Great Metal Albums of 1985: Motley Crue- Theatre of Pain


Confession time here, I have to admit that the song, “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” by Motley Crue made my summer in 1985. That was because it was guaranteed that at least once, sometimes twice, on my eight hour shift at the parking lot, it was played on the radio. And it was a lot better than most of the other crap being played. Example, I wouldn’t have hated “Shout” by Tears for Fears so much if the radio didn’t play it to death. It got to the point that after “Shout” being played for the third time on an eight hour shift, I took drastic measures and phoned the local radio station threatening I would blow it up if they played that song anymore. It wasn’t played for the rest of my shift but thank God for “Smokin’ in the Boys Room.”

Showing my age, I remember the original version of that song by Brownsville Station. I loved that version too. I can’t decide who’s is better but I do like Motley Crue’s video for it, which did get described in “Rock and Roll Children.”

With the release of the “Theatre of Pain” album, Motley Crue were accused of ditching their wild heavy metal antics and becoming glam rock poseurs. Having seen them on the tour for the album, which also got penned in “Rock and Roll Children,” as does the events following the concert, I can safely say that their image was definitely glam. The leather was gone and they donned a more glam look. Fortunately for me, I’m more about music than image.

On that subject, I have never and still don’t rate “Theatre of Pain” as high as their first two albums. I agree with the masses who proclaim that “Shout at the Devil” was Motley Crue’s last great album. On the other hand, “Theatre of Pain” isn’t a bad album. True, it’s not as ferocious but there is some good metal to have here. “City Boy Blues” was a good way for this album to open, it did catch my attention and have me think that Motley Crue hadn’t totally abandoned what had made them great. “Louder Than Hell” is good but it has the potential to be so much more. They should have made it even louder. Then there’s the famous ballad, “Home Sweet Home.” It did make number 26 in my all time favourite power ballads list. Plus, it shows that Tommy Lee can tinkle the ivories as well. It also got lots of airplay on MTV so all in all, I have no shame in saying that I like it.

If you had this album on either cassette or vinyl, you would know that side two goes back more to Motley Crue’s heavy metal roots. “Tonight (We Need a Lover)” starts the second side off in the right direction and paves the way for the hidden gem on the album, “Use It Or Lose It.” This track just cooks with Mick Mars leading the way with a blinding guitar solo. I can’t believe that I marked him as the worst guitarist in metal for all these years. Mick, if you’re reading this, you have my permission to come to Stroud, UK and give me a slap. “Save Our Souls” continues more of what I’m talking about. It’s a down and dirty hard rocker. “Raise Your Hands to Rock” has a Southern Rock feel to it with its acoustic intro and boogie vibe to it. While melodic, I still think they should have cranked it more. That would have made the song sound even better. Saying that, I think it would have made a better closer than “Fight for Your Rights.” The former has a better ‘take the album home’ feel to it.

Track Listing:

  1. City Boy Blues
  2. Smokin’ in the Boys Room
  3. Louder Than Hell
  4. Keep Your Eye on the Money
  5. Home Sweet Home
  6. Tonight (We Need a Lover)
  7. Use It or Lose It
  8. Save Our Souls
  9. Raise Your Hands to Rock
  10. Fight for Your Rights

Motley Crue

Vince Neil- lead and backing vocals, harmonica

Nikki Sixx- bass, backing vocals, synth

Mick Mars- all guitars, backing vocals

Tommy Lee- drums, piano, backing vocals

Confession number two: watching the Motley Crue film, “The Dirt” inspired me to post about the 1985 album, “Theatre of Pain.” Thinking back or maybe it’s my age, it’s a pretty good album. It did have a song that made my summer a little more bearable.

Next post: The Scorpions- World Wide Live

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:







26 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Motley Crue- Theatre of Pain”

  1. One of my least favorite MC albums. I think I rated it pretty low on my ranking list (I am too lazy to go check). I do want to thank you, because Smokin’ in the Boys Room would make a great Original vs Cover post. I will add it to the list. Looking forward to the Scorpions review…love that album.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this album, my second favourite album of theirs. I feel its rather underrated.

    I agree with you on Use It Or Loose It, that track is blistering.

    I also agree though, that in general if the album was performed harder and produced heavier, it would be a lot better.

    I think the reason Shout is a better album is they play it more enthusiasticly and with more umph.

    Still. I like this album a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hated the album first time I heard it and I’m not much keener now. But it has “Two Killer Tracks” just like they say in the movie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I do consider this a bad album. Sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t apologize because you’re not alone. A lot of people don’t like this album and it took a while to grow on me. It’s a long way down from “Shout At the Devil.”


  5. I watched The Motley crue film the other night thank you for the recommendation it was fabulous I didn’t know a great deal about them I’m hoping it was all completely true

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I sold this LP within 2 weeks of buying it in 1987, I just couldn’t see what the fuss was about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Definitely one of my favorites also. They practically didn’t say anything about the album in the movie and almost to seem not to mention it in the movie. Motley Crue have said it’s their least favorite album but dam it’s a good album! Maybe the drugs are still masking them from it still today?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only link to the album in the film was the scene where Tommy Lee plays the opening to “Home Sweet Home” on the piano. You might have a point about the drugs, lol.


  8. “I took drastic measures and phoned the local radio station threatening I would blow it up if they played that song anymore.” You’d find yourself in the jail for that these days, eh? Very funny though!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Just played this today! For me it is the weakest album they made up til Generation Swine. But I still enjoyed it today.

    Liked by 1 person

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