Nikki Sixx & Steven Tyler: From Foes To Friends

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On Nikki’s radio program ‘Sixx Sense’ he recently [2011] interviewed Mr. Steven Tyler about his new book, his relationship with his Aerosmith band mates & his tenure on ‘American Idol.’ It’s a very candid interview & Steven’s frank discussion about Aerosmith’s relationship lead Nikki to almost dish about the Motleys but he steps back & kinda just trails off into empty euphemisms. Tyler tells some killer anecdotes, several pertaining to Crue history, such as one about an interesting night when the boys all fell off the wagon while recording Dr. Feelgood & how the Crue inspired the Aerosmith hit ‘Dude (Looks Like A Lady).’ Check out the complete interview:

[**Sixx Sense has removed this interview from its webpage. If anybody has a copy or a link to this please let me know in the comments section, thank you.]


Listening to this conversation you may never have guessed that when these two bands first came into contact it was not so pleasant a meeting. Crue had become famous during a period when Aerosmith were at a low peak in their career (check out more details about Aerosmith in the early 1980s at their Wiki page HERE). Tyler’s first run-in with Nikki, an obvious long-time fan & disciple (he has said of Aerosmith, ‘They are my Rolling Stones’) left him with a bad taste in his mouth. Here was a young upstart selling millions of records while Tyler’s band was struggling, &, to rub salt in the wound, Nikki had appropriated Steven’s famous ‘jester’ outfit for the Theatre of Pain tour. In a circa 1985-6 Hit Parader article entitled ‘Motley Crue VS. Ratt: Who’s the King of American Metal?’ Rob Andrews rates the two bands above their competition (I love the slag to pretenders ‘Quiet Riot’) & has some not so friendly words from Tyler.
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The two seem to have patched things up over the years but Nikki was initially hurt by the words his hero was saying about him in the media. Here's part of a Circus Magazine article that has Nikki's reaction to Tyler's 'Johnny-Come-Latelys' comment.


20 years later in 2006 Motley & Aerosmith teamed up for a series of shows. Here's Nikki with the boys from Boston performing the Beatles' 'Helter Skelter':

The Man From Mars Turns 60

 

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Mick Mars has always been the shadowy figure of Motley, the most unlikely & the blackest of the Crue sheep. The ‘Mars Face’ was the horror element in those old posters & would stare down from the wall as both a threat & an invitation to the dark side of the Crue.

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Mick is a complicated person. He is partly a revision of himself, his success & vindication as a musician with Motley Crue seems to have almost erased his original personality as Robert Deal from Indiana. His alcohol addiction in the 1980s & then his present-day troubles with the rare bone disease Ankylosing spondylitis & his perseverance as Motley’s strange & ragged guitarist has made him a bit of an underground hero. His figure on stage is both Quasimodo & elder Rock God, his restricted movements making him look like Lon Chaney jr. in the Mummy’s garb.

This is s a video of a Mick solo in Quebec, Canada from the Theatre of Pain Tour in October, 1985. He gets pissed at an audience member who’s throwing shit at him & then proceeds to shred.

Mick Mars Solo October 1985, Montreal Canada

Mick treated the concert guitar solo like a spectacle so you basically just get a lot of wanking but the man is to be remembered & celebrated for his ensemble playing with the Motleys & the amazing riffs & memorable solos he played on the Crue tunes.

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I have too many favourite Mars solos to present here but here’s one tune I’ve always liked & even has Mick playing rather restrained & tastefully. Mick’s playing is all about the dynamic between fast & slow, high & low & I love how he comes out of this slide solo with a high screaming note (something he often did). The solo begins around the 2:30 mark but there’s nice slide stuff all through the tune.

Five Years Dead–Motley Crue 1987

There are bootlegs of Mick in some of the bands he played in before the Crue & you hear solos that were later transplanted almost note-for-note into Motley Crue tunes. He obviously had some written pieces he really liked & recycled some of his better ideas.

The Crue playing ‘Slice of Your Pie’ in 1989 & into Mick’s solo. Although we love the Man from Mars it should be admitted that his playing isn’t always astronomical . . . he can be sloppy at times & certainly holding down all the guitar duties for Motley live is not the easiest job in the world.

Motley Crue - Slice of your Pie & Mars Solo 1989

Although the guitar sound on Theatre of Pain is dated there is still some great work on that album. Crue were moving into cock-rock territory here but there are still elements of metal & Mick plays some melodic & titanic solos. ‘Use It Or Lose It’ is a tour-de-force all around with Tommy’s double-bass attack & the main guitar riff a rhythmic monster (great lyrics too). Mick’s solo is explosive & has some of that metal sound that Crue were just about to shrug off by Girls, Girls, Girls.

Motley Crue–Use It Or Lose It-1985

Here’s a very old Mick article from, I think, a Hit Parader in 1985-86. The oldest member of Motley reflects on Vince’s car accident from 1984 & how well the band is getting along despite all the turmoil. Do things ever change for these guys?! Here they are 26 years later, doing it again for their 2011 tour. Mick talks about how they came to cover ‘Smokin’ In the Boys Room’ & it has been announced this song will be resurrected (with a new arrangement) for this year’s tour.

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We’ll leave with this rare video of Mick sitting in with a hip-hop band (featuring Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello on bass) doing ‘Dr. Feelgood.’ Look how cool that old fucker is!

Happy Birthday Mick Mars!

Mick Mars Plays Dr. Feelgood with Hip Hop band-2007