"We're the bastards": listen to Mötley Crüe's spidery comeback single Dogs Of War

Motley Crue studio portrait
(Image credit: Ross Halfin)

Having announced their new deal with Nashville’s Big Machine Records earlier this week, Mötley Crüe have shared their first single in nine years, Dogs Of War. Kicking off with a spidery riff, the uptempo rocker spirals through an eerie verse, before a bulldozer chorus finds frontman Vince Neil on defiant form, singing ‘I will stand my ground/I will not back down’, and urging ‘Don’t let those bastards get you down’.

“I think it’s classic Crüe, if you go back and listen to the first record [1981’s Too Fast For Love],” Neil tells Louder. “To me, it goes back to our roots. I think the fans are going to dig it. It’s a rock‘n’roll tune for partying, screamin’ and yellin’ along. That’s what Mötley Crüe is about anyway. It doesn’t seem like any time has passed. We’re still just a good rock ‘n’ roll band.”

So who does the song title refer to? 

“We’re the Dogs Of War,” nods Neil. “We’re the bastards. We’re in battle with everybody, all the time.”

Recorded remotely last year with producer Bob Rock – and heard as a snippet on social media when Crüe played London's Camden Underworld last year billed as Dögs Of War – the track is the first single from the Los Angeles veterans since 2015’s apparent swansong, All Bad Things. While Neil recalls that he “just wanted my voice to sound rough and tough”, the track is notable as the first studio showcase for John 5, who replaced long-standing guitarist Mick Mars in 2022 and announces his presence with a scalded virtuoso shred solo. 

“Wow,” enthuses Neil, clearly impressed by the band’s new blood. “John is such a great guitar player. People love him. The band loves him. He basically made me a better singer. I get to focus on just my singing. He knew all the songs before we even hired him. He can play anything. He’s an exciting, creative guitar player and he’ll definitely be involved in the new music. It'll be really neat to listen to his ideas.”       

On the subject of new music, Neil hints that a three-track EP is in the works for release later this year, while the Crüe’s first full studio album since 2008’s Saints Of Los Angeles will remain on the drawing board until the band clear their live diary. 

“What stage are we at?” muses the singer. “We’re at no stage right now. We gotta start writing new songs, but we leave in two weeks and you can’t write an album on tour. We’ll get back in the studio at some point – maybe next year.” 

While further new material remains under wraps, all signs suggests Crüe will keep flying the flag. “I don’t like the state of music these days,” says Neil. “You get Taylor Swift and Beyoncé now, and that’s it. I’m a classic rock kind of guy. I like the old stuff. We want to show a new generation of fans what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.” 

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.