The Motley Crue Movie

The Motley Crue Movie

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It’s stupid, but you can’t turn it off.

There’s a backlash against this flick. From people who weren’t there the first time and wouldn’t be there if this era ever came back, even though it can’t.

You see the Sunset Strip was populated by castoffs, those not wanted, those who didn’t fit in, not Ivy League graduates. It was a different era, your parents didn’t bribe colleges to get you in, they expected you to leave the house after high school and stay gone. What you did…

Was your business.

It’s hard to describe the power of rock and roll. It’s something you feel, oftentimes in your genitalia. It’s a power, it’s a strength. With the guitars blazing and the singer screaming and the beat pounding so loud you can feel it in you bones you feel like…

The rest of the world doesn’t matter, that you can conquer all. For that very moment you feel content and happy, in a world where that’s oftentimes not the case.

That’s right, the critics don’t have a sense of humor. Of course it didn’t go down the way it does in the flick. But that’s one of the reasons you became a rock star, for the girls, for the sex. You can either be rich or famous, take your pick, otherwise you’re gonna have a hard time getting laid.

And the women attracted to wealth and fame are willing.

That’s what we can’t discuss. Not women wrongly accusing abusers, but women who want to partake.


Groupies.

Originally it was famous people, they even wrote a book about them, Frank Zappa even concocted a band of them, Pamela Des Barres built a whole career on her behavior.

And then it was a zillion girls in every burg the band came through. They lined up. They wanted to touch the fame, when there was no Instagram and no influencers and very few people were famous and your chances of meeting someone…

Furthermore, you got a story, which you could treasure or laugh about for the rest of your life.

Of course this doesn’t excuse the abusive behavior, notoriously of the English bands, but that was then and this was now, before smartphone cameras, when there was no proof and everything was underground.

That was part of the appeal. If you were on TV, you were bigger than life. And it wasn’t only rock stars, it was also those who surrounded them. The original MTV VJs, most notably Martha Quinn… You just wanted to get closer.

We knew the label presidents. And the A&R guys. And Tom Zutaut is portrayed as goofy, but the truth is the A&R guys were the links to the labels, and without one, you just couldn’t make it.

And Doc McGhee looks like your father. But the truth is he dealt dope to fuel his business.

There was a whole economy built around rock and roll. And if it worked…you were as rich as anybody in America, with much more freedom. You existed outside the system, yet owned it. That’s why everybody wants to be a “rock star.”


Now if you weren’t around back then, and most people who’ll view this movie weren’t, you’ll peer in on a past age that was not so exciting to live through but looks positively glorious from this distance. We had to leave the house, there was nothing to do and no way to meet people at home. So we’d go out to hear bands, even crappy bands, to be part of the scene, to interact.

And we all interacted. The educated and the dropouts. We were all there together, hooked by the music. There was no VIP unless you truly were one, you couldn’t buy your way in. So you’d peer behind the rope and see rock stars and executives and say to yourself…I’m gonna be there one day.

There was that desire. And it’s so hard to make it, and so hard to stay in it.

You practiced. You formed bands. The bands broke up and you formed new bands. You laughed, you fought, you got drunk and did drugs. And got laid.

The women would buy you meals, support you, they wanted in just that bad. Judge ’em all you want, but that’s the way it was, ask any band that started out living in one room eating ramen.

And when you made it, you were certifiably BIG! Everybody in the demo knew you, because everybody was watching MTV, even those not in the demo. You were royalty.

And Tommy Lee married Heather Locklear and then Pamela Anderson. They wanted to be closer to the sound, to the scene. And Valerie Bertinelli married Eddie Van Halen. And oftentimes the famous women pursued the men.

And nobody was talking, still nobody is talking, it’s the code of the road.

Jeff Bezos has a rendezvous with Patrick Whitesell’s wife… Metallica went on an endless tour and the band members came home and all got divorced. This was not traditional business. It was every night another arena, an endless grind, of endless boredom, no wonder the musicians did drugs and trashed hotel rooms to cope.


