…oh my.”

What Edie saw in that room cannot be explained in mere words.

“Welcome to the Bouncy Castle, dude!” said a nude Tommy Lee, with food smeared on his body and wearing a helmet with three dildos protruding from it.  The room was a cacophony of noise, sex toys, booze and mess.  There was a huge drum kit in the corner with giant boob-drums.  There were bottles everywhere around, and dirty clothes hanging from every piece of furniture.  Edie’s two squirrels placed their paws over their ears trying to dampen the awful sound.

“We could make better techno music, and we don’t even have hands!” Vim said in Squirrelese to Vigor.  Vigor nodded in disgusted agreement.

Tommy bounced up and down on his bed.  His wiener bounced with him.  “Yeah dude it’s time to party!” screamed an inebriated Lee.  Then he stopped bouncing.  His wiener thudded against his knee as he came to a halt.  “Wait a minute…I know you, dude!”  Tommy jumped off the bed.  “You’re that Edie Van Heelin’ chick!  So damn hot!  Come here baby let me show you what love is like in the Bouncy Castle!”  Tommy removed his penis helmet, ready for love.

Edie tried not to barf.  “Umm, no, no, and just no.  What the hell is the ‘bouncy castle’?  Just…put on some pants and turn this music down.  You may be a great drummer but you suck at techno, Tommy.”

Suddenly Tommy’s demeanor changed.  He was no longer the party-hardy California boy from the Sunset Strip.  His face took on a darker tone.  His eyes gleamed.

“Who are you, the Fun Police?  No way am I turning this down, Negative Nancy!”  Tommy reached for a remote control and turned the music up.

Edie and the squirrels reached for their ears again.  This was too much!  But without hesitation or instruction, Vim and Vigor jumped on top of Tommy!  Vim scratched at his nose while Vigor slapped the remote from his hands.  Vigor brought the controller to Edie.  She searched for the volume control.

“What the…this control only has volume up!  No volume down!  What the heck is wrong with you Tommy?!”

“Come here baby and I’ll show you exactly what’s wrong with me!”  His dick stood at attention.  Vim dropped down from his head and hung onto to Tommy’s wiener like a tree branch.

“OWWW!” screamed Tommy in pain.  “My junk!”  Tommy tried to shake the squirrels off his body but was no use, as Vigor then leaped up to scratch his balls.

“MY BALLS!” screamed Tommy.  “Not my balls!”  Tommy fell to the ground in pain.

“Turn off the music Lee, or I’ll have them playing trapeze from your nutsack!” threatened Edie.

“OK!  OK!  Truce!!”  The drummer/techno musician killed the power with a switch next to his bed.  “I was just partying with the aliens, what’s the big deal?” he asked from his position on the floor.

“The big deal is we could hear you all the way from the foothills of California!  Don’t you have any consideration for other people?” scolded Edie.  The two squirrels shook a paw at him.

“What other people?” asked Tommy in a confused state.  “Are you talking about that dude we picked up in Canada tonight?”

Edie stopped in her tracks.  “What ‘dude’ are you talking about?”

CHAPTER 4

Tommy rubbed his sore nuts.

“What ‘dude’ are you talking about, Tommy?” repeated Edie Van Heelin’.

Tommy massaged his head, where the squirrel had been dangling from him.  “Some Canadian dude, dude!  Me and the aliens were partying and I said, ‘hey dudes, you know what we need, we need a hard core Motley Crue fan to party hard with us!’  So we found him and he’s around here somewhere.”

“Around here somewhere?  Where the heck did you leave him?” asked Edie, becoming more and more upset.  Her two squirrels echoed her concern with squirrel chatter.

Tommy scratched his head.  “I can’t remember dude!” he answered.  “But does it matter?  He’s fine.  How about you and me test out the springs on this bed?”

Edie looked incredibly frustrated.  “Vim…Vigor…you keep an eye on him while I go look for Fanboy Mike.”  The two squirrels nodded in understanding as Edie ran out of the room.

“These ships are huge,” she said as she ran.  “How am I going to find him?”

She searched room after room.  The ship seemed deserted, except for Tommy.  No aliens to be found, not even one.  She was puzzled.

“Where did all the aliens go?  And what did they do with Fanboy Mike?”

Edie continued to wander the halls until she had an idea.  If Fanboy Mike was here and free to move about, then there’s one place he might have gone.  Edie went down to the lower levels, the engine rooms.  Because the engines on these spacecraft were so loud, the engine room was the only one that was soundproofed.  And that would be the perfect place to escape Tommy’s music.

With a kick, Edie knocked in the engine room door.

