The True Story Behind Netflix's New Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

"The Dirt" will be available for streaming on Netflix on Friday.

Hell bent on changing the musical landscape and acquiring fame, Los Angeles’ Motley Crue became emblematic of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll” in the late 1980s. 

Their epic story of success, addiction and friendship is chronicled in the new Netflix biopic “The Dirt,” based on the best-selling book of the same name by author Neil Strauss. “It is considered to be by many people ... to be the best biography on a band that has ever been written,” national television and radio host Matt Pinfield told 

Helmed by “Jackass” director Jeff Remaine, the movie stars Pete Davidson as the band's manager, Tom Zutaut; Machine Gun Kelly as drummer Tommy Lee; Douglas Booth as bassist Nikki Sixx; Daniel Webber as singer Vince Neil; and Iwan Rheon as guitarist Mick Mars.

“Motley Crue were a straight up rock 'n' roll band. What they did was they took '70s glam — which were artists like New York Dolls, David Bowie, early Queen, T. Rex and that kind of music — they took that rock 'n' roll darkness into the LA music scene. Then they became a really big band,” Pinfield said. “My friends that have seen the movie already have said it makes them look like deplorable human beings and that it pulls no punches and shows how out of control they were.

"They were young guys living the rock 'n' roll dream," he added.

During the 1980s, a new music scene was born on LA’s famed Sunset Strip dubbed “hair metal” by the mainstream. The music was heavier and oversexualized, its members rocking long hair and ripped clothes. 

Motley Crue formed in 1981 and became an instant success in LA, known for their raucous live shows. The band was signed by Elektra Records, which re-released their debut album, "Too Fast for Love," partially remixing and re-recording the original version by Leathür Records.

After the New York City punk scene of the 1970s, the West Coast became underground music's new hot spot. By the 1990s, it would move north to Seattle, where it got even darker, and grunge flourished thanks to bands like Soundgarden, Nirvana and Alice in Chains. 

By 1983, Motley Crue released their sophomore album, “Shout at the Devil,” and thanks to a series of tours opening for Ozzy Osbourne and KISS, Motley Crue became one of America's most talked about bands. Their live show also became bigger in scale, featuring pyrotechnics, fireworks, roller coasters and Lee’s drum riser floating above the stage and rotating upside down as he played. It was a spectacle unlike anyone at the time had ever seen. 

“Motley Crue was a brilliant band in the way of creating a full-blown show,"  Riki Rachtman, host of the "Cathouse Hollywood Podcast," told "When you went to a Motley Crue show, it was amazing. This was a band that lived in excess. ... They took it to a whole other level and it almost killed them several times."

The band’s heyday was marked by their consumption of alcohol and heavy drugs like cocaine and heroin. “Those guys were very incredibly self-destructive and were going very hard,” Pinfield said. 

In 1984, Neil was charged with vehicular manslaughter after driving under the influence, killing a passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle, in the crash. Two other passengers were severely injured. Neil was sentenced to 200 hours community service, five years’ probation, $26 million in restitution to the victims and 30 days in jail. He was released after 15 days for good behavior. 

Three years later, Sixx overdosed on heroin and was actually declared legally dead before being revived with adrenaline. He went to rehab the next year, an experience he drew from for the novel, "The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star."

Eventually, with the help of an intervention, the band found sobriety, and as popular as they were in the early '80s, their reputation only grew, and by the mid to late '80s, Motley Crue were household names. They released nine albums during their lengthy career, most recently 2008’s “Saints of Los Angeles.” Motley Crue toured for the final time in 2015; however, thanks to "The Dirt," they released their first new song in 11 years in February, called “The Dirt (Est. 1981).” But they don't plan on touring.

“I hope [the movie] really brings back something we are missing and that is fun. Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be dirty. Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be sweaty. Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be fun. Rock 'n' roll is supposed to be debauchery. I want people to go out and see a show and I want people to experience rock 'n' roll,” Rachtman said. “I hope it spurs people to create bands."

"Maybe not to the extent that Motley Crue did because you will probably die," he added.

"The Dirt" will be available for streaming on Netflix on Friday.