The ’90s were a time of transition for Motley Crue, who saw singer Vince Neil exit the group in 1992, calling in John Corabi to handle vocals on their 1994 self-titled album. In reflecting on why his tenure didn’t last longer, Corabi pointed at one key factor – the band’s record label.
While reflecting on his experience with the SDR Show (as heard below and transcribed by Ultimate Classic Rock), Corabi says ultimately business dictated his short period within the group.
“There was a meeting at Nikki’s house, and Allen Kovac, the manager, came in and he was very frank,” Corabi said. “He goes, ‘Listen, man, I don’t give a shit who’s fronting this band…’ A year before I joined, they had just signed a massive record deal with Elektra for like $40, 50 million guaranteed money. And, and then, like six months later, Motley calls Elektra… ‘Oh, yeah, hey, by the way, the singer’s out.’ And they’re like, ‘Uh, not what we paid for!’”
Despite the music world having changed significantly since their previous studio album in 1989, the self-titled set still arrived at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, while “Hooligan’s Holiday” was a Top 10 Mainstream Rock single. But the label didn’t exactly back a Neil-less Motley Crue, and Corabi says he feels like that’s why there wasn’t huge support for him to remain in place within the group.
“They were always cool to me,” the singer is quick to note of his bandmates, even though things didn’t pan out. He recalls of being told of the band’s plan to move on, “So Allen came to me and he said, ‘Here’s the deal, dude. No disrespect to you, but this isn’t what the record label paid for. His words were, ‘I don’t give a fuck if Paul McCartney was fronting this band – It’s not what they paid for. They want Vince Neil, or they’re doing nothing.’ I understood that. And, you know, that was that.”
Corabi remained into 1996, having the chance to properly support the 1994 release, but Neil’s return was what was wanted. Three years after the Corabi-led self-titled set was released, Neil was back fronting the band on their 1997 album, Generation Swine.
Upon his exit from Motley Crue, Corabi formed Union with former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, and his time since has included albums with The Eric Singer Project, Nikki Sixx’s Brides of Destruction, Ratt and most recently The Dead Daisies among others.
Corabi is currently making the media rounds in support of of his memoir, “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades: Tales From the Other Motley Crue Frontman,” which is due on June 14.