But the critics were never there. They’re like the uptight neighbors pooh-poohing the music. And the car salesmen. The BMW salesman wouldn’t give Steve Lukather the time of day, until he came back with cash.

Believe me, Wall Street didn’t revere the rockers like they do the techies, they were outcasts.

And then the whole thing flipped. The executives thought they were the stars, Napster killed sales and the internet flattened the scene, so there was no mystery and nobody was that big.

Which is why the younger generation is going to be intrigued by this flick, they not only want to know how it was, they envy it and want to re-enact it.

That’s right “The Dirt” will be influential. Never underestimate the power of rock.

And it plays more like “Wayne’s World” than drama. None of the characters are believable, the language is hokey, but the story remains.

And it’s on Netflix. Remember when “Eddie and the Cruisers” failed in theatres and then soared on HBO? Same deal here. It’s just a click away, just a click away.

Hell, I watched it, the hype got to me.

But you can’t get me out to the theatre, no way. And when those movies hit the flat screen it’s too late, the culture is on to something else, and it’s impossible to stay current, never mind catch up.

So if you’re an insider, it’s a must-see, just to see how the truth in your mind was depicted, the old days.

And if you’re a newbie… Sure, rappers shoot each other, get in trouble with the law, but rockers were more about getting drunk and getting laid and the truth is it can never be the way it was because of the aforementioned cameras, everyone’s got one in their smartphone.

And #MeToo. Rock is politically incorrect. Almost all of it. Could Jimi Hendrix even record a song called “Foxey Lady”?

I doubt it.

And my favorite Aerosmith song is “Lord of the Thighs.”

Nope, we’ve got to nix that one too.

But it didn’t used to be that way.

And “The Dirt” gets it right.

SUCKAS!


Responses from Bob’s readers. These comments are unedited for content or grammar and do not necessarily reflect the views of CelebrityAccess or its staff.

 

A few thoughts on “The Dirt” —

Acting and directing aside, and just for the record — Tom Zutaut was solely responsible for signing the Crue, he wasn’t an errand boy for Elektra, he was very smart, and he was good at his job. I hired him as my assistant and he then lobbied for me to produce them. It worked.

Doc’s drug bust was firmly in the distant past. He’s a smart, generous and extremely effective manager. He handled this biker gang intelligently, firmly, and with a healthy dose of humor. As difficult as it was, he made it look easy. Doug Thaler, mentioned in only one line, had the hard part. He was on the road with them — a Herculean task.

As far as none of the characters being believable, I was delighted to see that the drummer almost WAS Tommy — in perfect character every second of the way. In terms of behavior and personality, the actors may not have been Oscar level, but they did do their homework.

Bottom line is that alot of people worked really hard to keep this band on the rails.

The quality of the movie? No comment.

Bob, I don’t subscribe to Rolling Stone any more, but I do continue to learn from your blog. Write on.

Tom Werman

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Mr. Lefsetz …

makes some incontravertable observations.

However, i don’t remember him ‘being’ there either.

And I was.

Signed Motley to Greenworld, did the sales, promotion and marketing for that first record. One of the many unwanted sonic lepers I championed.

{Nikki loves to claim they ‘self released.’ Coffman brought the record in. I, and my young terrific staff, did the rest. The band were nowhere to be seen … they did not place it with Stark/Camelot, Pizza, Tower, Record Bar, Sam Goody or wherever. Making it look bigger than it truly was – some 15,000 units between the US and my UK retailers. They didn’t stuff promo envelopes. On Saturdays.]

Got it placed at Elektra. Steered them away from Virgin and my old boss and one of his ‘cases of cash’. (Bet Warrior wished I had done that for them – heres a hit that should have been).

Helped Zoots get his first A&R gig.

My point. Motley always were, in my modest and possibly wrong opinion, and are, shits. The film did not get what I know right. Its an exercise of selective memory and mythological propaganda. Standard Frank. Bob should have learned by now – Momma always said ‘don’t defen’ da devil, chile.’

I once had an affair with one of Vince’s girls. He surely fucked her up.

