Book Review | The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, by Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, and Nikki Sixx with Neil Strauss
Ooooooh Mötley Crüe….I confess, I can’t be considered a fan.
Although after reading The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, and Nikki Sixx with Neil Strauss, (written from the biographical point-of-view of each band member and some extra people involved in their careers, with the help of an actual writer) I feel a desire to actually listen to their songs. And may even be willing to hear a whole album from end to end, just for research’s sake.
They’ve always been the screamy and sort-of-catchy band on the radio to me, and that’s it.
When I found out that they wrote an autobiography I became intrigued, and when I found out that it was considered to be a notorious recounting I felt it was a must-read for me. I was expecting lasciviousness but not the full-on level of disgusting that pops up throughout the book. Let me be clear, this is not a William Burrough’s level of grossocity here, but on my scale it might be just the next level or two down. Some things could definitely be considered shocking beyond the norm, but overall as the stories took place, sadness and pity replaced my own repulsion.
This book recounts the forming of Mötley Crüe and their experiences as a band. In disjointed chapters it also randomly provides us with background on their childhoods and a window into their massive abuse of just about everything under the sun. The book rotates chapters between members and their personal point of view of events. While the writing itself can feel random at times because of the constant trading off of these points of view, it is also really interesting to see an event recounted one way and then immediately told from another point of view.
From an academic analysis this book is great because each person’s ego is so painfully obvious and visible in each very brief chapter.
I found myself rooting for the development of each person in the band as they all made the same mistakes over and over and over (and over and over and over) again. Before you pat your own judging self on the back about how you know that their money would’ve been much better spent on therapy instead of drugs, booze, and cars, I feel it’s great that they take the opportunity to point out that some of their own therapists and counselors were, or ended up, at least as badly off as they were themselves. It’s a small, yet great, insight on how challenging it can be to fix yourself when your environment would prefer you unfixed or is just generally dysfunctional.
There isn’t a ton of plot, technically, throughout the book. It doesn’t really follow the traditional storytelling format. But it’s so action and tidbit packed that you don’t even care because you are almost unequivocally entertained. As you continue through the book you realize that really you are reading about the lives of some of the most heavily enabled addicts on the planet. By reading about their lives, I really mean reading about their addictions because they are the same thing. Addiction on that scope is entirely all-consuming and mirrors how dysfunctional the individual rampaging through it really is. In that sense this is good writing because you watch a very true transformation and you can feel it as each of the guys zooms out little by little after getting tired of running around on rock bottom.
This book is something else.
If you’re like me you’ll find yourself rooting for normalcy and healthy living at least by the end, if not partway through or right away. I literally thought to myself how glad I was to be staying home and having a quiet evening reading and maybe going to bed early in my relatively clean house because reading about some seriously dirty escapades might induce that in you. I never once felt jealous of the band’s experiences and found myself feeling more sorry than impressed. I can’t tell if I’m getting old or if the accounts were just that horrifying.
I’d encourage you to come along for the ride just to see what you think or to be grateful for what you have.
Fame and money and all the things you can buy with that don’t mean everything.
Pick up your copy using this link and we make pennies.