Fanboy Mike was seated cross legged on the floor, across from an alien, both playing a board game.  The alien stared at her, as if mad that she interrupted their game of Monopoly.  Fanboy got up and ran to give Edie a big hug.  “Edie Van Heelin’?  Boy am I glad to see you!”

“I missed you, Fanboy!” said Edie as they embraced.  “Are you OK?”

Mike continued to hug as he spoke.  “It was awful Edie…the music…his music…it’s so terrible!”  A tear began to well up in his eye.  “Thanks for saving me…that Tommy Lee is such a moron!  He and this alien – the alien’s name is Fillmore, by the way – they grabbed me for a party.  At first I thought it would be cool, I thought we’d be listening to rock music and hanging out with stars.  But instead Tommy started playing that awful techno of his!  So bad that the other aliens all abandoned ship.  Have you heard it?  It’s not good!”

Edie grimaced.  “Oh, I’m afraid I’ve heard it alright!  Now let’s get you to safety.”

The alien spoke.  “Fillmore, at your service.  Fillmore West!”

She nodded towards Fillmore.  “Nice to meet you!” she said to the alien.  “Now let’s hustle, Mike!”

CHAPTER 5

Edie and Fanboy raced back up to the control room, where Vim and Vigor were holding Tommy down on the bed.  Tommy screeched in frustration.

“Come on, furry dudes!  I just wanna jerk off!  That Edie chick gives me a huge boner!”

This time, Edie really did barf.

“Oh come on Tommy,” said Fanboy.  “That’s just gross!”  Edie recovered and added, “Really disgusting, Thomas!”

“Let’s get out of here,” Fanboy said to Edie.  “Leave him here with his…whatever the hell this is.”

“You’re in the Bouncy Castle, dude!” exclaimed Tommy to Fanboy.  Then suddenly he jumped behind his giant boob-drum kit.  “Wanna jam?”

Edie shook her head no, but Fanboy touched her on the shoulder.

“Can we jam with Tommy before we leave?  His techno may suck but I’m still a big Motley Crue fan.”

Edie sighed.  “Fine…but only for you, Fanboy.  Only for you.”  She turned to Tommy at his boob kit.  “Do you know any good music, Tommy?

Tommy’s eyes lit up in glee.  “Yeah dude!  How about some Cream?  Let’s jam ‘White Room’!”

“Finally, something we can agree on,” said Edie.  She grabbed a guitar from the corner of the room, while Fanboy picked up a bass.

“1, 2, 3…” counted in Tommy.

With that, Edie Van Heelin’ began singing.  “In the white room, with black curtains, near the station…”

CHAPTER 6

By the end of the evening, Edie Van Heelin’ had rocked ‘em all.

“Time to go Tommy,” she said as she placed the guitar back on its stand.  “I hope you learned something this time.”

“Yeah dude!” exclaimed Tommy.  “I learned the lyrics to ‘White Room’!  How does it go again?”

Edie and Fanboy each smacked their heads.  The two squirrels placed their paws over their mouths as they laughed at Tommy Lee.

“I better take you home,” said Edie to Fanboy.  “Jen is really worried about you.”  The group of humans and rodents excited the craft through a lower ramp, activated by Fillmore.  “Vim and Vigor, thanks for your help tonight.  Couldn’t have done it without you!”  The two squirrels chattered in glee as they escaped into the night.

“Hey Edie…before we go…” said a bashful Fanboy.

“Yes?” she asked patiently.

“It’s just that, you know…I’m just a big fanboy at heart, you know?  It was fun to jam tonight, and I really appreciate it.  Do you think…could you bring me with you on your next adventure?  I wanna be the Morty to your Rick.”

“Is that a cartoon reference?  Right over my head, Mike,” said a confused Edie.

“It means I wanna be your sidekick, rock star!  The Robin to your Batman!”

Edie got that reference.  Her eyes lit up with glee.

“Of course!  At first I thought you were going to ask something creepy, like Tommy Lee!”  They laughed together at the absurdity of the night they just had.  “You got it,” said Edie.  “Very next adventure.  You can be my sidekick.”

Fanboy’s face glowed with happiness.  “Freakin’ awesome!  I’ve graduated from fanboy to sidekick!”

“I think my team just added a new member!” said Edie.  Welcome aboard, Fanboy!  Now hold tight.  Long way back to Canada!”

With that, Edie Van Heelin’ activated her rocket-heel boots, and jetted into the sky.  Another mission accomplished!

