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The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band

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Whiskey and porn stars, hot reds and car crashes, black leather and high heels, overdoses and death. This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend. They nailed the hottest chicks, started the bloodiest fights, partied with the biggest drug dealers, and got to know the inside of every jail cell from California to Japan. They have dedicated an entire career to living life to its extreme, from the greatest fantasies to the darkest tragedies. Tommy married two international sex symbols; Vince killed a man and lost a daughter to cancer; Nikki overdosed, rose from the dead, and then OD'd again the next day; and Mick shot a woman and tried to hang his own brother. But that's just the beginning. Fueled by every drug they could get their hands on and obscene amounts of alcohol, driven by fury and headed straight for hell, Mötley Crüe raged through two decades, leaving behind a trail of debauched women, trashed hotel rooms, crashed cars, psychotic managers, and broken bones that has left the music industry cringing to this day. All these unspeakable acts, not to mention their dire consequences, are laid bare in The Dirt.

Here -- directly from Nikki, Vince, Tommy, and Mick -- is the unexpurgated version of the whole glorious, gut-wrenching story. In these pages, published for the first time anywhere, are Tommy Lee's letters to Pamela Anderson from prison: Mick's confession to having an incurable disease that is slowly killing him; Vince's experience burying his own daughter -- and the train wreck that his life became afterward; and Nikki's anguished struggle to deal with an entire life fueled by anger over his childhood abandonment, his discovery of the family he never knew he had -- and his subsequent loss of them. And all of it accompanied by scores of rare, never-before-published photographs, mug shots, and handwritten lyrics. No one is spared. Not David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, Vanity, Aerosmith, Heather Locklear, AC/DC, Lita Ford, Iron Maiden, Pamela Anderson, Guns N' Roses, Donna D'Errico, RATT, or those two girls from Dallas, Texas.

Make no mistake about it: these guys are geniuses. They invented glam metal and then left it in the dust; sold more than forty million albums from Shout at the Devil to Dr. Feelgood; toured the world dozen times and have the scars to prove it; and maintained a rabid following in an era of throwaway pop stars. Mötley Crüe has done nothing less than tattoo the psyche of the entire MTV generation. They are the ultimate rock 'n' roll band. And if you don't believe it, read The Dirt. You don't know what decadence is...

431 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2001

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About the author

Neil Strauss

42 books1,569 followers
Neil Strauss is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Game, Rules of the Game, Emergency, and Everyone Loves You When You're Dead. He is also the coauthor of four other bestsellers--Jenna Jameson's How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Mötley Crüe's The Dirt, and Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, and Dave Navarro's Don't Try This at Home. He can be found at www.neilstrauss.com.

His latest book, The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships, was released on October 13. The review in Grantland described it as follows:

"I want you to read this book. I want your partners to read this book. I want your families, your friends, your coworkers, and your colleagues to read this book. I want women to read it, and men -- especially men -- to read it. But more than that, I want you to think critically about it, about what it says about you and the world around you and your romantic relationships. I want it to inspire you to dig deep inside yourself and figure out what's stopping you from making yourself happy: I want it to inspire you to embrace and engage with love, in an honest and healthy way."

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,464 reviews
Profile Image for Madeline.
771 reviews47k followers
July 22, 2018
This was it, dear readers. This was the memoir that broke me. The one that made me decide, definitively, to never read another White Dude Musician Memoir ever again.

I thought Keith Richards, with his “I’m a man in his goddamn seventies who still insists on calling all women ‘chicks’" act was bad. But at least Keith Richards, for all his faults and positively medieval gender politics, is the real deal. Keith Richards is a rock star, and Keith Richards is cool. The dudes in Motley Cru (I don’t know how to type the accents and I refuse to learn) are not cool. But god, are they trying so hard to live up to the rockstar image that they think they’re required to portray.

And in a way, that’s the only interesting thing about this memoir: the sheer, naked desperation that seeps from every page; the intense, embarrassing need these guys have to be considered cool. Everything they do is performative, from the way they insisted on trashing every space they inhabited beyond recognition, to the exhaustive descriptions of all the women they had sex with (including several instances where one of the guys is forced to admit that, yeah, okay, so I realize now that I actually raped this girl? But I feel really bad about it? Twenty years later?), to the repeated and tiring scenes where the band consumes every drug they can get their hands on. They're not behaving this way because they want to (or, god forbid, because they get any joy out of it). They're acting like assholes because they think it makes them cool.

