1980s hard rock and metal was a time of excess in every way. From the music to the imagery, the hair to the outfits, the stage shows to the antics, everything was over-the-top and blown to epic proportions. And nowhere was this more in evidence than on Ozzy Osbourne's 1984 tour in support of his third solo album, Bark at the Moon. At the time, Ozzy was at the height of his, well, Ozzy-ness, just a few years out from biting the head off a bat, relieving himself on the Alamo, shaving his head, and stirring up all manner of insanity on record and on the road. Add in Motley Crue, who were quickly ascending to the top of the rock heap in terms of both popularity and debauchery, and you have a recipe for rock excess of mythic proportions.
And while many of the artists who partook in that excess have recounted aspects of it over the years, never before have all the major players, including Ozzy, the members of Motley Crue, musicians Jake E. Lee and Carmine Appice, as well as key figures like Sharon Osbourne, Motley manager Doc McGhee, Motley head of security Fred Saunders and various Elektra label execs, come together to tell the whole sordid tale. But come together they did in the '80s hard rock oral history Nöthin’ But a Good Time. Released in 2020, the hardcover book quickly became a New York Times best seller. Now, to celebrate the release of the paperback version, out today, we present an exclusive excerpted chapter from Nöthin’ But a Good Time, detailing the bonkers Bark at the Moon tour.
MIKE BONE (executive, Elektra Records) Shout at the Devil was selling like gangbusters. I was the head of promotion at Elektra, and the guy who was my predecessor was this guy named Lou. One day Lou comes into my office and he goes, “Hey, Bone, look at this. This Mötley Crüe record just clicked past 500,000. We’ve got a gold record here! We should go and show this to the band.” I said, “Yeah, they’re out on the road.” They were in Binghamton, New York. [Manager] Doc McGhee had them opening for Ozzy.
FRED SAUNDERS (tour security, Mötley Crüe) Because they were the opener it was absolutely crazy. They’re on for 45 minutes and that’s it. The rest of the 23 hours and 15 minutes of the day they wore me out just trying to keep an eye on ’em. But they did a lot of in-stores, a lot of promotional stuff. They worked a lot.
BRAD HUNT (executive, Elektra Records) The in-stores were nuts. One of them, I think it was a Record Town, and by the time we got there the line was out of the mall. It’s snowing like a mofo and these girls are standing there in torn sweatshirts in the snow because, quite frankly, one of the big things at a Mötley Crüe in-store, aside from buying the record and getting it signed, was to get your breast signed.
MIKE BONE That night we were in Binghamton, they were staying at some cheap motel, a Ramada Inn or something like that. And because we were the opening act we got back to the motel relatively early. There was a restaurant there, and Lou and I were gonna have a beer with the band and then get in our car and head back to the city. So we’re having a drink, and while we’re doing this buses are pulling up to the hotel, and they’re dropping off all these ski people in their ski outfits who are coming from New York up to Binghamton. So now on one side of the room are the ski people with their knitted caps and everything, and on the other side is Mötley Crüe and their road crew and some groupies. And Vince has this girl at the bar, and he takes her underwear off and . . . Let’s just put it this way, he used a longneck beer bottle on her. In the restaurant, in full view of everyone, including the skiers. This girl’s friend was right there with her as this was going on, and she says, “I can’t believe you’re letting him do this to you!” And the girl looks at her friend and she goes, “I’m with Vince Neil of the Mötley Crüe!” I’m like, “Oh boy, let me finish my beer and get out of here..."
DOC McGHEE (manager, Mötley Crüe) Listen, Mötley Crüe was this band that every day you apologize. It wasn’t like, “Oh, geez, that’s a surprise!”
FRED SAUNDERS When Doc McGhee offered me the job of security director he said, “These guys are so wild they need to be put in check.” In fact, jokingly, he said, “I’ll give you a bonus if you’ve gotta hurt ’em.” I said, “You got yourself a deal.”
DOC McGHEE Fred was a great security guard but he needed a security guard after ten o’clock at night. He turned into one of the dark angels as well.
FRED SAUNDERS Shit. Let’s see here... Vince I beat up many times. I broke Nikki’s nose. I broke Tommy’s nose. I punched poor Mick just for the heck of it.
SHARON OSBOURNE (wife and manager, Ozzy Osbourne) Ozzy and Mötley together was just insanity.
OZZY OSBOURNE It was a band of lunatics on the road. Because they were just breaking through to a new audience. It was after the show that the mayhem started.
SHARON OSBOURNE It was a fuck fest. It was insane — Ozzy pissing on fucking cop cars and not realizing it’s a cop car, you know, all of those things.
FRED SAUNDERS I can remember Ozzy climbing up over my balcony and coming into my hotel room with just a bathrobe on. And I was on the tenth floor! I remember the guys jumping into pools with their clothes on, standing there pissing in the pool... It was goofy stuff, you know? Just some guys trying to outdo each other.
NIKKI SIXX (bassist, Mötley Crüe) Ozzy is one of the sweetest men I’ve ever met. But when Sharon wasn’t around, it was like a five-person gang. It was always like, “He topped us again.”
SHARON OSBOURNE The guys in Mötley Crüe, I was like Debbie Downer because I would always try and get Ozzy away from them.
CARMINE APPICE (drummer, Ozzy Osbourne) Sharon wouldn’t allow anyone backstage. So Mötley Crüe, they used to draw pictures of a limp penis and call it the “No Fun Tour.” Because, you know, they’re young, they’re vibrant, they’re ready to screw anything that walked and drink and do drugs and have a great time.
SHARON OSBOURNE I was like, “One of you guys is going to die and it ain’t going to be my husband.”
