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What If...Motley Crue Edition

Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 12:01AM by Registered CommenterAllyson B. Crawford | Comments22 Comments

I play "what if" games all the time in my head.

"What if I eat sixteen cookies for lunch?"

"What if I spend $700 on a new handbag?"

"What if I run every red light on the way to work?"

On a Glam note..."What if Motley Crue were a new band?"

Seriously.

Let's say the Sunset Strip kings released Too Fast For Love tomorrow. Would it succeed or would it flop?

The music scene is so different today. Yes, we have the Internet and the power of Myspace, but fans don't seem loyal and they certainly are not rabid like they were in the early 1980s.

When I go to club shows, I'm impressed to find 50 people in attendance...let alone a hundred. Every picture I've seen from the Sunset Strip heyday shows packed clubs, with people hanging out the door.

Can we get back to that? I'm not sure. I mean, I certainly wasn't partying on Sunset in 1983, but I'm guessing bars didn't charge a $25 cover and beer didn't cost four bucks a bottle. The high cost of life is clearly hurting the music industry...but that's another article altogether.

Motley Crue was - and is - a band that feeds on crowd energy. Founder Nikki Sixx is a marketing genius. He knew what he wanted to create when he dreamed up the band. Even though the band had some catchy tunes, their beginning musicianship was lackluster. It was their over-the-top image that helped send them, well, over-the-top.

Fans wanted to be around Motley Crue because they were cool. Certainly dangerous, new and larger-than-life.

I'm not sure if Motley were a modern band...people would even notice.

The Internet has given us an incredible tool to find all sorts of new artforms...and yet, it has pulled us further apart. It's easier to stay home and watch videos on YouTube instead of going to a show. We can listen to our old favorites instead of going to bars and finding new talent. Plus...the world is certainly more jaded now.

Many of you know I'm a big fan of Avenged Sevenfold. Even though Glam is my number one music choice, I still think it's important to like new music. Avenged Sevenfold's most recent release is absolutely phenomenal, yet most people don't even know about the band. In fact, the band hasn't sold that many total albums considering their major label status. In some ways this is ironic because there are more ways to sell music these days than 20 years ago.

Back to Motley Crue. Too Fast For Love comes out tomorrow. It's released on CD, special press vinyl and naturally, iTunes. Do you buy the release? How do you even learn about the band when Rolling Stone doesn't cover Metal acts and other magazines offer spotty coverage at best. MTV doesn't play videos anymore...

Have we reached a time when new artist cultivation is dead? I shudder to think we have.

Discuss.

Reader Comments (22)

Thing is, the things that make Motley less interesting today, are a scene they created. But, I get your point, in a world where new music is a google away, it's hard for a band to inspire loyalty.

I turned on the radio in Texas and the first song I heard was A7X. Awesome.
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Graus
Great article Allyson..Back in the 80s fans seemed more loyal to their bands then now a days..Also now its hard for the younger generation to afford tickets for cover charges..It is sad.
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
I'm drinking a beer now listening to the Crue =)..SALUTE!!!..LONG LIVE THE CRUE!!!!!
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoe
I was thinking the same thing recently. I'm 38 now and grew up in the the thick of the 80's metal heyday. My mp3 player is loaded with Alice Cooper, Motley Crue and Megadeth. Blogs like yours is the only proof I have that metal music is even being made any more. The latest 'new' metal group I've discovered was the Murderdolls - and that was because of a video I saw someplace (not MTV, for sure). I was exposed to new music every Saturday night on Headbangers Ball (the old, good version... not the crap they push on us today) and the record store where I could buy an unheard album for less than $10. Neither avenue is available anymore.

Unfortunately, if Motley Crue's 'Too Fast for Love' came out tomorrow? With todays music marketing? I'd probably never hear it. Music today is awash in American Idol dreck and Clearchannel Radio playlists. The internet is the only viable market for new music.