It was weirdly fascinating to see how these guys cultivated their image, because in one sense, glam rockers like Motley Cru are almost like drag queens – they wear makeup, over-style their hair, and wear women’s clothes – but unlike, say, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and yeah, Mick Jagger, who embraced and reveled in the feminine sides of their personas (and in the case of Bowie and Mercury, were open about their bisexuality), Motley Cru’s presentation is one long, prolonged shriek of NO HOMO, BRO. These guys can’t go a single goddamn page without reminding us of their blistering masculinity, and giving us every detail of their sex lives which we certainly did not ask for. (One delightful anecdote: after the guys had had sex with their side pieces, they would stop on the way home to buy egg burritos and stick their dicks in the burritos to hide the smell and oh my god I’m gagging just thinking about it.) All the descriptions of rock star riches and excess, much like those poor egg burritos, cannot disguise the fact that these guys are fucking disgusting.

The only truly innovative aspect of this memoir is that it’s told in chapter installments, with different band members telling their version of the story – and those different versions don’t always line up with each other. It was almost funny, reading one chapter that went “and then we fired so-and-so because he was a dick who refused to learn the music” and then going to the next chapter and reading “and then I quit the band because those guys suck and I hated the music.” But the men of Motley Cru remain, at best, petty and immature. And I can’t repeat this enough – those guys are all rapists, and also Tommy Lee fucking admits that he beat up Pamela Anderson, so in conclusion, they can all go fuck themselves.

But again, the band wants us to believe that all of this – the over-the-top clothes, the drug use, the frankly horrifying treatment of women – was just a product of their fame. Loving a rock star (and, on a broader level, any man with a shred of artistic talent or even artistic ambition) means accepting their garbage behaviors with a smile, because that’s the price you have to pay for the privilege of existing in these guys’ orbits. Even as the Motley Cru guys reflect on their past behavior and admit that maybe they were jerks back then, you can see them shrugging and grinning - ain’t I a stinker? - from behind the page. They have learned nothing, and they regret nothing, because why should they? What ever gave them the idea that they needed to be responsible for their own actions? They’re rock stars, babe! This is just part of the act!

I am so goddamn tired of the narrative that excuses asshole behavior in artistic men, as if their creative ability excuses them from basic human decency. The ability to make music does not exempt you from empathy and kindness, and the desperation to fit a rock star image is a pointless and futile endeavor. In a way, it was almost comforting to read this memoir and realize that everyone, even people you might believe are super cool, are just as insecure and desperate to fit in as everyone else. The real lesson that I took from this book, and the lesson I’m going to write here so you don’t have to bother reading The Dirt, is this: no one is truly cool and everyone’s faking it until they make it, so you might as well be nice to people.
Profile Image for Persephone's Pomegranate.
36 reviews113 followers
February 14, 2023

Disgusting. Tacky. Immoral. This book is an insult to all intelligent life forms on earth.

And I loved every moment of it.

Hey, it's Nikki. I'm not home because I'm dead.

My goal for this year was to read more classics. But why devote my time to good literature when I can read about Motley Crue rubbing egg burritos on their crotches, snorting ants, and ruining other people's lives?

It's all about priorities.

Someone compared Motley Crue to the Golden Girls, and it's the most glorious thing I've ever seen on the internet.


The Dirt is the most entertaining biography you'll find. It's shocking, funny, and strangely touching. The band is a complete mess. Not in a cute but in a hookupwithyourgrandma kind of way. I'm not joking. The band had a bet for whoever could sleep with a mother-daughter-grandmother team. I'm kind of impressed.

What is each member's highest offense? There are so many that it's impossible to list them all in one short review. The Crue has always had issues, and by 'issues,' I mean 'catastrophes.'

Nikki Sixx had his mother arrested on a false charge. He overdosed, died, and came back to life. He slept with the band's A&R man's girlfriend right in front of said man. Vince Neil crashed his car while driving drunk, causing the death of his friend, Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle, and seriously injuring two people in another vehicle. Tommy Lee never had a relationship that wasn't highly toxic. Mick Mars, the band's designated weirdo, is the nicest of the bunch.

I grew up listening to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, and Spice Girls. Later on, I started listening to music from the 80s, early 90s, and classic rock. 80s music gets a lot of flak, but I love it. It's so fun and unpretentious. The book was made into a movie starring Machine Gun Kelly, Douglas Booth, Iwan Rheon (you may remember him from Game of Thrones), and Pete Davidson.

I watched it for the plot:


The fact that Nikki and Tommy, a.k.a. the Terror Twins, didn't end up together haunts me. I was robbed of a Hollywood ending.

I'll end this review with a quote from Tommy Lee. Duuuuuude. Fuck yeah. Finally. How much room is Nikki going to get, bro? Fuck. The dude tried to put his own mother in jail. I love him; we've practically been married for twenty years. But sometimes it's dysfunction junction over there. I'm not like that. I'm a hopeless fucking romantic.

