I will never forget the first time I heard Motley Crue. My sister had the same boyfriend through all of her junior high years and through most of high school. Towards the end of her high school years, she was growing apart from her long time boyfriend, Ron Fralix.
Ron was the biggest athlete in a very small pond in junior high. He was the star quarterback, the star pitcher, the star at all track meets. However, that was junior high. In high school he found himself to be more in the middle of the pack.
My sister was planning her move to college. Ron had no college plans and his plans of being an athlete had fizzled to the point where he was no longer even on any high school teams. I was two years younger than my sister. Ron was always real nice to me and spent a great deal of time playing sports with me and teaching me anything I wanted to know about any sport. I was real fond of the guy and he felt like part of the family. He went on all trips with us. It was hard for me to watch him and my sister grow apart.
One day Ron was parked outside of our house, talking with my sister. At this point my sister had broken up with him and he was coming around trying to find anyway to stop that train. He was looking for any reason at all to stop by. He wanted her to hear this new band, Motley Crue. He turned it up with his window down, while she stood outside of his car door and pretended to listen. The intro came on loud and sounded like a howling train and then a voice comes in and delivers a Vincent price type of intro, “In the beginning…”. If you know the album, you know the intro well. If not, here’s a link:
In the beginning
Good always overpowered the evils of all man’s sins…
But in time
The nations grew weak
And our cities fell to slums
While evil stood strong
In the dusts of hell
Lurked the blackest of hates
For he whom they feared awaits you…
Now many, many lifetimes later
Lay destroyed, beaten down
Only the corpses of rebels
Ashes of dreams
And blood stained streets
It has been written “Those who have the youth have the future”
So come now, children of the beast
And Shout at the Devil
I was outside playing basketball, mainly to eaves drop. This intro sent chills down my spine and when the first song came blasting out of his car, I was absolutely hooked. I walked over and asked him who it was and it changed the course of my music landscape forever, which had primarily been real early rap, i.e. Fatboys, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Nucleus, etc.
I fell head first into Motley Crue and covered my room with Metal posters. Between Shout at the Devil and Motley Crues next album the lead singer, Vince Neil killed his friend that was in the passenger seat of his car while he drove drunk and recklessly. I grabbed every Metal magazine I could get my hands on in hopes to find out new things about the trial and the new Crue album.
Vince got off with a slap on the wrist and then released a new album called, Theater of Pain. I could not wait to get my hands on it and got it on the first day of release. At this time my dads sister had decided to take the family on a trip to Colorado. She invited me and my sister to come to Colorado with her family.
I got the new Crue album right before this trip and I was disappointed in it. I was hoping for more rawness, but it was more glam and polished. I remember purposely taking only a handful of cassettes with me on that trip and decided I would spend my time in the back seat of the car listening to Theather of Pain and trying to find a way to love it.
We drove from Lawton, Oklahoma to Creed, Colorado. The entire trip there I listened to Theather of Pain over and over and over and over. I listened to nothing else. I remember taking off my head phones and exclaiming, “I give up on this album. I don’t like it”. My sister, whom did not like metal at all asked to listen to it and put on my head phones. After a while she took them off and said, “I like it” and I said, “and that’s exactly why I don’t”.
That was 1985. I have not listened to Theather of Pain since that trip until a few days ago. I lit a cigar, put gas in my tank and set out on I-35. I was excited and nervous. I could not even recall the track listings. I did not even know what song started off the album. I got on the highway with a lit cigar and hit play. It is a fairly long album with thirteen songs on it. As I listened to it, I pictured being back in the back seat of my aunt’s car. I conjured up any memories I could find. I remembered I had a red Koss walkman at the time. The Motley Crue cassette was the very first clear cassette I had seen. My headphones had tape holding one side together. My Uncle was a Doctor and I remember on this trip my cousin taped him on the shoulder while he was driving and he said, “Not so hard, you’re going to give me a chronic inflammation of the left clavicle”. I remembered the small tan box that held my cassettes. I remembered going out to fish at six in the morning and encountering a doe and her baby no more than ten feet away, drinking from the stream with no fear of me. I sat behind the passenger seat the entire trip, crammed up against the door. A few nights ago I took a trip back in time to when I was fifteen and full of angst. I listened to Motley Crue’s, Theather of Pain very intently… and it still sucks.