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Play on Pleasure: Dr. Feelgood

You and me and the Crue

Brogan McCuen

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Each week, CMN’s Brogan McCuen raves on about a musical guilty pleasure.  And maybe other stuff, too. (And uses a lot of parentheses.) We call it Play on Pleasure.

Two years ago, my cover band decided to add Dr. Feelgood to our setlist, which means I had to learn every word of this song (Spoiler alert: there are many, and they go fast). So, one day while I was makin’ my way downtown, I did what I do every time I need to learn a song — listen to it on repeat.

I must have never really listened to this song closely until then, because I was so overcome by how heavy the intro is, followed by how hard you get bitchslapped with glam metal cheese with that riff from two guitars and the bass in unison (file under: reasons why I’m the crazy girl laughing to herself on the bus today).

But why would I expect anything less from a couple of the grandfathers of butt rock?

And how about that squealy glam guitar solo? (Side note: how do we feel about “Squealy Glam” as a hair metal-style Steely Dan tribute band name?) I can practically taste the sweaty rhinestoned leather when I hear it. Plus, the subject matter of a kingpin drug dealer running from the cops as well as the falsetto wail during the last chorus make this a quintessential hair metal jam.

I also can’t get over how gratuitous metal umlauts are. Notonly did bands like the Crue appropriate umlauts to seem more rugged and Germanic, but they had the gall to get confused when their German fans pronounced their name “Mutley Cruh.”

Motley Crue is one of the guiltiest pleasures and my relationship with them is complicated. Their history is riddled with PR stunts and partying. They were as famous for their music as they were for their hedonism. Duff McKagan mentions in his memoir It’s So Easy (and Other Lies) that despite all his years of alcoholism and drug use, one weekend partying with Motley Crue and he was vomiting blood.

Being able to out-party the most dangerous band in the world is quite the claim to fame. Additionally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the major tragic mark on Vince Neil’s history: the vehicular manslaughter charge after Hanoi Rocks’ drummer Nicholas Dingley died in a drunk driving accident with Neil at the wheel.

This is why they are such an important part of rock history. They were so heavy and wicked back in their day, but now they feel like a cartoon of glittery, long-haired, makeup-wearing hooligans who had some heavy musical moments.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Brogan is a Seattle Pacific University graduate who majored in Creative Writing (with a creative non-fiction concentration) and minored in Music. She is also a karaoke host, a pole athlete, and the lead singer of a classic rock cover band. After working at an e-commerce record store for two years, she shifted her focus to incorporate her writing inclinations with her musical background (plus, her roommates were tired of hearing about the Dilla sample that Miike Snow used in "My Trigger"). Enter: CMN.

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