Truly a Renaissance man.

P.S. For all the lovers of 80s entertainment - there's a great video on youtube called Waiting For A Star To Fall: A Tribute to 80's Entertainment, made by The Vintage Tribute.
Profile Image for Paul Hathaway.
65 reviews12 followers
February 15, 2008
11am. Woke up. Vomited. Started reading this book.
4pm. Neck started hurting. Took huge amounts of cocaine, bottle of Alleve, 5th of Jack, decided reading in bed wasn't the best thing for my posture.
4:15pm. Went crazy, destroyed hotel room, terrified groupies in varying stages of dress, played rock show.
6pm. Was woken up, informed previous rock show was in head by manager, told had to go to real rock show later. Read more book.
8pm. Arrived @ show. Drank 2 more bottles of Jack, took huge amounts of cocaine from skin of groupies in varying stages of dress, played rock show.
10pm. Read more book, much to dismay of grouping in varying stages of dress, who proceeded to do huge amounts of cocaine.
4am. Finished book. Shot heroin into eyeball, called supermodel girlfriend, told her I loved our kid, vomited.
11am. Woke up.

That was a great book!
Profile Image for evelyn.
203 reviews19 followers
June 10, 2008
i remember when i was 13 or so and i finally realized that all of the r.l. stine books i'd been reading were pretty trashy and devoid of any literary merit. i felt a little silly for devouring something like 100 fear street books. i didn't feel too bad about it, though. i mean, i was reading, and it wasn't like i ONLY read fear street books. i read good stuff too.

this book is like that, only now i'm 25, and this book is friggin DIRTY. i kind of feel like i'm writing a review for soft porn right now. who bothers to tell everyone that they read this?

because this book is fucking RIVETING. i read all 425 pages in 3 days. i don't like motley crue. i don't even like metal (or whatever you want to call motley crue. see? i don't even know!). i could not put this stupid book down.

i cannot, in good conscience, recommend this book to any of my friends. you will probably think i'm a really gross person who reads trash. it's ridiculously entertaining, though, you guys. i'm serious. i'm putting it in the "beach reads" box at the beach house. when was the last time i read 425 pages in 3 days? harry potter i guess. this is like smutty harry potter.

put that on a dust jacket. smutty harry potter.
Profile Image for Lilly.
409 reviews142 followers
March 24, 2009
There's a scene in Gilmore Girls where Lorelei stays home one night because she can't put this book down. I can fully understand why now.

I loved this book. We read books to escape, and this book had me leave my world and be a cliche rock star in the hair metal 80s. It's not about liking hair metal, and it's not about liking rock, and it's not even about Motley Crue (who I knew nothing about at the start of this adventure). It's about what drives people, how lives intersect, and about page-turning, fun writing, from a professional writing. I think not knowing about them was actually a benefit, because I never anticipated what was coming. In short, I loved it loved it. Look forward to reading more of Strauss's books asap.

Warning: The Surgeon General advises that reading this book could get "Dr. Feelgood" in your head for periods of up to 6 hours. Consider yourselves warned.

Profile Image for Mariℓina.
622 reviews194 followers
August 25, 2015
A train wreck happening right in front your eyes, both horrid and spectacular.

I am not a fan of Motley Crue but The Dirt is one of the best books on the rock memoirs genre, so i had to read it. Indeed, it's brilliant and no matter how you feel about the group, their antics or their music, you will end up loving their journey to stardom.

Filthy, almost gory at some points, insanely sad and painful at others, the only word that comes to mind in the end, is captivating! And horrifically so..
I have to admit firstly that the book is filled with egomaniac people telling a story with no real ending but if you want to taste the true sociological time-frame of the 80's in Los Angeles, this book provides that and more, so turn a blind eye and dive in..

We all know, they ain't no Stones, Beatles, Led Zeppelin or Queen, i myself am not very fond of their nauseating songs or their extraterrestrial outfits and still there was something that pulled me in, maybe the gruesome stories or maybe it was the attitude. They are all hedonists, with big, loud and rude mouths and only Tommy Lee is the the real musician of the bunch and surprisingly so the only sane -laugh all you want, it's true- and likeable member, imagine that.

Let me though state that Nikki Sixx is the mastermind behind the whole endeavor and the creator of it all. He was so determined to make it happen no matter what, he was the the director if you will. And even though he sucked at playing bass, he made it. And that's the main story, told by many POVs but mainly by the four members of the crew. Some parts are too stretched out resulting in making the reader sleepy but i believe the overall mood is terrific.

