Mötley Crüe The Dirt On The Dirt

Too Fast For Love

I’m one of those old-timers who was around when the Crüe had just released their debut album. And I am talking about before they were signed to Elektra. I guess it would have been sometime around 1982 when the usual route coming home from school would mean a stop at my fave record store… Gaslight.

Located in my immediate neighbourhood and mentioned on this site many times before, Gaslight was a store like no other.

They stocked imports.

Quality fucking imports that you could not find anywhere else. And they had been doing so since the late 70’s defining the soundtrack of my life with each and every purchase I made from there. And those purchases were plentiful!

So there I was. The usual after-school stop-over on the way home and under the very healthy and well-stocked Metal section is the leather clad crotch of Vince Neil on the cover of a recod. What is this? Perusing the record and the price tag of $6.50 was a first pressing Leathür Records edition of the debut album. Go and look up what this record is worth now. No, you cannot have mine!

For this diehard KISS fan what caught my eye immediately were the visuals. I did not care what these guys sounded like… they had the ‘look’ and that was already half the battle won.

I am pretty sure the thought process woulda gone something like this… This looks interesting. I wonder what they sound like? Who cares? They look fucking amazing, I’m buying it!

Of course I jest, it does matter what the band sounded like. After all, Wrathchild looked fucking amazing and sounded well… pretty naff!

Motley Crue 1981 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)

At first, it took a few listens to really get into it. Too Fast For Love felt more punk than metal. It was so brutally raw and brimming with attitude and a sense of the streets of where this music and rage came from. But in due course, it certainly won me over.

The Punk/Metal crossover was running rampant at the time. Look at what was happening just north of the Crüe in San Francisco with what became the Thrash Metal movement.

As much as I grew to love Too Fast For Love, It wasn’t until the Shout At The Devil album that love for the Crüe really took hold! Now we are talking! Now the look was refined and cultivated to almost KISS-like proportions. In its day, this was a very heavy record. Slapping a nice shiny pentagram on the cover was even more icing on the cake and a sure fire way to pervert my (then) young mind even more!

I would not be surprised that if someone trawled the backstreets of Malvern around the Glenferrie Road precinct, they would bump into graffitied pentagrams painted on every conceivable surface! We were young! We had the Crüe and we had damn fine permanent markers!

For mine, this was Mötley Crüe at their absolute peak. Shout At The Devil remains my fave album they ever put out and from this point on, I found their music and releases very disappointing. Ok a couple of exceptions… Dr Feelgood was great. The John Corabi one too, was also a brilliant release. (and probably the BEST Mötley Crüe post Shout At The Devil. The rest… meh! Don’t even try to convince me otherwise, it’s a snorefest!

My fandom waned by the time Theatre Of Pain was released but they were always around and I always shot a passing glance their way.

In 2001, the autobiography The Dirt was released and it managed to eclipse every single Rock N Roll autobiography that had ever been released and ever will be released. It made Led Zeppelin’s Hammer Of The Gods read like a veritable Dr Seuss book!

The levels of Rock N Roll excess and debauchery in those pages made you feel all dirty inside after every turn of the page. The book was extreme but then again, the lives of each member of the band were extreme and this book, like it or not captured every sordid detail – and then some.

For many years it had been rumoured that there would be a film based on this book. Just how could they do something like this unless it was rated XXX for debauchery and other perversions. A bio-pic based on Motley Crüe’s The Dirt? No chance in hell.

At the end of the day there can be absolutely no denying that the book version of The Dirt is easily the greatest Rock biography of all time. No contest.

And that is where the disappointment in this movie lies.

Compared to the book, it fails miserably. As a stand-alone bio pic, it’s just ok. Netflix shoulda ditched the film concept and make this a series. Now that’s something that has never been done before. Can you imagine 2-3 seasons of The Dirt properly fleshed out? I mean, how the hell can the Tommmy and Pamela saga NOT be in this movie?

Due to the massive expectations and my love for the book, on first viewing I found The Dirt to be incredibly lacking. But it stuck with me and I wanted to watch it again. The second viewing felt all the while much better and some of the mannerisms of the four actors portraying Mötley Crüe were spookily on the money. Kudos to Machine Gun Kelly who brings such a reality to the Tommy Lee character. He freaking nails the child-like vibe and attitude of Lee and many times you’d have to blink twice to make sure it wasn’t Lee up there.

As a period piece of the Metal 80’s, the movie captures the vibe so damn perfectly.

But as with all things it took years for the film to finally get to the point where it is today.

In 2006, film adaptation rights to the autobiographical book The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, authored by Neil Strauss with Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, and Nikki Sixx, were bought by Paramount Pictures and MTV Films. At the time, Larry Charles was tapped to direct the film. However, production on the film stalled and in 2008 Sixx spoke of his frustration in an interview stating:

“We’re trying to get them out of the way to make this movie that should have been made a long time ago. MTV has become bogged down in its own way. It’s a channel that used to be hip and has now actually become unhip. We signed with them because we believed they were right, but they haven’t come to the table. We need to find the right partner. They are not the right partner.”

In November 2013, Jeff Tremaine signed on to helm The Dirt, with the film having been dropped by MTV Films and Paramount Pictures. In January 2015, Focus Features picked up rights to the film. However, production languished in development hell until March 2017, when Netflix bought worldwide rights to the film. At the time, Liam Hemsworth, Emory Cohen, and Douglas Booth were being eyed for lead roles in the film. In November 2017, Booth officially signed on to star in the film. In January 2018, Machine Gun Kelly, Iwan Rheon and Daniel Webber joined the cast. In February 2018, Tony Cavalero joined the cast. In March 2018, Rebekah Graf, Leven Rambin, and David Costabile joined the cast.

Principal production commenced in February 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B, saying that “This movie won’t win any awards. Nor should it. But for two hours it’s a nostalgic blast to sit back and revel in the idiocy of these glorious, big-haired jackasses.”

Yeah, that about sums it up all nicely…

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