Nikki Sixx credited the band’s collective sobriety and the strong work ethic of producer Bob Rock for making Dr. Feelgood a highlight of their career. “In eight years together and with millions of albums sold, we had never recorded properly,” he explained in the band’s 2001 autobiography The Dirt. “No one had ever pushed us to the limits of our abilities before. I wanted ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)’ to have a chorus you could destroy your room to. … I wanted an album I was finally proud of.”
The inspiration for the song’s title came from Hollywood.
“I saw that line in a movie somewhere, I can’t even remember what movie,” Sixx said of the song’s title in a 2009 Rolling Stone interview. “I thought, ‘Great idea for a song.’ A little tongue-in-cheek. A little sarcasm there.” It’s likely the line came from Clint Eastwood‘s 1986 war movie Heartbreak Ridge, which features Mario Van Peebles uttering “Don’t go away mad, just go away” at the 1:17 mark in the scene below.
Released on May 28, 1990, “Don’t Go Away Mad” became the third Dr. Feelgood single to reach the Top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 19. Both the title track and the ballad “Without You” reached the Top 10, while “Kickstart My Heart” topped out at No. 27. On July 31, a fifth single, “Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.),” was released, ending the album’s yearlong radio campaign.
Three days after the release of “Don’t Go Away Mad,” Motley Crue kicked off the fifth and final leg of a grueling 154-show tour that reportedly netted each member $8 million, but it also left them burned out and completely sick of each other. “Dude, you’ve never seen four motherfuckers split up and go their own way faster than we did,” drummer Tommy Lee noted in The Dirt.
“That’s a great song,” singer Vince Neil told Rolling Stone. “We’ve been playing it for years. I love to play guitar and sing that song. It’s kind of a feel-good song. When that song comes on, everybody wants to sing along with you.”