REVIEW: Mötley Crüe – Too Fast For Love (1981 Leathür and CD remasters)

MÖTLEY CRÜE – Too Fast For Love (Originally 1981 Leathür Records, 2003 CD reissues)

I was so lucky to grow up not with the Elektra remix of Too Fast For Love, but the original Leathür Records version. Though I didn’t know anything about it at the time, Motley Crue’s debut existed in two different versions and I had the rarer of the two on an old cassette.  The original mix released in 1981 on the band’s own label was a raw beauty.  When Elektra signed the band, Roy Thomas Baker remixed the album for worldwide reissue.  But in Canada, we received the original mix on cassette first before the remix was even released.  This was so Motley had some music to promote on their first Canadian tour.  We were very lucky.  The Elektra mix came out and eventually replaced the original on shelves.

The differences are significant, including the deletion of an entire song (“Stick To Your Guns”) from the original on the Elektra release.  For nostalgia reasons, I always preferred the Leathür mix of this album.  “Come On And Dance” for example is a completely different and much longer recording.  It must be stated the Roy Thomas Baker mix is technically the better of the two.  It’s well balanced and has the required punch.  Vocal lines are thickened up.  It will undoubtedly sound better on your high end stereo.  There is more nuance.  The changes are especially audible on songs like “Starry Eyes” and “Live Wire”, but I simply have a preference for the raw, rough version I grew up with.  There’s something to be said for independent production values.  Additionally, the track listing was jumbled and the original running order flows better, so that’s the order we’ll be discussing the songs in.

Fortunately for you, you don’t have to track down an original vinyl or even an obscure Canadian cassette release to get the original Too Fast For Love.  It was officially reissued one time only on CD, in the 2003 Motley Crue box set called Music To Crash Your Car To Volume I.  In fact that box set includes both mixes of the album, plus the related CD bonus tracks.  (Actually, the box set is only missing one song, which we’ll discuss further on.)  For the money, Music To Crash Your Car To Volume I is the best way to get “all” the tracks.

The audio for the original Leathür mix is sourced directly from original vinyl, with the tapes presumably lost.  Audiophiles take note as you will hear the telltale sound of old vinyl.


It took a while for young me to get into Too Fast For Love.  The album was generally much different from the metal assault of Shout at the Devil.  That was the Motley I was familiar with.  The basic garage glam metal of Too Fast For Love was alien to me.  When I first received the cassette, I gave it a fair shake but didn’t start clicking with it until Easter of 1986.  It was a deliberate effort on my part.  “I want to hear and appreciate this album like my friends do.”  Bob Schipper had the songs he liked:  “Live Wire” (there was a music video, but he did not like the part with Mick Mars spitting up blood), “Merry-Go-Round”, and especially “On With the Show”.

No matter which version of the album you own, we begin on “Live Wire”, a blitzkrieg of an opener with punk-like pacing.  It’s dirty and messy cocaine-fueled mayhem, and the Leathür version sounds sharper and more chaotic.  Vince Neil is so young, less seasoned and a little shrill.  But the band is on fire with Mick Mars puking out one of his trademark riffs.

The Elektra reissue goes into “Come On and Dance” here, but Leathür puts “Public Enemy # 1” second.  It’s perfectly at home in this slot.  With the careless glee of youth, the song is one of Motley’s early pop rock deep cuts.  There is a lot of pop on Too Far For Love, especially in the vocal melodies.  “Public Enemy # 1” must go back to Nikki Sixx’s days in the band London, since it’s a co-write with London’s Lizzie Grey.  It then gives way to another blitzkrieg of a riff on “Take Me To the Top”.  This turns into a choppy groove, and yet another melodic Vince Neil vocal to keep you hanging on.  There’s that pop side again.  You could isolate Vince’s vocal and turn it into a pop song.  It’s like you have this three-man wall of pounding rock with Tommy Lee, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx slamming in unison.  But on top of that you have Vince Neil singing a candy-sweet melody.

A ballad “Merry-Go-Round” gives your ears a slight rest.  Though Nikki wrote it, Mick has a way with these kinds of chords that makes them just sound “Mars”.  This song is given an urgency by Vince who, as it turns out, was quite a great singer in his early days.  The first side closes on “Piece of Your Action”, a song that has been remixed a number of times over the years.  It’s also Vince Neil’s first co-writing credit (lyrics).  With a sharp steely riff and aggressive vocals, this song will knock down walls.

The old mix of “Starry Eyes” sounds overblown and slurred compared to the Baker version, yet that’s its charm.  “Starry Eyes” has a disco-like groove and another sugar sweet Vince Neil vocal.  Nikki Sixx doesn’t get a lot of attention as a bassist, but he’s not content just to hang around banging out a rhythm.  He likes to play melodically too, and “Starry Eyes” is a fun song to listen to him play.

