The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band
by Motley Crue
Those filthy boys
A review by Georgie Lewis
The Dirt is a book that is easy to dip into. Getting out is another
matter. I was unable to put down this 420-page autobiography of Mötley Crüe,
the "World's Most Notorious Rock Band," until I had read it cover to cover.
I began by flipping it open here and there in the hope of finding a little voyeuristic
titillation. But I would then become engrossed in the middle of some chapter
and have to flip back and read from the beginning. The hairsprayed, drug-addled,
womanizing exploits of the four inspire as much fascination as they do repugnance.
It's hard not to find Nikki, Tommy, Vince, and Mick at least a little endearing;
they really want you to understand them. And you get the feeling
some of them really want to understand themselves. Nikki and Tommy's
time spent in therapy is painfully apparent in some of their musings. Intervals
of navel-gazing self-pity appear in those quiet moments when they're not bragging
about their poodle-haired excesses – and it is to Neil Strauss's credit that
he lets these men hang themselves with their own words.
The Dirt is a fascinating look at the way in which fame leads to such
self absorption (and that such self absorption is perhaps a necessity to fame);
there are far more displays of remorse over their mammoth drug habits than there
are over the horrific exploitation of groupies. Insulated from many consequences
by their wealth and celebrity they have been involved in many injuries and the
odd accidental death. You get a sense toward the end of the book that the men
have done some growing up, some self reflection, but their impact on lives around
them seems to have been rather overlooked in their search for an inner understanding.
The Dirt is dirty. You come away from it feeling grimy having spent
plenty of time in the company of some pretty stupid and shallow people. Neil
Strauss seems to have done a remarkable job of collating these memoirs, making
their grim story compelling in a way that most rock biographies don't succeed.
It's not often that we get a chance to know what goes on behind the scenes of
fame and fortune and it's good to be reminded that it does have its price.