Sunday, September 15 • 10:31am - 10:50am
“Motley Crue’s online autobiographical project”

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Mötley Crüe is a hair metal music group that was popular during the 1980s. In 2001, the band members collectively wrote their first autobiography, The Dirt: Confessions of The World's Most Notorious Rock Band. Five other autobiographies followed during the next ten years: Tommy Lee's Tommyland in 2004, Vince Neil's Tattoos & Tequila in 2010, the group's A Visual History 1983-2003 in 2009, Nikki Sixx's The Heroin Diaries and This is Gonna Hurt, respectively in 2007 and 2011. They thus wrote a dense and rich autobiographical project, "promising to reveal everything" about many famous stories, including Tommy Lee's sex tape with then-wife Pamela Anderson, or Nikki Sixx's nearly fatal heroin overdose in 1987. In my Ph.D. dissertation, I conclude that Mötley Crüe's autobiographical project made them relevant in rock culture; strangely, their validation is linked to their life stories, and not particularly to their musical output. 

In this paper, I want to look more closely at Mötley Crüe's presence on social networks. In particular, I want to examine how Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars tell their life stories, day to day, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and such. These various publications take on a special function, as they are "ongoing autobiographies", adding to the more official, published autobiographies. As such, issues of identity are crucial to the ways Mötley Crüe members publish their lives on social media. I approach autobiographical discourses as performative, meaning they do things. By constructing a life as a composite of many identities, through words and scripts common to one's culture, autobiographical discourses reveal different, sometimes contradictory positions. However, this composite is glued together by a sense of self articulated by the autobiographer, a self-consciousness at work. In this way, the autobiographer displays the person that s/he is, or perhaps, how the person wants to be perceived. This is how another issue, celebrity, becomes very important. It is through this constant self-consciousness that the (supposed) "real" star persona can be deciphered (or rather, the persona the star shapes in his/her autobiography). 

Thus, focusing on online publications from different social media platforms and passages from their (published) autobiographies, I intend to analyse Mötley Crüe's star personas as shaped by the members' online publications. I wish to see how the particular elements of social media, such as immediacy and constant interaction with fans, come together in the shaping of these new, yet durable, star personas. The aim of this paper is twofold: I want to question the evolution of Mötley Crüe members' life story production, while exploring the confluence of social media and celebrity.

avatar for Helene Laurin

Helene Laurin

Postdoctoral fellow, University of Ottawa
I am a FRQSC postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa's School of Political Studies. My research centers on valuation processes in popular culture. My dissertation was about how the members of the pop-metal band Mötley Crüe legitimated themselves in their autobiographies... Read More →

Sunday September 15, 2013 10:31am - 10:50am EDT
ROWE 1009

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