No wonder the industry is terrified of piracy. They driven us to it.
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchuck
I rely on the internet for finding new music I like these days - I'm sure as hell not going to find it in the magazines. Classic Rock magazine does at least make the effort to feature newer acts in a variety of rock genres, but as for the likes of Kerrang - if you're not looking for wall to wall My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy and 30 Seconds to Mars there's really not much point.

Thank goodness for sites like this and for myspace. I've come across so much great music I would never have heard if I relied on music magazines, radio and TV.

I've ranted before on my myspace blog about the lack of support for live music. There's a small club in my town that gets some terrific names, and they don't charge huge amounts for tickets either. But it's really not going to be worth it for the owner for much longer because it just doesn't get the support, and it's not like there are other venues providing competition. I love live music, I love the atmosphere and the energy, the chance to meet other fans, and the opportunity to meet the musicians themselves. I just wish more people out there felt the same.
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCinnamon
well if it wasnt for the internet i would never have even heard or attained music by crashdiet, hardcore superstar, dirty penny and all the other new bands.

i doubt id have found as many old releases either to be honest with you.

However i agree, it also has changed the way things work. i think a band needs major label support and i think it needs constant repetative advertising and airplay to get anywhere cause thats the only time people are gonna listen, when its shoved down there throats. sadly, it seems only emo and other shit acts get this royalty.
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrlee
I'm not necessarily looking for "new" music anymore. I made my bed and damn it, I love the bed I'm sleeping in!!! I have over a 1000 cd's and in any given year, I only listen to about 50 of them. Instead, I tend to search for obscure, bootleg material (songs, dvds, memorabilia) from my favorite artists- Van Halen being at the top of the list!

Moreover, I try to keep the faith alive by giving away a lot of 80's stuff to our foster children (teenagers), their friends, our colleagues' teenage children, etc...

I'd rather them check out Van Halen, Cinderella, Bon Jovi, Poison, Motley, etc...then for me to search out the "latest and greatest". For me, I've already found "it" and am happy to be a part of it back then and a part of it now. I enjoy passing along to others what is meaningful to me. I had one kid say to me recently (after he listened to Van Halen 1), "Do you know how good Eddie is on guitar and how cool Dave sounds?" I smiled from ear to ear and rhetorically replied, "Really?"

Peace,
fletch

P.S. Love the site Allyson...Keep Runnin'...
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
I wonder if you mean how the sound of this album would translate today, in modern music. I can't say I know because I've never heard the album. But I can say, being a 20-something in 2008, that yeah, there totally is TOO much music out there right now. My friends give me hell because all I want to listen to is classic rock and britpop, and that I'm "missing out" on all the great new stuff. Which, I'm sure there is great stuff out there right now, but like most bands I get into, they have to find me. Digging has become too much work. The internet has really made it so easy for anyone to have a band, make music in their basement, whatever. I used to depend on stations like MTV and the radio for new tunes. But it just doesn't fly anymore. I'm even one of the only people I know that still buys CDs! If people can't "afford" them anymore, then what was their excuse before? I know what my best friend would say, she'd rather buy clothes :)

But back to the fact I prefer old music these days... it just seems to me it had a spirit that new music can't touch. Bands had to work much harder back then, what with getting airplay and selling records and that. It's spinning out of control, really... I'm lost... I don't know where this is going... lol...
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlesh
I totally believe its far too easy to get airplays and to get noticed now days. But that all depends on what kind of band you are. If yer more of the mainstream style of music, yer more likely to get attention. Now on the other hand, if yer a glam band, not as many people care.
And I noticed its almost impossible to get gigs if you have 80's attitude. bars around here will throw you out and wont let you play again if you act up too much. My band is already banned from several clubs already. What few we have here.

and the way you get shows here is unfair. I dont know how it is everywhere else, but you can't have more than one show every two weeks in the entire columbia area.
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStenji
I don't think it would be a commercial success out of the gate because the record company wouldn't put the energy or $$$ behind it and it would just get lost behind all the usual crap that's out there now... I'm talking Fall Out Boy, 30 Seconds to Mars, etc...