You see i am not only trying to see it from a sociological aspect or as a rock star stories junkie that i surely am, but from another interesting perspective. I usually read Rock Star romances and it's great to find out how real rock musicians or metal groups behave. Sometimes when i read a book of this particular genre i feel that the authors exaggerate terribly, but if you research the reality of it all, those in books seem quite timid, don't they?

So buckle up and have fun with this madness of a book, if you end up hating it, at least it was refreshing and totally consuming! You will read it in one sitting i'm sure.


- Neil Strauss did and amazing job and gathered incredible details, photos and anecdotes. Also he showed every perspective by interviewing people who had a dispute with the band.
- The writing is captivating.
- I loved the retrospect. Many of the members have changed a lot and finally grew up. Not Vince Neil though.
- I wanted to smash their heads in multiple occasions.
- I guess the biggest plus is that everytime you feel the need to do that, the universe response. They had a lot of misfortune.
- Neil's story of losing his daughter, completely gutted me. I couldn't stop crying.
Profile Image for Michelle Morrell.
1,029 reviews72 followers
October 25, 2019
Holy crap! Were the stories of rock and roll decadence entertaining? Absolutely! All the insider reports were delightful even. But I still came away feeling sad.

Sad that music and nonstop consumption of drugs, alcohol, women, and stuff seemed to be the only way these men could fill the gaping holes in themselves. Sad at the wreckage they left behind wherever they went. Sad that they seemed to be flailing for meaning even with all the fame and money they craved. Sad that their demons and their egos got in the way of true greatness of craft again and again.

Thank you, Motley Crue, for the music of my youth. For the sound of 45,000 people screaming SHOUT AT THE DEVIL in the Coloseum. And thank you for not having your roadies pick me and my friend to take backstage that one time. DAYUM.

I truly wish them peace.

Shout out to Lorelai Gilmore, for reminding me I had this on my "to read" shelf!

Addition 2019: Hey, look, it's a movie coming out in March.
Profile Image for BAM the enigma.
1,813 reviews360 followers
September 1, 2017
I think I'm going to be sick 🤢

Take a bath, please just once take a shower and wear cleans clothing
I read Sixx's Heroin Diaries and was creeped out by the level of neglect, filth, and absolute sadness in his life.
All of the decrepitude is a cry for help.
"They are savages with cash who care nothing about nobody, even each other."-Doc McGhee

Full RTC
Profile Image for Sarah.
548 reviews63 followers
July 25, 2015
Let’s be clear. I have zero authority when it comes to reviewing music. Especially heavy metal. The extent of my music knowledge begins and ends with absentmindedly humming along to a 90′s pop radio station while I’m out running errands. About as far away from Mötley Crüe as one can get. And I REALLY don’t know how I went from an obsession with orca and environmentalism to an obsession with a random 80′s heavy metal band in the span of only a few weeks. But here we are…

All of that said, I truly had no idea how badass (and completely, 100% fucking bat-shit crazy) Mötley Crüe was until I picked up this book. I remember my dad talking about them when I was young, but I had no inkling of what they were about and could not for the life of me comprehend why anyone would voluntarily listen to that screeching and screaming of profanities, barely understandable through the distortion of mic and amp. Entertainment? Really?

Well, long story short, I get it now. And I LOVE IT.

For all the naive youngsters (and maybe not-so-youngsters) like me out there, Mötley Crüe is exactly that: a ragged group of disturbed, endlessly destructive, and oddly talented, men who somehow made it out alive, still decked out in heels and leather, after decades of inhuman levels of partying. Literally. These guys are the definition of go big or go home.

Overdose after overdose, fist fight after fist fight, arrest after arrest– Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, and Nikki Sixx somehow held it together long enough to become one of the most famous and successful heavy metal bands of their generation. Each with a very different personality and their own unique brand of vice, they bonded into a twisted gang that rocked the world (and ruined millions of dollars worth of property, more than a couple of lives, and their own physical and mental health along the way).

Written by the band members themselves, with the help of Neil Strauss, this memoir-style book chronicles their impossible journey (as individuals and as Mötley Crüe) from their own perspectives. And it blew my mind.

So read The Dirt! And, if you liked it as much as I did, get tickets for Mötley Crüe’s final tour (apparently this is the ACTUAL final tour– I understand they’ve had a couple…) which is happening this year. Serendipitous timing, in fact. Their last show in Utah is scheduled for next week, and yes, I’ll be there. Completely out of place– a poser among rockers– but hopefully enjoying the madness nonetheless.

