Back in early 1994, I got a call from one of my best friends telling me that later today, WRIF will be playing the new Motley Crue single “Hooligan’s Holiday” featuring their new singer, John Corabi. I was excited and nervous at the same time since I was a huge Motley Crue fan and still bummed that Vince Neil was out of Motley. Vince had put out a kickass solo album a year before with Steve Stevens on guitar, so I figured Motley could put out a stellar album out as well. A few hours later, I had WRIF blasting through my stereo and a blank cassette tape inserted into the tape deck, recording everything.
The time had come! The DJ announced that the next song is ‘Brand New Motley Crue’. The song had started! I was now listening to the NEW Motley Crue. I really liked what I heard. The song was heavy, had a great groove… I was SOLD!! I couldn’t wait for the new album to come out. A month or so later after getting off work, a friend and I drove up to a local record store called Harmony House and bought the “Motley Crue” album on the day of its release. I bought the “Red” copy and my friend bought the “Yellow” copy. We weren’t sure what the difference was, but we didn’t really care! I played that CD constantly. I loved everything about the record. I quickly became a new John Corabi fan. I was not familiar with his stuff from “The Scream” yet, but I tracked down their stuff a few months later. The new “Motley Crue” album kicked all sorts of ass. I got to see the band live a few months later at Pine Knob. I loved hearing the new songs live and enjoyed Corabi’s spin on the old Motley songs. I could probably go on and on about how much I dug that new album, but that wraps my lil’ backstory about that.
Fast forward 20 years to 2014, John Corabi started doing tour dates performing the entire “Motley 94” album with his new band. Finally, on May 2nd, 2015, the “Motley 94” tour came to the Detroit area at a club called “The Token Lounge” in Westland, MI. Corabi’s current band lineup is Topher Nolen on bass, Jeremy Asbrock and Josh Dutoit on guitars, and Ian Corabi, John’s son, on drums.
After performances by 4 or 5 great local Detroit area bands, Corabi and his band were about to take the stage. The club was packed with fans anxiously waiting for Corabi to start. Around 11:30pm the band erupted into “Power To The Music”. The band was playing the album from top to bottom. They quickly went into the next song, “Uncle Jack”. The band sounds amazing. One thing I was looking forward to seeing and hearing, was how Ian Corabi handles Tommy Lee’s drum parts. That album, in my opinion, was probably some of Tommy Lee’s best drum work. I have watched YouTube clips of prior shows and already knew Ian was doing a kickass job. Ian was killing it! The same goes for Jeremy and Josh….They did amazing job replicating all of Mick Mars guitar parts. As I was watching this show and listening to the band perform these songs I said to a friend of mine watching the show next to me, “They are on fuckin’ fire!” There were no backing tapes, no fancy production, just 5 guys putting on an amazing performance. Corabi’s vocals sounded just as strong as they did 20+ years ago. Next up was “Hooligans Holiday”, a crowd favorite.
Corabi often does a little bit of storytelling during his shows, prior to the songs. The next song, which is one of my favorites from the album, was “Misunderstood”. Corabi explained to the audience that this song was one of two songs him and the Motley guys worked on the night that they told him he was in the band. Corabi then picked up his double-neck Gibson guitar and went into the song! Following that song, the crowd was applauding heavily and then for whatever reason, started chanting “Fuck Vince Neil….Fuck Vince Neil”. Corabi quickly responded to the audience, “I didn’t come here for that. We’re just here to have a good time. At the end of the day, and lot of fans don’t realize this, but I had nothing to do with Vince Neil getting fired and he had nothing to do with coming back. Everybody is like, ‘Vince is better than you’ ‘You’re better than Vince’ It’s not like that at all. Its apples and oranges. Some people like apples, some people like oranges”. I agree 100% with him. I never got into the whole Vince vs. John thing. Also, I have never heard Vince or John say anything negative about one another.
Anyway, on with the show (pun intended). The band continued to play the rest of songs from the album. Another highlight of the show, for me personally, was “Welcome To The Numb”. That is probably my 2nd favorite track from the album. It’s also a song that almost did not get played. Corabi explained to the audience that he told his band prior to them rehearsing for the tour, “There is one song on the record that we absolutely can’t do.. It’s impossible! I was there when we wrote it. There’s no fucking way we can do it.” He added that his guitarist Jeremy Absrock said to him, “We can’t do it huh? I like a challenge, I’ll figure this shit out.” Corabi then said that Jeremy texted him a couple days later saying, “Hey! that song… I got it, bitch! ..We’re doing it”. The band then performed that song and continued on with the rest of the set ending with “Driftaway”. After a few minutes, the band returned to the stage for an encore. They did a partial cover of “Walkin’ the Dog” and then did “Man In The Moon” from Corabi’s days with “The Scream”. Following the show, Corabi and the rest of his band took time to meet everyone that wanted to say hello, take a photo, or get an autograph. I am sure I can speak for everyone else that was there that night that we can’t wait for their return.
Thanks to John Corabi, Jeremy Asbrock, Topher Nolen, Josh Dutoit, and Ian Corabi… for such a kickass show. If this show is coming to your town, please do yourself a favor and go check it out. The musicianship is outstanding.
Below are some photos of the show taken by our friend Brandon Nagy. Enjoy!
Visit John Corabi on the net.