Unknown Facts About Motley Crue's Backstage Life

By | February 15, 2023

Nikki Sixx, front man and bassist, fires up the crowd on tour in Edmonton, Canada 1982

Often credited with originating the glam metal genre, an upbeat mix of pop, hard rock and heavy metal, Motley Crue burst onto the LA club scene in 1981. Cultivating a rocker persona of hard drinking, heavy drug use, indiscriminate sex, and generally outrageous behavior, they quickly took America by storm. Their fame was built on their notoriety, and Motley Crue did everything they could to deliberately fuel that notoriety. Within a few short years, they reached the height of their fame as international superstars, the ultimate personification of hardcore hair metal rock. 

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After releasing a polished, re-mixed version of Too Fast for Love in 1982 under their new label, Elektra Records, Motley Crue went on their first tour. Hastily arranged by assistant manager, Eric Greif, it was designed to be a media spectacle from the start. Greif made a habit of traveling ahead of the band to hype them up. When Motley Crue arrived in Canada to start their tour, he had them walk through customs wearing spike-studded stage outfits, carrying a bag of pornographic magazines. Edmonton customs officers were not impressed and promptly arrested the lot of them.

Just starting out in 1981, Motley Crue were the epitome of hardcore hair metal rock

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Their self-produced debut album, Too Fast for Love, sold just 20,000 copies, but the accompanying tour would catapult Motley Crue to international notoriety. The group quickly gained a reputation for hard partying and bad behavior, but it wasn't until years later that fans would discover the true story behind that first recording session in 1981. To begin with, the band turned up at the studio drunk and did their best to stay drunk for the entire three-day session. Lee also resorted to bartering sex for studio time with the sound engineer when they ran out of money halfway.