I may even have an extra beer or two in the name of chaos. ;)
568 reviews17 followers
February 3, 2008
I used to think that I could not be shocked by tales of celebrity shenanigans. Well, I was wrong. After a few recommendations I read The Dirt, the story of Motley Crue. For most of their career, the behavior of these people (Mick Mars excepted) is flat out appalling. As Nikki Sixx notes, if they were not famous they would have been in jail. I'm pretty sure that if you saw any of these people in their heyday, you would hate them immediately.

If it was written in the 80s, it would probably have been unreadable. As it was written after the end of their Crue career, the tone is more reflective. With the help of Neill Strauss, each chapter is written by a band member or a hanger-on. This was a great choice. For one, we often see where band members have different takes on the same event, or they think the other guys were unaware of behavior. Mick Mars, for example, states that no one knew he was really drinking large glasses of vodka, instead of water, pre-show. In the next chapter, another members notes that Mick always pretended to drink water. The narrative approach also humanizes these freaks. You can hear Tommy Lee talking with his frequent "It was all good, dude."

There is self-criticism among the bragging and celebration. You get a sense they are looking for absolution. One of the more despicable members, Nikki Sixx, attempts to atone for his awful behavior to nearly everyone around him. Vince Neill is more like Lars in Some Kind of Monster, less reflection and a lot less growing up. That may be a defense, as he has some of the worst overall experiences. All of the band members face a heavy personal cost for their fame, and that provides some level of sympathy for them.

Some people will be repelled by the book, but I found it fascinating. This is what Behind the Music would have been like if HBO did it, instead of VH1.
Profile Image for ❤️ Book Diva ❤️.
15 reviews33 followers
May 14, 2019
I'm a big Crue fan so I really did enjoy this. After watching "The Dirt", there are a few things that were wrong with the movie but it would have to be more of a series than a movie to get all the information correct.
Profile Image for George Bradford.
144 reviews
January 31, 2014
I've never owned a Mötley Crüe record. I've never seen a Mötley Crüe concert. I've never had any use for Mötley Crüe. Ever.

So I was quite surprised to learn (in 2000) they were writing a book with New York Times music critic Neil Strauss. I was a big fan of Strauss and his writing. And the unlikely venture piqued my interest.

When I discovered the format of the book involved each member of the band individually telling his version of what happened -- and that each of the four versions would then be told 'side by side' -- I was very intrigued. The dysfunctional chaos inside of many rock bands has always fascinated me. And the idea of a book chronicling the insanity from four different perspectives was more than I could resist.

So, I bought a copy of this book the day it was published (in the Spring of 2001).

Any book that is dedicated "To Our Wives and Children . . . In the hopes that someday they will forgive us for what we have done" promises to be a story of human depravity at its worst. And in that regard "The Dirt" does not disappoint.

From the opening sentence, this book is a tsunami of obscenity. It is outrageous. It appeals to purient interests. But if the book has any redeeming quality it is this: humor.

"The Dirt" is hilarious.

(Sometimes unintentionally hilarious. But hilarious nevertheless.)

Most of the episodes chronicled in this book are unforgivable. The remainder are merely repugnant. Here are three of the worst human beings to ever roll out of Los Angeles and their guitar player (whom they merciless mock). And they regale the reader with epic tales of pornography, drug abuse, fornication, illegitimate children, marriages, alcoholism, drug addiction, rehab, divorces, crimes against nature, assaults, homicide, arrests, criminal trials, convictions and (yes) imprisonments.

Who has time for music when all this ongoing mayhem?

Mötley Crüe.

It's hard to see how they ever had time for music with all the distractions in their lives. But, they did manage to record some records and do some tours. Those are covered here as well. And three of the band members (not the guitarist) make it clear they could care less about the music and their audience. And I found THAT to be the most repulsive aspect of this band. Made wealthy for playing music, Mötley Crüe could not have cared less about the music and the audience that paid to hear it.

But, give them credit. At least the members of Mötley Crüe are honest about it. Mötley Crüe was all about the drugs and the sex. The rock and roll? Not so much.
Profile Image for susie.
Author 29 books190 followers
April 6, 2010
it was hard for me to get into at first because:

a) i don't know motley crue at all - and had a hard time figuring out who was who since each chapter was told from a different person's perspective and voice. the only knowledge of motley crue i have comes from watching people sing their songs in karaoke. seriously. that's it.

b) i think hair metal is kind of boring. ok, i think hair metal is very boring. and every time nikki talked about how he was so punk rock, so new york dolls, i just...didn't buy it. like he was trying to make what motley crue did more legitimate by labeling it as a form of punk rock, which it just isn't.

