Motley Crue’s debut album Too Fast for Love came out over four decades ago, and obviously, a lot has changed since then, both in the band’s world and in music in general.
The Los Angeles quartet released the album through their own independent label Leathur Records on Nov. 10, 1981, when they were still gaining popularity on the local level. The record didn’t receive a ton of press because the band hadn’t broke into the mainstream yet. In early 1982, they signed with Elektra Records, which created more of a buzz around them, and the album was remixed and rereleased in August.
It’s easy to go online and search how people feel about Too Fast for Love, especially in comparison to the rest of the band’s discography. Sometimes, things are better in retrospect, and other times they’re worse. So we wanted to do a deep dive and compile a list of reviews that were published within a year after its release to show how the media reacted to Motley Crue when they were still a small, relatively unknown band.
Most of the sources we were able to compile, with the exception of Kerrang!, were from newspaper clippings [via Newspapers.com]. Read quotes from them below.
“Chock full of hedonistic charm”
Kerrang!, March 1982
One of the first reviews we found was by Kerrang!, which was a bit surprising given the magazine is based on another continent. Written in a generally positive tone, it was published a few months after the album came out. They cited David Lee Roth as an early champion of Motley Crue and said the album was “chock full of hedonistic charm and contemporary commercial appeal.” “Starry Eyes,” “Public Enemy No. 1,” “Live Wire” and “Piece of Your Action” were the tracks they noted as standouts.
Kerrang! added that Mick Mars’ guitar playing showed “the rougher, raunchier side of their nature,” and although Vince Neil’s vocals sounded “a little strained” at times, the album was overall a “back-combed delight.”
“There’s more to Motley Crue than shaggy hairdos and stiletto heels”
The Los Angeles Times, April 1982
The Los Angeles Times, Crue’s local paper, published their review of Too Fast for Love a month after Kerrang!‘s, and they followed suit in praising the quartet for “combining melodic pop hooks with a heavy metal overdrive, sounding like a collaboration between Sweet and Deep Purple, with some Aerosmith thrown in for good measure.”
Though the paper said that Crue’s sound and aesthetic weren’t entirely original, they noted that their music was good enough to prove that they had more to offer than a glam image.
Michael Ochs Archives
Michael Ochs Archives
“High stupidity quotient means assured success”
The Province, July 1982
British Columbia’s The Province didn’t get around to reviewing Too Fast for Love until the summer of ’82, likely because the band spent the few months prior touring much of California and Nevada. The Province’s review compared Motley Crue’s journey of success to that of Van Halen, noting that they became “stars” before putting out a record and then getting signed. That’s not entirely true outside of the Los Angeles scene, though.
“Hype aside,” the piece continued, stating that the album featured “short, high-powered rock songs with speedy, sometimes grotty, lead guitar,” and that “High stupidity quotient means assured success.”
“Gag me with a shovel”
The Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 1982
After the record was rereleased by a major label in August of 1982, the band experienced a bit more exposure on a wider level. Florida’s The Orlando Sentinel wrote an extremely brief paragraph about it that October, which was rather negative, to say the least.
“Gag me with a shovel” was the first sentence of the review, which went on to remark that the members of Motley Crue looked “like rejects from Alice Cooper’s band.” They didn’t have many kind words for the band’s sound either, so we’ll leave it at that.
“Tries to look like KISS and sound like Rush”
Shreveport Times, Oct. 1982
Southern hospitality wasn’t a thing in the fall of 1982, apparently. Louisiana’s Shreveport Times also gave Too Fast for Love a scathing assessment. They called the record “dreadful” and said that the band “tries to look like KISS and sound like Rush, and fails at both.” We’ve never considered Motley Crue much of a prog-rock band, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinions.
YouTube – The Sweet
YouTube – The Sweet
“Glitter rock/heavy metal fusion by the West Coast’s answer to Twisted Sister”
Newsday, Nov. 1982
Shockingly, New York’s statement on Too Fast for Love was nicer than its southern counterparts. Newsday didn’t exactly say they loved the album, but they didn’t condemn it either. The started the sentiment by calling Motley Crue a “Glitter rock/heavy metal fusion by the West Coast’s answer to Twisted Sister,” and also brought up comparisons to Aerosmith and Van Halen later on — Aerosmith for sound, Van Halen for looks.
At least Kerrang! mentioned that DLR was a fan of them.
Newsday went on to point out the group’s use of “heavy metal cliches,” which they said is most evident on “Live Wire,” however they ended on a hopeful note, giving the band a chance to prove themselves in the future. Which, as we know now, they did.