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Crue's journey brings changes for hard rockers



Published: Thu, September 7, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The bassist says the debauchery backstage has toned down.

By JOHN BENSON

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

Arguably one of the strongest co-headlining shows in years, this summer's Root of all Evil Tour featuring Aerosmith and Motley Crue is a match of unimaginable debauchery. The powerful bill comes to the Pittsburgh area Saturday at Post Gazette Pavilion.

Comparable in style and shenanigans, both bands share a common bond of redemption, having nearly fallen into obscurity only to rebound into sold-out arenas. It's an unlikely journey that unites these two hard-rock giants.

"I think all bands have to go through hills and valleys," said Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, calling from his home in Los Angeles. "There was a time when Aerosmith was done as far as people in the industry were concerned. And then they got rediscovered by a new audience. It's the same thing with Motley."

When it began

The resurgence of Motley Crue -- Sixx, Tommy Lee (drums), Vince Neil (vocals) and Mick Mars (guitar) -- began more than a year and a half ago with the Red, White and Crue Tour 2005 -- Better Live Than Dead. The bassist said as the tour crisscrossed the States, he saw audiences made of "young'ens, strippers, porno stars, rednecks, the goth kids and the heavy metal kids."

The audience isn't the only thing that has changed for the band over the years. The backstage extracurricular activities have been toned down.

"It's definitely different," Sixx said. "There are elements of debauchery on tour, like there is for anybody. But there's also the other element that it's business and there are people in the band who have families and sometimes the families are out and the kids are out, so I think we're able to balance that quite well."

Despite 14 months on the road, Sixx said the opportunity to come back out for another tour leg and join Aerosmith -- its first jaunt with the Boston group -- was too good to pass up.

Perhaps more importantly, the Crue wants to keep its name out there with many projects in the works, including Sixx's autobiography "The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star" due out next year and his new clothing line, Royal Underground.

Focus of attention

While there is talk of a new Crue studio album, all band attention is focused on its high-profile MTV Films/Paramount silver screen project due to go into production this fall for a 2007 release. The biopic is based on the band's autobiography "The Dirt."

"We want it to be edgy and gritty," Sixx said. "We want it to be saturated in look, in storyline and have a truth in it. We don't want it to be a rock star movie. We want it to be a very powerful story of survival."

While the Crue's walk on the wild side is worthy of VH-1 "Behind the Music" attention, what remains to be seen is whether it becomes a box-office success.

"It's always the right time for a great story," Sixx said. "The Johnny Cash story ["Walk the Line"], if you wanted to be a marketing person, you'd probably would have said it should have happened while he was alive when he could have cross-promoted it and wrote new songs for it. But it happened when it happened and the right actors played the right parts and it's a great movie. The same with the Ray Charles movie ["Ray"]. So when is the right time? I don't know."

He added, "We're all still alive. [So] We have one thing going for us but we have a tour to get in before the movie is out so things could change."




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