Tuesday, May 15, 2012

After 25 Years, Mötley Crüe's Girls, Girls, Girls Still Hasn't Brought About the Apocalypse

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 9:20 AM

click to enlarge motley_crue_girls_girls_girls.jpg

Today, the Antichrist heads up a company that charters private jets. The standard rental features a plush, zebra-striped interior. He also operates a chain of bar-and-grill restaurants that specialize in garish décor and $9.95 caprese salads.

In the mid-1980s, it was impossible to escape the apocalyptic rhetoric that painted Vince Neil as the scourge of Western Civilization, an angel of darkness sent to spearhead society's moral disintegration. He was, ranked from bad to worse: the frontman of glam metal act Mötley Crüe, the self-proclaimed World's Most Notorious Rock Group; a lyric writer inspired by the seedy side of life; an unabashed substance user; and a convicted felon. At his most ribald and boozy, Neil bragged that he downed a case of beer and a half a fifth of gin on his days off.

The place Neil is at today -- no more Maybelline products and lace-up leather pants; the plug is in the jug (sorta); his deepest concerns being the long-term effects of heavy travel on his cocker spaniels -- doesn't diminish what he and Mötley Crüe accomplished with Girls, Girls, Girls. Released 25 years ago this week, the album remains one of mainstream rock's ultimate triumphs over the anti-rock establishment.

When Neil extolled the land of pasties and folded dollar bills and brass poles, and name-dropped all the gentlemen's clubs where he and the boys got free coke from the bouncers, it curled the hair of squeamish social conservatives everywhere. (Case in point: In December of 1987, the video for "Girls, Girls, Girls" was banned by MTV. Said station general manager Lee Masters: "When it comes to clips full of scantily clad girls, our attitude is very simple -- enough already.")

Mötley Crüe, "Wild Side"

Since its birth in the 1950s, rock 'n' roll was categorized as everything from spiritually sinister to an inciter of social unrest. In the 1980s, it finally lived up to the standards established in such labels: lyrics got lewder, individual characters got more unsavory. Bands like Mötley Crüe brought together the fringe elements of punk and glam, and the result was both gauche and gonzo. The Crüe was androgynous without being ambiguous, embracing a look that was both ghoulish and suggestively violent (Mad Max meets Escape From New York, according to bassist Nikki Sixx). They celebrated South California trash culture, introduced snickering teenage boys to the term "ménage a trois," and dedicated themselves to better living through narcotics. They didn't glorify going to extremes, but instead, going to extremes and getting away with it. They embodied what Greil Marcus said was the message of early rock 'n' roll: "What life doesn't give me, I'll take."

Social conservatives reacted angrily. Here was music that not only celebrated reckless and excessive living, but did so without the physical and emotional fallout. Clearly record-burning bonfires, a staple of the '50s and '60s, would no longer cut it. Heavier artillery was needed, and it arrived in the form of the Parents Music Resource Center (PRMC), a group founded in 1985 by the wives of several prominent Washington politicians. The PRMC sponsored a touring slide show of songs it dubbed "The Filthy 15" (including "Bastard" by the Crüe), spurred Congress to conduct hearings on the issue of "rock porn" and whether the music industry needed to better police itself, and ultimately succeeded in getting record labels to slap parental advisory warnings on releases featuring potentially offensive content.

Hysteria ensued, sides were chosen, the march toward censorship hastened. Sears and J.C. Penney stated that their stores would not carry stickered albums. Communities considered legislation barring certain age groups from live concerts. In a 1986 article from the Los Angeles Daily News, a counselor from the Back in Control Train Center, a Fullerton, Calif.-based organization specializing in parental supervision, discussed -- without a trace of sarcasm -- how parents need to "de-punk" and "de-metal" their teenage children.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Ryan Foley

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.