Decadence, Zombie Dust, And Death: MÖTLEY CRÜE's Long-Term Relationship With Strip Clubs
"It's a good time though. You know? You go in the strip club, and everyone is just…there's nobody is bummed out in that place."
—Mötley Crüe vocalist Vince Neil on his happy place, the strip club.
In 2017, Mötley Crüe's fourth album Girls Girls Girls turned thirty. After forming in 1981, Crüe had pumped out four killer records in six years and had become the very personification of heavy/hair metal hailing from the "cesspool of depravity," aka, the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
With the release of Girls Girls Girls, Mötley Crüe became synonymous with strip clubs–like Def Leppard's stripper anthem from the same year, "Pour Some Sugar On Me." However, the Crüe's heavy metal love affair with gentlemen's clubs didn't begin there. Not by a long shot.
The song itself (Girls Girls Girls) lyrically mythologized several adult entertainment establishments in the U.S., Canada, and France. Such as Thee Dollhouse in Florida (or Thee Dollhouse III as it is also known), the Marble Arch in Vancouver, Canada (where Lee and Neil had their own private VIP section), the Crazy Horse in Pairs, and several California clubs such as the Tropicana, the Body Shop, and The Seventh Veil. According to Vince Neil, Mötley Crüe was inducted into what he called The Stripper Hall of Fame in 2007–though I'm not able to find any other reference of this anointment. Perhaps Neil's acknowledgment was about long-gone local California point-of-interest, Exotic World/The Strippers Hall of Fame run by the "Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque" or "Godmother of Burlesque" Dixie Evans (RIP). It's hard to say, as Neil made the statement in an interview with Vegas Rocks! magazine prior to the grand opening of his now-defunct strip club Vince Neil's Girls Girls Girls in Las Vegas. The bottom line is this–if you are a metalhead, it should be sort of impossible to not think of Mötley Crüe, motorcycles, and strip clubs at the same time. So let's dig into some of the history between Crüe and their attachment to strip clubs.
The title track, "Girls Girls Girls," was, according to Tommy Lee, written by the thong-slinging drummer in five minutes, as Lee reflected on Crüe's nightly visits to strip clubs (lyric credits on the album are also credited to Sixx and Mars). The band would keep up the pastime while on tour, and Lee recalls following some shows (while delicately balancing the buzz from mixing "Zombie Dust", a combination of Halcion, cocaine and booze) he would demand their limo driver take the band to the nearest one (noted in the 2002 book, The Dirt). The band's handlers would eventually aim to book hotels far from any kind of adult entertainment, which was met with threats from members of Crüe of quitting the band and violent acts of retribution. When it comes to the video for "Girls Girls Girls" we get yet another glimpse into Mötley's sex-club debauchery with the help of prolific music video director, Wayne Isham.
Isham first worked with Crüe on the set of the satanic S&M-themed video for "Looks That Kill" though his job at the time was to clean up the floor of the set. For the video, Isham hit up several local LA adult clubs like Gold Diggers and Jumbo's Clown Room, where a young Courtney Love once worked as a stripper. Most of the girls Isham hired were good at their job but didn't have the dancing chops he felt the video needed, so he hired two professional dancers to help elevate the exotic dancer's performances. In fact, the fishnet legs of one of Isham's pro-dancers, a girl known only as "Connie", appear at the beginning of the video for "Girls Girls Girls."
In a deliberately slick move, Isham first sent MTV an alternative version the video featuring a few of the dancers without their tops, which was immediately given a hard no by the network, as was another Crüe video directed by Isham, "You're All I Need." Isham then quickly sent off the edited version of the video to MTV and the rest is very much history. And, as it pertains to this post, Isham also directed the video for Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me." So there's that. Another story connected with the Girls Girls Girls video concerns dancer Marjorie Ann Orbin of Thee Dollhouse who allegedly makes a brief appearance in the video. In 2009 Orbin was convicted of the murder of her husband Jay Orbin after his dismembered remains were found in the desert. Currently, Majorie (prisoner #250060) is serving out her life sentence in an Arizona correctional facility.
While interviewing Crüe during a stop on the Girls Girls Girls Tour, Canadian music television personality Dan Gallagher (RIP) asks the band the all-important question: "What is it about strip joints that you find so fascinating?" Gallagher then takes a tip from the excellent playbook of director Jeff Krulick (1986, Heavy Metal Parking Lot–NEVER FORGET) by getting up close and personal with fans headed to see a Crüe show, as well as members of the band's road crew. The short clip is a great visual time capsule which helps reinforce the notion that Mötley Crüe will be forever joined together at the hip with strip club culture. Lastly, during the Mötley Crüe Final Tour in 2015, the Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen's Club (the single weirdest name for a strip club ever–please don't prove me wrong), in Lexington, Kentucky hosted the first Mötley Crüe Strip Club After Party after winning a contest sponsored by the band.
Below you can see a couple of artifacts related the release of Girls Girls Girls, footage of Dan Gallagher's amusing interview Mötley Crüe, Neil's television commercial for his Girls Girls Girls strip club, and the original NSFW version of the Girls Girls Girls video.
Canadian music television personality Dan Gallagher's interview with Mötley Crüe discussing their love of strip clubs.
A television ad for Vince Neil's Girls Girls Girls strip club in Las Vegas.
The uncensored version of the Girls Girls Girls video directed by Wayne Isham.