The finale of the story behind Zutaut’s date, trumpeted in both book and film, is truly tragic.

Bob usually has a really decent take on things. Here, he is way way off.

They don’t deserve or require his endorsement.

Alan Niven

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I was the V P of Promotion at Elektra when Motley Crue’s “Shout at the Devil” was released in 1983. I dealt with the band, Doc, Doug Thaler and Zutaut A LOT.

There were some wild nights for the band…..but, that said….IF Tommy or Nikki committed to do something, you could take it to the bank.

It did not matter if it was an interview at 7:30 AM or an in store appearance at 3PM. They were THERE, on time, every time. One of the most dependable bands with which I worked.

They may have been hung over, but they showed up.

They were in it to win it.

Mike Bone

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WICKED review Bob!!

For all the critics that are slagging The Dirt, it’s just a slice of life of that time. It happened.
Did any critic slag Spielberg for showing hands and heads being blown off in Saving Private Ryan ?
No, it is a piece of history available for those who want to see it.

Love your line about VIPs. You had to be one back in the Dirt days. Now the rich kids buy their VIP passes like their college admissions. Backstage and VIP passes have become ATM cards!!

Its Only Rock and Roll but I …….

Native Wayne Jobson
Los Angeles

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As a Crüe head and self proclaimed Crüe historian watching the movie was at times difficult because of all the inaccuracies. But it was based on a book that may or may not be entirely true. Who cares, it’s hands down the best book about rock n roll ever written.

Enough time has passed that most people forget how crazy that 80’s Sunset Strip scene was. All anyone remembers now are the hits and the hair. Young men from all over the country were relocating to the Sunset Strip to “start a band”. And when they got there they were greeted by a scene that was at once a frat house party and an orgy with plenty of willing participants.

The two biggest bands to make it out of that scene were Mötley Crüe and Guns N Roses and they were also the two hardest partying. Growing up reading about these bands and seeing their videos and interviews on MTV, you looked at these men as Gods. As the saying goes, women wanted to be with them and men wanted to be them. The music reflected the lifestyle. And the lifestyle worked until it didn’t.

You can do a lot of things with your Mac and Protools in your bedroom at your parents house. But they’ll never create a scene like that. And that scene mattered. A community of like minded musicians creating music for a generation to grow up with. I thank God every day that I grew up listening to those bands as opposed to what’s out there today.

Neil Johnson

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Just finished it, it’s everything the 7th grade dr feelgood loving Rocker in me wanted from, even Doc got his due

Dan Steinberg

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Great piece. Born in ‘81, my career has been about electronic music but felt like I was in dazed and confused.

Alex Becket

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I love/loved Van Halen! They were the gateway to rock and metal for me. Along with Ozzy and Sabbath, I was bought in!! Then, 1983, Mötley came into the scene….at least in Tulsa, OK. Unless you lived on the coasts, you were behind the 8-ball (btw, pre-internet years sucked!!).

Instantly, my grades plummeted, and I HATED school. My attitude at home? Blown! I wanted to be Vince Neil so bad….I bleached my hair and everything (still do…..sigh)… Mötley Crüe was the biggest band in the world of a 13-20 year old at this time. IF ANYONE says they didn’t like Crüe from Shout at the Devil to Dr. Feelgood, they are prob lying. They were who guys wanted to be! Changed my life….music became the most important thing in my life and it stayed that way. Were Nikki and the boys pulling the wool over midwestern boys’ eyes ?? Sure! Selling that image.

The shit worked! No joke

Jason Jameson

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Nice write up! I thought it good- casting was right on. Especially Ozzy! Great scene! Although, Very “Behind the Music” as far as pacing/ structure and it almost went off the rails as a Lifetime flick. However, it was nice to see some ‘Debauchery’ — just to remind folks that shit was messed up— yet, Good times, never had again. Nevertheless, Motley Crue was a joke. Always the joke. They sucked. However, more entertaining than Queen and especially that ‘bio pic’.

