Friday, December 12, 2008

Mötley Crüe: 'Kickstart My Heart'

Mötley Crüe tend to be dismissed as eighties lightweights, which is unsurprising when we consider that they are now known as much for their backstage antics as for their recordings. This is in no short way due to the band mythology they have created, propagated through literature and other means. But blatant self promotion is nothing new for Motley, combining the flamboyant image of glam rock with the power-chord musical stylings of heavy metal, they were born out of the vibrant Sunset Strip scene which consciously rebelled against the macho image of mainstream metal.

By 1984 hedonism had well and truly taken over, in the form of unprecedented alcohol and drug abuse, along with incomparable extracurricular debauchery. Decadence fed decadence and it wasn’t long before singer Vince Neil was involved in a head-on car collision, in which his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley, was killed.

In December, 1987, songwriter Nikki Sixx suffered a fatal heroin overdose. He was declared legally dead on the way to the hospital, but received two shots of adrenaline to the heart, bringing him back to life……leading us to the present song.

Producer Bob Rock was drafted in to produce the massively successful album Dr. Feelgood, which found the band having turned over a new leaf in their personal lives, each member having beaten their own particular vice. The album proved to be a lush affair with a heavy rhythm section and Mick Mars’ guitar pushed well to the fore (the sound would influence Metallica’s weighty production on the Black album).

Mars opens the song with a heavily distorted guitar mimicking the roar of a car shifting gears, before he lets loose a frantic riff backed by Tommy Lee’s typically flashy drums. The chorus is classic glam metal, big and catchy. Reportedly, Bob Rock had to have the band record separately to avoid confrontation, which is ironic when you consider that this was the first time they had been truly clean since its inception. Somewhat predictably the band would not quite make it to the nineties intact, with Neil departing before the next album.

Dr. Feelgood (1989)

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