Inside Godsmack's Feud With Motley Crue

Mötley Crüe is just one of those bands that people instantly name when thinking of musicians who get into a whole lot of feuds. Whether it's that oh-so-common case of intra-band turmoil or at least one member beefing with another musician (e.g. Bret Michaels) or band (e.g. Metallica), the Crüe seems to thrive on drama. That's something you'd usually say about 20-something (or slightly older) YouTubers who have seemingly transformed "drama" into a YouTube genre of its own, but not rebellious rockers who have been making music together since the early '80s. But for better or for worse, it's often made for good press, and a lot of that drama has been well-documented thanks to their autobiography "The Dirt" and the Netflix movie of the same name.

One of the Crüe's more notorious feuds involved a band from a completely different generation — nu-metal mainstays Godsmack. Now you may think that the two bands have very little in common except for how they both represent guilty-pleasure sub-genres of rock, but they did tour together back in the late 2000s, well after they peaked in relevance. That was actually the start of a rivalry that has lasted more than a decade, and while some details are fuzzy, we do know a thing or two about why Godsmack and Mötley Crüe are still at odds with each other.

Godsmack's Shannon Larkin says the dispute started over a 'conflict of ego'

Toward the end of 2020, Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin appeared on "That Jamieson Show," where he discussed what was at that point an 11-year-long feud with Mötley Crüe. He insisted that as a longtime fan of the Crüe, he was stoked about Godsmack being invited to their "Crüe Fest 2" tour in 2009, and admitted that he had a lot of fun hanging out with the veteran Los Angeles band's drummer, Tommy Lee (via Blabbermouth). He did, however, acknowledge that Godsmack frontman Sully Erna and Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx had "some conflict of ego," possibly before the tour even kicked off. Larkin didn't offer too many details, but in a 2011 interview (via Loudwire), the drummer noted that Erna took issue with how Mötley Crüe's security was purportedly rude toward Godsmack's guests backstage.

Per Larkin, the tour wasn't just enjoyable for him but also for everyone else in his band, though Sixx allegedly didn't see it that way. "And then later on, Nikki Sixx [said Godsmack] didn't have fun on the tour," Larkin continued. "Whatever — we had fun on the tour. It was just there were certain things that p***ed [Erna] off, and so he p***ed their guy [Sixx] off, and those guys are very strong-willed dudes."

Larkin went on to add that Sixx's comment was especially hurtful to Godsmack as a band and that he was invited by Crüe guitarist Mick Mars to play on the solo blues album he was planning, only for things to fall through when the feud between the two groups intensified.

Godsmack's Nikki Sixx diss track was originally inspired by an NFL star

During his appearance on "That Jamieson Show," Shannon Larkin also shared the origin story behind Godsmack's "Cryin' Like a B***h," which appeared on their 2010 album "The Oracle." While most fans know it as the band's diss track against Nikki Sixx, Larkin has long insisted that the inspiration from the song came from someone completely unexpected — NFL quarterback Philip Rivers. Yes, that dadgum signal-caller who led the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers to much success (but no Super Bowls) over a storied 17-year career. That guy known for being one of the most religious athletes this side of Tim Tebow, and not the dude who wrote "Shout at the Devil."

As Larkin explained, the idea for "Cryin' Like a B***h" came to him while watching his favorite team, the Oakland (later Las Vegas) Raiders, face the divisional rival Chargers in a crucial game. "At the end, Philip Rivers threw, of course, he threw the interception, or whatever he did," he added, as quoted by Blabbermouth. "So, there he is on the sideline with a tear glistening on his eye."

According to Larkin, he told Sully Erna about the idea and suggested that he write a song with that title. He recalled that Erna "loved it," and that as the frontman, lyricist, and leader of Godsmack, it was up to him to turn the concept into reality. As such, he thought Sixx would be a far more relevant subject than a multiple-time Pro Bowl quarterback, and wrote "Cryin' Like a B***h" about the Mötley Crüe co-founder instead.

Sixx refused to let Godsmack appear on his radio show

The feud between Godsmack and Mötley Crüe heated up again in August 2014 when Nikki Sixx revealed that Godsmack's publicist told him that their clients really wanted to appear on his syndicated radio show, "Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx." As he recalled (via Blabbermouth), he was far from willing to let the Boston-based band ever guest on his program. "They said, 'Well, you know, they wanna be on the show because their record's coming out,'" he revealed. "And I go, 'Did you forget the fact that they wrote a song about me called 'Cryin' Like A B***h' and that there's probably 15 festivals that Mötley Crüe is headlining and that we said if Godsmack's on 'em, we're not doing them?"

One year later, while guesting on Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta's podcast "The Jasta Show," Sully Erna fired back at the bassist, letting loose with some profanity-laced remarks about Sixx being the biggest jerk he's ever met in all his years as a musician. He also accused Sixx of generally "[treating] people like s***" without going into the specifics of why he sees him that way.

Keeping things succinct during a Facebook Q&A session that took place days later, Sixx had only two words for Erna as he responded to those comments, calling the singer-guitarist a "poor baby."