A little while back, one of the senior publishing editors at work, Karen, mentioned she was seriously enjoying the Mötley Crüe memoir. ‘No you’re not,’ said I, unbelievingly. Silly me! Trust me, the pain of having to use two totally redundant umlauts in the title of this post was but a minor slight in comparison to the great good entertainment I received from this book. From the opening chapter by Nikki Sixx (bass), in which he stabs himself in the arm and tells the police that his mother did it, The Dirt is a fount of rock ‘n’ roll stories from which I was seriously happy to drink.
In fact, I made everyone else drink from it too. I became a Crüe-only Conversationalist. Here are some scenes from a real-life dinner party:
Friend of Estelle [FoE] #1: …which is why I’m moving to New York.
Estelle: So, I was reading this book about Mötley Crüe, you know, the band. It’s so hilarious. I can’t stop reading it. There’s this amazing story in it where Vince, the singer, has a crush on this Playboy Playmate, and they hang out for a bit but then he has to go to Hawaii for some reason. Anyway, he’s on a jetski in a lagoon with another woman – I think she’s topless – and all of a sudden Vince sees the Playmate on the beach, and she looks pretty mad, so he elbows the topless woman INTO THE WATER. Seriously. How hilarious is that?
[The conversation continues.]
FoE #2: …so fantastic about the work she’s been doing for them.
Estelle: SO. I don’t really want to go on about it, but this Mötley Crüe book is really amazing. It’s so gross. Have you ever seen that show about the Osbournes? Well, Ozzy Osbourne is crazy, right. SO CRAZY. I think he took acid every day for a year, just to see what it would be like. Brain is totally addled. So anyway, he was hanging out with Nikki Sixx – you know, the bass player – or maybe it was Vince, the singer? Anyway, they were off their heads on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol at a hotel, and Ozzy needs to pee. So he drops his pants and does a wee right in the middle of the hotel grounds. And then, he gets down on his hands and knees and STARTS DRINKING HIS OWN URINE. In long strokes with his tongue, like a cat.
FoE #3: Oh my god.
Estelle: I KNOW. So. then, Ozzy says, ‘Your turn, Nikki.’ And Nikki is freaking out – Ozzy is his idol, right. And Ozzy wants him to drink his own pee. What can he do but do it? So Nikki takes his pants off and does a wee, and he’s preparing himself, he can’t shame himself in front of Ozzy Osbourne, and then … Ozzy gets down on his hands and knees and drinks NIKKI’S wee.
FoEs #1 to 3: OH MY GOD, that’s disgusting.
Estelle (beaming): I KNOW!
All this despite never having heard any of their songs, ever. You get the idea. If neither of those stories floated your boat, you won’t like this book. It’s also super readable, especially the first half, in which you’re driven by the pure emotion of WTF. The book lags a little towards the end, but the writing’s good throughout, which I’m guessing is mostly thanks to Neil Strauss. (If you think I’m being unfair to the members of the band, consider these lyrics, given at the end of the book: ‘You’re so fake / You’re a dirty little bastard / Fake, you’re always so plastered.’) Strauss, no matter what I think of his pick-up society antics, is a good writer and music journalist, and in The Dirt each of the four members of the band has a distinct voice and story.
Next up? Tommyland.