Welcome to a new segment of The Metal Minute penned by my longtime brother-in-all-that-is-heavy, Metal Mark. Tuesdays will now be his here at the site to freestyle his thoughts on random albums throughout heavy metal's vast history. First up is Motley Crue's junior slab Theatre of Pain from 1985.
The year was 1985 and I remember the local radio station was going to play the new Motley Crue album in its entirety at midnight on the day it was due out. I was excited because I loved Shout at the Devil and Too Fast for Love.
The Crue were one the best hard rock bands around at the time and I expected Theatre of Pain to be just as good. That night the album came on and about three songs in I could feel the disappointment setting in. Where was the edge to these songs? Why did they sound so watered down? The Crue used to charge into their songs like beasts and now they sounded timid.
I made it through a few more, but at some point I fell asleep before the album finished and I probably was not that tired. I didn't write it off yet as I did borrow it from a friend soon after that to give it another chance.
The results were the same. The Crue had smoothed down their sound and the roughness was almost entirely gone. They changed their look as well replacing black leather with stripes, polka dots and pastels. “Home Sweet Home” and “Smokin’ in the Boys' Room” both became staples on the radio and MTV.
The album was huge for them and its accessible approach helped Motley Crue reach a wider audience, but it also marked the end of their once-great run. Eventually they would again put out a decent album in Dr. Feelgood a few years later. It was not the same though. Where Motley Crue was between 1981 and 1984 was not just about the sound, but it was also about a spirit. Granted, it may have been partly an alcohol and drug-inspired spirit, but whatever the motivation was, the band changed after Shout and they never again approached that level of greatness.