As fists pumped and devil horns waved, an old chant echoed off the walls of the Hollywood Palladium. "Crüe! Crüe! Crüe!"
Five years after an ugly divorce, the original lineup of 1980s hair-metal legends Mötley Crüe reunited and returned to where it all started Monday night for a small concert with a big announcement: "We're baaaaack," as Vince Neil put it.
The Crüe will kick off the Red, White & Crüe Tour ... Better Live Than Dead on February 17 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, hitting about 25 U.S. cities before venturing to South America and Europe.
"It really came globally from the fans, that's what really got us talking again," bassist Nikki Sixx said. "It started with a promoter in England talking to different people and asking people what's the band everyone's asking for ... and they were saying it was Mötley Crüe. We kept hearing that and kept getting information back that it was going on all over the world."
Rumors of a Mötley reunion have been floating around for a few months, although fans wondered whether drummer Tommy Lee would be a part, being that he vowed to never play Crüe tunes again when he left the group in 1999. When a reporter asked which bandmember called him, Lee answered, "I don't think that's important. What's important is the fans want it. This one's for the fans."
Signifying being back from the dead, Neil, Sixx, Lee and guitarist Mick Mars arrived together for the announcement and concert in a hearse, although that was actually their plan B.
"We were supposed to come in a helicopter, but the fire marshal here, who's a f---ing a--hole, is on a power trip and decided we couldn't do it," Sixx said. "So we have a message for him."
"Eat a d---," Lee said, with ex-wife Pamela Anderson and their kids watching from nearby.
The fire marshal did not intervene for the Crüe's opening act, Steve-O — although perhaps he should have. The former "Jackass" used his time onstage to cut open his lip and wipe the blood over his face. "Gene Simmons is a pu---," he said. "Real men use real blood."
After Steve-O, the Crüe treated fans in ripped jeans (mostly the guys) and skimpy lingerie (some of the gals) to a five-song set that included old favorites "Dr. Feelgood," "Shout at the Devil," "Girls, Girls, Girls," "Wild Side" and a new song called "If I Die Tomorrow," which will appear on a 37-song retrospective, Red, White & Crüe, due February 1. The newly recorded "Sick Love Song" and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man" will also appear on the album.
The video for the ballad "If I Die Tomorrow" — a song Sixx wrote with Simple Plan — rehashes some of the notoriously hard-partying group's more tawdry moments: Neil killing Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley in a car crash; Lee going to jail for spousal abuse; Sixx's nearly fatal drug addiction; and Mars' recent health problems (see "Motley Crue Guitarist Undergoes Hip-Replacement Surgery").
In addition to the tour, a movie based on the band's memoir, "The Dirt," will begin filming in 2005 and both Lee and Neil will be the subjects of reality shows. Lee's show for MTV has him enrolling at the University of Nebraska, and Neil's VH1 program features him getting a career makeover.
The group's next live gig will come Friday on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show, followed by a December 14 appearance at Spike TV's Video Game Awards.
Following the first round of foreign dates, the band will return to the U.S. in August and September for a string of amphitheater shows and will finish the year touring Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Details on the show are still being worked out, but the band said to expect something big.
"We're meeting with some crazy people," Lee said. "When you get all these people in the same room, there's going to be some f---ed-up sh-- happening."
"We're ready to go out and rock," Neil said. "We just want to show everybody we're still Mötley, we still rock. From the first days of rehearsals, it's felt like no time has passed at all. It's felt great."
Great and shocking, according to Mars. "This band is about as dysfunctional as it gets, so I'm pretty amazed we're actually sitting here right now," he admitted.
Mötley Crüe tour dates, according to a band spokesperson:
- 2/17 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Office Depot Center
- 2/18 - Tampa, FL @ St. Pete Times Forum
- 2/20 - Greenville, SC @ Bi-Lo Center
- 2/22 - Cleveland, OH @ Gund Arena
- 2/23 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Center
- 2/25 - Detroit, MI @ The Palace
- 2/27 - Ottawa, ON @ Corel Centre
- 2/28 - Hartford, CT @ Hartford Civic Center
- 3/3 - New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
- 3/4 - Philadelphia, PA @ Wachovia Spectrum
- 3/5 - Boston, MA @ Fleet Center
- 3/6 - Washington, DC @ MCI Center
- 3/8 - Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
- 3/10 - Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena
- 3/12 - Milwaukee, WI @ US Cellular Arena
- 3/14 - Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
- 3/15 - Kansas City, MO @ Kemper Arena
- 3/17 - Dallas, TX @ Nokia Live
- 3/19 - Phoenix, AZ @ Cricket Pavilion
- 3/20 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint
- 3/22 - San Diego, CA @ Coors Amphitheatre
- 3/23 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum (tentative)
- 3/25 - Reno, NV @ Reno Events Center
- 3/26 - Oakland, CA @ Oakland Arena
[This story was updated on 12.07.04 at 4:40 p.m. ET.]