When principals tried to run Mötley Crüe out of Duluth

motley crue DNT-Motley Crue

Left: Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe performing at the Duluth Arena on Nov. 5, 1985; photo by Bob King for the Duluth News-Tribune & Herald. Right: Clipping from Nov. 22, 1985.

Oh, the profanity! Mötley Crüe got Duluth-area principals’ undies in a bunch back in 1985. Attempts to ban the Los Angeles-based glam metal band went nowhere. Mötley Crüe returned to Duluth for two more concerts, one in 1990 and another in 1998.

Below is the text from the 1985 Duluth News-Tribune & Herald article.

School principals want to ban some rock groups from Arena
By Linda Hanson

An organization of about 30 Northeastern Minnesota principals has asked Duluth Arena-Auditorium management to stop allowing rock groups like Motley Crue to perform there.

Concerts that promote profanity, drinking and drug use are a bad influence on teen-agers, said Walter Fischer, president of the Head of the Lakes Secondary Schools Principals’ Association. Fischer also is principal at Carlton High School.

Fischer cited a Motley Crue concert review by News-Tribune & Herald reviewer Bob Ashenmacher that described intoxicated teenagers and the use of profanity by the band’s lead singer at the Nov. 5 concert in Duluth.

“That type of behavior is unacceptable,” Fischer said.

Fischer said he and the other principals in the association don’t object to rock music in general, but they do object to concerts that sanction and promote unacceptable behavior and the use of chemicals.

“I believe there is a place for censorship when there’s a deterioration of the morals of our young people,” Fischer said.

Bill Schweiger, manager of the Arena-Auditorium, said the city would be risking a lawsuit if he refused to book certain rock bands.

“As long as it’s legal for a band to perform, we have to give them the opportunity to perform,” Schweiger said.

Schweiger said parents who object to certain concerts shouldn’t let their children attend them. He added that after the Motley Crue concert, he received one phone call from a woman who objected to the concert.

Banning rock concerts would result in a loss of revenue for the Arena-Auditorium and the city, Schweiger added. A concert that draws 6,000 to 7,000 people brings in $10,000 to $15,000 profit, he said.

“When I look at 6,000 to 7,000 kids, I know there’s not 6,000 to 7,000 bad kids out there. It’s just their bag—their type of entertainment,” Schweiger said. “We have 10 times more trouble, more damage at hockey games.”

Schweiger added that rock concerts are patrolled to discourage drinking and drug use by teen-agers.

“The chemical dependency situation does not start at the concert,” he said. “If any chemical is being used, it’s used long before they come to the concert.”



about 7 years ago

They would've gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for those meddlesome kids.

Jaysen St.Charles: Studio Eleven

about 4 years ago

I've been going down the Duluth way to witness my favorite bands in concert since I was in grade 6; I'm 38 now. A four-hour road trip from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. A great lakeshore drive along the legendary Highway 61 with stunning views and beautiful vistas of the mighty Lake Superior. 

I'm very thankful for the Duluth Arena incarnations over the years. They've built excellent venues to watch hockey and/or concerts, doing it all with the metro population of about 115,000 (Includes: Superior and surrounding towns. Thunder Bay region is 166,000 metro and the area is stuck with an antiquated arena built in 1952, with a roof design that doesn't allow for the flying of the PA systems strung down from the venue ceiling! 

Bryan Adams made a stop in Thunder Bay back backup in 2012, I think. He chuckled, then related, that he felt he was in a time machine circa the late 1970s, with a huge PA system resting partly on the stage and on the first row of seats immediately stage left and right. 

Our loss is a Duluth gain. Concert tours always want to make Thunder Bay a tour date on the Canadian leg of a tour due to the distance between cities up here. Just before hitting Lake Superior, cities Sudbury, Ontario (metro pop. 347,000) then Soo Saint Marie USA and Sault St Marie, Ontario (metro pop. 183,000. New arena: Steel Center) then it's an amazing (not in a good way) 15 to 17 hour drive west to Thunder Bay, on a two-lane not divided highway! I can't remember how many new arena drives (bakers dozen, at least) have come and gone, due to our city council's political infighting.
Duluth just gets on with its capital projects, leaving great legacy builds.

Oh yeah, I'm supposed to comment on the article but got sidetracked!

Well, as we know, kids of that age (we've all passed through!) can get into much more trouble than swearing at a rock concert. Smells like one of the high moral minded principals might have been getting his ducks in a row for a run at public office.

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