OPINION: Motley Crue burns fans in Edmonton
Motley Crue must make amends to fans in Edmonton who have been suckered into seeing two “final” shows. It’s only fair.
They said that November 2014 at Rexall Place would be their last concert in Edmonton. Fans bought their tickets thinking it was going to be their last concert in Edmonton, thinking that they would never see the beloved badasses of Hollywood Boulevard ever again, and so of course it sold out. But then the band made so much money saying goodbye that they added another leg to the “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” tour – and will now play another last show in Edmonton at Rexall Place on Saturday, Dec. 12. Fans are paying twice for the same farewell!
This wouldn’t normally be a big deal. We let Cher get away with saying goodbye at least three times. We were cool with the Eagles reuniting after saying they’d do it when hell freezes over. The Smalls were welcomed back after their “last show ever.” Ditto SNFU. But Motley Crue went too far in their hubris: They signed a contract.
The “Cessation of Touring Agreement” was signed by Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars and Tommy Lee during a video press conference in Los Angeles in January 2014. Their opening act Alice Cooper was apparently supposed to have been there to witness the event, “but he’s golfing,” they laughed. At the show here in 2014, Alice (who really should’ve been headlining) left right after his set and was likely back in his hotel room sipping chamomile tea and reading his Bible by the time Crue hit the stage. Easy gig for Alice.
So what does the contract say, exactly? They won’t tell. No one from the press has seen the document. The band’s lawyer – they actually paid a real lawyer to be part of this silliness – used telling lawyer words: “It’s an agreement that binds the four of them not to utilize this trademark for touring in the future.”
So when is the future? It was thought the agreement would take effect on Jan. 1, 2015, after the end of the North American farewell dates. No word of the extension in the fine print we didn’t see. But in the spirit of the agreement, doesn’t the act of adding a new leg of farewells, effectively launching another tour utilizing the Motley Crue trademark, constitute a breach of contract? No mention of consequences, either.
It doesn’t take a legal expert to point out the obvious – that this paper doesn’t mean a damned thing – but one was found anyway: Professor Tamara Buckwold, who teaches contract and commercial law at the University of Alberta. On what Motley Crue might or might not owe fans for this alleged contractual malfeasance, she says, “Sadly for the fans, if the contract’s worth anything, it’s only between themselves.” Besides, she adds, “They could all agree to cancel their agreement at any time.”
Thank you, Professor Buzzkill. One thing, though: if this wasn’t for the fans, then why did the Crue make such a big deal out of it? Why did they stage a press conference for what is normally considered a private matter within the music industry?
It must because this is deeper than contract law. It’s a moral contract. It’s a symbol of the sacred pact between a band and fans who have taken a band’s music so much to heart that some couldn’t live without it, and who therefore and rightly expect integrity. When they promise it’s the final show, it should be the final show. This is of course Motley Crue we’re talking about, Dr. Feelgood, Girls Girls Girls, role models for little more than hedonism and excess (both of which are fine in moderation), but no rock band should take this responsibility lightly. Their other actual alleged crimes we can forgive – Vince Neil losing his voice, general hooliganism, Sixx Sense – but for Motley Crue of all bands to break the Code of Rock ‘n’ Roll is a sin too great to ignore.
How’s this: Offer fans who bought tickets to the first farewell a discount on tickets to the second farewell, in Edmonton and anywhere else they’re doing two final shows (including Calgary, Phoenix, Arizona, and their hometown Los Angeles). It may not be legally required, but it’s the right thing to do. Maybe then Motley Crue can end their 35-year rock ‘n’ roll legacy with a magnanimous gesture and go down in history with a clean conscience.