Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Motley Crue doesn't miss Tommy Lee

By Chris Varias
Enquirer contributor

        As Tommy Lee and his new rap-metal outfit Methods of Mayhem are off vying for the title of Worst Band Ever, the group he left behind, Motley Crue, is doing all right without him.

        Motley Crue played Riverbend Sunday night, and while Mr. Lee's drumming and personality were slightly missed, the entity that is the Crue proved greater than the memory of its founding drummer.

        In a 90-minute performance, the band hit upon most every classic and also mixed in songs from its new album New Tattoo.

        Sitting in the drum throne on this night was Samantha Maloney of the band Hole, who, in a Spinal Tap-like turn of events, is replacing Randy Castillo, Mr. Lee's initial replacement who himself was sidelined by an ulcer.

        Ms. Maloney performed competently. She was a mere timekeeper, playing without any of Mr. Lee's flair. Also, those Crue fans who consider Mr. Lee's old gravity-taunting drum cage an elemental part of the band's show were disappointed to encounter Ms. Maloney's standard drum kit.

        Everything else was the Crue as we know it. The stage was decked out like a mini-mall of sin, or a cross between Monmouth Street and Short Vine, with storefronts of a leather shop, a tattoo parlor and a strip club providing a backdrop. Two lady backup singers clad in police leather (eventually shed to reveal leather bikinis) stood behind the band on a riser, while singer Vince Neal, guitarist Mick Mars and bassist Nikki Sixx played at the front of the stage.

        Song by song, from “Kickstart My Heart,” “Dr. Feelgood” and “Ten Seconds to Love,” to “Wild Side,” “Looks that Kill” and “Girls Girls Girls,” the band crafted a show as good as junk metal gets. The encore, “Live Wire” and “Shout at the Devil,” ruled, although “Too Young to Fall in Love” was missed. Even the new songs — “Hell on High Heels,” “Treat Me Like the Dog I Am” and “Punched in the Teeth by Love” — weren't a severe drop-off in the Crue quality we've come to expect.

        If neither Methods of Mayhem's miserable album nor its dreadful performance at Ozzfest were enough to prove Mr. Lee made a bad decision in ditching the Crue, this concert should have done the trick.


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