c) i really hated everyone in this book. i kind of reached a breaking point when nikki and tommy rape a girl in a closet. i had a hard time understanding why people like this are admired, have fans, reach fame/success/etc. when they are so openly despicable.

d) every chapter in the first 200 pages had a sentence that read "i was ____ like a hooker in a ____ "

after their actions started having consequences, though, i couldn't put the book down. vince neil's daughter's story was SO EMOTIONAL. tommy lee's prison inside scoop was fascinating. i think mick mars kind of scares me. i still find nothing likable about nikki sixx.

neil strauss, you are one hell of a writer. yes, credit goes to neil.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for James Hartley.
Author 9 books126 followers
February 28, 2017
This is a really great book, a classic of the genre. It´s as visceral as Miles Davis´ autobiography, another I love, and trashes weak aging rock star Christmas book fare like cheap hotel rooms. It is not an attempt to explain the typically awful behaviour of rock musicians, only to document it, to say what it´s really like and to do it from the inside. In this it succeeds and goes platinum. There´s life, death, worldwide success, sex, drugs, money, ear-shredding solos, revolving, flying drumkits, celebs, attitude, dirty needles, oceanic boozing and it´s all wrapped up and packaged in a classy, well-written, well-organised tome. I´m no Motley fan but this will appeal to anyone who has ever rocked and rolled. Mindless, it ain´t.
Profile Image for Beth F.
353 reviews325 followers
July 9, 2015
Mötley Whö? I was more interested in My Little Pony during the band’s heyday and my taste in music has never leaned in this direction, but I love a scandalous train wreck just as much as the next gal and this bio fit the bill. Plus, Pamela Anderson’s breasts were a seriously major topic of conversation at my high school in 1995 and when she married Tommy Lee, a whole bunch of teenagers who’d been too sheltered to care about Mötley Crüe were suddenly interested in who was getting up close and personal with her boobies, myself included.

Recently finding this book reminded me of that earlier fascination and I was immediately drawn to the promise of reading about a lifestyle that is so wildly different from my own.

This book was insane. These people are fucking nuts. I’m pretty sure I hate them all and I don’t care for their music, but the book was fucking awesome.
September 17, 2019

**3.5 stars**

The Dirt: Confessions Of The World's Most Notorious Rock Band by Mötley Crüe with Neil Strauss. (2001).

Mötley Crüe included band members Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx. The following synopsis is adapted from Goodreads:
"Whiskey and porn stars, hot reds and car crashes, black leather and high heels, overdoses and death. This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock 'n' roll legend....All these unspeakable acts, not to mention their dire consequences, are laid bare".

I wanted to read this book after watching the Netflix movie 'The Dirt' which was based on this biography. The chapters alternate between each member of the band and are written in their own point of views of various events. Their story is entertaining, dirty, horrifying and also unbelievable. I use unbelievable because I genuinely am not sure if all of the things in this book are true; I have no doubt that a lot of it is but I wouldn't be surprised to learn some is exaggerated or straight out not true. It is a bit concerning that there are incidents described which include rape and domestic violence as well as general abuse to other people; it feels like the band are nonchalant to this because to them it's part of the 'lifestyle'. Putting the content aside, the narrative itself is a bit too long in my opinion and also very repetitive in places (there's only so many times you can describe your wild sex life and drug taking habits). For me, a person born after Mötley Crüe had their time in the spotlight, it was interesting as I'd heard the name but didn't have much knowledge about them. I'd recommend this book for those that are fans of the band, or have an interest in rock band/ music memoirs.
Profile Image for Andy.
Author 14 books136 followers
May 6, 2011
It's no coincidence that Motley Crue can be filed between The Monkees and Motorhead. Better looking than Van Halen, better songwriters than Guns 'N Roses. Combining dashingly rugged good looks with the hardest rocking sounds, they took the country by storm in the 1980's. Lots of great pictures with equally funny stories about the band. Lots of showbiz stuff about Tommy's marriages to Heather Locklear and Pam Anderson, too. Time to put on "Doctor Feelgood".
Profile Image for Rebecca.
18 reviews
April 12, 2009
What I learned from this book... let's see... that people are disgusting, that I have deplorable taste in books, that my love for Home Sweet Home is unshakable, that I am conflicted over when it's misogyny and when it's just reciprocal idiotry, and that sometimes people randomly throw up on Kelsey Grammer. Truly awesome.
Profile Image for Jay Kristoff.
Author 33 books23.6k followers
March 2, 2011
Best tell-all from a rock band I've yet read. No punches pulled, and although you need to question any bio written by gents with egos this size, it's still a cracking read. Well worth the time, even if you don't dig on the tunes.
Profile Image for Satyros Brucato.
66 reviews11 followers
July 30, 2011
Possibly the most entertaining book I've read in my research for a current project, The Dirt follows the most infamous example of '80s hair-metal excess on their long journey through Hell's Hall of Fame.

