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Motley Crue band members take legal steps to plan tidy end to group's long run

Motley Crue announces final tour after 33 years 04:05

Rock fans are getting their first chance to buy their final tickets for Motley Crue. After more than three decades of head-banging, the group is calling it quits. But the end of an era in music also marks the beginning of a groundbreaking business move.

The music was jazz -- not rock 'n' roll -- but the so-called funeral the band threw for itself in Hollywood was also vintage Motley Crue. The guys who helped put the glam into rock announced they are hanging up their heavy metal.

Asked why it feels right to end the band now, lead singer Vince Neil said, "We're still relevant and we still sell out arenas all over the world, and we don't want to go out on the bottom. We want to go out on top."

Vince Neil, Nikki Six, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars form one of the most successful metal bands of all time. Since 1981, Motley Crue has recorded nine albums and sold more than 80 million copies.

The Crue is now launching a two-year world tour. But in front of the cameras Tuesday, they signed a  formal "cessation of touring agreement" saying this is their final tour -- not a so-called farewell tour.

Bass player Nikki Sixx said, "It's just kind of known in the music industry that a farewell tour means 'for now.' We just didn't even want that farewell word even just stinks."

They don't want to be Cher. She launched her farewell tour in 2002. It's been dubbed the "Never Can Say Goodbye Tour" because she's still at it. The Eagles have been saying goodbye for a decade.

Other bands such as Journey have changed lead singers, and don't stop touring. Motley Crue's legal agreement prevents that.

Drummer Tommy Lee said, "There's quite a few bands -- we won't mention their names -- hobbling around with two members, one original member. That's not how we envisioned us going out at all."

Doug Mark, the band's attorney, said, "This is a unanimous decision, and that never happens."

Asked if he's ever seen a band do this, Mark said, "Never once."

CBS News sat down with Motley Crue at the famed Whiskey A GoGo on the Sunset Strip. It's where they played some of their first gigs and gained notoriety for being notorious.

They've suffered the lows of prison, the highs of, well, being high on heroin, and broke up because they hated each other. But along the way, they also built a multimillion-dollar business, and turned their band into a corporation.

Motley Crue manager Allen Kovac said, "It's been said that Motley Crue is a bucket of nuts and bolts."

CBS News' Ben Tracy remarked to Kovac, "The phrase 'savvy business men' is not something you think of when someone says Motley Crue."

Kovac replied, "Or any band, if you really look at it. They own their masters. They own their publishing. They've had best-selling books. I think people should thinking differently about Motley Crue after this."

They may still have that hair, but they are also a band of aging Baby Boomers. Mick Mars has a painful spinal condition. They want to retire before becoming rockers better suited for rocking chairs. 

Sixx said, "We're a rock band but we have something we are proud of and we talk about dignity. I know when I wear a Led Zeppelin shirt, I am happy to put that Led Zeppelin shirt on. It's not, 'Well, they kind of suck'."

So Motley Crue plans to go out with a bang.

"Right to the end," Sixx said. "And you know, whether you love us or hate us, we've done pretty damn well."

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