Is the Mötley Crüe Reunion a Good Idea or a Terrible One?
Let’s get one thing clear: Mötley Crüe were never going to stay broken up. You didn’t really believe that, did you? This week’s announcement that Mötley Crüe will reunite for a stadium tour next summer with Def Leppard and Poison, going back on their 2015 promise not to tour ever again, was more of an inevitability than a surprise.
Bands have been pulling the “final tour ever” card for decades, a modified version of a good old-fashioned break-up codified for maximum clickability in the modern age. Rarely, if ever, do those bands stay off the road or broken up: just ask Ozzy Osbourne about “No More Tours,” or Guns N’ Roses about “not in this lifetime,” or Kiss about their entire career, or the Misfits, or Rage Against the Machine or The Black Crowes. Or myriad other relatively small time metal bands who break up in a blaze of glory and then get back together. Let’s check back on this article in five years when Slayer rev up their engines again, shall we?
So, no, we shouldn’t be surprised Crüe don’t give a crap about their infamous “cessation of touring” contract. Of course they’re back together!
The real question is this: is it a good idea or a terrible one?
Here’s the justification the band offered for deciding to give it another go, which naturally makes no mention of the alleged $150 million offer from concert promoting behemoth Live Nation (nor the rumored demand that Vince Neil enter rehab and lose 40 pounds):
“The Dirt currently enjoys an audience score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. And its massive global success earlier this year saw Mötley Crüe’s popularity rush to new highs, catapulting the band’s music back to the top of the worldwide charts with the younger 18-44 demographic now representing 64% of the band’s fanbase. Moreover, in the six months following the release of THE DIRT, Mötley Crüe has celebrated a meteoric rise of almost 350% increase in streams of their music across all streaming platforms. However, most of the new fans have never seen any of the legendary live shows that Crüeheads have relished for close to 4 decades.”
Those are some serious stats right there, and those numbers certainly can’t be fucked with. What’s more, the band’s monthly listener count on Spotify currently sits above 5 million. Compare that to some other top artists in the genre. Impressive!
But I can’t help but point out a disconnect between those numbers and reality. Will the band’s new fans in that vaunted 18-44 demographic be willing and able to shell out $100-$200 per ticket to see Crüe live? In other words, do the economics of a Mötley Crüe tour align with that target audience? Further, streaming a few of a band’s hits on Spotify or adding them to your workout playlist is a completely different beast than being a full-fledged fan. So even if we speculate that yes, some amount of new fans in that demo (particularly towards the older end) have enough disposable income to afford these tickets, does that mean they’re interested enough in the band to spend it? I don’t think it does.
The reality, I’d argue, is that those over the age of 44, whose youth included Mötley Crüe’s music, are the largest group who will shell out for tickets on this tour, not the new, young “fanbase.” And the band must know this, too. Put another way, had The Dirt never happened, and had the band not experienced a renaissance amongst the youth, would they still be able to draw huge numbers with a splashy reunion tour after five years away? I’m certain they would. Which makes the whole “most of the new fans have never seen any of the legendary live shows” thing more of a red herring than anything. Maybe there’s a solid cohort of 30-ish year-olds recently introduced to Crüe who have both the disposable income and interest to make it happen… I’ll give them that.
Still, I’m forced to conclude, in spite of my own doubts about the band’s true intentions, that the Mötley Crüe reunion is fucking brilliant. They’re gonna make money. Live Nation is gonna make money. Record labels, merch companies, booking agents, lawyers and managers are gonna make money, stadium hot dog vendors and parking attendants are gonna make money, and this website and others like it are gonna make money. There are truly no losers here, other than you if you plop down $150 for a ticket and expect anything other than Vince Neil’s winded ass hoisting the mic into the crowd to fill in the gaps — but even THAT’s a win, because we’re all laughing! And no one goes to a Crüe show to appreciate Neil’s vocal prowess anyway; you’re there for the production, the pyro, whatever ridiculous rollercoaster drum concoction Tommy Lee cooks up this time and, of course, the songs.
These shows are going to sell, and they’re going to sell well. The only hater is you!