Mötley Crüe Producer Recalls ’Challenging’ Vince Neil Session: ’He Sang for Three Hours and We Kept One Line’

Producer Tom Werman spent quite some time with Mötley Crüe back in the 1980s, helping them record three of their classic albums — “Shout at The Devil,” “Theatre of Pain,” and “Girls Girls Girls.” The band was getting bigger and bigger, but, as Werman recalled in an interview with Greg Prato for Songfacts, the legendary glam metal quartet wasn’t as wild in the studio as some may have thought.

Although we’ve heard plenty of stories about Mötley Crüe simply being Mötley Crüe, Tom Werman denied any of this happening in the studio. When asked whether they were “wild and crazy” during the sessions, he simply replied “no” and added:

“Vince [Neil], if he had a chance, probably would have been crazy. Nikki [Sixx] and Tommy [Lee] dabbled with drugs for a while.”

Motley Crue Live 1985 Montreal Theatre Of Pain Tour Remastered

Tom admitted that, even with their reputation, “we did pretty well in turning out those three albums.” However, despite making great records, the legendary producer added that the “Theatre of Pain” album “was a tough one” when it came to the recording process.

“That was their low point, I think, behaviorally,” Werman recalled. But there’s a reason for that since, as he explained, the band members “were sandwiched between tours.” Not an unusual thing considering the usual grueling album-tour-album-tour cycle from back in the day.

“They had to go out to support ‘Shout At The Devil,'” he continued, “and then they had to come in and write 12 or 14 songs in a hurry because there was another tour booked to support that album.”

It’s a challenge on its own to come up with a hit song and finally make it work as a single. Add the relentless touring schedule and having to follow up on your previous success to the equation, and you’ve got yourself a real challenge. Tom explained:

“A songwriter in a band will spend many years writing songs. They’ll be good, and they’ll finally have a chance to record them for their first album. And there are maybe one or two songs left over that they didn’t do on the first album that are included on the second album, but the rest of them have to be written.”

Motley Crue Live In Tacoma 10 15 1987 Full Concert

“It’s like, get off the road, go to sleep for 24 hours, and then write an album that is a follow-up to this big hit you just made. It’s tough, which can lead to anxiety and self-medication.”

And the self-medication aspect is exactly what caused all the trouble with Mötley Crüe. In another part of the interview, while discussing a variety of other artists that he worked with and the challenges that he faced, Werman also looked back on a particular issue he had with Vince Neil.

With frequent partying, the producer said that Mötley Crüe vocalist never really cared about taking it easy when there was a studio session scheduled for the next day. For him, there was no such thing as “training,” as Werman said.

Mötley Crüe - Live at the US Festival (1983)

“With Mötley Crüe, I remember there was one day when Vince, I guess, had a tough night,” Tom recalled. “He was very good about coming in and putting in his hours, but he didn’t know the concept of ‘training.’ He wasn’t in training.”

“He didn’t say, ‘I’ve got to sing tomorrow. I think I should get at least six hours sleep.’ He would party and do what he wanted, have a good time, and then come in and try to grind it out.”

Remembering a particularly disastrous session, he said:

“One day, he came and probably sang for three hours, and we kept one line. That was challenging. Some of Vince’s vocals were challenging.”

Home Sweet Home (2021- Remaster)

As of this moment, Mötley Crüe are continuing on with John 5 on guitar. Mick Mars is not only out of the picture but is still in the legal battle with the rest of the band, with no potential solution in sight any time soon.

As far as other things go, John 5 is actively participating in what will be Mötley Crüe’s next album. However, as he revealed in an interview conducted not that long ago, he’s already been pretty busy writing stuff with bassist Nikki Sixx, even way before he joined the band.

Revealing that there are songs that are done already, John was asked to which extent he participated in the process as the new member, to which he replied:

“We all sat in a room and did it together. ‘Cause me and Nikki have written for years and years and years together. So it was nothing new. And me and Tommy [Lee] worked in the studio together many times as well. So it was nothing new being in the studio, but it was new with Bob Rock.”

"John 5 Guitar Solo & Smokin/Helter Skelter/Bop Medley" Motley Crue@Atlantic City 2/11/23

“What was so wild was we got in a room… It was like total old school, man. You get in the live room and there’s my amp and there’s Nikki’s amp and there’s Tommy’s drums, there’s a mic… ‘Cause I’m so used to just playing in the control room. And it’s, like, ‘Oh no, no, no. We’re all gonna get in this room and we’re gonna play.'”

He concluded:

“And that’s how we recorded. It was incredible. I’ve never recorded that way. And it was maybe one of the best experiences I had recording. It was so fun. It was a blast. I had to, like, make notes and all this stuff, and we just played through it. It was incredible.”

MOTLEY CRUE - FULL CONCERT (JOHN 5 DEBUT)@Hard Rock Casino Atlantic City 2/10/23

Photos: Andreas Lawen, Fotandi (Vince Neil – Wacken Open Air 2018-1511)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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