Matthew Erhartic

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I watched The Dirt twice this weekend. It took me back. I was there. So much was missing, But the director got so much right!. They really captured the scene of the sunset strip in the 80s. Gazzarri’s, Rainbow, Roxy and Whiskey. Dead on. I cried when Razzle dies, skylar died and Vince came back to his brothers. Also laughed at the raunchiness and over the top sex and drug scenes. Hard to watch Nikki’s closet drug scenes. Triple A+ for casting.

kkanl

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This is a terrible exploitive film that comes in stark contrast to a Nikki Sixx doc done a few years ago when it was clear there was a shitload more method to his madness than what appears in this piece of shit. I have been blown away recently by the piss poor quality of Netflix films from the Chevy Chase/Richard Dreyfuss and Ray Romano/Mark Duplass. But this is low end kife. No band just fucks their way into where the Crue found themselves. Not only with Sixx instrumental but Tommy Lee is a whole lot smarter than what was shown.

On the other hand, Crue was a business venture from Day One and should have been treated as such in the film.

And it’s a vulgar business to be sure but must we have our noses rubbed in it. Vince Neil was never as good as Diamond Dave.

Jonathan Gross

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Bob, like you the hype brought me to it. The crappy production values AND the unreal acting after a half hour turned me off.
Should have made a straight documentary of this group. That would be honest! Tom.

Tom Battista

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Well put! I agree with everything you said Bob.

Mark Stockwell

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I snort-laughed out my beverage when you ended the Crue piece with “SUCKAS.” Spot on about their movie, Bob. All the people offended in their reviews…. They’re all off. It’s a highly entertaining, if not ludicrous, story of a completely different time in music and our culture. Glad I saw them in their prime. Highly recommended!

Josh Valentine

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Actually a lot of women hung around bands because they loved the music, possibly because they were themselves “creatives” and they themselves wanted to have the lifestyles these bands were “allowed” to have. But of course women and girls were barred from entry to a world that apparently only men have the right to want: sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. So the next best thing is to have a boyfriend, lover, one night stand that allows you to live it for a minute, right? Isn’t that what all fans want when they are trying to get close?

Difference for women is even if you have the talent – you are not allowed. Very hard and all the men knock you down. A lot of women never even try.

In a nutshell – women want to BE the rockers (or A&R execs, etc.). But fucking them is like the next best thing to being them. [at least it seems like it when you’re young, dumb and full of cum]

Please don’t publish my name.

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“The Dirt” was unashamed to show the drugs, misogyny and stupidity of the times.

Bohemian Rhapsody just wanted the largest audience possible to garner the largest box office.
A bland, vanilla interpretation of that rock ’n roll era.

Next up… ROCKETMAN. Did Elton have a dark period? Will the filmmakers reveal what we already know?

Peace & Love. PACE AND LOVE!

Bob Mori
Los Angeles, California

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On the money, Honey.

Hugo Burnham

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I swear I felt myself getting dumber watching that clown show.

Bill Tibbs

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And how about ZZ Top – Tush?!

Can you imagine a band releasing a song like that .. with those lyrics .. today?

They’d be on the next flight to Siberia and those notes would never hit the air.

Feh.

Seth Lachs

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I did enjoy The Dirt, never was a fan of hard rock, hair bands etal, still not. However, currently being in the middle of nowhere *Atacama desert/Chile I stopped into a hole in the wall bar for a drink late yesterday afternoon. Guess what was blaring on the stereo? Hairbands and hard rock. This strain of music is like a cockroach, it will go on and on long after………….. *having almost spent years outside of the US, this is what I’ve encountered everywhere on the planet I went.
Sjaak Blaauw

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It’s gonna be a must-see for me. The Dirt is still one of my favorite music biographies, if not #1. I always got the sense these guys won the rock n’ roll lottery, but their success didn’t happen by chance. Hats off to the Crue!