Only the Leathür version has “Stick to Your Guns” at this point in the running order.  It’s a busy song with different tempos and flavours, from fast verses, to a slow and choppy chorus riff, and a funky instrumental jam out.  Perhaps it was left off the Elektra reissue because it’s a little more complex than the rest of the album.  It also might have been because the song had been issued a couple times already:  “Stick to Your Guns” was also the flipside of Motley Crue’s very first single, “Toast of the Town” (to be discussed further on).

“Come On and Dance” has a heavy riff that flows well out of “Stick to Your Guns”, but it’s the most different between the two versions of the album, so you can choose your preference.  The original is longer and the vocal is better.

Regardless of which version you own, “Too Fast For Love” is always the second-last song on the album…but in two very different mixes.  4:16 on Leathür with a unique intro, and 3:21 on Elektra, going straight into the riff.  On Leathür the slow, ballady opening acts as a feint.  Mick then cranks up an unforgettable riff, and we are off into one of Motley’s true early classics.  The primitive gang backing vocals are quaint by modern standards, but again, that’s the charm.

Finally “On With the Show” is the emotional closer.  “Frankie died just the other night, some say it was suicide, but we know how the story goes.”  In real life nobody died (yet) but “Frankie” is Frank Feranna, the birth name of Nikki Sixx.  That name was his past, and Nikki Sixx was his future.  The ride was just beginning, and this song has both a sadness and a certain amount of glee.  “But you see Frankie was fast, he was too fast to know.  He wouldn’t go slow until his lethal dose.”  That part turned out to be somewhat prophetic.  Regardless, “On With the Show” is the fist-pounding pop metal album closer needed for a record like Too Fast For Love.  If you’re headbanging along with it, the you should feel well pooped out by the end!


In 1999, Motley Crue began reissuing all their albums on CD in a series called Crucial Crue on Motley Records, but the end result was disappointing.  The bonus tracks varied in quality, but the real problem was that each CD was given an additional bonus track in Japan, and they were pretty good ones too.  Fortunately this was rectified in 2003 with yet another series of reissues, adding the Japanese bonus tracks.  The box set Music To Crash Your Car To Volume I has all this bonus material as well.  For Too Fast For Love, the Japanese bonus track that was restored in 2003 was a live version of “Merry-Go-Round” recorded in San Antonio with an obviously very young Vince Neil on vocals.  Though the singing is shaky live, it’s a genuine live recording capturing the band at this early stage of their careers.

“Toast of the Town” was one of those song titles I kept hearing about as a kid, but nobody I knew had ever heard the first ever Motley Crue single.  According to the liner notes in the box set, this single was only given away at shows in L.A. for a limited time.  Both it and its B-side “Stick to Your Guns” are restored on the CD reissues as bonus track.  “Toast of the Town”, like Too Fast For Love itself, is a pop rocker with punch.

An unreleased song called “Tonight” is actually a Raspberries cover (there’s that pop side again).  And it’s bloody awesome.  They were already halfway there by covering it, but they made it work with their sound, basically just by adding distortion and turning it all up.  It sounds like this version was fully recorded and produced for release, so why it wasn’t, we don’t know.  Too pop?  Perhaps.

The last bonus track to discuss is “Too Fast For Love” with the alternate intro.  This is the same intro as on the Leathür version of the album, but it sounds like it was mixed to the higher standards of the Elektra version.  Regardless, there are three distinct versions of the song for you to enjoy.

One track is missing from these releases.  The one from this same era that they neglected to include is called “Nobody Knows What It’s Like to Be Lonely”.  Its only official release to date is as a bonus track on a 20 year old Motley Crue live DVD.  At seven minutes long, it plods along with a deliberate and heavy groove.  Nikki Sixx has praised the guitar work of Mick Mars, and it has a bizarrely funky drum breakdown at the end.  In order to get the complete picture of this era of Motley Crue, track down “Nobody Knows What It’s Like to Be Lonely”.  You can understand how a seven minute song didn’t make an album release, though it is certainly well overdue for a re-release on any format other than DVD.


Any way you go, Leathür or Elektra, CD or vinyl, or bloody Canadian cassette tape, Too Fast For Love is a hell of a debut album.  Few bands have as many haters as Motley Crue, but this album is an innocent reckless joy.  Shout at the Devil sounds contrived by comparison, with Motley Crue adopting a doomier metal sound and dropping the pop-punk pretences.  As good as Shout at the Devil undoubtedly is, this one sounds far more natural.  It’s the real deal.  This is the Crue laying it down hard, fast, getting it done quick and not messing around.  Love it or hate it.  I know how I feel.

