The True(r) Tale of Mötley Crüe: What Netflix’s The Dirt Got Wrong

Heavy Metal Band "Motley Crue" (Photo by Bill Marino/Sygma via Getty Images)
Tommy Lee’s and Nikki Six’s “random” encounter at a Denny’s wasn’t random at all
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The Dirt: After going to see Nikki Sixx’s band London play at a club on the Sunset Strip, Lee runs into Sixx at a Denny’s. As Sixx dabs his bloodied nose and downs some Jack Daniels, the two talk about the end of London and Sixx’s new, upcoming band.
Tommy Lee’s and Nikki Six’s “random” encounter at a Denny’s wasn’t random at all
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As Sixx peruses the newspaper looking for bandmembers, he notices Lee skillfully spinning his drumstick. A smirk overtakes his face and the film cuts to band practice where Tommy Lee sits gleefully behind a drum kit. 


Tommy Lee’s and Nikki Six’s “random” encounter at a Denny’s wasn’t random at all
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How it really went down: Impressed after seeing Tommy Lee play drums in his band Suite 19, Nikki Sixx pursued the young musician. The two intentionally met at a Denny’s to formulate the beginnings of a new band that would eventually become Mötley Crüe. Later, their hedonistic antics and dangerously severe addictions would earn the two original members of the band the nickname "The Terror Twins."


The band’s original lead singer was O’Dean Peterson, not Vince Neil
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The Dirt: Prompted by Tommy Lee, the three perma-members of the band not yet known as Mötley Crüe  – Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars – attend a party to see Vince Neil’s cover-band, Rock Candy. Following the show, Lee hands Neil the band’s demo and pleads with his highschool friend to call once he’s given it a listen. 
The band’s original lead singer was O’Dean Peterson, not Vince Neil
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After some drug-induced deliberation, Neil shows up to a jam session with his girlfriend in tow. The initial run-through is rocky as Neil's girlfriend rebuff's the band's too-fast, too-loud sound, but the group eventually catches their stride, and the first version of Mötley Crüe is seemingly formed ("Xmass" was the initial band-name choice). 


The band’s original lead singer was O’Dean Peterson, not Vince Neil
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How it really went down: Before Vince Neil came along, vocalist  O’Dean Peterson fronted the band. Peterson was present when the band entered the studio to record their first few demos, conceivably the music Vince Neil was given for consideration. Unfortunately (for Peterson), Mick Mars dubbed him a “hippie,” and the group quickly nixed the singer. In The Dirt, Peterson is perhaps inaccurately portrayed as a guitarist who Mars – while auditioning to be in the band – calls a “hippie” before giving the boot. In any case, the film forgets about O’Dean Peterson completely, erroneously portraying Neil as a founding member. 
Vince Neil didn’t so easily agree to be in the band
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The Dirt: When Tommy Lee tells Vince Neil he's in a band that he'd like Neil to join, Neil shoots the idea down, dubbing the group too “sketchy.” Instead, Neil narrates the real reason he enjoys fronting a rock ensemble: girls, girls, girls. The film cuts to Neil and his girlfriend snorting coke off a mirror and talking about their dreams, the idea of joining the band seemingly dismissed. 


Vince Neil didn’t so easily agree to be in the band
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However, as his girlfriend seductively crouches out of frame to perform fellatio, Vince Neil leans back and considers his future with the group, remembering that he's moderately indebted to Tommy for once having borrowed his car. The next day, the flamboyant singer arrives for band practice. 
Vince Neil didn’t so easily agree to be in the band
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How it really went down: The trio didn’t meet Vince Neil at a backyard party while he sang “My Kind of Lover" to a swarm of swooning ladies. In fact, according to the timeline, that song wasn’t even out yet. Instead, they met him at The Starwood in West Hollywood. What’s more, Neil was incredibly reluctant to join the band. They had to beg the vocalist to attend a practice, essentially stalking him in the process. 


The band wasn’t so eager to sign with Elektra
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The Dirt: One night, while partying at Rainbow Bar & Grill, the band is approached by Tom Zataut – a young, awkward rep for Elektra Records. After sitting down with the group to talk about a record deal, Zataut is startled by a young woman beneath the booth offering him a blowjob. 
The band wasn’t so eager to sign with Elektra
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Zataut nervously refuses the favor and immediately continues pitching the record deal to the rowdy group, never once considering their careless behavior a cogent foreboding. In response to Zataut's offer, Vince Neil jokingly states, “I don’t know if we can trust a dude who turns down a free blowjob." Seconds later, the band signs to Elektra for a five-album deal. The whole scene goes down in a matter of minutes. 


The band wasn’t so eager to sign with Elektra
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How it really went down: In actuality, the band had already created their own record label, Leathür Records, and weren't necessarily eager to be signed. They were also far more suspicious of Zataut’s offer than the film lets on. In fact, the group forced Zataut and the label to woo them with free food and booze for quite some time before considering the deal. 

 


Admittedly, the party scene involving the band’s manager Doc McGhee never happened. Here’s what did:
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The Dirt: After signing a deal with Elektra Records, the band gets a hefty advance and starts raging even harder, throwing "bigger parties" with "better drugs." While at one such party, Nikki Sixx gets into a violent altercation with a man donning suspenders and a buzzed head. Heroically, Doc McGhee – the then-music manager for KISS – chin-checks the attacker. With his foot firmly on the man's neck, McGhee looks up at Sixx and says, “You fellas are gonna need a manager.”


Admittedly, the party scene involving the band’s manager Doc McGhee never happened. Here’s what did:
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Moments later, Mick Mars looks directly at the camera and says, “This didn’t actually happen. Doc never came to this filthy shithole.” This is one of many unusual asides wherein the characters acknowledge the movie’s inaccuracies, deeming them inexplicably intentional. 


Admittedly, the party scene involving the band’s manager Doc McGhee never happened. Here’s what did:
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How it really went down: The band actually met Doc McGhee at the Santa Monica Civic Center following a performance. McGhee was there with his partner Doug Thaler whose presence and contributions to the band’s rise were inexplicably left out of the film. Later, The Dirt shows Doc McGhee donning an "Entertainment or Death" tattoo, a design meant to celebrate the band's upcoming album. Unfortunately, Nikki Sixx changed the album's name to "Theatre of Pain" just before its release, rendering the tattoo meaningless. What's more, Doc McGhee never received that tattoo. Instead, Doug Thaler was the unfortunate recipient of the faux pas. Luckily for Thaler, the band eventually named their 1999 live album "Entertainment or Death."


Vince Neil slept with Tom Zataut’s girlfriend, just not when and where The Dirt says so
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The Dirt: Just before performing at The Forum, Vince Neil has sex with Tom Zataut’s girlfriend in his dressing room. As Zataut bangs on Neil’s door to let him know it’s show time, the camera pans inside revealing the two getting down and dirty. 


Vince Neil slept with Tom Zataut’s girlfriend, just not when and where The Dirt says so
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Neil yells through the door, “I’m coming,” as he and Zataut’s girlfriend finish their conquest and head backstage. Sixx tells Neil his promiscuous behavior could potentially ruin their deal. Niel, laughing, snaps back, “Only if he finds out.”
Vince Neil slept with Tom Zataut’s girlfriend, just not when and where The Dirt says so
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