Classics Du Jour


10 Reasons to Watch ‘The Dirt’ – the Movie Version of Mötley Crüe’s 2001 Memoir

Motley Crue in 2012
Motley Crue perform in Sweden in 2012. CC by SA 3.0. Credit: bjornsphoto

If you grew up in the 1980’s watching MTV (who didn’t??), you ever had a mullet, you bought Aquanet cans by the dozen, or you’ve now lost your hearing because you just needed to stand right next to those amps in front, then The Dirt is the movie for you!

Everything now seems so tame compared to the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll-fueled shenanigans of Mötley Crüe.  In fact, the band could probably not exist as they were in today’s climate. But, back in the 80’s, this foursome somehow just worked, and miraculously, they all lived to tell their story.

Here are ten reasons you shouldn’t skip this Netflix biopic:

10 The opening scene

Since this is a PG-rated website, let’s just say it involves a groupie named “Bullwinkle,” public sex, prosthetic pubic hair, and a squirting device.  And by the way, everyone swears this all happened… and numerous times.

09 The soundtrack

All the old hits are there, including lots from the very early days. And, producer Bob Rock worked with the band on four new songs that are included on the soundtrack. Nikki Sixx says, “Everybody is playing like mad and the songs crush!”

08 The supporting actors

SNL’s Pete Davidson, who plays Tom Zutaut, the A&R man who signs Motley Crue to Elektra Records, is hilarious and David Costabile (“Wags” on Billions), plays longtime tortured manager Doc McGhee perfectly.  Special props go to Tony Cavalero for his spot-on impersonation of Ozzy Osbourne and to Christian Gehring, who is seen for much too short of a time playing Van Halen singer David Lee Roth.

07 The involvement of the real band

All four band members served as producers on the film and were key resources for the lead actors in their performances.

06 80’s memories and music

Seeing the cars, the clothes, the concert halls, Gazzarri’s on the Strip, The Rainbow and so many other small details can’t help but bring rock n’ roll memories flooding back.

05 The outfits

All the iconic costumes and 80’s day-to-day wear are on display.  For Los Angelenos, the band is featured prominently wearing LA radio t-shirts from KLOS and the late metal station KNAC. 

04 Finding all those discrepancies

Just a few:

  • Zutaut didn’t sign them on first meeting; instead he had to ply them with free food and alcohol for weeks. 
  • Mötley Crüe’s first performance was actually not an embarrassment as shown in the movie – it was an opening slot for Y&T at the legendary Starwood Club in the San Fernando Valley.
  • Vince Neil was not the band’s first singer – history says it was someone named O’Dean.
  • Doc McGhee wasn’t fired for bringing Nikki’s mom to a show.  He was fired because the band was jealous of all the pyro he’d gotten for Bon Jovi (another one of his bands).

03 The absolute debauchery

There are a few scenes in this movie where it is almost impossible not to cover your eyes.  But Ozzy snorting ants and then licking up both his and Nikki Sixx’s urine has to be at the top of the list.

02 The lead actors and director

The major players include co-creator Jeff Tremaine of Jackass and BAD Grandpa fame who had been working on the movie since 2010 (!), Colson Baker, a.k.a. Machine Gun Kelly (drummer Lee), Douglas Booth (bassist Nikki Sixx), Iwan Rheon (guitarist Mick Mars), and Daniel Webber (singer Vince Neil).  The actors playing Mötley Crüe bonded at “rock boot camp” to further become virtual clones of the real band. “I had that damn drumstick in my hand for four months straight, dude,” told USA Today. “I have giant calluses in between my middle finger and my index finger just [from] spinning that damn stick. So I hope you enjoy the stick twirls.”

01 The fact that all the band members are still alive

Vince Neil:  In 2019, it’s amazing to look back and see that Vince Neil only served 15 days in jail for killing his friend Razzle from Hanoi Rocks, in a brutal car accident driving while intoxicated.  He also left two passengers in the car he hit with brain damage.  Neil sobered up for awhile, but has since been arrested numerous times for DUIs. 

Tommy Lee:  Tommy Lee also crashed his motorcycle while drunk, crushing Armored Saint’s bassist’s Joey Vera’s hand.  But alcohol was his nemesis.  As seen in the movie, manager McGhee would actually handcuff Lee to his hotel bed to prevent him from inflicting more damage to himself or his hotel room.

Nikki Sixx:  As seen in the movie, Sixx OD’d on heroin and was revived due to the EMT being a Mötley Crüe fan and trying more than usual.  He had been partying with Slash and Steven Adler from Guns N’ Roses, and with Robbin Crosby of Ratt.  Slash’s girlfriend at the time gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation, also helping to save his life. Sixx OD’d several other times as well before he cleaned up permanently.

Mick Mars:  Mars has been living with Ankylosing Spondylitis, an inflammatory condition that mainly affects the joints of the spine, leading to severe, chronic pain and discomfort.  While fighting AS he became hooked on Vicodin, Xanax, Adderall and OxyContin, which he would take simultaneously.  Mars can no longer drive a car because the AS has spread to his brain stem, affecting his ability to turn his head.

Pam Edwards

Bitten by the radio bug early, Pam Edwards first started in broadcasting at her Glenbard West high school station, WGHS, 88.5 FM, in Glen Ellyn, IL. Now defunct, students were allowed to play anything they wanted on the station before and after school. While getting her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Marketing at the University of Illinois,...

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