Brett Alperowitz

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I don’t think anyone doubts the power of that era, but the movie itself is laughably bad. Poorly directed, horribly shot, a script that sounds like it was written by a 3-year-old and crucially, god-awful acting. The story here isn’t the movie but rather how the fuck Netflix keeps throwing money at stuff like this. “The Dirt” makes “Bohemian Rhapsody” look like “Citizen Kane.”

Paul Cantor

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Best part was at the end with the side by sides with the real thing and the reenactment.

Alan Fenton

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Brilliant post

Brian Rawling

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It was fantastic! Even though they did cram the 90’s into the last 15 minutes, it was still better than any critic will admit. It should’ve been a series. Too bad there wasn’t enough dough (faith) for that to happen, but they’ve always been underestimated.
It’s now time for the flood gates to open for everyone else’s biopic. Sure to happen quickly and painfully.
I’ve got an idea…

Terry Gottschalk

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I’m sitting here watching The Dirt and it’s a cool production of a not so great band. I wish there was the same thing for Tom or Bruce or fill in the blank. Fleetwood would be amazing

Neil Dahlgren

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I just finished watching the movie and saw your email. Growing up in SCAL at the time this movie is correect. Good write up Bob!

Kyle J. Ferraro

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Watching it. Love it! Brings back so many memories and the energy is perfect! And they’re all so adorable.

Melissa Ward

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Good Shabbos! Thanks for the suggestion- we just watched it and really enjoyed it – your missive was spot on. But Oy the actor playing Tommy Lee…

Josh Dorf

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Dead Fucking On. I’ve had this argument with so many for so long. I didn’t like Crue but they practiced what they preached.

Marc Paschke

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And it is true/lol. As a side note……Doc McGhee had a home in Coto not too long ago (probably a lot like the $16 mil one you just saw. He may still have it but believe he spends most of his time in the bay area now) He is still rich and probably still has drugs. Haven’t worked with him for at least 10 years. But he is legend and fortunately he liked me working with his groups was never dull. And truly that is when musicians ruled their world and a lot of other people’s too.

Pamela Forney

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Hey Bob,

Loved this email. I was there in the day too. I saw Motley Crue in 1982 at the Roxy before their album got rereleased on Elektra (they put it out first as an independent). I was leaning against the stage in front of Mick Mars that night and he let me strum his guitar during “Take Me to the Top,” their opening song.

I remember it all. As a 13 year old, it was life changing.

I was a miserable teenager and joining a band gave me hope. Later, we got signed to RCA and got played a lot on Headbangers Ball. You’re right about the girls and the scene. On the Strip and everywhere else.

Everyone has crazy tour stories, but I do have one oddity to contribute:

We pulled into Salt Lake City on our first tour, and all brought girls back to the hotel after the show. The next morning, the girl I was with said she needed to call her mom to come pick her up before our bus left.

I said, “What? Your mom?” She said “Don’t worry. It’s cool.”

Next thing I know there are 3 cars with parents pulling into our hotel parking lot picking up all the girls who spent the night. They were very nice and happy to meet us. The parents asked us to sign posters on the hoods of their cars. It was like carpool pickup at school. The whole time I’m thinking…”we brought your daughters back to our hotel. They spent the night. We all know what happened here. And you want autographs?”

I liked the girl I was with. Even tried to call her not long after that night. She never called me back.

SLC was always notorious for the craziest escapades.

I wouldn’t want to live it all again, but that period had its moments. And the scene in LA was palpable.

Always love hearing your take on things.

Thanks!

Rob Grad

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Looking forward to seeing this movie. I am not sure why I wasn’t consulted, as I was to promoters as MC was to rock bands. We were different. We were the scene, not part of it. We rocked. Not for the faint of heart.

Motley played their first show outside of California for me opening for KISS at the Aladdin Theatre (now Zappos) I paid them $2500, where, after the show, I sat with the 4 of them in a closet backstage upstairs, with Doc and Doug Thaler, smoking a fattie, and Tommy said, “do you think we can make it? You know, you’re a fucking god promoter! TELL ME!”

Point blank, I told him they could be the biggest there ever was, if they did it right, and listened to their managers.
Good for them, they did listen. And they became HUGE. And wrote a couple of huge tunes to boot, the key to rock success.

