Crue’s Theater Of Pain era is often cited as the moment the band jumped the shark musically with the frilly, sequined, pink polka dot costumes highlighting that misstep.
I like the absurdity of the Theater gear & the whole cartoonish & garish take on Glam they were doing. By Girls & Dr. F the band had moved into a more straight-ahead Rock n’ Roll appearance & began wearing what could be called more ‘designer’ duds . . . which casts the Crue in a kind of mainstream Rock light. The late ‘80s were a pretty bland age, culturally, & you saw a lot of acts trying to impress rather than shock or inspire. Below we have the Crue looking almost like glamour models wearing the latest designs in a fashion magazine . . . which isn’t that far from the truth!
Of course, you can’t judge a band by a photo session, but if the Motleys didn’t have the capability to mostly look like cool, gnarly dudes, it MAY have effected their popularity. The band in some of these pin-ups & posters looks more like guys who play soft Hard Rock like Bon Jovi & not the gang who wrote ‘Wild Side.’
The DR. Feelgood era saw more of this kind of rich Rock star look. You know things are headed in the wrong direction when Vince starts wearing a beret.
I’m kinda kidding around with this post but it’s true that this kind of established & successful Rock band image was not as compelling as the violent Road Warrior maniacs of years past. Is it a coincidence that the music is less powerful as well? That may be more a matter of opinion.
Although you’ll hear Nikki insist that everything was created & designed by the band, Ray Brown is the man behind this phase of the Decade of Decadence (see more Ray Brown Motley designs HERE). Ray has worked with a lot of other Rockers over the years & you could say that Motley from 1987-1990 were more likely to look like other bands than they previously did. A little bit of their originality disappeared image-wise & this effected their rep amongst the more hardcore Hard Rock & Metal fans. Most of these posters & pin-ups were made for the fan of the fairer sex which left us hardcore Crueheads appreciating the Shout At the Devil days even more.