It’s been five months since Mötley Crüe said farewell — to the stage, at least. But the now on-ice group’s members are happy that its final show, a New Year’s Eve blowout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, is hitting the big screen.
“It’s beautifully done,” bassist Nikki Sixx tells Billboard about The End, which screens for one night only nationwide on June 14 in front of a presumed home video release. “I’ve seen it mixed and color corrected and, wow, that was a trip to sit in my couch and watch the band I’ve put 35 years into play its last show.” But drummer Tommy Lee says the movie — which includes new interviews and behind-the-scenes footage — did not kindle any feelings of regret or reconsideration.
“No way, man,” he says with a laugh. “But it was actually really cool to watch something so fuckin’ rad end — for real, y’know?”
Watch an exclusive clip from The End below.
Among the highlights of The End is one of only two times Lee’s drum “roller coaster” — a track that took him to the center of the venues and back as he played his solo — failed. The device came to a halt about halfway from the main stage, a malfunction that was caused by conflicting wireless technology used by both the drum kit and the cameras recording Lee’s flight. “I know how Murphy’s Law works — especially with Motley,” Lee says with a laugh. “It worked fine the first two nights at the Staples Center, and then the third night, of course, it shit the bed. Looking back now I laugh at it — and I was at the time, too. I was like, ‘Of course this thing broke.’ I wouldn’t have it any other way, actually, and it made for some fun.”
Less pleasant was the manner in which the Crüe members said goodbye to each other — or didn’t, as it turned out. “We had a super, super crazy afterparty, but none of the other guys came to it,” says Lee — who, of course, was one of the ringmasters. “It was interesting. I asked around, like, ‘Hey, where are the guys at?’ and they’re like, ‘Oh, they left.’ ‘Whoa! OK…’ Very disappointed, but in the same breath I kinda knew that was gonna happen, so I was prepared for it, y’know? And after a nearly two-year-long tour, I didn’t blame them for wanting to just get the fuckin’ out of there and go home. It’s all good.” Lee hasn’t spoken with Sixx or frontman Vince Neil since the show, though he’s in frequent contact with guitarist Mick Mars.
The Mötley men have continued to go their own ways since their final bows. Sixx is on the road with his band Sixx:A.M., while Neil is touring as a solo act. Mars, meanwhile, is working on a new album with John Corabi, who replaced Neil from 1992-97. And Lee is just starting to work on his own music again. “My plan was to take a year off, and that’s not working out so well,” he says with a laugh. “Since last month I’ve been down to my studio writing and recording and being that guy. So the plan lasted four months. I didn’t quite get to a year.”
The group members aren’t done with each other, however. “There’s a long list of things that are important for us to keep our legacy alive,” Sixx says. Chief among those is the long-awaited film adaptation of the 2001 band memoir The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, which has gone through several scripts and production deals. There’s no timeline on it yet, but Sixx and Lee are confident it will eventually see the light of day. “The movie is definitely going to be made here, shortly,” Lee says, while Sixx adds that, “I’ve heard different rumblings of stuff — somewhere like fall, maybe. The music business is complicated. The film business is slow and complicated.” What the Crue gets into beyond that project, however is anybody’s guess.
“There won’t be any new music or anything like that,” Lee says. “It’s clear that at some point the band just stopped making new music, and what are you supposed to do? Keep going around the country playing the same old songs? No way. In a world that was changing rapidly in all senses, musically and business and style and everything, people need to be really open and not really follow but forge ahead and make something new. That’s a big challenge and you have to have a lot of open minds for that stuff. I can remember experimenting on a couple of our last Crue album efforts and getting resistance from other band members, saying things like, ‘Well, our fans, if it’s a Harley-Davidson they know they’re going to get a Harley-Davidson, and you can’t give them a beefed-up weird version of that. And I just don’t believe in that. So there was nowhere to go, really, except to stop.”
Go to www.FathomEvents.com for theaters and ticket information for The End.