The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band

tags: music

I got this book as a gift. I would have never purchased it for myself, yet I loved I it, which makes it the best kind of gift you can get.

This is the story of Motley Crue, a band I grew up with in the 80s. It’s raw and uncensored – that sounds like a cliche, but it’s apt when describing this book.

The story is told from the perspective of…well, everyone. Each part is divided into multiple chapters, all told from the perspective of someone – Vince, Nikki, Tommy, and occasionally Mick. Also included are chapters from John Corabi, during his brief stint as lead singer, and various managers and executives.

The same situation is often described by one of the band members, then a different perspective on the same event is given by someone else in the next chapter (and often, the second recollection boils down to “that’s not how it happened at all…”)

The book was published 12 years ago, and a lot has happened since then. But at the time it was published, the band was a mess. Their heyday was over, and Tommy had just left (Vince had left and come back).

The book is essentially the story of four guys who got everything they wanted but were never happy. The amount of drugs, alcohol, and women they consume is just staggering. I’m no prude, but even I winced at the level of debauchery they describe in graphic detail. It’s nauseating. I can’t believe they all didn’t drop dead of various STDs. I will hug my daughters a little tighter tonight knowing that people like these four are out there.

(Well, three, really – Mick is 10 years older than the rest, and throughout the book he comes off as the wise, detached babysitter. You can almost hear him roll his eyes when discussing the antics of the other three. He seems to participate in the book only reluctantly.)

Beyond the drugs, the alcohol, and the one-night stands, there are the marriages. These guys got married a couple times each, and each one was like watching a trainwreck in slow motion. You just knew what was going to happen, but were powerless to stop it. Each new wife is described as the most amazing thing, then is a “bitch from hell” a couple chapters later.

After a while, you get used to the sheer stupidity of it all. You begin to soak in the rhythms of some of the worst decision-making and coping skills the world has ever seen. There’s a point in the book where I might have been disappointed if one of them made a good decision about something.

The three younger members of Motley Crue were, effectively, overgrown infants possessing zero capacity for critical thinking and perhaps even less impulse control. The story is as sad and tragic as it is exciting and titillating. For anyone who works hard for a living and tries to do the right thing, this book is a relentless horror show.

It’s extremely well-written. Neal Strauss is credited as a co-author, and you have to assume he effectively wrote it all from interviews with the various subjects (because, let’s face it, these morons would be hard-pressed to form a complete sentence in print). The text is supported by lots of pictures, both of the band and of various artifacts – pieces of paper with scribbled song lyrics, arrest records, name change forms, etc.

I read it in six hours, non-stop. Morbid curiosity run wild. Fantastic book.

Book Info