Mostley Crue, the tribute band for 80s hard rockers of (mostly) the same name, is set to play the Gates Four Summer Concert Series on June 3.
The band has been together for 15 years and has played hundreds of shows as Motley Crue. The current lineup and their alter egos are Gabriel Pettit as lead vocalist Vince Neil, Darius Rose as drummer Tommy Lee, Keith Baumbaugh as guitarist Mick Mars and Miller Barefoot as bassist Nikki Sixx.
Pettit is the only original member of the band. He was in another band creating his own music when he was asked to join Mostly Crue as Vince Neil, but he had his doubts.
“I was thinking to myself that I’m not sure I could pull off an hour or two of Motley Crue. It’s got that really upper-end screamy range. And, you know, it’s a lot of hard work, but I decided to. Why not? (It) sounds like fun,” he said. “I got the part, and years later, here we are.”
Pettit is known for his uncanny ability to sound like Neil by duplicating his range and tone. He credits this to spending years as a karaoke DJ, where he would imitate other musicians. The Motley Crue singer happened to be one of them. And, like most people, he liked to sing on road trips.
“I used to sing in the car all the time, and I would adapt my voice to whatever the singer happened to be on my playlist at the time,” he said. “I just listened to an absolute ton of Motley Crue for a fairly extended period of time, over a few months.”
A Mostly Crue concert might not have the theatrics of an original performance, like elaborate pyrotechnics or Tommy Lee’s rollercoaster drum set. Still, they like to get the audience involved in the show.
“I firmly believe in getting audience interaction back and forth. I like to include them, especially (when) we do a song called ‘Ten Seconds to Love,’ which is a classic Motley Crue song,” Pettit said. “It’s one that Crue has done in the past to do some audience participation. So, we kind of adopted that song and a similar style of how they included people.”
He also likes to play pranks on unsuspecting audience members when he can.
“I like to go out in the audience, though and pick out somebody to get them and their friends to specifically help. And sometimes it’ll be somebody who’s not paying any attention at all, which is all the more fun because you get somebody who’s sitting there texting somebody on their phone,” he said. “(I) come up behind them, and there’s a thousand people around, and they’re all staring, and they’re oblivious until they turn around and realize (and have) this deer in the headlight look.”
Pettit and the band members knew the music of Motley Crue from growing up in the 1980s. Most rock bands of that era were known for living a lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock and roll and indulging in the excess of that decade, but Pettit thinks the music should not be overlooked.
“The music was about the fun,” he said. “In the ‘big hair’ era, you had players who could really play; they didn’t have Auto-Tune. They could really sing.”
“I like unique vocal styles, you know, you had Klaus (Meine) from the Scorpions, Tom Keifer from Cinderella, and all of them could perform live. They sounded just as good live as they did on the album.”
Attendees can expect all the Motley Crue hits, but the band does play earlier songs and B-sides or songs that may not have made it onto an album. But they should not expect the band to come out rocking the glam look popular in the 80s.
“Our look is more of a hybrid (of) their later look, post-glam,” he said. “Obviously, none of us look good in spandex anymore.”
Fans can expect to hear the hit ballad “Home Sweet Home,” which is a song they dedicate to active and retired military.
“It’s something we’ve done for 15 years. We’ll continue to do it as long as we continue to play, for as long as I’m the singer,” he said. “It’s something I firmly believe in because I believe that those people sacrifice so much for our rights and for our way of life that I think they deserve our appreciation.”
Pettit and the band enjoy meeting fans after the show and encourage them to come to talk to them after their set.
“We are humbled by everyone’s appreciation of us, and we love to hear and speak to those people who come to see us. We’ll take pictures with fans,” he said. “This is about enjoying the music and enjoying the process of playing it. Don’t be scared to come up and talk to us. We’re here to have fun, too.”
The band was playing up to 40 shows a year in previous years, but have scaled back a maximum of two shows a month because they have day jobs and families.
“In our twenties, the idea of being on the road and playing all the time for a living was an ideal thing because you’re not rooted down, you don’t have your families, you don’t have a mortgage necessarily,” Pettit said.
“(Now), we get there, we get to pretend we’re rock stars for a few hours and then walk away back to our normal lives, and it’s a great escape for us.”
The Gates Four Summer Concert Series is held at Gates Four Golf and Country Club Pavilion. The series kicked off April 1 and will run through September with six local bands. Attendees are welcome to bring chairs and blankets. The event is free. VIP tickets are available at www.fayettevilledinnertheatrre.com/tickets.