5/5 stars

REVIEW: Motley Crue – Swine Sampler (1997 promo)

MOTLEY CRUE – Swine Sampler (1997 Elektra promo EP)

Promo CDs are a funny thing.  Any promotional CD that you have ever seen or owned was free at some point in its life.  Since promos were intended to be play copies, or giveaways, selling them was highly frowned upon.  When I say “frowned upon” I mean illegal though not heavily enforced.  So it is funny that this 23 year old Motley Crue promo has “STOLEN FROM CKWR” (the very station that hosts Rob Daniels’ Visions In Sound), written on the disc in black marker.  I did my duty and reported it to CKWR just now, but weirdly enough they could care less!

The real crime here is the “clean” version of a Motley Crue song from Generation Swine, and it is an absolute hatchet job.  Unlistenable.

Why would you even bother with a “clean version” of “Find Myself”?  The very second line in the song is “I gotta find myself some BEEP”!  (The word was “drugs”!)  The first line of the chorus is “I’m a sick mother BEEP er!”  Utterly ridiculous.  You’d think someone would have played it once and said “this is unreleasable”.  I counted seven beeps in under three minutes.

If you prefer, the “dirty” version of “Find Myself” is on the CD too.  Why was the record company Elektra pushing that song so hard?  It’s a weird punky track with Nikki Sixx on vocals for the verses, with the returning Vince Neil handling the choruses.  Not the kind of thing you’d really think to push at fans all excited about Vince coming back, right?  But here it is, twice.  Though the chorus is good, I’m not going out on a limb by calling this song “shitty”.  Or BEEP-y!

Much, much, much better are the album tracks “Let Us Prey” and “Shout at the Devil ’97”.   First, “Let Us Prey”.  This is the only track that sounds like a progression from the ’94 self-titled album with John Corabi.  Crabby even has a writing credit on it, and who knows, maybe that’s him screaming “Let us hunt!”  Tommy Lee did that, according to Tommy Lee, but I think it sounds like John.  It was certainly written for John to sing.  “Shout ’97” is a cool remake of a song that didn’t need remaking, but it was 1997 so what’re ya gonna do?  Added samples and a dance-y beat made it pretty irresistible.  Mick Mars threw down some cool new licks here, although the droning guitars are very dated.  Still, passing grade for “Shout ’97”.

Even though this CD has two good tunes out of four tracks, the “clean” one is such an atrocity that this gets:

0/5 stars

and the dreaded Flaming Turd.

 

REVIEW: Motley Crue – “Dr. Feelgood” (1989 cassette single)

MOTLEY CRUE – “Dr. Feelgood” (1989 Elektra cassette single)

I have a long history with collecting singles.  Record Store Tales Part 4: A Word About B-Sides was all about the discovery of exclusive songs, at the Zellers store in Stanley Park Mall.  The whole point in buying singles, to me, has always been acquiring rare tracks or rare versions of tracks.  Still, if you bought a single and the B-side ended up being on the album anyway, as long as it’s a good song, I don’t complain too much.

Back in 1989 we were all eagerly awaiting the release of Motley Crue’s forthcoming opus, Dr. Feelgood, their first “sober” album and first under the guidance of Bob Rock.  The first single was the title track, and on the little speakers of my radio, it crushed.  In Getting More Tale #656: The One They Call Dr. Feelgood, I had this to say:

“I tried to catch ‘Feelgood’ on the radio and record it, but failed. Instead I bought the cassette single at the local Zellers store. Considering how many tracks the band worked up for Dr. Feelgood, I hoped they would be releasing non-album B-sides. They did not. Instead, ‘Feelgood’ was backed by “Sticky Sweet”, probably the weakest album track.”

This single, bought at the very same Zellers store in the very same mall, is still fun to hit ‘play’ on.  The old familiar cassette test tone precedes the song, a fun nostalgic reminder of the old days.  Then the riff caves in your skull, with no “Terror ‘n Tinseltown” intro.  I suppose if you were a stickler, you could say this version of “Feelgood” without “T.n.T.” was exclusive to the single.  It was pretty easy to separate the two on CD though.

Although certainly overplayed today, I can remember what we all liked about “Feelgood”.  The heavy groove was refreshing and quite unlike other bands getting airplay that summer:  Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Aerosmith.  Then there’s Mick Mars’ solo and talkbox bit, still enjoyable.  I’ve probably heard it 1000 times, but “Dr. Feelgood” still plays good on air guitar.

Flipping the tape, the B-side “Sticky Sweet” perpetually sucks.  Motley Crue had a couple unreleased tracks to choose from that would have been better than “Sticky Sweet”, such as “Rodeo”.  But as revealed in an old issue of Hit Parader, some of those tracks were initially earmarked for a followup album called Motley Crue: The Ballads.  Regardless of the rationale, “Sticky Sweet” stinks like a poo stuck to the bottom of your shoe after you’ve already tracked it into the house.  In its favour, it does have a neat funky instrumental section in the middle, but that can’t save a shitty song.  And the thing is, even if an unreleased B-side was never in consideration, why couldn’t they have just picked a better album track, like “Slice of Your Pie” or “She Goes Down”?  Maybe they knew they were sitting on an album with five singles so they started by rolling out the shittiest B-sides?

