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"The Dirt" by Motley Crue with Neil Strauss
Posted to Texts at 09:38 AM on Mar 29, 2006

Regan Books, 2001

You know how grandpas like to tell stories? And you know how those stories seem a tiny bit exaggerated, if not completely fabricated? But you don't mind, because the stories are just so entertaining? Grandpa stories are so full of fights and booze and jail and wild times that, if continued for too long, might kill a person or eight.

Parts of The Dirt read like a bunch of grandpa stories. Now, I have no doubt the members of the Crue really did drink far more than any normal humans could ever dream, and I don't doubt they left wide paths of destruction in any and all cities they visited. I just think if every event described in The Dirt happened exactly as written, at leat two of them would be dead by now.

Each chapter of The Dirt is full of random musings from one of the guys in the band. Tommy, Nikki, Vince and Mick all contribute sections of each chapter, as do various other people associated with them. By far, the most well-written and thoughtful material is written by Elektra Records employee and band confidante Tom Zutaut and manager Tom Thaler. The two of them have a unique outsiders' view of the dysfunction that is the normal state of affairs for the Crue.

Rock memoirs are, most often, testimonials to how musicians are all overgrown adolescents who have to face minimal consequences for their actions. Vince Neil served 30 days in jail in 1985 for killing his passenger and critically injuring two others while driving drunk. One might get the feeling that Vince didn't really learn anything from his stint in the big house.

Speaking of Neil, much of his text makes him come off as a creepy, desperate fame junkie. He name-drops to the point of exhaustion and wants us all to know just how many babes he's bagged, in case we should wonder. All four of the guys have struggled with personal demons and come out at least slightly wiser; all Neil seems to have gained are a couple of wives and a few pounds.

This book is not for the faint of heart. It's disgusting and horrifying, yet hilarious and riveting all at the same time. In between revelations about overdoses and violence, Nikki Sixx reveals himself as just a shy nerd at heart. He, and to a lesser extent, Tommy Lee, write about things you could never imagine. There is one funny bit about a group therapy session, told both by Lee and Mick Mars. It's almost too much information, but I didn't mind.


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