On September 26, 1983 Motley Crue released their second album ‘Shout At The Devil.’
By Chris Gillespie
It would not be until spring of 1984 before I moved back to Los Angeles that I would be aware of this album. I walked into a Licorice Pizza and as I passed the front of the “Hot Albums” section at the front of the store, I came across this menacing dark cover with blood red lettering and a slightly visible upside down pentagram emblazoned across the surface. The back cover was even more intriguing, with the band posed together and surrounded by some equally menacing looking spikes.
Coming from a highly Christian family, it was both slightly off putting, yet tantalizing at the same time. I had to have this. I did not have a record player at the time so I tracked down the cassette and found the close up picture of the four guys who looked like they came straight off the set of a Mad Max or Escape From New York movie on the cover looking back at me. Guitarist Mick Mars looked like the Devil himself being the sole member with flames rising up behind him.
I purchased the cassette, went home and put it in my tape deck. Immediately as the first rumbles of “In The Beginning” came drifting out of the speakers, I had goose bumps. And then it happened, the opening chords of “Shout At the Devil” came blasting out and I was hooked. I am pretty sure this was the first time I ever head banged in my life.
The first Crue song I would ever learn from start to finish on guitar, “Looks That Kill,“ came on next. If you’ve ever heard the song, you’d understand why so many guitar players seem to learn that song just to have that kick ass riff in their repertoire! You can watch the video for it below.
The bombastic “Bastard” was followed by a more laid back “God Bless The Children Of the Beast,“ a slow instrumental showcasing Mick Mars’s melodic guitar work punctuated by the simple vocals of “God Bless The Children Of The Beast” at the end. Up next would be the single from the very first picture disc I would ever buy, “Helter Skelter,“ a cover of the Beatles classic, the same song the infamous cult leader Charles Manson claims led him to his murderous ways. How fitting. The picture disc itself and the gigantic poster of the band featured photos from the Ross Halfin “Blood” photography sessions, some of the best Shout era Crue photos ever issued.
“Too Young To Fall In Love” was a riff heavy and hook laden track that was also made into a campy video that many fans weren’t sure what to think of. The video featured sound effects and the band fighting some ninja style bad guys. You can watch it below.
“Red Hot” had a most excellent blast beat intro that I think may have inspired more drummers playing styles than most would admit. Tommy Lee was a beast on this song and Nikki had his work cut out for him in keeping the rhythm throughout it. The next track, “Knock ‘Em Dead Kid” was a catchy song that was dedicated to the L.A.P.D. and their abusive police state ways that would be later addressed by N.W.A. and their song “Fuck Tha Police” as well.
“Ten Seconds To Love” was a slow burning song about sex in an elevator. The track builds up into a frantic climax into the chorus. Long before Aerosmith touted “Love In An Elevator” The Crue had already been there and left their sloppy seconds for the ‘Smith guys.
The final song on the album was “Danger.“ A strange departure from the rest of the album. Featuring the slowest tempo on the album (outside of “God Bless…”) The song was mostly about the dark seedy side of Hollywood. Something that would be addressed by Guns N’ Roses in “Welcome To The Jungle”, once again proving that Motley were well ahead of their contemporaries.
(Fun fact: My Mom came into my room and asked what I was listening to while I was playing this for the very first time. When I showed her the cover, she blurted out “Those guys! They’re from Glendale! They hang out at my work ALL the time!”)
The album would later be reissued on their own label ‘Motley Records’ in 1999 and featured the unreleased tracks:
“Shout At The Devil” (Demo Version), an even more sinister version of the song we would all come to know and love. The lyrics were slightly different and included the extra verse:
“I need that evil
I sold my soul
Because I’m in Hell
Oh, I need it
I need it more
Can you even imagine the Christian Conservative heads that would have exploded had they released it that way originally?
“Looks That Kill” (Demo Version)
“Hotter Than Hell” – Which would later be reworked and appear as “Louder Than Hell” on the ‘Theatre of Pain’ Album.
and finally “I Will Survive” which was recorded during the same sessions but never released.
I count myself lucky to have been around during the most important decade for heavy metal and hard rock and this album is still, to this day, one of my all time favorites.
Many would say that ‘Too Fast For Love’ was superior, but to be honest, it took me another year before I would finally get that album and give it a spin in it’s entirety!
An old original Motley Crue TV commercial:
Motley Crue US Festival 1983 performance before the release of ‘Shout At The Devil’