Whatever!  The A-side may be timeless but the score must account for the atrocious B-side.

3/5 stars

 

NEWS: When ‘The End’ is Not the End – The Return of Motley Crue

2014

Tommy:  “Hey guys, how do we sell this farewell tour to our fans?”

Mick:  “Let’s call it The End so everybody knows this is the last one.”

Tommy:  “Good idea, but that isn’t what I meant.  How do we sell it so that they believe it?  We don’t want to be accused of doing this for the money, like Ozzy, Kiss and the Who.”

Nikki:  “How about…how about we sign contracts stating that we’ll never tour as Motley Crue ever again?  We’ll do it publicly; it’ll be great for the tour.”

Vince:  “Do I have to sing?”

2019

Motley Crue: “Let’s not just rip the contract up, let’s blow it up.  CA-CHING!  For the fans!”

 

Motley Crue will return to the stage (and your credit card statements) with Poison and Def Leppard.  Excited?  Disappointed?  Indifferent?  Let us know in the comments.

REVIEW: Mötley Crüe – The Dirt Soundtrack (2019)

MÖTLEY CRÜE – The Dirt Soundtrack (2019 EM7)

Netflix scored another huge hit with The Dirt.  It’s a phenomenon with old fans basking in nostalgia, while youngsters hear the band for the first time.  It has been praised, debated, and nit-picked while a surge in Motley sales at the record stores boomed.

The movie soundtrack is an 18 track collection, spanning just a sliver of Motley history:  1981-1989.  All the glory, none of the ugliness or genre-jumping later.  To hype it further the band reconvened in the studio with producer Bob Rock and cranked out three new songs with one really calamitous cover.

Disclaimer:  I haven’t seen The Dirt, and am in no rush either.  I already have The Real Dirt in my VHS Archives.  I don’t need to see the cock-chopper from Game of Thrones doing an American accent pretending to be Mick Mars.  If the songs chosen for this soundtrack have anything to do with the scenes in the movie, I wouldn’t know.

Proceed.

 

Let’s get the greatest hits out of the way first.  Considering that Motley Crue had umpteen (five) compilations already, how does The Dirt hold up?

Remarkably well.

There are a few notable omissions you’ll have to acquire elsewhere.  “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room” and “Wild Side” are missing, but there are better things included instead.  You won’t miss those songs too much since you get early album classics like “Merry-Go-Round”, “Piece of Your Action”,  “Red Hot” and “On With the Show” instead.   The album is also wisely light on ballads.  “Home Sweet Home” is obviously a compulsory inclusion, but you won’t find any second-tier ballads like “Without You” here.

There’s something interesting about the new recordings, and that’s the identity of Nikki’s new writing partner.  John5 is credited on them (along with a host of other names).  For those keeping score, this is the fourth fucking time Motley Crue have recorded a handful of new songs for a hits compilation.  (You could make a 13 track compilation album just from those songs now.)  But this particular batch of new songs is like finding a few rotten spoiled eggs in your carton.

When bands like Motley Crue start incorporating rap into their tunes, it reeks of desperation and that’s “The Dirt (Est. 1981)”.  Machine Gun Kelly is the rapper who portrays Tommy Lee in the film (and does a smashing job of it, say the reviews).  It’s not rap music that is the problem, it’s the fact that Motley have never been that band.  From a certain point of view it’s cool that they gave Kelly a part in the song, acknowledging his role in the movie.  Also, Mick Mars’ solo is brilliant: a six-string stunner, proving the axeman just… keeps… getting… better!  But the song is an over produced mishmash of modernity that is starkly at odds with the old material.

What do others think?  We reached out to Superdekes over at Arena Rock.

“I liked that Crue album,” he said. “Go figure.”

Even the new songs?  “Yeah I do,” continued Deke.  The rap too?  “Well, the rap as its more of a speed thing…”

And that’s a good point.  Check out a rapper like Logic for some amazing speed rapping.  That’s an artform and it sounds good.

It’s just not Motley Crue.  Next!

“Ride With the Devil” suffers from the same kind of overproduction.  What’s cool about it is this cool soul-metal hybrid sound it has going on.  Then Vince Neil starts rapping.  Yes, it’s true that in 1995, Vince Neil made a solo album that combined hip-hop and metal, and of course Tommy Lee has his Methods of Mayhem.  That’s why those were solo projects!

