So Vince Neil is in a ton of trouble in 1985 and believe it or not so is the Crue though I didn’t realize at the time as I was 17 and everything was Crue especially in the press where a ton of magazines were being sold to the Dec 1984 car crash that forever ruined Hanoi Rocks(Razzle/RIP)so it came as no surprise that in June of 1985 Motley stumbled out of the recording studio and fed us Theatre Of Pain.
Crue ditches the holograms,black leathers,fire,smoke and the general Helter Skelter and goes into a fashion swing with bright colors,cool threads,makeup,Nikki yapping about this is our best record blah blah blah speech to the magazines,Mick Mars is getting older by the minute and a band that wants to punch you in the head with there music with Shout At The Devil put out Theatre Of Pain and in all honesty it’s more like a little slap to the cheek!
Crue with Theatre Of Pain was at the time of there release I thought a pretty good album but over time and now at almost three decades old I think the Crue were on life support and this album is as close to a flatline for them as any!
Let me pretend to be Dr Feelgood and diagnosis what I feel what went wrong and why I have a real hard time listening to this thing now.
So like I said earlier,June of 85 the start of summer vacation and here’s the Crue and I still remember like I said digging the look and I was a first day buyer as so were many others and the first thing I notice is the production of this album is to me muddy sounding it just not does sound good. Tom Werman produced this I mean what the hell! Werman produced Cheap Trick and Nugent that were in my collection and those sounded allright but he also did some bizarre shit sonics to Stay Hungry by Twisted Sister and if ya don’t believe me go and read Dee Sniders Shut Up And Give Me The Mic book! Anyways…City Boy Blues starts of the festivities and it’s clear there is a shift in sound as well. The Crue is gonna give us a sleazy ol school Aerosmith track complete with Mick Mars sliding around the neck of his guitar and to be honest it’s not a bad start. I was,ok with the shift in sound as was TBone but you what we never really ever talked about this one that much. Why I dunno? Ask him!
The rest of the songs I found were some throw together jobs of work like Raise Your Hands To Rock,Fight For Your Rights and Tonight(We Need A Lover) come to mind buried pretty much at the end of the record and the single Smokin In The Boys Room. Na,what sold that song was the video it was goofy and since Roth was gone out of Van Halen at that point and Twisted Sister was pretty much defunct and chucked into the bargain bins I guess someone at Crue HQ’s decided to tell em to do goofy videos to pick up the slack,and by the rotations of Smokin,well it worked ! Some songs did have some good moments like Keep Your Eye On The Money which I think is the best song on this album followed by Louder Than Hell and even Use Or Lose It but man the production of this record just drags it down for me! Of course the power ballad of one Home Sweet Home probably pushed the sales of this thing past the point of what they shoulda been. The Theatre was packed The Nikki and the Tommy Lee show were thanking all of us for the cash donation. Ya think they could thrown in some popcorn at least!!
As for the video filmed in 1985 in Detroit two things jump out at me. How good Neil’s voice is and the fact that some dude who filmed this on his camcorder actually gets a better sound out of his camera than the copy of the album that I owned!