The Glam scene that Mötley Crüe dominated in the late 80s started to fade into a haze of drug-fueled hairspray that bands like Poison, Ratt, Winger, and others would quickly fall victim too and be forgotten in the oncoming wave of Grunge that would take over the 90s.
After Nikki Sixx being declared legally dead from a Heroin overdose in 1987, and their first US number one record, 1989s Dr. Feelgood, launching the band to the height of their fame, it was only a matter of time before the fantasy came crashing down around them. Although members of the band entered rehab in the late 80s, it wouldn’t be enough to Kickstart their dying heart.
John Corabi discovered that Nikki Sixx was a huge fan of his first record with ‘The Scream’ in an interview featured in an issue of Spin magazine. Initially, Corabi wanted to get in touch with Sixx to talk about a possible collaboration on a new album for ‘The Scream’, as well as thank him for his kind words about his own work. Corabi spoke to Mötley Crüe’s manager, Doug Thaler and was told to simply leave his number.
Shortly after, Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee got in touch and informed Corabi that Vince Neil was no longer in the band and invited him to audition. After a few sessions, Corabi was officially the new singer for Mötley Crüe.
Between 1981 and 1989, Mötley Crüe had relied on their now iconic image of excess, big hair, even bigger anthems, and Heavy Metal to help them reach the top of their game with Dr. Feelgood in 1989. However, this style had they continued into the 90s, would have completely destroyed the band and seen them fall by the wayside with the likes of Hair Metal bands such as Poison and Skid Row who failed to change with the times.
After the constant conflict that came with Vince Neil and other Crüe members in rehearsals, Corabi offered the band a fresh new atmosphere of creativity that can be seen in rare footage the band shot during their 1993 rehearsals, and studio footage that went into 1994 before the band released their sixth studio album in the same year.
John Corabi brought with him an entirely new style of songwriting that helped to widen the musical minds of Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, and Tommy Lee. John Corabi helped to reinvent Mötley Crües image bringing them kicking and Screaming into the 90s with a fresh sound and a new lease of life.
However, the John Corabi/Crüe album was their most commercially unsuccessful album the band would ever release. Corabi recalls the mistakes that Mötley Crüe made during this time period. Although many fans instantly rejected the record and Corabi as the new singer, it's still one of the best Mötley Crüe albums to this day. it's also an incredible Hard Rock album in its own right.
“At that point, the band fired [their manager] Doug Thaler, they fired their accountants, they fired their lawyers — they fired everybody. And at that point, we were gonna start the next record. And instead of going back to [producer] Bob Rock, which I thought we should have done, I don't know why, but Tommy [Lee, drums] and Nikki [Sixx, bass] thought that they would be able to produce the next record themselves, which I think was a massive, massive mistake.” - John Corabi
Even after the album failed, the band decided to start work on another record with Corabi. John Corabi and Mötley Crüe spent almost two years working on ‘Generation Swine’ before finally convincing the band that Vince Neil should return to the be the singer of Crüe once again.
Corabi decided to leave in 1996. Sixx, Mars, and Lee reunited with Neil in 1997 and they released Generation Swine in the same year. Although Mötley Crüe didn’t have another commercially successful record until their 2008 album, ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ 100,000 copies in its first week, their time with Corabi set them on a path that made the band question their own musical diversity which ultimately stopped Mötley Crüe from fading into the background of the over-saturated 80s hair metal scene. Corabi not only helped Crüe explore a completely different side to their musical abilities, but he also made them realize that they were not the invincible band that turned everything they touched into gold.
If Vince wasn’t fired and Corabi had not joined, the band would have completely destroyed themselves. That’s how John Corabi saved Mötley Crüe with their 1994 hard rock album that failed.