According to The Ultimate Guitar, renowned producer Tom Werman, known for his work with iconic bands like Mötley Crüe, Cheap Trick, Twisted Sister, and Ted Nugent, provided insights into the studio dynamics and recording processes during Mötley Crüe’s prime. Contrary to their wild reputation, Werman revealed that the band members maintained a relative degree of focus and discipline during their studio sessions, despite their notorious hard-partying lifestyle.
Reflecting on their work on albums such as “Shout at the Devil,” “Theatre of Pain,” and “Girls Girls Girls,” Werman highlighted the challenges faced during the creation of “Theatre of Pain,” which he described as a particularly arduous endeavor due to the band’s demanding schedule and behavioral issues at the time. Sandwiched between tours, Mötley Crüe had to rapidly produce a significant number of songs for the album, a task that tested their creative and emotional resilience.
Werman pinpointed lead vocalist Vince Neil as the most demanding member to work with, citing instances where his partying habits affected his ability to deliver usable vocal takes in the studio. Despite their professional challenges, Werman acknowledged the band’s remarkable output and the high-quality material produced during their tumultuous recording sessions.
Additionally, Werman shed light on the pressure faced by bands to quickly follow up successful albums with new material, a process that often led to heightened levels of stress and anxiety. The intense work schedule, coupled with the pressures of the music industry, frequently contributed to self-medication and other coping mechanisms among artists.
“No. Vince [Neil] — if he had a chance probably would have been crazy. Nikki [Sixx] and Tommy [Lee] dabbled with drugs for a while. But really, considering their reputation, we did pretty well in turning out those three albums. Especially ‘Theatre Of Pain,’ which was a tough one. That was their low point, I think, behaviorally. And they were sandwiched between tours. They had to go out to support ‘Shout at the Devil,’ 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.
“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. 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.”
With Mötley Crüe, I remember there was one day when Vince, I guess, had a tough night. 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.”
Through his candid revelations, Werman provided valuable insights into the inner workings of Mötley Crüe’s recording process, shedding light on the balancing act between rockstar lifestyles and the demands of producing music in a high-pressure industry.