However, Nikki Sixx being the marketing brain he is, I think he would utilize the internet (myspace, blogs, a website, etc.) in a way that would far surpass what a label would be willing to do with a glam rock band at this point... He'd be able to use the good old "grass roots ground swell" movement to make some noise and get Motley known.

Now if Shout at the Devil came out tomorrow it may be a different story as the songs overall were stronger and the production much slicker than TTFL, so it would be a real contender for the all important airplay...

Yeah, things aren't the way they used to be. I remember when my friend, Troy, showed me the cover for TFFL and said "They're this new band from LA that are pretty cool."... Things were cheaper then, too... You could go to a club with a handful of fliers and $10 bucks in your pocket and get into a show and have a couple of drinks. You could go see a major concert for less than $50 total - including gas! The scene itself was just different... compare it to how we used to actually talk to each other whereas now we're all lost without our freaking cell phones... right?

Great article, Allyson. One of your best.

January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
I'm 35 and I grew up with diverse Rock radio and MTV. I discovered new bands by watching MTV and listening to specific DJs who played new music. Unfortunately we don't have that diversity in the MAINSTREAM. The general public is afforded variety thru the Internet but most conform to the old standards and are force fed what is hyped by the powers that be using traditional outlets.

Every band used to come to town. Every week there would be another major show to see whether it was in an arena or a club. Prices were low enough and there was choice, you could go out on Friday and Saturday to see shows. There are only a couple of clubs in Rhode Island that get regular shows, the Dunkin Donuts Center barely gets major concerts anymore. To see a band like Motley Crue (who did play the DD Center on the last tour), you might have to travel an hour to the casinos in Connecticut, or maybe the same to Worcester or Boston, MA. By then you've shelled out at least $60 for a ticket, gas, food (unless you pack a cooler), and then the shirts are almost as much as the ticket. Remember when you could but a ticket for $15 in advance? You could head to a major concert with $35 and buy a shirt, tourbook, food, and chip in for gas.....in most cases you'd come home with a few bucks left!

We had less choices back in the '80s. Sure there were video games, and movie rentals, and cable TV but not everyone had that access. Many households I knew only had one TV (maybe 2), one VCR, one cable box, one video game system. I look at my own home today and I have 6 TVs, 2 Digital cables w/DVRs & 2 basic cables, 2 computers with Internet access, PS2, Wii, Nintendo DS, 3 MP3 players, etc. Look at the choice we have now and the ease of attaining what we want thru the Internet.

If Motley Crue released Too Fast For Love today, I'm sure there would be some press, some coverage on Hard Rock/Heavy Metal websites and boards but the mainstream would be oblivious to the band and the album. They'd have a website, a MySpace page, maybe even a street team but they would probably be, and remain, virtually unknown. It's a shame it's the way it is now because there are some good young bands out there making solid music and they may never know any success.

Steve
Heavy Metal Addiction
http://hardrockheavymetal.wordpress.com/


Interesting Question indeed.

If released in 2008, would Motley Crue be a blip on the radar of rock fans. Probably the hardcore fans like us, would know them and buy them. Would they be any more popular than Vains of Jenna? Probably not.

The music industry is in a completely different state.

They poured millions of dollars into bands like Motley Crue.

Bands today are lucky to see any of that cash, or that kind of promotion. There may be a few exceptions to that rule (Nickelback), but for the most part, most rock bands these days only grow by word of mouth, and through the internet with sites like BBG and HRH.

Are fans loyal to the new bands? I don't really see that, although, the new wave of metal in bands like A7X, Shadows Fall, and Trivium have quite a following.

Rob Rockitt
www.hardrockhideout.com
I agree with a lot of what's been said already. Motley (and TFFL) would just be a blip if released tomorrow.

The thing also, is that back then, record companies were still letting artists/bands develop and get a fanbase. If you don't have a hit out of the box now, you are doomed to either struggle to support your album on a major or support it yourself.
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatty
I'm not sure Motley would have much success in the music world today if they were to release their first album tomorrow, as you said.