“Crash and Burn” is an appropriate title for this point of the soundtrack, but fortunately the songs is the best of the trio.  The groove is mechanical but Mars is right there laying his electric wizardry on top.

What is perhaps most indefensible is Motley Crue’s putrid cover of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”.

In 1984, when “Like a Virgin” was getting regular television and radio rotation, we used Motley Crue to drown that shit right out.  To hear Motley Crue now singing that actual shit is alternate-universe level mindfucking.

What did Deke have to say about “Like a Virgin”?

“I thought they did it well.  I really like how they twisted the music.”

(We understand that “Like a Virgin” has been getting regular dancefloor action over at the newly refurbished Deke’s Palace up in Thunder Bay.  “Asses are shaking” to the song, said our anonymous source.)

Ending this review on a positive note, what’s good is seeing Motley Crue back in the top of the charts again.  People are talking about the band again.  They’re having debates, like the good-intentioned ribbing here.  Fans are loving the movie and demanding a sequel to fill in the gaps and finish the story.

Have we heard the last of Motley Crue?   Not by a long shot.

3/5 stars

 

 

 

 

VHS Archives #62: The “Real” Dirt – MOTLEY CRUE – MuchMusic special “Decade of Decadence” (1990)

Already seen The Dirt? Watch this then.

Back in 1990, before Motley Crue released their own Decade of Decadence video, MuchMusic made one themselves. And it’s pretty good. They were already gearing up for the ill-fated Motley ’94 album. “No ballads,” says Nikki Sixx. It was a good time to be a Crue-head.

Youtube would not allow the music videos that were a part of this documentary.  They have been edited out.

VHS Archives #53: Motley Crue interviews from Much Spotlight (1984-90)

You wanted the Dirt? We got the Dirt. The real Dirt, right from the horse’s mouth, not some actor who used to play Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones.

Image result for ramsay bolton gif

These clips were recorded from the Motley Crue Spotlight on MuchMusic in late 1990 and has three parts:

1. 1984 interview with Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil
2. 1985 interview with Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee
3. 1990 interview with Vince Neil

Subjects discussed include Motley Crue as the “good guys”, touring and drinking with Y&T, and Vancouver.

VHS Archives #26: Motley Crue spill the dirt on Vince Neil’s car crash (1985)

You’re right Tommy; that car accident was a “misfortune”.

Rest in peace Razzle Dingley.

#656: The One They Call Dr. Feelgood

GETTING MORE TALE #656: The One They Call Dr. Feelgood

Hard rock peaked in the summer of 1989 with Dr. Feelgood. The charts were already filled with hard rock acts. Warrant were picking up steam. White Lion and Winger were getting airplay. Bon Jovi and Def Leppard were still raking it in with their last albums, New Jersey and Hysteria. Aerosmith were back. All we needed was the return of Motley Crue.

The Crue were not exactly laying low, but they did have problems to resolve. Nikki Sixx “died” of a heroin overdose on December 23 1987, but was revived with a shot of adrenaline right to the heart. Then he had to deal with a lawsuit from an imposter named Matthew Trippe, who claimed he took over the role of “Nikki Sixx” in 1983 and was owed royalties. Both these incidents inspired new songs. “Kickstart My Heart” was about by the overdose and subsequent recovery. “Say Yeah” took a shot at Matthew Trippe and that whole strange situation.

Fearing the band would end up dead if he did nothing, manager Doc McGhee sent the band into rehab (except for Mick Mars who quit drinking on his own accord). Then, a clean Motley Crue headed up to Little Mountain Sound in Vancouver to work with Bob Rock for the first time.

Bob Rock was on a roll. He finished up the soon-to-be-mega-successful Sonic Temple for The Cult and was recognized for the sound he was able to capture, particularly on the drums. He was also excellent at playing babysitter with musicians who were notoriously hard to work with. To minimize infighting, Rock split Motley up and had them all record separately. And because Aerosmith were in town recording Pump, Steven Tyler dropped by. He offered support for the newly clean band, and vocals on a new track called “Slice of Your Pie”.

The Crue’s first gig clean and sober was the Moscow Music Peace Festival in August of 1989. Although they had finished a new album, they played no new songs, saving them for proper release and promotion. Instead they played oldies from Girls, Girls, Girls, Theater of Pain, Shout at the Devil and Too Fast For Love. It was anything but peaceful. The gig, organized by McGhee, had been pitched to the bands involved as an equal opportunity. Bon Jovi, who McGhee also managed, were arguably the best known in Russia, as they were the only one with an official release there. They were booked to play last, but McGhee stressed there was no “headliner”. There was already friction between bands, because Ozzy Osbourne felt he should have been the headliner. Black Sabbath were massively popular with Russian rock fans, although they had to scour bootleg markets to find any.

