Finished The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band. Oh, what a read!
The biography of Motley Crue is so good, it makes you want to roll around on the floor. It's one of those rare books that suck you in, and make you obsess about the storyline, characters , plot and eventual outcome. In this case, the stories and characters are real, and knowing this, I'm baffled how the guys in the Crue are still alive.
I've read quite a few music biographies, but this one is so far above the rest. The band doesn't sugarcoat their drug use, and man, did they use drugs. They also don't sugarcoat their sexual exploits, failed marriages, money troubles or rivalries with band members, other musicians, and their inner selves.
Let's start with the drugs. I mentioned before that Nikki Sixx has a planned biography called The Heroin Diaries. When I was first learning about that book project, I was confused. I didn't think there would be enough material for two books considering The Dirt is so complete. I'll go ahead and assume that I'm wrong. The human body is truly amazing and resilient. And life, like always, ironic. Here are these four men, who are literally (and openly) trying to commit slow suicide through drugs, alcohol and a berserk lifestyle. Fast forward a decade, singer Vince Neil has a daughter that dies from cancer when she's just four. All the money and medical treatments couldn't save her, so Neil drinks even heavier after her death. She had a pure body, he shoots his full of poison. There's a brief moment in the book that hints at this revelation, although I'm not sure Neil really gets it. After all, it was just a few months ago he was so drunk he nearly stumbled off a stage during a solo gig.
The money issues confused me the most in the book. This is one area that didn't have a lot of explanation, just comments like "his wife took all his money," etc. There is one section that talks about Sixx and the amount he blows on, well, blow. It's something like a thousand a day for years and years on top of a 40 thousand dollar a month mortgage. At one point, Neil was so broke, the band would do special shows just so he could pay his bills. Another time, during a poorly received tour, Mick Mars was so broke he couldn't contribute 75 thousand to help the band. Being a poor nobody makes me sick when I think how much money these guys wasted when so many people are starving to death in this country.
Now to the enigma of the book and the band: Mick Mars. He has the fewest chapters, and they have a completely different tone then the rest of the book. He suffers from a rare disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis that basically destroys your spine and makes living very painful. So, during the book, Mars doesn't really dwell on his disease, except to say that he feels guilty for not being able to move around on stage like the other guys. Plus, he's way older, so he wasn't really into the wild debauchery the other three always seemed to enjoy. According to the book, he didn't cheat when he was married and never fell off the sobriety wagon. He was just the outsider, trying to fit in. Now that I think about it, no other band member mentioned Mars' rare condition. All through the book, Tommy says "silence equals death," and they were never really there for each other, including when Mars was at his sickest.
So, that's the final point. While the men acted as a party unit to create havoc in the world, they never really considered themselves more than a band. When you're with the same four people for more than 25 years, you have to start thinking of each others as more than coworkers and more like family. Or, at the very least, friends.