The L.A. rockers—featuring singer Vince Neil, guitarist Mick Mars, bassist Nikki Sixx and drum-smacker Tommy Lee—continue to ride the momentum of 2008’s Saints of Los Angeles, the first Crüe album in over a decade to feature the original lineup. Saints led to the inaugural Crüe Fest, which Rolling Stone called the most successful rock festival tour of last summer. This time around, the filthy foursome hopes to up the ante.
The festival, now with two stages and 10 acts, will feature two separate sets by the Crüe. One will include all the glam-rock standards from albums like Shout at the Devil, Theatre of Pain and Girls, Girls, Girls, while the second set celebrates the 20th anniversary of Dr. Feelgood, which the band will play in its entirety.
“This is a crazy tour unlike any we’ve ever done before,” says Sixx. “Mötley’s doing two completely different sets—all of the songs from the Dr. Feelgood album and then a whole different look, sound, lights, dancers and even microphones with the grime and slime of our greatest hits. We’ll change up the set list a bit during the second half of the show, just really do something different this summer.”
Dr. Feelgood, featuring the Grammy-nominated hits “Kickstart My Heart” and “Dr. Feelgood,” is a key album that symbolizes the height of Crüe’s success. It’s the band’s first and only No. 1 album, and it achieved this milestone by delightfully tossing Paula Abdul from the top of the charts. Likewise, if you exclude the failed 1997 reunion album Generation Swine, this is the real last time the original lineup made a proper Crüe album.
Saints of Los Angeles, which picked up a Grammy nod of its own, returns the band to form largely because it channels the same grit and grime that made the ’80s albums so popular. Based largely on the band’s tell-all book The Dirt, Saints chronicles the wild days of booze, broads and brawls. It’s about a band who loved a good publicity stunt, whether it’s getting arrested at Edmonton airport for entering Canadian customs in full spiked costumes or Lee famously throwing a TV set out the upper-floor window of a hotel room. The press swooned at tales of groupie sex, debauchery-laden parties and drug excess coupled with photos of band members in thick makeup and flamboyant outfits. Of course, there were also less glamorous moments like Neil’s DUI car crash that killed Hanoi Rocks’ drummer and Sixx’s heroin overdose that, for a moment at least, left him legally dead.
While the Crüe might not participate in any television toss Olympics this time around, they have plenty of tour mates to take up the slack. Among the groups joining the tour, Godsmack stands out as an arena-level act whose last two albums both topped the Billboard 200. Other main stage groups include Drowning Pool, Charm City Devils and Theory of a Deadman, while the Monster Energy Stage features Rev Theory, Cavo, Shram, 16 Second Stare and a yet-to-be announced local act.
“This is what we imagined when we came up with the idea of Crüe Fest last summer—putting together the most kick-ass bands on one bill for a day of rock,” Sixx concludes. “All of the bands on this tour compliment the others—musically, theatrically and passionately.”
Crüe Fest 2 featuring Mötley Crüe (duh), Godsmack, Drowning Pool and others at the San Manuel Amphitheater, 2575 Glen Helen Parkway, San Bernardino; www.cruefest2.com, Fri, July 31, 5PM; $10-$95.