A new on-going feature on Pencil Storm, “Great Band, Worst Song,” will cover some of the best bands of rock n roll who squeaked out a rotten egg – a song so bad that it’s an embarrassment. We kick off our first installment with our 80's hairband expert, Wal Ozello.
Mötley Crüe… the bad boys of rock ‘n roll. They lived the phrase “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘N Roll” to the extreme. Two of their members had sex tapes which were made public: Vince Neil with a porn star and Tommy Lee with Pamela Anderson. Google their bass player, “Nikki Sixx and Overdose”, and you’ll get dozens of different stories when he overdosed on heroin and died… only to be revived so he could do more heroin. I mean, the guy was declared dead. Woke up and then went home to do more drugs.
These guys wrote raw hard rock… Shout At The Devil, Livewire, Looks That Kill, Wild Side, and a dozen other songs. Even their covers, Helter Skelter and Smoking in the Boys Room, rocked harder than the originals.
One of their best albums, and their last good one, was Dr. Feelgood. It had tracks like Kick Start My Heart and Dr. Feelgood that oozed out the sinister hard rock they were known for. Even the power ballad, Without You, had rawness to it that swung closer to metal, on the pop/metal continuum.
But the last song on this album, Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away), sounds more like a New Kids On the Block song than something from the bad boys of rock n roll. This song is just awful, even for a pop tune. It's got a dance beat and not a pump-your-fist-in-the-air beat. The acoustic intro is lame and the bass meanders like a 50's shoo-bop tune. The lyrics are cheesy and don't even make sense. If you’re a Mötley Crüe fan and think this song rocks then just imagine if Poison released it – you’d think it was worse than Unskinny Bop. Don’t Go Away Mad belongs on Flesh & Blood instead of Dr. Feelgood.
In a year when Guns N Roses dominated the airwaves with Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City, the Crüe was singing about “two kids in love, trying to find our way.” That lyric sounds like it came from a Milli Vanili song and not from the guys who wrote about skydiving naked from an airplane.
I’m convinced it was this song that ruined Mötley Crüe and hard rock forever. Somewhere in Seattle a young Kurt Cobain listed to Don’t Go Away Mad and thought, “This is shit. This band is over,” then sat down and wrote Smells Like Teen Spirit.
And that wasn’t just the end of Mötley Crüe. It was the end of heavy metal and hard rock.
Wal Ozello, a child of the 80s, is the former singer of the Columbus hairband Armada. He's the author of the science fiction time travel books Assignment 1989 and Revolution 1990 and a frequent customer at Colin's Coffee.