Mötley Crüe, a band that epitomized the wild and decadent spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, achieved unprecedented fame and success with their music. However, behind the glitz and glamour, the band members faced a series of tragic events and struggles that served as a stark reminder of the dark side of rock stardom. From fatal accidents to near-death experiences, addiction battles, and personal losses, Mötley Crüe’s journey was marred by a string of misfortunes. This article explores the tragedies that plagued the career of one of rock history’s most notorious bands.
Vince Neil’s Car Accident
In 1984, Vince Neil, Mötley Crüe’s lead singer, was involved in a car accident that claimed the life of Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle. Neil, driving under the influence of alcohol, crashed his car into two others. While Neil survived with minor injuries, Razzle tragically lost his life. The incident had a profound impact on Neil, who faced legal consequences and had to grapple with the guilt and remorse associated with causing the death of a friend.
Nikki Sixx’s Near Death Experience
Nikki Sixx, Mötley Crüe’s bassist, battled addiction throughout his career, and in 1987, he reached a critical point. Mixing drugs and alcohol, Sixx overdosed on heroin and was pronounced legally dead before being revived by paramedics. His near-death experience served as a wake-up call, prompting him to turn his life around and become an advocate for addiction recovery.
Mick Mars’ Medical Condition
Guitarist Mick Mars has dealt with ankylosing spondylitis (A.S.), a painful and degenerative disease, since his teenage years. A.S. has caused Mars considerable physical pain, affecting his ability to play guitar and tour. Despite his ongoing struggle with the disease, Mars remained an active member of Mötley Crüe. However, the progression of his condition eventually led him to retire from performing live with the band, passing the torch to guitarist John 5.
Vince Neil’s Daughter Passing
In the early 1990s, Vince Neil faced personal tragedy when his four-year-old daughter, Skylar, was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer. Despite undergoing surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, Skylar’s condition worsened, and she passed away in 1995. The loss of his daughter deeply impacted Neil and further exacerbated his struggles with substance abuse.
Nikki Sixx and Vanity’s Relationship
Nikki Sixx’s relationship with singer and actress Vanity (Denise Matthews) was marked by drug abuse and self-destructive behavior. During their time together, Sixx’s drug use escalated, leading to his addiction to freebase cocaine. Vanity’s own drug addiction eventually led to her near-fatal kidney failure. Although their relationship was short-lived, it had a lasting impact on both individuals’ lives.
Nikki Sixx: Depression and Paranoia
The pressures of fame, combined with substance abuse and declining mental health, took a toll on Nikki Sixx’s emotional well-being. In 1987, Sixx found himself battling depression and experiencing episodes of paranoia. He documented his struggles in his book “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star,” shedding light on the emotional turmoil he endured during that period. Sixx has since become an advocate for mental health awareness.
Nikki Sixx: The Heroin Diaries and Sixx:A.M.
In 2007, Nikki Sixx released his memoir titled “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star.” The book chronicles his struggles with addiction, detailing his experiences with heroin and its impact on his life. It also includes personal journal entries from the darkest periods of his addiction. The memoir received positive reviews and became a New York Times bestseller.
Following the release of his memoir, Sixx formed the band Sixx:A.M. with DJ Ashba and James Michael. The band released their debut album, “The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack,” in 2007, featuring songs inspired by Sixx’s book. They continued to release albums, including “This Is Gonna Hurt” in 2011 and “Prayers for the Damned” in 2016. Sixx:A.M. embarked on several successful tours and gained a dedicated fanbase.
Tommy Lee: Solo Projects and Reality TV
Tommy Lee ventured into various solo projects throughout his career. In 1999, he released his first solo album, “Never a Dull Moment,” which featured a more electronic and industrial sound compared to Mötley Crüe’s music. He followed it up with “Tommyland: The Ride” in 2005, blending different genres such as rock, hip-hop, and electronica.
Apart from his music endeavors, Tommy Lee became a prominent figure in reality television. He starred in the reality series “Tommy Lee Goes to College” in 2005, which followed his experiences as he enrolled in the University of Nebraska. He also appeared in “Rock Star Supernova” as a judge, where the members of a new rock supergroup were chosen through a reality competition.
Mick Mars: Solo Projects and Health Issues
After Mötley Crüe’s farewell tour, Mick Mars focused on his solo projects. He worked on his debut solo album, but its release has been delayed multiple times. Mars has expressed his desire to explore different musical styles and collaborate with other artists on his solo work.
Throughout his career, Mick Mars has also dealt with health issues, specifically ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the spine. Despite his health challenges, Mars continued to perform with Mötley Crüe and remained dedicated to his craft.
The End of Mötley Crüe
After decades of rock ‘n’ roll excess and surviving numerous setbacks, Mötley Crüe announced their farewell tour in 2014. The decision came after signing a cessation of touring agreement, famously known as “The Final Tour.” The band members cited a desire to retire from the grueling lifestyle of touring and focus on other endeavors. However, even in their farewell, tragedy struck when Mick Mars’ ongoing health issues and Vince Neil’s vocal struggles affected the quality of their live performances.