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What Do We Owe Bands?

Do we owe our favorite rock bands anything? I mean, we buy their albums, T-shirts and concert tickets - isn't that enough?

The other day Nikki Sixx (of Motley Crue in case you stumbled upon this blog by accident) tweeted that he didn't like the crowd at a New York date of their current tour. From what I can tell, no one from Poison tweeted anything negative about the crowd. Nikki's tweet (since deleted) was basically that the crowd was lame. I assume he meant not rowdy. I'll agree it sucks to be in a crowd of people all just sitting or even staring off into space. Here lately, my biggest pet peeve is people watching an entire show... through their cell phone. So I do understand where Nikki is coming from in that regard. But is it okay for rockers to complain about paying fans from the stage... or via social media?

Nikki isn't the first rocker to rant about crowds and he won't be the last. It's hard when a band plays to a super small crowd (now I'm thinking back to Nelson at Rocklahoma a few years ago) or to crowds that get so insane it is dangerous (like when I saw Avenged Sevenfold in Columbus once and the crowd of mostly kids surged, busted the barrier and nearly took down the media area and almost ended the show), but still, performing as promised is just part of the deal. The prices of concert tickets is out of control (we've already had that discussion) so I feel like bands should be at least a little grateful for their fans that are still willing to pay to come out and see a show. And that goes for bands playing at every venue level, from the corner bar to Madison Square Garden.

I dunno. I just don't think it is very nice for any musician from any genre to complain about fans. That doesn't mean artists need to blow smoke or say "Our fans are the best!" or "This crowd is the craziest!" if it isn't true. What's that saying? If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all?

Flame away.

Reader Comments (30)

Agreed. Also, if the crowd isn't in to the show, isn't that a commentary on the band performing? How about reaching out to the crowd with your performance. If the crowd is sitting on their hands...don't let them. Amp up your performance, Nikki. As much as I LOVE Crüe, it is becoming more apparent that they are mailing it in & then ripping other bands, or jumping in on controversial topics to take away the attention from themselves. As I am typing this I am surprised at myself, because I have stuck up for Crüe for a long time, but I think the straw has finally put a little too much stress on the back of this camel.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGEO II
Maybe Sixx should take a look in the mirror and say, "What can I do to get my fans to Rock out more?"

I saw Crüe open for Aerosmith 4th Row at Jones Beach on Long Island a number of years ago and as cool as it was from seats that close, I couldn't help but notice Sixx and Neil both appearing to be going through the motions, taking turns half-strutting across the stage, back and forth, like polar bears absentmindedly doing laps at the zoo.

Instead of making "Saints Of Los Angeles" a half hearted effort, why didn't he genuinely apply himself to make the entire album on the level of the title track. There might be a couple of "okay" songs on it, but generally, let's face it, it sounds phoned in.

If it had been the kind of record he's capable of making and if they had put out one even better AND they performed more of their old stuff AND if Neil bothered to sing with some passion, then maybe, just maybe, the audience would be more enthusiastic and thus, so would he.

Instead, what we get is "The Same Old Situation".

And he gets the response he deserves.

p.s. I'm not lumpin' Marrs and Lee in with Sixx and Neil. The three times I seen 'em, Marrs and Lee are always knockin'
themselves out from the moment they hit the stage to the last note they play. Let's hope the audience is more enthusiastic and Nikki will think so, too, at OutlawFest a week from this Saturday in Frederick, Maryland.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMetalboy!
Could it be that they just sat through the SAME SETLIST celebrating it's last 30 and 25 years respectively from both Motley AND Poison? Could it be they were only following Vince's lead and clapping every third "CLAP"? Could it have a been some science fiction type spontaneous mass realization that everyone in attendence just noticed Motley Crue are old men going through the motions to a taped "live" performance? Could it be Nikki just had a lucid moment from the stage and the crowd was not different than any crowd reaction in any "insert your city here"? Could it be Nikki is just a self serving egotistical, narcissist who feels he is better than any fan or band that dares not kneel in front of him? Is it Nikki just ran out our random tweets and needed to start more controversy that no one cares about? Or were the fans just really in awe that the Crue finally put Too Young To Fall in Love back in the set? Were the fans just too spent after the energy they exerted for Poison who came out with a high energy, albeit, phoney, set?
I'm thinking the real answer is, Motley got the reaction they deserved for a mediocre performance.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Insider
I think a lot of these guys stopped caring about the fans and music 20 years ago and are only doing it for the cash. Bottom line, it's about money. He could care less about the fans. He sees dollar signs when he looks out from the stage and I'm sure he's not the only one by far. I know some guys still care and some guys still love doing what they do, but these are probably the exceptions.

