Granted, half of the band’s lineups consisted of the twice-reunited famous original foursome, with Sixx and Mars always remaining on board. But the stories of how first singer Neil and then drummer Lee left and came back to the group — and what happened while they were gone — serve as great examples of the level of chaos that circled the band for much of its career.
After a fast march to the top and a decade-long reign as hard rock’s most infamous bad boys, Motley Crue learned just how fickle mainstream music fans could be when they fired Neil and experimented with heavier and more serious-minded music on 1994’s Motley Crue. Bringing Neil back but continuing to experiment with new sounds on 1997’s Generation Swine didn’t work much better.
So the band got back to basics on 2000’s New Tattoo. Well, three of them, anyway. Lee decided he was sick of playing the same kind of music over and over, so he split. Five years later, they all realized once and for all that they were happier together.
That’s the short version. You can read the complete history of Motley Crue’s lineup changes — including the four drummers who briefly filled in after various Lee injuries — below.
Motley Crue Lineup Changes: A Complete Guide
The complete story of Motley Crue’s five lineup changes.
Motley Crue Lineup Changes: Related Reading
The Night Motley Crue Played Their First Show
Why Motley Crue Fired Vince Neil
How Motley Crue Struggled to Move Ahead With a New Singer
Vince Neil Gets ‘Exposed’ on Debut Solo Album
Revisiting Vince Neil’s Ambitious ‘Carved in Stone’
When Motley Crue Brought Vince Neil Back for the Confused ‘Generation Swine’
How Motley Crue Got a New Drummer and Brought Back the Riffs for ‘New Tattoo’
Revisiting Motley Crue’s Reunion with Tommy Lee