Motley Crue – New Tattoo (2000, Motley Records/Beyond)
- Hell On High Heels
- Treat Me Like The Dog I Am
- New Tattoo
- Dragstrip Superstar
- 1st Band On The Moon
- She Needs Rock ‘N Roll
- Punched In The Teeth By Love
- Hollywood Ending
- Porno Star
- White Punks On Dope
Vince Neil – Vocals
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Mick Mars – Guitars
Randy Castillo – Drums
Producer: Mike Clink
Total Time – 43:27
After reuniting in 1997 and releasing GENERATION SWINE, an album that was more modern and industrial, Motley Crue decides to return to their Sleaze Glam roots on NEW TATTOO. The return to the old sound is a positive move but the move that took fans by storm was the change at the drum stool: Tommy Lee quits and Randy Castillo is in.
Kickstarting the album is the lead single, ‘Hell On High Heels’. The song sounds like old school Crue circa 1987, this tune would fit in perfectly on GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS. Mick Mars is right up front in the mix but you can hear a bit of age on Vince. The song hooks you in and gets you singing right along, this is the Crue song we were waiting for with the reunion.
The high tempo continues with ‘Treat Me Like The Dog I Am’, probably the fastest song by the Crue in a long time. It’s catchy, you want to sing along at the chorus, and Mick’s guitar is solid, another nice intro to establish that this is a guitar record…..problem is the lyrics. It just seems like Nikki is trying too hard to be glam and punk at the same time. No matter, the song works. I like the breakdown mid-song where it slows down a bit and cruises into the guitar solo. Listen to Castillo’s drumming with all the crashing cymbals, makes you kind of forget about Mr. Lee.
The title track is a well done ballad. You can hear Vince go a bit out of tune here but that’s always been the charm of his studio vocals. Of course, he was out of tune completely live when I saw the tour! Acoustic guitars mixed with the electric and an easy chorus, it’s another classic ’80s Crue tune that seems to have jumped 10-15 years. The drums are mixed a little too far up front but it’s a minor complaint on a great song.
‘Dragstrip Superstar’ oozes sleaze from the olden days and is another hard charging song. I’m not digging the drum sound on the chorus, sounds like Lars Ulrich on St. Anger years later. Again, a minor complaint on a good song.
‘1st Band On the Moon’ continues the fast Mick Mars’ guitar slinging and Castillo cymbal crashing. Another standout track that could have easily fit on any release from THEATRE OF PAIN to DR. FEELGOOD. The lyrics are a little dumbed-down (mostly about chicks), so the seasoned Hard Rock fan might find the song juvenile but it’s really more retro than anything. The Crue was never that thought provoking with their lyrics anyway, it’s all about the party.
The band gets sleazy again for ‘She Needs Rock ‘N Roll’, one of the underrated tracks on the album. There’s a mid-tempo groove that pushes the song along with a pulsating guitar that incorporates old school with the GENERATION SWINE sound. Perfect vocals from Vince, this is the type of song where it’s supposed to be a bit out of tune. I could do without the breakdown just before the solo, I think it should be cut and the solo should kick right in. The song would have more power that way. Another minor complaint.
Six songs in, halfway through, and the band has delivered a kick ass album so far…..until…..
‘Punched In The Teeth By Love’ just sounds like filler. It’s uptempo with decent guitar but the lyrics and chorus. Remember all the songs that weren’t singles from THEATRE OF PAIN or GIRLS X 3? You get the idea. For me, this song is a waste of solid guitar and the worst original on the album. It does have one good line: ‘If there’s meat on the bone, she’ll wag her tail’…..priceless!
Gotta have another ballad to break things up and ‘Hollywood Ending’ delivers. Much like ‘New Tattoo’, ‘Hollywood Ending’ uses the acoustics prominently to supplement the overall guitar sound but the drums are perfectly blended this time. Again, Vince’s charm is that the guy has a unique delivery. His raspy vocals shine here and reminds me of the old days. One of the best songs on the record.
‘Fake’ is another guitar driven track that tells the tale of debauchery and deceit the band wove for close to two decades. I like this tune, it grows on you. Vince is a bit subdued but that could also be the mix. It’s a solid track.
Would it be a true Motley Crue album if there were no songs involving strippers or porn stars? Probably not so the boys put together ‘Porno Star’, basically a autobiographical song. Haven’t these guys been with enough strippers and porn stars over the years? It’s a songwriting topic the band can always use and be trademark Crue. This song is the ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ of the album content wise but the song is pure filler. I can do without all the “na-na-na’s” in the chours and the ganged background vocals at the end.
Cover song alert! Nothing I hate worse than an album of solid material tainted by a cover song. Why not use your own ideas? Much like ‘Anarchy In The U.K.’ from a few years previous, ‘White Punks On Dope’ lets the band have a little fun and get a possible concert staple. Motley Crue’s version of the Tubes’ original isn’t that bad but I just find it unnecessary like ‘Anarchy’. More filler.
Overall a solid Hard Rock record with only a couple of fillers. This could easily have been the follow-up to Dr. Feelgood if there wasn’t a lineup change with Vince. The band sounds tight: Mick plays extremely well and is still underrated in guitar circles and Randy Castillo makes you forget about Tommy Lee. Vince sounds like old Vince, not the GENERATION SWINE Vince (that material was originally written for John Corabi and then they changed singers again). Best songs on the album: ‘Hell On High Heels’, ‘New Tattoo’, ‘She Needs Rock ‘N Roll’, ‘Fake’, and ‘Hollywood Ending’.