Mötley Crüe’s Theatre of Pain Turns 30: Rock Out to 30 Album Facts

Celebrate three decades of decadence with Vince, Nikki, Tommy, and Mick.

On June 21, 1985, Mötley Crüe unleashed Theatre of Pain, the album that announced their evolution from just another pack of Sunset Strip hair metal hooligans into classic hard rock artists.

Similar to the way the Beatles’ Rubber Soul signaled that Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band were imminent, Theatre of Pain signaled that, after successfully bombarding the world with the glam-punk-fueled mousse-metal warheads Too Fast for Love (1981) and Shout at the Devil (1983), the Crüe had deeper, richer, more fully rocking tricks up their… well, these guys have never been known to wear sleeves, so let’s say the tricks were hidden in their hair-dos.

To celebrate 30 years of Theatre of Pain, let’s look back at 30 facts surrounding this classic album.

1. Theatre of Pain peaked at #6 on the Billboard album charts. In 1995, it was certified quadruple platinum, and has continued selling in a multitude of formats since then.

2. Mötley Crüe dedicated Theatre of Pain to Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley, drummer for Finnish glam metal gods Hanoi Rocks.

3. Razzle died on December 8, 1984 in a multi-vehicle car accident. The car containing Razzle was being driven by Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil.

4. Neil was charged with DUI and vehicle manslaughter. He and razzle had been speeding en route to a liquor store.

5. In 1986, a judge ordered Vince Neil to serve 30 days in jail for the crash. He got out after 15 for good behavior.

6. After producing Shout at the Devil, music biz superstar Tom Werman returned to the control room to oversee Theatre of Pain. He’d complete his classic trilogy of ’80s Mötley Crüe albums two years later by also producing Girls! Girls! Girls!

7. As an A&R mogul at Epic Records in the 1970s, Tom Werman helped construct the heart, mind, and soul of the hard-and-heavy classic rock era by signing mega-stars such as Ted Nugent, Boston, Cheap Trick, REO Speedwagon, and Molly Hatchet.

8. Among the other milestone LPs produced by Tom Werman are Cat Scratch Fever, Free for All, and Double Live Gonzo by Ted Nugent; Heaven Tonight and In Color by Cheap Trick; Stay Hungry by Twisted Sister; Open Up and Say… Aah! By Poison; and Flirtin’ With Disaster by Molly Hatchet.

9. Theatre of Pain’s lead single “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” reached #16 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

10. Mötley Crüe’s “Smokin’ in the Boys room” is a cover of a #3 hit from 1974 by Michigan hard rock greats Brownsville Station. The song officially turned the Station into one-hit wonders.

11. The “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” music video took MTV by storm. The hilarious clip expands on the put-upon high school nerd universe established by Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock” to showcase an alternate world on the other side of the boys’ bathroom mirror where Mötley Crüe liberates caged teens from the forces of oppression through the power of metal.

12. The fascist dictator-like high school principal in the “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” video, an unusual-looking fellow with an identical twin ventriloquist dummy, is played by horror movie icon Michael Berryman.

13. Michael Berryman is best know as Pluto, the main cannibal villain in Wes Craven’s 1977 terror classic, The Hills Have Eyes. Among his numerous other movie credits are One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Weird Science (1985), and Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster (2010).

14. The other most noteworthy “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” cover is by Israeli group T-Slam, who translated the lyrics to Hebrew.

15. Theatre of Pain’s follow-up single, the monster power ballad “Home Sweet Home,” which is one of the Crüe’s best-known and most beloved signature numbers only rose as high as #89, but its video’s constant rotation on MTV is credited with driving sales of the album and cementing the song’s place in rock history.

16. “Home Sweet Home” is one of the Crüe few songs to be co-written by Vince Neil. The others are “Piece of the Action” from Too Fast for Love; “Wild Side” from Girls! Girls! Girls!; and “Same Old Situation” from Dr. Feelgood.

17. “Home Sweet Home ’91” is the title of a remixed take on the song that appeared on Mötley Crüe’s best-of compilation, Decade of Decadence. It hit #37. To date, that version if the last Mötley Crüe to reach the pop charts.

19. American Idol vet and country music superstar Carrie Underwood scored a hit in 2009 with her cover of “Home Sweet Home.”

20. The 2014 covers album Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Mötley Crüe features “Home Sweet Home” performed by Justin Moore as a duet with Vince Neil. The song reached #30 on the Country Airplay chart.

22. Country songbird LeAnn Rimes covered Mötley Crüe’s cover of “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” for Nashville Outlaws.

23. Other noteworthy tracks on the Nashville Outlaws collection include “Kickstart My Heart” by Rascal Flats, “If I Die Tomorrow” by Florida Georgia Line, and “Wild Side” by Gretchen Wilson.

24. As washed-up hair-rocker Lou in Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), Rob Cordry performs the hell out of “Home Sweet Home” while drunk in the front seat of his car.

25. In 2005, Mötley Crüe re-recorded “Home Sweet Home” with Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington on co-singing lead vocals with Vince Neil. The charity single was released to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.

26. For their 2005 Greatest Hitz album, Limp Bizkit combined “Home Sweet Home” with the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.”

27. Mötley Crüe kicked off their Theatre of Pain tour in July 1985 with seven shows in Japan, including a four-night run in Tokyo that proved so popular, a fifth was added.

28. The last stop on the tour was at the La Zenith in Paris, France on March 3, 1986, meaning that the Mötley Crüe’s global trek commenced on the date 7/7 and concluded on 3/3.

29. Mötley Crüe: Uncensored is a music-heavy documentary chronicling the Theatre of Pain tour that was released on VHS in 1986. It contains concert footage, backstage action, and all of the group’s music videos to that time.

30. In 1985, senator’s wife Tipper Gore, leader of the anti-metal, record-labeling activist group the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) cited Mötley Crüe’s “Smoking in the Boys Room” music video as a “good” example of how a band could establish and maintain their bad boy image without resorting to depictions of sex, drugs, or violence. Gee, thanks Tipper!

Mike McPadden is the author of the book "HEAVY METAL MOVIES: Guitar Barbarians, Mutant Bimbos, and Cult Zombies Amok in the 666 Most Ear- and Eye-Ripping Big Scream Films Ever!" (Bazillion Points, 2014).