Now, I disagree with the A7X comment. Every kid in my school has at least heard of A7X, like them or not. I've seen tons of A7X hoodies and t-shirts as well, so I think their going well for themselves.

And not all bars/clubs only play to 50/100 people. When the Tracii Guns version of L.A. Guns played Myrtle Beach at the Soundgarden, the show was sold out...300 some people, and they couldn't let anymore in. I was surprised by this, however.

However, I'm not sure if glam could come back to the state it once was. For example, I should my friend a picture of Lizzy from Vains of Jenna in...Revolver magazine? I'm not sure...it was my friends and I just HAD to have the picture. Anyway, she took a look at him and after freaking out about how "white" he was (me explaining over and over how he's from Sweden...) she complained about his hair being too long and all the bandanas and whatever else. Most of the teen's music taste has definitely changed.

I was also watching Fuse a few days ago because Gene Simmons was on the Henry Rollins Show. I support Gene a lot, because he is a marketing genious, and I was listening to him talk about new bands today. He stated that unless you're a rap artist or an emo band, you stand no chance because with things how they are today, if you don't fit into those categories, with the few fans you will have they will just download straight from the internet. So his example was if you're a punk band, you stand absolutely no chance.
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMakel
I agree with most of the posters here. I probably wouldn't see or hear Too Fast For Love if it was BRAND new. I don't watch MTV anymore, I tend to zone out when a band is described as NU or NEW metal, and I usually don't take expensive chances with new bands in clubs or bars. I'm sure the last several hundred CD buys I've made have been greatest hits or bands from my youth. Would they be succesful? Yeah, I guess because Nikki was so innovative and the sound still has a lot of energy and substance. But...Fall Out Boy is probably succesful from an industry standpoint, and I don't know one song from the clowns.

January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBig Robbo
I agree with most of the posters here. I probably wouldn't see or hear Too Fast For Love if it was BRAND new. I don't watch MTV anymore, I tend to zone out when a band is described as NU or NEW metal, and I usually don't take expensive chances with new bands in clubs or bars. I'm sure the last several hundred CD buys I've made have been greatest hits or bands from my youth. Would they be succesful? Yeah, I guess because Nikki was so innovative and the sound still has a lot of energy and substance. But...Fall Out Boy is probably succesful from an industry standpoint, and I don't know one song from the clowns.

January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBig Robbo
hmmm if i heard it id buy it...but i dont know about the rest of the country.....the music scene is awfull nowadays....awfull hahah not the bands persee but the fans
January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDirty Angel
$25 BUCKS Cover and Beer $4 BUCKS that's good value. Here in Australia we pay around $60 bucks cover for a club gig and a Corona 350ml will cost you anywhere between $7 to $9 BUCKS.

January 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBillyKiss
I just don't get it when people praise Gene Simmons (et. el.) for being "marketing geniouses". Isn't this just a synonym for having an exploitive nature. It makes me think...Is "he" doing/singing it because he really beleives in it, or because he is trying to exploit fans in order to make a buck.

There is also a difference between singing and living what people want to hear and making a good living out of it and quite another to exploit a person's vulnerabilities in order to better yourself. Even Paul Stanley shakes his head in disgust at some of the things that Gene Simmons says and does.
January 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
Gene Simmons is a marketing genius when it comes to KISS. Gene Simmons has partners that help make him look like a genius when it comes to business outside of KISS.

Is he successful? Yes.
Is it because of his hard work on KISS? Yes.
Does it piss me off that he thinks of KISS as an afterthought now? Yes.

He wouldn't be as successful as he is now if it wasn't for the KISS reunion. It's also widely known in KISS fan circles that Gene & Paul don't get along, Peter Criss confirmed that to Eddie Trunk and there is video on YouTube of a rift during the Revenge tour.

Steve
Heavy Metal Addiction
http://hardrockheavymetal.wordpress.com/

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