Pick of the Day: Motley Crue

Inspired, in part, by Emily Zimmerman's tremendous cover story in our Jan. 14 issue on the relative merits of Guns 'n Roses, who played Brandt Centre Jan. 20, and Motley Crue (pictured), who take the stage there tonight, my pick-of-the-day post on G 'n R (Dog Blog) turned into a rant on how shitty the decade that spawned both bands (the '80s) had been.

If you check the link, you'll see the post drew a response from a reader named Dewdney who took issue with me dissing the decade and insisting that, unlike me, he wasn't "appaled [sic] and offended" by the '80s. Fair enough. Everyone's take on the decade is obviously different. In the early '80s, I got a law degree at the U of S. Then I more or less did a 180 and started working toward becoming whatever it is that I am today (as a writer, critic and man, I mean). I don't regret the direction my life took. But the transition happened in the '80s, and it wasn't easy.
As societal participants, artists, through their work, can both subvert and reinforce dominant socio-political values and beliefs.
In the early '80s, for instance, punk defiantly worked in opposition to the stridently conservative and reactionary Thatcher/Reagan revolution. You could argue, I suppose, that through their hedonistic L.A. lifestyles bands like Motley Crue, Guns 'n Roses, Slayer, Skid Row and Poison subverted conservative Republican values. But though their boorish off-stage antics and fanatical allegiance to poseur cock-rock they also embodied them.

In her article Emily, at one point, writes that Motely Crue were "so impossibly straight that they could run around in makeup and heels and look even more masculine for it." But as far as looks go, it's pretty high maintenance, isn't it? And while I guess I can understand why a not insignificant portion of women would find a man (or men) like that attractive, it's not anything I'd ever aspire to emulate.

For what it's worth, the Leader-Post's Christopher Tessmer gave the G 'n R show a pretty glowing review. In his missive to me, Dewdney said he'd rather see the Crue. As Emily noted (and Dewdney conceded), the Crue are touring primarly as a nostalgia act now. And while the current incarnation of G 'n R is mostly an Axyl Rose solo project, with him being the only original member, he apparently has access to the entire G 'n R catalogue, has a crack band behind him, and he recently put out some new music that, while 15 years in the making, was positively received. Hence, my preference for G 'n R over Motley Crue.

I won't be there to see them when they do it tonight, but here's grainy video from a 2008 concert of the Crue doing "Kickstart My Heart" (YouTube)

And for those looking for something a little more sedate, Do-It-With-Class Young People's Theatre opens a two-night run of Wind in the Willows at Conexus Arts Centre at 7:30 p.m. It's a Broadway musical based on Kenneth Grahame's 1908 rural English children's story about the exploits of Mole, Rat, Toad and other woodland animals. Here's a link to a scene from an '80s era British stop-animation Wind in the Willows TV series . (YouTube)

Also worth checking out is the Coffeehouse Controversy tonight at Chapters at 7:30 p.m. Speaking is Journalism professor Gennadiy Chernov on Commercial Speech on Television: Stealth Advertising in Local Television News. And Attack in Black is at the Exchange with Lonesome Weekends in support. Finally, Alexis Normand is performing at the Club.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, Gregory...so sorry you got all butthurt over my reply to your GnR post last week. I sure didn't intend for it to come across as 'taking issue' with you for your hatred of the 80's. I wasn't taking a run at you, just stating that the 80's didn't suck for me...sorry if that's offensive to you.

(By the way, thanks for highlighting my spelling mistake...I assume that was your way of poking fun at the Motley Crue fan who clearly fits the ignorant headbanger stereotype, right?)

I'll leave the in-depth study of the political significance of various sub-genres of rock music to people like you who care about such things. I'm just looking forward to a couple hours down memory lane, enjoying music that brings back good memories of fun times spent with my friends in my youth. Is that alright Gregory? Can rock music be fun anymore? If the Clash or Black Flag were still alive/around and touring would I be allowed to enjoy myself and the music, or would I be required to muster up my 'screw the man' angst and anger before I was allowed entry?

Before you declare victory for Gn'R, I'll point out that your claim that Chinese Democracy was 'positively received' ranks right up there with George W. Bush's 'Mission accomplished' as far as credibility. Sure, you could go dig up few rock critics reviews, and it's not hard to find hardcore 'Axyl [sic] Rose' apologists who will insist that the album isn't a complete piece of shit, but face facts, 'Guns and talented but anonymous scabs' are selling tickets to the same core audience that are going to be at the Agridome tonight. The only difference is at Crue's show, they'll have to be a little more selective about what songs they can ignore when they go for a piss or back to the beer line. At least those breaks are built in to a Gn'R show between the Appetite For Destruction and Use your Illusion tunes that people are really there to hear.