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Mötley Crüe embodied the thoughts of every teenage boy, now see them live

Mötley Crüe is on their final tour ??" so they say ??" see them live in Tacoma, Friday. Photo credit: Matt Christine Photography/

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When you're a kid, fantasizing about being a rock star, doodling your future band's logo in your notebook, there's a certain image of the lifestyle that you'd eventually have. Usually, this image has very little to do with actually performing. Sure, you might have a picture of saying things like, "Hello, Seattle!" or, "Thank you, goodnight!" in between vague pictures of you playing power chords, but the real rock star s*** happens behind the scenes. Jet-setting from city to city, life being an eternal party, and gossip surrounding your crazy antics lending you certain infamy.

As we've learned from countless documentaries and Behind the Music exposés, this idea of stardom is both true and greatly exaggerated. Yes, the idea of being bigger than Jesus and constantly surrounded by drugs and loose women is an aspect of fame, but there is an equal amount of tireless touring and getting conned by studio executives. Way further down the ladder is the vast majority of working musicians who never get to see this side of life.

Still, if one band could be said to have lived the exact kind of life imagined by your teenaged self, it's Mötley Crüe. Even just glancing at their name, it's clear that these guys were definitely the kind of people who doodled their band name on their Trapper Keepers. I mean, who sticks many umlauts in their name? This is a band that reveled in the prurient excess of fame, leaning into the fantasy with such gusto and energy that it eventually became as much a part of their appeal as their music.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Mötley Crüe reigned over the ‘80s as a gloriously, exuberantly dumb group, and I don't think any of the members would shy away from saying so. That was a huge part of their appeal, this idea that they existed as the manifest raging id of every zit-faced teenage boy. When they weren't shouting at the devil, they were singing almost exclusively about drugs and women and - even more alluring - seemed to actually be living the lives they claimed to have. In an era of hair metal bravado and almost cartoonishly lavish existences, Mötley Crüe stood amongst the rabble as real wild men. Even if that vibe was well-groomed by the band members to be part of their act, damn it if it didn't work.

In the years since their heyday, each member has adjusted to the life of a metal icon in their own ways - some more successful than others. Bassist Nikki Sixx, who famously struggled with heroin addiction, got sober in the late ‘80s, penning the novel The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star. Two decades later, he would release the actually quite good The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack under his Sixx:A.M. side project. Vocalist Vince Neil bounced around from project to project, Mick Mars found work playing guitar in a number of bands, and Tommy Lee starred in a movie that most of us have seen (whether or not we admit it).

Having reunited several years ago, Mötley Crüe announced in 2012 that they would be officially retiring, with 2015 marking their final year. As this is the case, it would be foolish of any fan to miss their upcoming show at the Tacoma Dome. Regardless of your feelings on Mötley Crüe, there will always be an aspect of us that admires them for their sheer audacity in the Colosseum with fame - setbacks, lawsuits, addictions and arrests aside, Mötley Crüe inhabits the rarified air of those who've touched the face of rock stardom.

MOTLEY CRUE, w/ Alice Cooper and the Cringe, Friday, July 24, 7 p.m., prices from $35, Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma, 253.272.3663

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