Book Summary: The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band


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

by Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Motley Crue, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Neil Strauss
Harper Entertainment (May 22, 2001)

Tucker’s Rating: 5 / 10

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What’s it about?: The autobiography of the famous rock band, Motley Crue.

Tucker’s Opinion: I am not the right person to ask about rock music, so I have no comment about Motley Crue as a band. As to the book, I will say that if you don’t care that much about Motley Crue, it’s not super interesting, but is good enough to hold your attention to the end (everyone I know who likes Motley Crue as a band, LOVES the book).

Here’s the problem (this is a major problem with all ‘crazy’ memoirs): yes, I am sure their parties were amazing, but they can’t really write or tell stories for shit, so all they do is explain the basic outline of what happened, and then assure us it was nuts. Super. I wasn’t there, if you want to entertain me with a crazy party story, you need to be able to tell it, and even with the help of a great writer like Neil Strauss, they can’t do that. So what you are left with is something akin to what a house looks like the night after a crazy party: You know something awesome and destructive happened there, but you can’t really tell what exactly, and you’re vaguely pissed because not only is there a mess here, but you weren’t even there to help make it.

That being said, the band members do exhibit a higher level of self-awareness than most people in the entertainment business or even most people who write memoirs, and Neil Strauss really does a great job of contrasting the viewpoints of the band members to triangulate at the truth. This is what holds the book together, and what makes it worth finishing.

Notable Quotes (as marked by Tucker):

I began dating a girl named Mary.  Everybody used to call her Horsehead, but I liked her for one simple reason:  She liked me.  I was so happy that a girl actually talked to me.

I was young and pretty and had long hair.  I’d lean against the wall at the Starwood in stiletto heels and supertight pants with my hair in my eyes and nose in the air.  As far as I was concerned, I had made it.  I would sleep until I had to get up and do something to make money, like telemarketing or selling crap door-to-door or working at the Starwood.  At night I’d go to the Starwood and drink and fight and fuck girls in the bathroom.  I really thought that I had become my fucking heroes:  Johnny Thunder and Iggy Pop


Now that I look back on it, I realize how naive and innocent I was.  There were no jets or sold-out stadiums then, no mansions or Ferraris.  There were no overdoses or orgies with guitar necks stuck up some chick’s ass.  I was just some cocky little kid in a club who, like so many others before and after him, thought that a sore prick and burning nostrils meant he was king of the world.

I question a lot of things and form my own opinions.  They’re just as valid as a rocket scientist’s or anyone else’s.  Who says you have to believe something because you read it in a book or saw pictures?  Who is it that gets to say, “That’s the way that it is”?  When everybody believes the same thing, they become robotic.  People have a brain: they can figure out things for themselves, like how a UFO flies.

We’d go to her apartment and do blow and quaaludes, and then I’d get to fuck her, which was great because I didn’t have any money to buy blow and quaaludes and I couldn’t fuck myself.  (Though I’m about to fuck myself over with this story.)  She would let me do anything: On one of our first dates, she took me out to dinner and I used a bottle of wine on her underneath the table.

We were Mötley Crüe, we had a platinum record, and we were bigger than the New York Dolls ever were.  We were young, fucked up, and worshiped for it.  Words like consequences, responsibility, morality, and self-control didn’t apply to us.  Or so we thought.

I had always thought that age and success had enabled me to overcome the shyness and low self-esteem I had developed from constantly switching homes and schools as a kid, but in reality I hadn’t changed at all.  I had just drowned those feelings in heroin and alcohol.  As a human being, I had never really learned how to act or behave.  I was still the kid who didn’t know how to play normal games with his cousins.  As I grew older, I only put myself in situations where I was the one running the show.  I wasn’t interested in hanging out with other people in their environments, where I had no control.  So once I set foot inside my house, I hardly ever left.  Nicole and I shot up between five hundred and one thousand dollars’ worth of drugs a day.  We went through bags of heroin, rocks of cocaine, cases of Cristal, and whatever pills we could get our hands on.

Greed is usually the greatest obstacle to success, right after selfishness.

My dreams had come true, but they weren’t what I thought they would be.

They weren’t like Poison, who raised hell because they though that was what rock stars should be doing.  Mötley Crüe did stupid things because they were Mötley Crüe.  There was no reason for anything, just a Mötley reason.  They didn’t even had to try: Their life was rock-and-roll life.

For ten years solid, we had been invincible.  No one could touch us.  Tommy and I had raped a drunk girl in the closet, and she had forgotten about it.


Fate, however, has a way of finding your vulnerabilities where you least expect them, illuminating them so that you realize how glaringly obvious they are, and then mercilessly driving a spike straight into their most delicate center.

I was devastated.  Two years ago, if I farted, these guys thought it was the greatest sound they had ever heard.  Now, I was the shittiest singer in the world in their eyes.  It felt like a relationship in which your girlfriend knows she wants her freedom, but she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.  So instead, she just gets moody, critical, and mean, hoping to drive you away.

Her therapist had given her the stupid advice of ignoring me when I was angry, because according to him I received enough attention as a rock star.  But what he didn’t know was that I was a rock star because I needed the attention.  Silence equals death.  So when Pamela started giving me the silent treatment — just like my parents used to — it only drove me further over the brink.

I don’t know anything about Gerald’s credentials or training, but he had common sense.  He told me that I had thrived on attention ever since I was a kid doing things like opening up my window so that neighbors could hear me play guitar.  In some sick sense, as much as I loved Pamela, she was also the guitar that I wanted to show all the neighbors I knew how to play.  Only it turned out that I couldn’t play it that well.  When the lights dim and the disco biscuits are gone and you’re sitting alone in a house with another person, only then does a relationship begin; and it will succeed if you can work through your problems and learn to enjoy the other person for who they really are without all the pats on the back and thumbs up from your bros.  Perhaps that’s why celebrity relationships are so difficult:  everybody puts you both on such a high pedestal that it almost seems like a disappointment when, at the end of the day, you discover that you’re just two human beings with the same emotional defects and mother-father issues as everybody else.

It was the first step toward straightening out all the crooked roads of my past.  I never realized before that I had the power to break the chain of secrecy and dishonesty and irresponsibility that I had inherited.  And I could do that simply by having a solid relationship with my wife and family, so that my children wouldn’t spend their lives lost and hiding from everything like I had.