If you go
• What: KISS and Mötley Crüe, in concert.
• When: 7 p.m. Aug. 19
• Where: Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield
• Cost: $39.75-$176.05 through Ticketmaster, 800-745-3000 or Ticketmaster.
• Information: 360-816-7000 or Sleep Country Amphitheater.
The last time Mötley Crüe toured with KISS, the situation couldn't have been any more different than it is this summer as these two popular bands hit the road together for one of the year's biggest tours.
It was 1982, and Mötley Crüe was just getting started, having been newly signed to Elektra, which had released a newly remixed version of the group's debut album, "Too Fast For Love." The radio hits didn't start until the next album, as 1983's "Shout At The Devil" started a string of four platinum-selling albums that continued through the 1989 CD "Dr. Feelgood." KISS, by contrast, had already reached the heights as one of the world's biggest bands and arguably the most spectacular concert attraction to date in rock history.
Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx remembers that 1982 tour with KISS as one of the early big moments in his group's career. "KISS and Ozzy (Osbourne) were the two bands that gave us our first shot," he said in a mid-July phone interview. "I look back, and it was a short amount of dates (with KISS). It was four or six dates, but they gave us our first taste of playing up and down the (West) coast and on big stages. We'll always remember that. They're fond memories."
Now, 30 years after the two bands first shared stages, they are back on tour again for the first time since that handful of 1982 shows. KISS will still close out the shows this summer, but Mötley Crüe, obviously, will be in a position to make a much bigger impression on this tour, beginning with the fact that both groups will be doing full 90-minute sets.
"We really look at it as a double headliner," Sixx said. For Mötley Crüe, that means bringing back the major stunt from last year's tour, as drummer Tommy Lee will again do a solo as his drum kit does a complete circle on a 360-degree track he has dubbed the roller coaster. And yes, there will be pyrotechnics and other special effects.
"It's a very raw, dangerous show," Sixx said. Mötley Crüe will also debut a new song, "Sex," that is being released as a single to coincide with the tour. It came together this past spring while the band was doing a three-week residency in Las Vegas. Whether "Sex" catches on and becomes another hit for Mötley Crüe remains to be seen, but the tour with KISS is part of what Sixx said he expects could be the biggest four or five years in the career of his band, whose other members are singer Vince Neil and guitarist Mick Mars. After the flurry of activity ends in several years, Sixx said, it may be time for the band to re-evaluate its future, or whether it's time for Mötley Crüe to call it a day.
"We want to go away friends. We want to go out on top," Sixx said. "We want to leave a legacy where people go 'Wow, that was a wild ride.' When that time is, we don't know, but it's not a negative. It's a positive. We started on a positive and we want to end on a positive. The bands that just wear it out and just cripple off into the sunset to milk that last nickel, and it's like if you haven't saved your money to take care of yourself and you have to do that, it's not a good look. And that's not how we want to be remembered."