Vince Neil live at the Moscow Music Peace Festival 08/12/1989 – Robert D. Tonsing/AP

Things came to a head when Bon Jovi featured pyro in their set, which none of the other bands had. Motley Crue interpreted this as favouritism towards Bon Jovi. Tommy Lee responded by ripping the shirt off Doc McGhee’s back. Motley Crue fired him and headed home on their own.

This drama did nothing to defuse Motley Crue’s momentum. Their new album Dr. Feelgood was released on September 1 1989, eventually going #1 and spawning five hit singles.

Meanwhile back in Canada, I was following all the Motley news with great anticipation. A Hit Parader magazine interview implied that Dr. Feelgood was so ambitious, it might even turn into a concept album. In fact the band had so many new songs that a second album, called Motley Crue: The Ballads was considered for 1990 release. The concept at that point was to do a new Motley Crue studio album that was all-heavy, no ballads. The softer songs would be saved for the second LP. Ultimately they got cold feet and realised putting out an album with no ballads in 1989 was commercially stupid, and so Dr. Feelgood was released with a mixture of tracks – the best 10 songs and one intro.

“Dr. Feelgood” was the first single, and it dominated airwaves just as summer holidays were ending. It, and “Love in an Elevator” by Aerosmith were absolutely everywhere. “Feelgood” had the edge with me, due to its massive drum sound and serious vibe. Bob Rock captured what might have been the biggest drum sound since Zeppelin, or Creatures of the Night by Kiss. Either way, Motley and Aerosmith really put Little Mountain Sound on the map as the studio to beat.

I tried to catch “Feelgood” on the radio and record it, but failed. Instead I bought the cassette single at the local Zellers store. Considering how many tracks the band worked up for Feelgood, I hoped they would be releasing non-album B-sides. They did not. Instead, “Feelgood” was backed by “Sticky Sweet”, probably the weakest album track.

I wondered what happened to all those unreleased songs that Hit Parader mentioned. “Say Yeah” was not on the album or singles. Neither were “Get It For Free” or “Rodeo”.  (We’d have to wait another 10 years for them to be issued on the “Crucial Crue” remastered series.)  A CD could hold almost 80 minutes of music, but Dr. Feelgood was the standard 45 minutes long. Since CDs were so expensive at the time, some fans argued “You have room, so put all the tracks on there and give us the value for our money.” Of course, this attitude changed later on, when listeners realised that albums with lots of extra filler were not as much fun to listen to. And, sadly, the unreleased Motley songs were pretty much filler. The stuff that went on Dr. Feelgood was as good as they had.

Dr. Feelgood was one of the first CDs I ever got, on Christmas Day 1989, along with my first CD player. The sonics of the album were everything they were hyped to be, but what really impressed me were the silences of compact disc. I was used to tape hiss. As “Time For Change” slowly faded out to nothing, I cranked the volume to 10. It was amazing to hear the fadeout clearly, without the tape hiss that had become part and parcel of music listening.

The album earned some great reviews for its sound, songs and even some of the lyrics. “Time For Change” revealed a new more mature direction. “Kickstart My Heart” took a serious subject and made it inspiring without wimping out. “When I get high, I get high on speed, top fuel funnycar’s a drug for me.” Some called it Motley’s best album, and still hold it as such.

As the album rocketed up the charts, Motley embarked on an 11 month tour. Most of the new album received live attention, with five songs being part of the regular set. One person who was paying attention to this was Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. Lars fell hard for the Motley drum sound, and sought out Bob Rock to produce their next album too. The rest is history. Like Motley before them, Bob Rock helped push Metallica into the upper echelons.

On Monday June 18 1990, Motley Crue headlined at the SkyDome in Toronto. The following day, June 19, the highschool halls were flooded with Motley Crue T-shirts. Where were all these “fans” last year when I seemed to be about one of two people in school who liked Motley Crue? It was always so bizarre to see concert shirts on people who never expressed interest in the band.  All those girls who always seemed to say, “I hate Montley Crue”!

What goes up, must come down. Motley relapsed after partying too hard with the Skid Row guys. Infighting ramped up. As the band were set and poised to top Dr. Feelgood with something truly special, they fired Vince Neil. It was as if they were handed the keys to the kingdom, to promptly throw them off the mountain. Although their 1994 album with John Corabi is a monster (and possibly their all-time best), as a commercial entity, Dr. Feelgood was never surpassed.  It eventually sold over six million copies.

We’ll have to see how Motley portray it in their movie The Dirt, but the truth is that Dr. Feelgood was a one-off mega-success story they’d never repeat.