MICK MARS (guitarist, Mötley Crüe) I remember Ozzy just had his daughter Aimee and I remember seeing her as a tiny, tiny little baby. Sharon had just had that kid when we were doing that tour. But Ozzy was still fuckin’ up everywhere. He’d come up to our bus singin’ “Iron Man” but he was singin’, “I... am... krelly man.” And he’d have about half an ounce of cocaine in a baggie and he’d come on the bus and cut out a bunch of cocaine lines and stuff. We called ’em Texas power rails. And the next thing that I know is, I was go- ing to my room, the other guys went to the pool, Nikki pissed, and Ozzy started snorting ants.
JAKE E. LEE (guitarist, Ozzy Osbourne) I was there for the whole snorting-of-the-ants thing. I think my version’s a little bit different than anybody else’s, but I also was the only guy that wasn’t drunk. I’ll just tell you the way I remember it. We’re at the hotel swimming pool during the day and Ozzy was there bragging about how fit he was getting. Because my martial arts instructor was out on tour with us as Ozzy’s bodyguard and trainer. And I think it was Nikki who said, “Yeah? How many push-ups can you do?” And so they had a push-up contest. Ozzy did about three, I think. Then they had a sit-up contest. Ozzy lost that, too. Then Nikki said, “Well, let’s change the rules.” And Nikki was out there with a girl that he had met the night be- fore. She was lounging in the sun and Nikki pulls his dick out and starts pissing. She didn’t like it, she ran off. It was getting weird, because there were families out there at the pool.
OZZY OSBOURNE We would try and out-crazy each other. Why, I can’t remember.
JAKE E. LEE Then Ozzy was sitting on the concrete and we were looking at him to see what he was going to do. And he had this funny look on his face, and that’s when I could see that he was pissing in his trunks while he was sitting down. There’s this pool of piss forming around him, and because he was quote-unquote in physical training, he must have been taking a lot of vitamins because I remember his piss was almost fluorescent. So Nikki’s kind of looking at him, like, “I dunno if that beats me...” And then Ozzy got on his hands and knees and started licking his piss up. That’s when I gathered my things and I said, “Okay, I’m out.” And as I was walking away I saw him snorting something on the ground, which I assume was the line of ants. If they did anything after that, I don’t know and I kinda don’t want to.
SHARON OSBOURNE A lot of it has obviously been exaggerated. But it was nothing new to me. It was like, “Been there, done that. Move on, kids.” I was brought up at a time where there were real gangsters in the music industry, and people had guns and artists had guns and it was a much tougher business. I’d been around all of that and all the groupies and all the insane behavior. So it did nothing to me. It was just like, “Oh, fuck off.” I was just trying to keep my husband alive.
DOC McGHEE If we went to a nice hotel, which never happened in the first five years — I mean, we never were able to stay in anything but a Howard Johnson — we had to put out cash. Otherwise they wouldn’t even let us stay in the hotel, because the Mötley guys were funny guys. They didn’t do stuff that was malicious, but they would trash stuff and not say anything and then we’d get the bill afterwards. I would always say, “Hey, if you smash something you have to tell us before you leave. Otherwise you have to pay double for it.” So then I’d be getting calls at three o’clock in the morning from Sixx: “Put me down for a TV.” “Put me down for a lamp.”
BRAD HUNT I mean, the scenes in hotels were pretty wild. You learned after a point to try to not stay on their floor.
OZZY OSBOURNE Mötley Crüe were a force to be reckoned with back then. They were the heavy version of the glam rock kind of deal.
JAKE E. LEE But I don’t think Ozzy was worried about it. Ozzy knew he was Ozzy. And all of the opening bands — Mötley, Ratt, shit, even Metallica opened for a while — pretty much worshipped Ozzy. I don’t think he looked at them as any kind of competition.
FRED SAUNDERS As far as Mötley were concerned it was Ozzy’s show. But in reality, you look at the merchandise and it was Mötley who were selling. Mötley merchandise was, like, twelve bucks a head at the time. It was amazing.
JAKE E. LEE The arenas were always full when Mötley went on. Nobody wanted to miss them. They had a great audience reaction. And definitely a lot more girls were interested in meeting Mötley Crüe after the show than they were in coming to the Ozzy bus. You could tell they were going to be huge.
CARMINE APPICE When those guys were on tour with us, they were on fire. They were out to kill.
BRAD HUNT They partied hard, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But they were really hard workers.
MIKE BONE The Crüe, for all the stories—and god knows there’s plenty of stories about them — it did not make a fuckin’ difference. If you told them to be in the lobby at seven thirty a.m., they were there at seven twenty- five. If they had to go do a morning show at some rock radio station in order to sell tickets, they’d ride through the night and park their bus in the station parking lot and go in and rev up the morning DJs.
BRAD HUNT I remember every jock would say, “You can’t swear on the radio.” And of course, within the first seconds of the interview inevitably a “fuck” would come out of one of their mouths. But everybody loved ’em. I mean, what was not to love? They were fun on the air. They were a great interview. They were terrific.
OZZY OSBOURNE I was well established but Mötley Crüe were coming up fast. It was a good package. But it was one of the most dangerous tours I ever did. I said that to Doc one day, “It’s getting so crazy... ”
DOC McGHEE I don’t think there was anyone in Mötley Crüe that went, “If we do this, that’s going to be cool and people are going to... ” You know what I mean? These guys weren’t bad guys and they didn’t do it to be rock stars. They did it because that’s what they did.
BRYN BRIDENTHAL (publicist, Elektra Records) If bad is good, they were perceived as bad. Which turned out to be really good.