I was an American kid, growing up in Germany as a part of an army family. One day I was enjoying my second favorite pastime, skipping school. Skipping as an American kid in Germany is much different from here in the USA. I never had to worry about truant officers, police and I could go into any pizzeria to get a beer. This was freshmen year, so I was 13 or 14 years old, grabbing a beer and eating pizza. It was Heaven.
After a day of drinking and roaming around 800 year old castles, we would always hit the record shop in the main train station. That is where we got our fix of rock. AFN, The Armed Forces Network, was a variety radio station. It was also the only one in English, so we listened for even the tiniest bit of rock. Whenever we heard a band’s name that we liked, it would go on my list. The tiny train station shop didn’t have much, but the ROCK bin was mine, I claimed it every visit.
Flipping through the albums, looking at the cool artwork and guessing our way through these bands we had never heard of was a gamble. It was always hit or miss. I remember picking up this one album, black with hints of vivid color coming from the inside it’s suspect double album cover. Red letters emblazoned on black, and a barely visible pentagram done with some reflective material. “Mötley Crüe” the bands name, “Shout at the Devil” was the album. I snatched the last copy and took the train home to see what I got.
I got home, told mom school was fine (lie) and headed to my room. Holding SATD in my hands, I rip the plastic off, slide out the LP in the liner-notes sleeve. I lift the plastic cover off of my Hi-Fi stereo, put the record on, grab the lyrics and with headphones on (Mom hated loud music), and I heard these words…
In the beginning
Good always overpowered the evils
Of all man’s sins…
But in time
The nations grew weak
And our cities fell to slums
While evil stood strong…
In the dusts of hell
Lurked the blackest of hates
For he whom they feared
Now, many many lifetimes later
Lay destroyed, beaten, beaten down
Only the corpses of rebels
Ashes of dreams
And blood-stained streets…….
And it has been written
“Those who have the youth
Have the future”
So come now, children of the beast
Be strong, And Shout at the Devil!
My world changed that day. I had the liner notes memorized, band members ranked in order of bad-asses. Hit Parade magazine got shredded every time Mötley Crüewere in it and the pages adorned my wall. A football jock that rode my bus stole me that black shit they put under their eyes and I would alternate between Tommy and Nikki stripes. Eyeliner, ripped jeans and even fishnet stockings from a chick I knew for gloves. Then it happened, Monsters of Rock 1984! I was going to go anyway, but the moment I saw Mötley Crüewere going there, I was first in line at the local ticket seller.
I loved all the bands, but was there for Crüe! It was hard to get much news about them over there, and since the invention of the internet not even a dream yet. So Hit Parade and all the other Teen Mags were my only sources. Whenever I heard they were on tour, I was on the ticket hunt.
I remember seeing them three maybe four times, Tommy’s drum kit growing more and more elaborate. One show, I think it was Theater of Pain, I met Tommy without even realizing it. Pumped full of beer and wine hours before the show. I had my girlfriend with me and she had run off to get some more booze I think. The concert hall was not the biggest, but all our area had to offer that was indoors.
The adjoining buildings were the business offices or what not for the hall. I was sitting on the steps, away from the crowd chilling out when this van came screeching up. Out jumped this tall, skinny dude with a mess of black hair. The doors locked, and no one was around, so the guy just muttered “Fuck!”.
I lit a smoke, and he asked to bum one. I said, “Sure dude, no prob..” and waited in silence like all cool rock dudes did. A few minutes later, the security opens the door for this guy. I was jealous, who was he?
At the very moment the doors closed, my girl came back, looked through the glass doors and screamed “THAT WAS TOMMY LEE!”. I palmed my face, thinking how fucking stupid I was. Well I was about to get stupider.
I am not a braggart, but I was a bit of a leader with my group of rocker friends. It was getting close to showtime and all of a sudden we heard guitars. Drums. Bass. Vocals. Crüe was doing sound-check! I grabbed my crew and headed for the side of the hall. They had those double doors with the push bar on the inside and security at them all. One guard must have been a fan because he had the door cracked, checking things out.
I led my rocking mob in an all out assault and wedged myself in the door before it could close. Hands grabbed, I squirmed then escaped the guards grip. I burst into the empty hall, guards hot on my ass and ran in circles all the while trying to get Crüe’s attention. I don’t know if Crüe even did their own sound-checks, but I swear it was them. They stopped playing and watched me play Keystone Cops with security. I didn’t want to get caught and miss the show, so I booked. I ran through another set of those doors, through the guards and blended in with all my fellow Crüeheads.
The show was amazing, we were up front of the general admission crowd, crushed against the bar with my girlfriend. I was in Heaven.
That was my life when I lived in Germany. Part of a military family, BRATS as friends. Some I still am in touch with, but most have faded away. One special dude, Butch has passed on. I get sad thinking about him.
Flash forward to the Mötley Crüe/Poison tour. I begged and pleaded on social media for a chance to see them again. I am now a disabled vet, that means I don’t have any money, and my condition was getting worse. I feared that this would be my last chance to see them. Seth Green heard my cry.
After verifying that I’m a disabled veteran, Seth’s people talked to Nikki’s people, and I had VIP access! I got to meet Nikki, he signed his books, my ticket, laminate and everything I had on me. Was front row, in a safe place (disabled remember?) and rocking to my heroes again. Hadn’t felt so good in years. My condition did not exist during the show! I was so inspired.
I wanted to be a rock journalist/photographer, and low and behold I did it! I overcame my anxiety problems for short periods, wore my leg braces to shows and got a freelance position on a small print magazine. My biggest moment was getting to photograph Halestorm and write an article, I got the cover.
Things are not getting better though. I now know that this is my last chance to not only see Mötley Crüe, but my last chance to be a journalist/photographer covering them. Nikki Sixx is the reason I am still alive. See, not only did I imitate the style, I followed my path to addiction and back.
Before I got to meet Nikki on that tour, my painwas tormenting me more that ever. Iwas so close to using again when I picked up my copy of The Heroin Diaries. I read it all night, remembering the hell addiction was. I didn’t want to go back to hell, I wanted to Shout at the Devil!.
So I met Nikki, got bit by the photography bug and worked as many local shows I could handle. Its stupid, but I had this Cameron Crowe/Almost Famous dream. I want to be the kid in that movie, to be Cameron Crowe. I want to write a story, firsthand, from a fans eyes of the Death of Mötley Crüe. I know I could do it, I need a publication or some other entity to take a chance and believe in me. Hire me to go on tour, write the epitaph of my lifelong heroes.
To be continued….