When Motley Crue Brought Back the Riffs on ‘New Tattoo’
Loyal Motley Crue fans hoped the group's eighth album would mark the end of a turbulent, unproductive decade that saw just two studio albums and a split with their singer.
Vince Neil wouldn't return for another five years. But before recording commenced on New Tattoo, founding drummer Tommy Lee quit to pursue his solo band, Methods of Mayhem, saying he was tired of playing songs like "Girls Girls Girls" night after night.
"I always told myself that when my heart wasn't in it, it was time to quit," he explains in the band's official autobiography The Dirt. "And my heart wasn't in it."
Former Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo was quickly hired to join the three remaining original band members, and Motley Crue set out to make a back-to-basics follow-up to 1997's more experimental, industrial-tinged Generation Swine.
Watch Motley Crue's Video for 'Hell on High Heels'
"Strangely, with Tommy gone, the band entered for the first time in my memory a period of stability," bassist Nikki Sixx recalls in The Dirt, "and we recorded the album that should have been the successor to Dr. Feelgood."
Released on July 11, 2000, New Tattoo didn't boasts songs that went on to become classics – or earn a spot in the band's first farewell tour set list – it is nice to hear them get loud, rude and riff-based again on minor gems such as first single "Hell on High Heels," "Fake" and the humorous and highly underrated "First Band on the Moon."
Sadly, serious health problems struck Motley Crue before the tour in support of the album even began. Castillo fell ill with what would eventually be revealed as cancer, which kept him off the road and eventually claimed his life two years later. Hole drummer Samantha Maloney took over behind the drum kit for the trek, as seen on the band's 2002 Lewd, Crued & Tattooed live DVD.
A couple of years later, the stability that had eluded Motley Crue for so long would finally return. After releasing albums and touring both with Methods of Mayhem and as a solo artist, Lee rejoined in 2004. It would be another four years before they released their next studio album, 2008's Saints of Los Angeles.