Sunday, March 24, 2019

Mötley Crüe THE DIRT: Movie vs Book

Mötley Crüe: Tommy Lee (Thomas Lee Bass), Vince Neil (Vince Neil Wharton), Nikki Sixx (Franklin Carlton Serafino Feranna), and Mick Mars (Bob Alan Deal).

This weekend Mötley Crüe group autobiography  THE DIRT a Netflix Original  directed by Jeff Tremaine premiered. How does it compare to The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band the autobiography authored by Mötley Crüe and Neil Strauss published 2014?

Netflix The Dirt Omissions (and almost) 

O’Dean Peterson, who still occasionally performs in Los Angeles, is missing in the movie as the original signed vocalist (1981) on the earliest Mötley Crüe demos. His vocal talent is undeniable, but some in the early formation of the band had issues with his image and vocal pitch being right for their vision of the band.

Doug Thaler, seen disappearing in one scene of the movie, met the band as Doc McGhee's partner at the Santa Monica Civic Center after a show, and later on after DM was fired by the band, became Mötley Crüe's sole manager until the flop of the self-titled Mötley Crüe album.

John Corabi who replaced Vince Neil in 1992 was more significant as a band member than depicted in the movie. While JC was with the band, Mötley Crüe released an album and an EP. As a band, they worked on another album, Personality #9, later re-titled Generation Swine after the departure of JC and return of Vince Neil. The label met with JC assuring him several of his songs would be on the  album he'd collaborated on and that he would make more money out of the band than in it. JC also agreed to come into the studio during recording and help with recording.

Randy Castillo, former drummer for several bands, most notably ten years for Ozzy Osborne was recommended by Sharon Osborne to replace quitting Tommy Lee (who had initially introduced him to Ozzy--confused yet?) in 1999. Randy Castillo died in 2002, several weeks before Mötley Crüe was set to tour the New Tattoo album, causing the band to go on an indefinite hiatus.

Tommy Lee married actress Pamela Anderson after meeting her four days prior. They made two children and an infamous sex tape in their three and a half year marriage. TL spent six months in prison after being arrested for assaulting her. Also, she accused him of giving her hepatitis C. "All of this insanity got about 10,000 times more attention than anything the band did in the Nineties, but there’s not even a single mention of her name in the movie." (from Rolling Stone online)

Netflix The Dirt Scene Adaptions and Timeline Alterations 

Movies based on true characters or events often make adaptions and timeline alterations to organize the plot and further enhance scenes and Netflix's The Dirt is no different.


In the movie the early formation of the band shows up at a house party and watches Vince Neil cover Billy Squire's My Kind of Lover which in reality wasn't released yet at the time.  Likewise Live Wire, depicted as their first jam together as a band, hadn't been written yet. In actuality, the first meeting was at The Starwood after having stalked a reluctant VN for several weeks.

In the movie, Tommy Lee runs into Nikki Sixx, who plays with Londen, at Denny's restaurant after a show. In the book and reality, the meeting at Denny's at 7373 Sunset was planned. NS had seen TL performing with his band,  Suite 19, and sought him out to play in the new band he was beginning which would become Mötley Crüe.

In the movie, Greg Leon, a highly regarded guitarist at the time, is possibly the character referred to vaguely in the Mick Mars audition scene as "the hippie." However, Leon maintains that although he often jammed with NS and TL, he never had any intention of staying in the band.

Nikki Sixx's Death Reported

In the movie, Vince Neil watches reports of his bandmate's death on television but in reality, he says he heard it on the radio. "I cried. And I never used to cry then.” (The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band) The movie is accurate depicting Sixx’s two life-saving adrenaline shots.and his ride home from the hospital by two mourning fans. “No one’s going to die in my f***ing ambulance,” Sixx recalls the paramedic saying ... "It was so funny to me that everyone thought I was dead that, as soon as I returned home, I walked to my answering machine and changed the message. Hey, it's Nikki. I'm not home because I'm dead. Then I went into the bathroom, pulled a lump of heroin out of the medicine cabinet, rolled up my sleeve, tied off, and with one sink of the syringe plunger realised that all the love and concern of those millions of fans still didn't feel as satisfying as one good shot of heroin." (From The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band, by Mötley Crüe and Neil Strauss.) The song 'Kickstart My Heart' is generally believed to be about Nikki Sixx' revival.

The Record Deal

In the movie a just promoted young A & R rep sees the band perform, loves them, and signs them practically on site--after turning down a surprise under the table blow-job. In reality, Mötley Crüe created their own label, Leathür Records and were courted by Virgin as well as Electra before signing with Electra through A & R Tom Zutaut.


In the movie, Tommy Lee meets Heather Locklear at a party the night of Vince Neil’s DWI crash where Razzle Dingley of Hanoi Rocks dies. In the book and reality, TL and HL were introduced and met backstage at an REO Speedwagon concert. In both movie and book versions, TL confused HL with Heather Thomas from 'The Fall Guy.'

In reality, from 1981-1985, Vince Neil was married to first wife, Beth Lynn with whom he has a daughter. Two years after their divorce he married Sharise Ruddell a mud wrestler and fashion model and the couple had daughter Skylar who died of cancer at age four. During the 90's he married and was divorced from Heidi Mark and in the early 2000's was married and divorced with Lia Gherardini. He has a son from a girlfriend in the 70s whose name was Tami

Unmentioned in the movie: In 1987, Denise "Vanity" Matthews who may have been engaged to Nikki Sixx during their own and off again relationship. NS married first wife, Playboy Playmate Brandi Brand, and they have three children. One month after his first divorce NS married second wife, another Playboy Playmate, actress Donna D'Errico and they have one daughter.

Also unmentioned in the movie, Mick Mars was married for three years to Emi Canyn. Mick married for the second time to Sharon with whom he raised son Les Paul and daughter Stormy Deal.

Publishing Rights

Mötley Crüe's catalog was restored to them in the movie after a disgruntled conversation with Tom Zutaut around the time Vince Neil returns to the band. In reality, the settlement including their publishing rights didn't happen until around 1998 following a long ugly legal battle with Elektra. By this time Zutaut was long gone from the label.

Doc McGhee is fired on the spot

In the movie this happens in a hotel lobby after DM invites NickSixx's mom to see a show around Christmastime. In reality, this  happened on the spot at Moscow Peace Festival in 1989 with Bon Jovi, the Scorpions, Osbourne and Mötley Crüe after DM conveyed wrong information to the band regarding the sets.

Mick Mars hip replacement

In the movie, Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee pick up Mick Mars who is released from the hospital following hip replacement surgery which was a result of a painful disease he was diagnosed with before he joined the band. They go on to talk Vince Neil back into the 'fam' and the band. In reality, MM's surgery was in 2004, occurring well after the lineup was back together.

Vince Neil Rejoins Mötley Crüe

In the movie this comes easily after each member of the band suffers a personal set back or tragedy and they realize their brotherhood is more important than petty arguments. In reality Vince Neil had embarked on a failed solo career. Mötley Crüe with John Corabi had signed a 25-million dollar contract and had released self-titled Mötley Crüe which was a commercial failure. The band wanted to make another record with Corabi, but reluctantly set up a meeting with a likewise reluctant VN at the insistence of the label who refused funds to record the album unless VN was let back in the band.

Buy the book on Kindle or Amazon

Check out the cast and more

Find Lisa Gillis Reads That Rock on Rock Star Reads!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019