Told through chapters by the five band members (Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, classic vocalist Vince Neil, and his temporary replacement John Corabi), plus a handful of interviews with producers, ex-managers, and the head of the band's former label, the book careens from the bandmates' dysfunctional childhoods to the rolling atrocity of the band's heyday. Wryly perceptive of their own terrible behavior, the guys range from oddly metaphysical conspiracy rambles (Mars) to Yo-Dude! platitudes (Lee), capturing five distinctive personalities running a demolition derby with success. To their credit, most of them (Sixx especially) take some measure of responsibility for their obnoxiously shitty behavior; Lee slings a fair amount of pity-me bullshit, but the other guys square their shoulders and deck themselves with sledgehammers even while admitting they had the time of their lives.

With the possible exception of Corabi, these are not nice people. By the most generous assessment, they're bitter, reckless, selfish, drug-bent and grotesquely misogynistic assholes who started off bad and just got worse until their fame, luck and cash ran low... at which point, they were forced to wonder how they might put the pieces of themselves back together again. Admittedly, their antics are kinda fun to read about... until you realize (and they admit) just how much human wreckage they left in their wake. Despite their genuinely entertaining voices, these aren't guys I'd ever want to meet (except, again, possibly for Corabi... and maybe Sixx). That said, The Dirt helps you understand how the Crue became the fucked-up individuals they were and, on some levels, still are today. The book is vicarious (if often vicious) fun for guys... and if it leaves female readers wondering, "Why the hell would any women put UP with this shit?", so much the better.

So yeah - I give this one four stars, raised high and burning from self-inflicted fire. Great shit, especially if you like reading real-life adventures fueled by too many drugs, too much emotional damage, and far too little common sense.
Profile Image for Laura.
125 reviews3 followers
May 23, 2015
This book was horrible. Mötley Crüe is just a collection of self-entitled assholes. I'm not sure what I was expecting but this book was the worst. The parts from Tommy Lee were mildly entertaining but he's still an idiot. They all are. And so angry. Always fighting. What the hell are you so angry about? You could Use your words, but when you're the Crüe, you talk with your fists. Yeah! Let's be honest. These losers were one lucky fluke away from being broke, dead or homeless. Vince Neil drove drunk and killed his friend as well as giving brain injuries to two others. But, never mind. The road was wet so let's call it an accident. Tommi Lee was incarcerated for spousal abuse. Nikki Sixx is just a waste of human life. No respect for anyone or anything. Also, there's rape. Really? Mick Mars has legitimate physical and mental health issues so he gets a pass. But I still find him strange and creepy. Overall I do not recommend this book. It was a colossal waste of time and I'm not sure why up I felt compelled to finish it. I don't think I can even enjoy their music anymore.
Profile Image for Sbell.
921 reviews51 followers
March 3, 2016
I absorbed every scene in this book.
What a wild ride!!!!!
Profile Image for Fred Klein.
519 reviews19 followers
July 8, 2019
This is an oral history of the heavy metal band Motley Crue that was at its height in the 1980s. The book is quite old (2001), but now there's going to be a movie based on it, so I finally decided to read it.

I liked the structure of the book, providing narratives from members of the band and others associated with the band, often giving contradictory accounts. For example, Mick Mars claims that there was a meeting about how much their producer hated his hat, and then that producer responds, saying that that was not possible because he loved the hat and actually asked if Mick Mars could get him one (and taking the hat Mars got for him out of his closet). At another point, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil give conflicting accounts of a physical altercation they had (with Mick Mars agreeing with Neil's version).

The accounts of egos, drugs, and sex can get quite exhausting at times, but it's part of the story. I'm curious what the response to this story will be in the #MeToo era. Women are treated very poorly. For example, at one point, a woman calls Nikki Sixx crying, telling him that she has been raped the night before. His immediate thought was that she was talking about him and his friends because they had switched who was having sex with her in a closet without her knowledge. Luckily for him, she meant later that evening.

The book does help the reader understand why these characters are so messed up, even if it doesn't necessarily make you like them: Sixx's dysfunctional family, Neil's driving under the influence, causing the death of his friend and severe injuries to two other people, the death of Neil's infant daughter, Mars's incurable and painful bone disease. Tommy Lee, the most gifted musician of the group, is mostly just a hound for attention, with perhaps the least excuse for his poor behavior.
Profile Image for Sarah Clark.
326 reviews15 followers
March 30, 2009
Holy crap, what an unexpectedly awesome book. This book is disgusting and wonderful, which is confusing because it also made me openly weep. Really? Really.


Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx, notoriously known as Motley Crue, tell all in this wild ride through the band's history. Replete with drugs, sex, alcohol, addiction, ratted hair, playmates, hookers, incarceration, death, and plenty of Jack Daniels, no topic is sacred. Decadence at its finest.

Appeals: getting the gossip from the inside point of view of a wildly decadent world full of celebrities and porn stars. Each page shocks and demands that the next be read. Multiple points of view flesh-out the story. Whether the reader loathes or admires the lifestyle of the band, he is in for emotional surprises during the moments of sobriety, love, loss, compromise, and sometimes a tone of maturity. Appeals to the rebellious, disgusting, goofy, wild teenage boy in all of us.
Profile Image for Rae.
43 reviews14 followers
March 23, 2016
This is definitely the best auto-biography I have ever read. The fact that they manage to tell the story of not just the band but the individual members all within the same book is incredible. Having each chapter written from the perspective of a different band member (as well as managers, etc.) gives you all different viewpoints withing the band, allowing you to really get a feel for the inner workings of Motley Crue. I also love that you don't lose anything by having so many people writing in the same story. You really get a feeling for each member's personality, writing style and story.

Nikki Sixx was definitely my favourite in the book. His writing style was definitely the best throughout The Dirt which can most likely be attributed to the fact that he was the main songwriter in Motley Crue. Having read the Heroin Diaries after this book, it is clear that he has a strong ability to write.

My second favourite was Mick Mars. He is definitely the most quirky guy in the group and it truly shows in his chapters of the book. The stories he tells of his childhood and the outlook he has on life and the world around us made him so interesting to read about.

Tommy Lee was, Tommy Lee. You could basically hear him talking while reading his chapters of the book which isn't a bad thing but you didn't get the deepness that you got with the other band members.

The only member I really did not like while reading The Dirt was Vince Neil. That's not to say that there weren't times where I really felt for the guy, I just didn't like him nearly as much as some of the other guys in the band. He had some very touching/heartbreaking moments but outside of those I did not really like him.

Overall, there is nothing bad I can say about this book. It is well written, entertaining and very insightful. If you are a fan of the band or just music auto-biographies in general I would highly recommend this to anybody.
Profile Image for Jim C.
1,491 reviews29 followers
March 13, 2018
My very first concert were these guys:

Motley Crue photo MotleyCrue5.jpg

They were the living embodiment of rock-n-roll back in the eighties. They rocked hard and they partied even harder. This is an in depth look at this group at its rise in the music business, their time on top, and their downfall.

I was first impressed with this book that nothing was being held back. This book goes into detail about all of the partying these guys did and into their personal lives. It did not hold anything back and I discovered that while I still love their music from this time they were giant jerks. I guess this happens when fame is thrust upon you and you do not know how to handle it. I did think this book went overboard with detailing their partying ways and their doomed love relationships. It did get repetitive. Another thing I did not care was the lack of involvement by Mick Mars. It seemed like he was a side note instead of being a integral member of this group. The highlight of the book was when they dealt with personal tragedy and how we got a look into this.

This book could have been much better considering the material. I believe the problem was the emphasis of this material. I am glad I read it though as it did bring back memories of that Whitesnake/Motley Crue concert or me watching the "Girls,Girls,Girls" video over and over.
Profile Image for Scott.
1,145 reviews107 followers
April 11, 2015
If you grew up when I grew up (I was a teen during the 1982 - 1990 years) and were part of my crowd (long hair, leather, troublemaker) then Motley Crue was IT. They are the band every guy wanted to be and every girl wanted to be with. So needless to say they had a big influence on my life and I would say that I'm a fan.

This is their biography. Each chapter is written by a different bandmember or manager. Takes us from the beginning to the latest and they don't pull any punches. This is the band that took what Led Zeppelin did a generation before and made it more decadent. The girls, the orgies, the drugs, the deaths it just goes on and on.

As a story it's almost unbelievable except that it's true.
As a book it's written very well and it both entertaining and informative.

If you like them you've probably already read this and if you don't like them you probably won't read it but I do recommend it.
October 20, 2020
I don't know how these guys survived their wild ass days. It is pretty crazy. They were really just kids. Some parts are funny, some are sad. Reading the stories and the emotions, all of it is interesting and gives readers a deeper look into the lives of these legends. They weren't just rock stars, they are real people with real experiences and lives. I am surprised by some of the low ratings, but not every book is for everyone. I was entertained for sure. I loved it!
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