I remember having a conversation with Vince Neil and Jani Lane back in 97 when Vince was doing the solo gig and before Jani got fired from Warrant. Jani asked Vince if he was going to get back to together with Crue to tour and he said " I f***in' hate those guys but you know what, for a million bucks, I'll do it"! That says it all.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRita
Meh. Bands have as much right to complain about boring audiences as we have to snipe about boring bands. It's a free country.

At the end of the day, performing onstage is part of their job. They will go backstage and comment about the quality/lack of quality of the audience in much the same way as you might hang up the phone at the office and roll your eyes about a particularly difficult customer. It's just venting about work. We all do it. Plenty of us do it on Twitter and Facebook. It's not great business practice (especially when a lot of your customers follow you on Twitter), but that doesn't take away our right to vent. The relationship between fans and band is a business relationship, not a personal relationship.

A lame audience might indeed be a symptom of a mediocre show, but if you do enough shows and you get to know that some audiences are amazing, whilst others seem to be made of stone no matter what you do. I think I'm yet to meet a performer who doesn't feel annoyed or disappointed when that happens. And we comment on it. The crew comment on it. Yep, sometimes we even make fun of people in the audience when they can't hear us. It's a necessary boost to morale. If we had to love everyone who bought a ticket to the show... well, we'd go nuts. That's like asking a waitress to love every idiot customer she's ever had.

... Appreciating that Nikki's hardly my favorite person in the world, at least you can say he's showing the world who he is.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKiki Chrome
How would he react in Japan where the audience all sit on the there rears and watch a show until the end. Check out any show from buddakan and they all look mesmerized by the show.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCapt
As fans, we've already given a lot: we buy the albums, we pay for concert tickets & wear their merch. To think that we somehow need to do something extra is ridiculous. Like Metalboy said, it Nikki wanted to get the crowd rocking, he should have been trying harder. I've been to a lot of shows where the band does a great job at keeping the crowd into the show.

What likely happened is that Sixx wasn't at his best that night, and so as a result he figured it was the audience's fault.

For what it's worth, I saw the Crue/Poison show about a month ago in Toronto and Motley was great.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Great topic, Allyson. Thanks for initiating a fun dialog.

Simply put, Metalboy! is a genius... "taking turns half-strutting across the stage, back and forth, like polar bears absentmindedly doing laps at the zoo." Absolutely brilliant, man!

The Insider and Rita are also spot-on with their obervations. Good stuff!
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Long
Let me first start out by saying that I have been a huge fan and supporter of the Crue for the entire 30 years, I've seen them so many times I have lost count. I've also stuck up for them and was probably one of the biggest defenders of Nikki when that incident happened with the water bottle. I for one did not blame him for going off on that fan, I could not imagine seeing something coming out of nowhere sailing past my head. But this crap that we owe the bands something has really turned me off from Motley Crue. First it was Tommy a few days back really offending the fans in NJ, he made a comment on Facebook saying " What were you sleeping or high, that show really sucked." Now Nikki making comments about how the fans owe bands too?? I didn't catch the tweet saying he didn't like the crowd. What an ego! I hate to break this to Mr. Sixx but bands need the fans, fans do not need the band! I also would like to mention he indicated in one post that they had audio problems, sorry to tell you but you had audio problems in Detroit but we didn't boo or tell you guys it sucked. I won't be going to see anymore Crue concerts. Thanks for writing this Allyson, this really irked me when I seen them offending their fans.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNancy
REading this made me think how bad ass it would be if on Cruefest 3 next year, Motley and Avenged Sevenfold co-headlined!!!!
That would be soooo sick haha.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFlorentine
Im a big Crue fan and Nikki fan, but I am sick of his whining. Especially about Poison. (which is why I didnt go to the show) I have no interest in supporting someone who is bad mouthing the other bands on the bill.