I loved them all, and became especially close with Tommy, over the years. Very cool guys, although brother Vince and Nikki would go off on me from time to Time, but they were really representing rock. Mick and I never really hung but that boy can play some mean guitar. No Motley without him.
They truly were what the name said. They didn’t regret that name ever. They lived it.
They had more fun, more girls, (usually with their permission(!) and became icons, despite themselves. No disrespect, but they were wild dogs.

I was a big promoter when I met them and was a bigger promoter when I was done promoting shows with them. Sadly, during the promoter consolidation, I was lost in the shuffle and no longer did shows with them once they were getting their multi jillion dollar tour deals, but god bless them, they beat the system doing it.

Motley will always hold a sweet spot in my heart and soul, they were one of the last bands to be what rock n roll is really about.

Here’s the short list:

Stuff that pisses off the parents and you get in trouble for coming home higher than hell and way after the agreed upon time

Something that Pisses off your jock boyfriend for digging the bad boys

Something as a promoter that others laughed at me about for promoting, before they became huge. Then they all “discovered” these guys! Sure thing.

Being into Motley at the beginning was just like me being into this English group who had a song called Please Please Me who were called the Beattles (not my spelling) I was on to something, was I ever. Then I met Motley a few decades later….

I Love these guys no matter what, and I hope the movie is great, but it doesn’t matter. But I will tell you this: The real life movie in my mind is still alive and I will never forget them for their friendship, the great business we did, along with Doc who I will always love, too, and our camaraderie. They are great people and I hope the movie inspires kids to quit being so fucking serious and be kids again. Get out there and rock, let’s get over all of this wimpy pop music and rap crap and turn it up again!

Have some fun! Get crazy. You’ll be my age soon, remembering these good old days when Motley was a new band and then one of your serious successes. It can happen! And it will.

God bless MC!

Danny Zelisko

________

Ninety minutes later:

I watched the movie and loved it. The 4 guys playing the Crue really did a great job recreating what happened very organically but not quite as easily, in real life.

The real disappointment was whoever cast Doc never met him, as David Costabile wasn’t close to the incredible Doc McGhee. Doc was the equivalent of PT Barnum. In fact I called him that on more than one occasion. He was the ringmaster. He was one of the Crue while he was taking care of them, rather than the drill sergeant that was shown on screen. The guy in the movie was modeled more after Norm, the Beatles manager in A Hard Days Night! This was not Doc, who was the funniest guy of the bunch, who once explained to me “it’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing milkbone shorts.”

For a decade, Doc was the hottest manager in all of rock. He “got” his band and worked with them, not against them as their “boss.”

I will never forget Sam Kinison saying to me one night, “I want YOU to be my Doc McGhee!”

I replied, “if you want Doc, here’s his number, you don’t want me. I can never be Doc. There is only one Doc.” He was every bit a part of the band like the actual members.

The tours were done with precision, down to every detail, including their security detail and road managers. There was nothing sloppy about their presentation. First class each time.

Doug Thaler, their other manager, was also very responsible for their success, although it was funny how they took him out, but at least he got credit. He had the unenviable task of taking care of the band after Corabi joined, not an easy thing to deal with, as shown. There really was no Motley without Vince.

The dope shooting scenes were quite graphic although it was didn’t seem to glorify the use as it was so obviously destructive to Nikki and the band, and was an awful time.

I imagine a lot of new rock groups will come out as a result of this film, wishing them luck here, in advance. It’s a tough road.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to seeing the boys on stage again someday. The world needs to rock, once again! Bring it!

Danny Zelisko

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Chris Nilsson here, one of the managers of Motley Crue and an Exec Producer on The Dirt.

I read your post today about the film and thought it was really amazing. Critics can be harsh but your perspective centered me to why we all wanted to do the film in the first place. I sent the post to the band and they loved it too. Thank you for putting it out there.

Take care.

Very Sincerely,

Chris Nilsson
President
10th St Entertainment

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