Mtley Cre's costumed party-metal was a mid-'80s middle finger to my parents, their conspicuously pentagrammed T-shirts a cause for concern at school, and "Girls, Girls, Girls" a tidy lesson in joyous, prepubescent misogyny.
More recently, their book, The Dirt, with its sweeping stories of drug-addled debauchery and groupie exploitation, was one of last year's best reads. (Soon to be adapted to the big screen, the entire volume made The Washingtonienne seem like The Book of Mormon in comparison.)
The Indy caught up with the Cre during a nationwide conference call a few days before they were to embark on the States leg of their "Carnival of Sins" tour, a B-market extension of their much-touted reunion tour, "Red, White and Cre."
The group -- Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars, for the uninitiated -- swings through the Springs on July 24 with fire-breathing midgets, three drum kits and the promise of pure spectacle.
Together for 25 years, the Cre clearly are back at the top of their game, even if that game is bereft of coke orgies, smack and incarceration. Over the past few months, they've been granted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, played the Live 8 Concert in Ontario and launched a top-grossing tour that took them all over the planet.
"The routing [of the tour] is an unbelievable thing that we do our best to stay out of," says Sixx. "We just tell them, 'We're willing to play for a year straight with breaks.' And then they sit down and find out where's the best places to play."
"And then they play darts," adds Neil. "'Where's the next show? I don't know. Here?'
"It's like pin the tail on us. We're the donkey."
Remarkably, all of this activity falls close on the heels of a hip replacement for Mars, who suffers from the progressive skeletal condition ankylosing spondylitis, and whose recent pill addictions garnered a lot of press.
"The A.S. that I have was bothering me a lot," Mars says, "so I became addicted to the pain medications, which is what drug me down. When we first started talking about this thing I was pretty much out of it, but I wanted to do it. I needed to get myself overhauled and cleaned up in order to do this, because I wanted to do it."
Rumors of a potentially Mars-less reunion were quickly quashed.
"People were saying, 'Oh, Dave Navarro is gonna play guitar,'" says Sixx. "We never had conversations with anybody else. It was either going to happen with the four of us, or it just wasn't going to happen at all.
"We're a gang. How could we do this without all four members? Vince was out of the band for a while; Tommy was out of the band for a while. We said about five years ago, 'Let's just wait 'til everyone does this.' That's why Vince was out doing solo stuff and I did another band. Mick got himself healthy. Tommy did his solo stuff. We knew that it would take time to clear away the stuff that we had started doing years ago."
The band's older, sure, but they're still as potentially incendiary as they were in 1986. They're also in top bantering form, needling each other about, among other things, Neil's hatred of iPods.
"We wanted to get him one for his birthday, and he said no," says Sixx. "So we got him a Ferrari instead."
Neil's new ride reminds Sixx of how he himself has changed over the years.
"I was driving with my wife yesterday, and I said, 'You know, I've really learned to control my temper, and I'm not such an asshole when it comes to authority figures,' and she just looked at me and said, 'You gotta be fucking kidding me. Every time you drive by a cop, you flip him off.' I go, 'I know, but I'm kidding. I used to mean it.'"
-- Aaron Retka
World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd.
Sunday, July 24, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $39.75-$79.75; call 800/325-SEAT, or log on to ticketswest.com.