John Corabi Says Motley Crue ‘Panicked’ Making ‘Generation Swine’
Former Motley Crue singer John Corabi shared his disdain for the band's 1997 album Generation Swine, saying his bandmates were "panicked" as they struggled to complete the LP that ultimately heralded Vince Neil's return.
In an interview with Rob Spampinato from Rob's School of Music (which took place in June 2020 but was re-shared on YouTube this week), Corabi said he worked on the album that eventually became Generation Swine for "almost two years" but is "not a fan of the record that came out."
"We had recorded a bunch of those songs, and they brought Vince back," Corabi explained. "Then they went back into the studio with him for, like, another year. And they switched things around, then they started playing with sound effects."
You can watch the full interview below.
Corabi joined Motley Crue in 1992 shortly after Neil left the band. (Whether he quit or was fired remains a point of contention.) At the time, the glam-metal titans were riding high on the success of 1989's chart-topping, multiplatinum Dr. Feelgood and their 1991 greatest-hits compilation, Decade of Decadence 81-91. With Corabi at the helm, Motley Crue released a self-titled album in 1994, showing off a heavier, grunge-influenced sound and more topical lyrics. Motley Crue debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 but quickly tumbled down the chart and eventually limped to gold status.
Corabi said the poor performance of Motley Crue and its supporting tour, which found the band downgrading from arenas to theaters and even clubs, rattled his ex-bandmates' confidence as they made Generation Swine, which began under the title Personality #9. "The bottom line of it is we did a record and it didn't sell well, per their standards," he said. "The tour was a disaster. And I think, to be honest with you, Tommy [Lee] and Nikki [Sixx] and [coproducer] Scott [Humphrey] were trying to reinvent themselves to be current. And at the time, bands like Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie, Ministry, Pantera — all these bands were heavy, a lot of them were industrial, and they were just trying to figure out how to be relevant again."
This quest for relevance led to mixed signals in the studio as Sixx and Lee gave Corabi different ideas about how to deliver his vocals. "To be perfectly honest with you, I think they were panicked," he said. "It was the first time for Tommy and Nikki to actually really produce a record. ... They really didn't know what they wanted. They would give me these random bands. Like, Nikki would say, 'Something on the lines of Manic Street Preachers and old David Bowie.' And then Scott would go, 'Cheap Trick.' And then Tommy would go, 'No, dude. Like, heavy. Like Pantera. But lush, like Oasis.' And I'm sitting there going, 'Half of these bands I've never even fucking heard of before.'"
Guitarist Mick Mars also felt spurned during the making of Generation Swine, with Humphrey reportedly criticizing his playing and replacing it with tracks from Sixx and even Lee, according to their 2001 memoir The Dirt. "One song, I don't remember which one it is, but there was a guitar solo on it. It sounded like a chain saw," Corabi told Spampinato. "And I'm, like, 'Why the fuck … ?' Mick Mars has got the most awesome guitar tone. He's a very underrated guitar player. Why would you do that to his tone?"
Intra-band turmoil and dwindling label support eventually pushed the band to dismiss Corabi and reconcile with Neil for the release of Generation Swine. But Neil hated the material and still harbored resentment over his ouster several years earlier. The band retooled the tracks to better suit Neil's voice, but the resulting album was still a disjointed mishmash of styles that underperformed commercially, peaking at No. 4 and barely going gold, like its predecessor.
The ensuing tour was a hit, but the much-ballyhooed Motley Crue reunion was, ultimately, a bust. As Neil put it bluntly in his 2010 book Tattoos & Tequila, "The whole album sucked."
Corabi said if Motley Crue were to release any of the Generation Swine or Personality #9 demos with his vocals, he would want to rerecord them first. "To be perfectly honest with you, my vocals, if they were ever to release any of that shit, I would wanna go back in and resing," he said. "I couldn't figure out what they wanted. ... I was trying to process it, so my singing was not peak, let's put it that way."