SINGER JOHN CORABI DISCUSSES MÖTLEY CRÜE’S “GENERATION SWINE” AND SAYS “STOP LOOKING AT TRENDS AND JUST DO WHAT YOU DO”
Former Mötley Crüe frontman John Corabi has reflected on the making of the band’s 1997 album Generation Swine. The singer spoke with Rob’s School Of Music, portions of the interview appear below (via blabbermouth.net).
Corabi recounts, “We worked on that record for, God, almost two years. Now, the difference is I’m not a fan of the record that came out. ‘Cause you’ve gotta understand we had recorded a bunch of those songs, and they brought Vince back. Then they went back into the studio with him for, like, another year. And they switched things around, then they started playing with sound effects.”
“I don’t mean this in any disrespect to Mötley at all, but the bottom line of it is we did a record and it didn’t sell well — per their standards,” he continued, referencing 1994’s Mötley Crüe LP., “I mean, it went gold, but it didn’t sell well. The tour was a disaster. And I think, to be honest with you, [drummer] Tommy [Lee], [bassist] Nikki [Sixx, and [co-producer] Scott [Humphrey], were trying to reinvent themselves to be current. And at the time, bands like Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie, Ministry, Pantera — all these bands were heavy, a lot of ’em were industrial, and they were just trying to figure out how to be relevant again. Which kind of led to a little bit of my demise, because I was just, like, ‘This is f–king bulls–t. Just do what you do. You’re Mötley.’ And I’ve done the same thing. Even after I got out of Mötley. and I was in Ratt, then I decided I was gonna do a solo record, I would record a few songs and I would do ’em and I’d go, ‘Man, I’ve gotta be relevant. I’ve gotta be relevant.’ So, everybody gets caught up in it. But the bottom line of it is it took a manager, or a friend of mine, to just sit there and go, ‘You know, Crab, listen, man. F–k that. You are what you are. You’re a bluesy kind of Beatles, [Led] Zeppelin, Aerosmith… That’s who you are. Don’t try to be something that you’re not. Stop looking at trends and just do what you do. There are people out there that like what you do.’ And at that point, once I just said, ‘You know what? F–k it. I’m just gonna do my own thing,’ then I was a lot better off.”
Returning the discussion to the musical direction of Generation Swine, Corabi said: “I’m not real happy with the record the way it came out, because I think they went so far left… We wrote a song, and then they turned it into a song called Glitter. And if you listen to some of the guitar parts that Mick‘s [Mars] is doing, it’s like this weird random noise. One song, I don’t remember which one it is, but there was a guitar solo on it; it sounded like a chainsaw. And I’m, like, ‘Why the f–k…?’ Mick Mars has got the most awesome guitar tone; he’s a very underrated guitar player. Why would you do that to his tone? So, it is what it is. A lot of that record was written while I was in the band. And there was a bunch of other songs that are probably in a vault somewhere that we wrote.”
When interviewer Rob Spampinato suggested that it would be cool for the band to one day release the demos for Generation Swine with his vocals, Corabi said: “To be perfectly honest with you, I think they were panicked. It was the first time for Tommy and Nikki to actually really produce a record. And to be perfectly honest with you, my vocals, if they were ever to release any of that s–t, I would wanna go back in and re-sing. Because I was so mentally… I couldn’t figure out what they wanted. Normally, when you go in with a producer, if you sing something, and they go, ‘Well…’ Like Marti Frederiksen, for example — I’ve done three records with Marti with The Dead Daisies, , and we’re working together on my solo album. And I’ll sing something for Marti, and he’ll go, ‘Eh. That’s really good, dude. But what about…’ And he’ll maybe sing 70 percent of what I was singing, and then he’ll just twist a note or two, and now I go, ‘Oh, s–t. I would have never thought of that.’ ‘
“The thing that I was struggling with Tommy and Nikki and Scott, as far as producing was, they would say, ‘Nah. that’s not it,'” he recalled. “Then I’d go, ‘What are you hearing?’ And they wouldn’t sing me anything back. They really didn’t know what they wanted. They would give me these random bands… Like, Nikki would say, ‘Something on the lines of Manic Street Preachers and old David Bowie.’ And then Scott would go, ‘Cheap Trick‘ And then Tommy would go, ‘No, dude. Like, heavy. Like Pantera. But lush, like Oasis.’ And I’m sitting there going, ‘Half of these bands I’ve never even f–king heard of before. Who are the Manic Street Preachers? Never heard of ’em.’ And I’m trying to process, how do you blend Pantera with Oasis or Cheap Trick or Bowie? I was trying to process it, so my singing was not peak, let’s put it that way. So I would definitely wanna re-sing a lot of that s–t.”
Very interesting article! I have never heard of this before. To me, Generation Swine was the last great release from MC. I have not heard anything even good since that cd. What I would do to hear the Generation Swine cd with John on vocals!! I always thought that the music world missed out on a second release from MC with John on vocals!! That self titled release took MC to a different level. A level that was exciting and to want to just crank it up!! Very sad that John was not treated a little better but Nikki and Tommy were really drugged up a lot of the time.
I disagree, George, I thought “New Tattoo” was a really good album, even without Lee on drums. I always was a fan of Randy Castillo, and I thought he fit in really well with the Crue, until he got ill. Tattoo sounded alot more like old school Crue, again, even without Lee, unlike Swine (eye roll) some decent songs, but the sound was horrible. The 2 new songs on Red, White & Crue – “Sick Love Song,” and “If I Die Tomorrow” I thought were great! They both had that Dr. Feelgood vibe. Saints Of Los Angeles was ok, couple of real good songs. Not much good stuff after that, until “Ride With The Devil,” and “Crash And Burn,” “The Dirt” (the song) sucked, thanks to that rapper ruining it! I won’t even mention the “Like A Virgin” cover…
I agree, beyond his showmanship lee has great meter ,he keeps the groove locked in and tight and even though he is flashy he doesn’t overplay , and his riser moving around was just an inspired idea ! I grudgingly admit neil was the right guy at the right time for crue , you can’t argue with their success, I think lee and mars were a huge part of that success ~
In The Dirt movie, Mars only refers to Lee as “drummer.” So, for example, he would say to Lee “Calm down, drummer.” I am not sure if that was taking creative license, or if Mars really did refer to him as that, if so, that is rather snide. LOL!
Mare being the oldest, and suffering from anylondis spondylitis, probably made his patience run thin, and it seems one needed a ton of it with Lee. He is the baby of the band and was constantly running at break neck speed.
I read an old interview with Heather Locklear when she was on Howard Stern, and he asked her if she ever experienced any abuse at the hands of Lee, other than her private parts? She said she did not recall any abuse during their marriage, but she said Tommy was A LOT to deal with and that he was always on 11. One can tell he was very hyper active, and then add cocaine to the mix, I am shocked his heart didn’t explode.
Hey Doug R, Very interesting. I have never connected to New Tattoo no matter how many times that I listened to that. I have tried due to wanting a new great MC release. Saints of LA was hard to even listen to. I wonder what the majority think about these 2 releases. I will listen to it a few more times after cleaning the dust off of it.
Well, I mean they can’t compare to Dr. Feelgood, Shout At The Devil, or Too Fast For Love, but all things considered I think New Tattoo and SOLA are really good albums.