Motley Crue – Red, White & Crue Review

Motley Crue
“Red, White & Crue”
Hip-O/Motley Records

Since the band’s first album, 1982’s “Too Fast for Love,” Motley Crue have been called everything from the bad-boys of metal to a hair band to washed up has-beens.

With all these labels to choose from, one thing is clear: Motley Crue is a venerable hard rock/metal band that has amassed an impressive back catalogue over it’s 20 plus years in the business. And the band knows it too.

“Red, White and Crue” is only the newest of a handful of “hits” collections the band has released over the years. There was 1991’s “Decade of Decadence,” 1998’s “Greatest Hits” collection, not one but two box sets of hits (“Music to Crash Your Car To”) along with a collection of b-sides (“Supersonic and Demonic Relics”) and a live set. With all these collections already floating around, what’s the point of yet another one?

Well, not only is this the best of the greatest hits collections (barring the box sets), but there’s also some new gems on here that any fan of the band would enjoy having in their collection. And as an introduction to the band, this set is simply amazing. Two discs long, “Red, White & Crue” is more of a chronological tour through the band’s career, opening at ’82’s “Too Fast…” (though there is one older track) and travelling right through to 2000’s “New Tattoo,” closing with three new tracks (including a cover of Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man”).

The set opens with “Live Wire,” a song which somehow still manages to seem as relevant, energetic and “rockin'” as it did 23 years ago. “Piece of your Action” and “Too Fast for Love” also made the cut, but two other tracks from this era steal the spotlight here: 1981’s “Toast of the Town,” the band’s first, independently-released single, and “Black Widow.” “Toast…” is a track that didn’t make the cut for the “Too Fast For Love” album (although it was added onto the re-release in 2003); “Black Widow” has not been available until now. While both are strong tracks, “Toast…” is the better of the two as “Black Widow” seems slightly repetitive (like the band was thinking of reworking it but never got around to actually doing it).

“Shout at the Devil” is well-represented here (“Looks That Kill,” “Too Young to Fall in Love,” the “Helter Skelter” cover and the title-track), while “Theatre of Pain” is all but ignored (only the “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” cover and “Use it or Lose It”).

Of course it wouldn’t be a Crue collection without the stripper anthem “Girls Girls Girls.” And along with “Wild Side” and “All in the Name of,” the twisted and controversial (at the time) love song “You’re All I Need” also made the cut.

Disc one closes with the “Dr. Feelgood” tracks: the rocking “Kickstart My Heart” and “Same Ol’ Situation,” the forced ballad “Without You,” “Don’t Go Away Mad” and finally one of the band’s biggest hits, “Dr. Feelgood.”

Disc two picks up in the 90s, with the three newer cuts off the “Decade of Decadence” album (the “Anarchy in the U.K.” cover, “Primal Scream” and the 1991 remix of “Home Sweet Home”). Surprisingly, the band included some John Corabi material (the band’s front man in the mid-90s after Vince Neil was fired — prior collections essentially ignored this time in the band’s career). There’s an edit of the bluesy rocker “Hooligan’s Holiday” and version of “Misunderstood.” Two instrumentals off the rare EP “Quaternary” release (the tecno-rocker “Planet Boom” and the bluesy “Bittersuite,” the later of which begs the question why didn’t the Crue do more instrumentals?) are also included.

Three tracks off the Neil welcome-back-album, “Generation Swine,” are here. Included with the title-track are the lacking “Beauty” and oft-overlooked “Afraid” (albeit a different mix). The “new” tracks off the 1998 hits collection, “Bitter Pill” and “Enslaved,” mark the final older recordings featuring drummer Tommy Lee. Two “New Tattoo” tracks (featuring the late Randy Castillo on drums) are tacked on just to represent that album (“Hell on High Heels” and the single version of “New Tattoo”).

Then, the original line-up of the Crue recorded three new tracks for inclusion here, including the Nikki Sixx (Crue bassist) and Simple Plan penned “If I Die Tomorrow” and “Sick Love Song.” “If I Die…” is the set’s first radio single and, while there’s discontented rumblings due to the Simple Plan tie-in, the song actually has a great sound, even if the lyrics are slightly lacking. As for “Sick Love Song,” the track sounds good but sounds nothing like Motley Crue, the verses are pseudo-rapped while the chorus sounds like some new rock/metal band (though there is a cool Mick Mars solo on here so not all is lost). The disc closes with the Stones’ cover.

Overall, this is a comprehensive overview of a more-than-noteworthy band that made various waves in the rock and metal scenes over the past 20 years. It’s definitely a great collection and worthy of a recommendation.

Jonathan Widro is the owner and founder of Inside Pulse. Over a decade ago he burst onto the scene with a pro-WCW reporting style that earned him the nickname WCWidro. Check him out on Twitter for mostly inane non sequiturs