REVIEW: Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil (Elektra)
Moving from Chatham to Margate at the age of twelve I was a pretty lost kid. My friends had deserted me as I started to get into rock music which was incredibly uncool at the time for a pre teen. Their obsession with girls and drugs left me cold, instead of joining them I retreated, craving for something better to fill my days. On one of my daily newspaper walks with my mum I found myself perusing the magazine counter at the newsagents, there I saw a picture of quite an ugly chap sticking out his tongue on the cover of an early edition of Metal Hammer magazine. Now this guy wasn’t wearing the black and white face paint I recognised but it looked just like gene Simmons. On closer inspection I found that not only was it Gene but Kiss were still together. I bought it and read about all these other rockers, bands with logo’s that looked so exciting and out of this world, this lead me to investigate, when pocket money allowed, the likes of Iron Maiden and Motorhead. A month later in the Our Price sale I picked up Shout At The Devil for under three pounds on cassette. I spent my final summer holidays in Chatham locked in my room, watching television, listening to records and writing lists of my favourite songs, all the time avoiding the menace of my fathers drunken beatings and what I thought must eventually lead to the breakdown of my parents marriage. On the day of the move I had packed up all my tapes and records and took only one cassette to listen to on my yellow waterproof Sony walkman for the trip. Motley Crue pumped into my ears the whole journey. A soundtrack for the motorway journey and the arrival at my new coastal home above a fish and chip shop where my devotion to all things rock spiralled out of control for the next few years.
Shout At the Devil begins with the short horror style keyboard based intro which seamlessly flows into the title track. Shout… itself is a rousing chest beater of an anthem, with Mick Mars twiddly fingers piercing the stomp with some excellent solo work. The one thing at the time that separated Crue from the pack though for me was Vince Neil’s voice. In the same way that I love the sound of Ozzy’s , what some call shrill I call flash, you know this is highly polished 80’s rock, not grunge. When his Shout… introduction comes in it truly arrives with a bang. How Crue thought he was replaceable is beyond me, but that’s a whole other album’s story.
And so it continues, from the rush of Red Hot with Tommy Lee pummelling his drums as if his life depended on it, the ode to ex manager Alan Coffman that is tentatively titled Bastard which found them placed at the top of the PMRC’s filthy fifteen song list and my personal choice cut Looks That Kill which broke the Crue into teen America via MTV. Song after song has a great chorus, thick riffs and over the top tub thumping. Lyrically though I feel Steel Panther had the guts to do what Motley never did. For instance Ten Seconds To Love seems to be about how fast Vince can ejaculate which personally I wouldn’t brag about let alone write a song about and then put it on a multi million selling breakthrough album. There is so much smutty innuendo that I just want them to come out and say what they really mean. It’s a little gripe but with the reputation the band have, especially around this stage of their career I wish the lyrics matched the myth.
All said, I love this record dearly. That car journey heading into my future with a rocking soundtrack turned my life around, this was the album that overhauled me into a denim clad teen rocker with Metallica patches, a half arsed mullet and tattered white basketball boots. Plus it was my introduction to The Beatles Helter Skelter which was covered here with little fanfare, just another piece to the puzzle. I thought was a Motley Crue original for far too long. That’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. The shame, the shame.