As far as complaining about the crowd, they paid for a ticket they can enjoy the show anyway they want. Maybe at 40+ years of age they don't want to act like teenagers?
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEdward
Do Tommy and Nikki realize they are playing in front of thousands of people packed together in one of the nasteiest heat waves this country has seen in a really long time? Do these idiots realize these crowds have sat in said heat through 2 other bands sets before they leave their (4 separate) air conditioned tour busses and go to their air conditioned dressing rooms to primp in front of a mirror? I don't claim to be lieutenant Columbo, but this may go a long way towards the "lame crowds" here on the East Coast recently.....
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Metalboy, SPOT ON analogy of Vince and Nikki!!!! LOL
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary
well during this heat wave, nikki dragged vince over to the section I was in to show him how nuts we were all going. I should'nt take credit, but I'll take a lot of it, along with crediting my partner in crime.

Nikki: please tweet how much fun the crowd in Camden, NJ was! And then complain that it's webmasters and other "VIPs" who get first chance at prime seats. good grief! If you really 'know' your audience and want your fans to rock, then change your way of doing things (case in point, New York show).

PEOPLE: please LISTEN! Go to a show to have a good time for you and for those who are with you; whether directly or by proximity b/c s'he is in your section- not whether Tommy is on a roller coaster (when isn't he?), or whether Vince is drunk (when isn't he?) or whether Nikki is 'acting' like gene simmons (when isn't he?).

But then again, everyone is a critic....some woman behind me commented as I left..."I really enjoyed rocking with you, until...but other than that, you rock!" Further, the teen age kid two rows behind me (who was with his dad), 'grabbed' my ear as I was leaving and said, "I wish my dad rocked liked you". I replied, "Thank you, but be careful what you wish for."

Thank goodness, I am able to compartmentalize and maintain a healthy balance between the aspects.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
Metalboys post is spot on. Motley and Poison shows are boring as fuck nowadays. THATS the problem Nikki.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Ozz
I (somewhat respectfully) disagree kenny ozz and MB. perhaps you 'guys' should look into that proverbial mirror and ask, "why am 'I' bored 'as fuck'?" "why can't "I" appreciate this?" "Why do I 'need to rely" on [other people on stage] to enjoy myself?"

I've posted before and might again..."It" must come and remain from within...not from finger pointing and criticizing.

We all need a little shelter...

Al: Am I "flaming" enough for you?
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
Well, for once I agree with you Ms. Allyson, "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all."
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMAD ABOUT SLAUGHTER
not a single soul on earth owes anything to the crüe before Vince Neil starts singing the words!
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNikke Sixx
>well during this heat wave, nikki dragged vince over to the section I was in to show him how nuts we were all going.<

Geez, you'd think somebody who wasn't mailing it in or maybe shit faced drunk (see Neil,Vince) may have noticed that on his own?

I'm honestly not trying to be a dickhead,and you made a helluva lot of valid points in your posts fletch, but Vince Neil just completely pisses me off anymore. Last 2 times I saw the Crue the actual band blew the roof off of the building, while Vince managed to "sing"/slur about every 4th word, and they were off key. I'm just of the school that at $100/pop, you owe the people a little more than that. It's pretty obvious that the boys are just doing a cash grab the past 6 years. Tommy is all techno'd out, Nikki's best writing has all been for Sixx A.M.(S.O.L.A. song itself excluded)and Vince is a douche bag alcoholic. Thank God for Mick Mars, as I firmly believe he is the last one still enjoying what they do, and he has to physically drag his poor ass on stage every night due to health conditions.
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGary
i got thworn out in tampa sometime the venue doesnt rock
July 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertommydahl

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