It seems like Mötley Crüe has been saying goodbye for years, but singer Vince Neil told Billboard Magazine that this tour is the last — “definitely for real.”
“I’m sure in five, 10 years from now we’ll probably do something again together, if other people’s careers don’t get in the way,” he said.
The band plays the Smoothie King Center on Friday.
Mötley Crüe’s story would likely have ended much earlier if not for “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band,” the tell-all book the band members wrote with Neil Strauss in 2001.
Their accounts of years of over-the-top rock ’n’ roll indulgence frequently read like a wild life as lived by Wile E. Coyote.
In 2001, the story was largely over. The Crüe’s string of career-defining albums ended in 1989 with “Dr. Feelgood;” three years later, singer Vince Neil left in 1992 and the “Mötley Crüe” album released in 1994 with singer John Corabi failed to live up the success of its predecessors, as have all Crüe albums since. Part of that was due to the members’ issues, but Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and the grunge bands that followed made hair metal bands seem clownish, corny and dated.
It didn’t help that a band whose exploits were once covered in Rolling Stone was at that point fodder for E!, particularly in 1995 when drummer Tommy Lee and his wife Pamela Anderson’s sex tape went into public circulation.
Bassist Nikki Sixx divorced Playboy playmate Brandi Brandt and married Pamela Anderson’s “Baywatch” co-star Donna D’Errico around that time. Before “The Dirt,” Mötley Crüe bore a closer resemblance to a soap opera than a bike gang.
The book restored some of that outlaw status as it seemed to chronicle all of the indulgences. If it missed a drug adventure or groupie encounter, it’s because no one remembered it or it was too pedestrian to make the cut.
Such a tale could have easily been so lascivious and depraved that it was the final nail in the band’s coffin, but the band members are so oddly blithe about the debauchery they engaged in that “The Dirt” at times reads like the episode of “Leave it to Beaver” when Wally and Beav discover just how creative a girl can be for a backstage pass.
They rarely seem bright enough to be calculating, particularly Lee, whose chapters sound as if they were dictated down to starting almost every line of dialogue with “dude,” even when talking to Anderson. That dimness, combined with the inventive nature of their indulgences and their cartoonish disregard for consequences, made the book endlessly quotable and the band interesting to people who had never cared about it in the past. “The Dirt” ended up on the New York Times Bestseller List for four weeks, and it changed the band’s narrative. Their musical story in the ’90s was that of a sad band trying and failing to find a place in a grunge and increasingly electronic world. After “The Dirt,” Mötley Crüe’s members were icons of rock ’n’ roll bad behavior in Aerosmith and Ozzy Osbourne’s league if not Keith Richards’. That and time helped people who loathed Mötley Crüe in its heyday listen more forgivingly to such Crüe classics as “Shout at the Devil” and “Too Fast for Love.”
This may be the band’s final tour, but “The Dirt” has given Mötley Crüe a future as well. A film version is in the works, and while a movie is easy to imagine, an R-rated one is less so. After reading a script, Tommy Lee told Billboard, “That’s insane. This movie is insane. Even just the way the movie starts, you’re like, ‘How the hell are we gonna rate this thing?’ ”