|Moscow Music Peace Festival
(Rock against drugs & alcohol)
Cover of Moscow Music Peace Festival Vol.2
|Genre||Rock, heavy metal, glam metal|
|Dates||12 and 13 August 1989|
|Location(s)||Soviet Union, Moscow|
|Founded by||Doc McGhee, Stas Namin|
The Moscow Music Peace Festival was a one-time gathering of high-profile hard rock acts for a performance in Moscow, Soviet Union on 12 and 13 August 1989 to promote world peace and establish international cooperation in fighting the drug war in Russia. It was part of an era of momentous change in the Soviet Union.
The show involved a large production team and logistics provided by Eurotruk. Generators powered the entire event as it was broadcast as a pay-per-view event by MTV. Catering came from the UK. There were direct-dial telephone lines from the production office, and satellite uplink from Bear Lake back to the USA.
The show production radios were the latest from the USA and some were encrypted. There was 6 Megawatts of power available from the generators.
The concert was put together by the Make a Difference Foundation, its founder, rock producer and manager Doc McGhee, Stas Namin and other major players in the Soviet Union and the United States. It is often stated that McGhee agreed to bring his artists to Moscow after becoming involved in a drug scandal himself and wishing to avoid a jail sentence, but he explicitly denied that in 2011. "We always wanted to go over to Moscow and do the first rock show in the Soviet Union. I wanted to do their Woodstock." Since it had also been part of that plan that the proceeds would go to Make a Difference and doctors would be brought to the USSR to teach methods of treating addiction (Soviet doctors at the time primarily used electroshock therapy for that purpose), he did not expect the sentencing judge would have denied him the opportunity.
Mötley Crüe have been on record stating they were upset with McGhee at this point in time. They felt McGhee was favoring Bon Jovi, whom he also managed, and whom Crüe disdained. When Bon Jovi closed the show, they used pyrotechnics, which Mötley Crüe had been told they could not do (McGhee claims it was a malfunction on one side of the stadium that he did not hear because he was backstage). Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, whom McGhee also managed, says Tommy Lee went over to him and said "Your manager's a fucking asshole" and chugged most of a bottle of vodka Bach had been drinking (up to this point, Lee has said, it was the first time the band had done a show sober). Then he ran up to McGhee, punched him in the face and told him he could go manage The Chipmunks because he was no longer Mötley Crüe's manager. Bon Jovi fired him as well shortly afterwards. Lee and his bandmates were still so angry they refused to fly home on the same plane as McGhee.
The event was held over two days in Moscow's largest stadium, Central Lenin Stadium (now called Luzhniki Stadium), which has a seating capacity of about 100,000. However, as the concert used a proscenium stage rather than an arena stage, a thousands of seats behind the stage were not occupied. The event was the first rock concert to be held at the stadium, which had previously been used primarily for sporting events.
Each band performed about a 5-song set. At the end of the concert a collaboration of musicians, featuring Vince Neil & Sebastian Bach on vocals and Jason Bonham on drums, performed a rendition of "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin.
(Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Scorpions)
The bands were all featured on the 1989 compilation album Stairway to Heaven/Highway to Hell, put out the Make a Difference Foundation. Each band recorded a song originally by some famous rock artist who had suffered a drug- or alcohol-related death. These included songs from The Who, the Sex Pistols, Jimi Hendrix, Tommy Bolin, Thin Lizzy, and Janis Joplin, along with a collaboration for Led Zeppelin's "Moby Dick" (for John Bonham), and a live collaboration where the bands perform a medley of Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin songs.
Noted in books such as Bang Your Head: The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal, the concert also showcased the ego clashes which eventually helped lead to the collapse of glam metal shortly thereafter. Many of the bands argued over who went on before whom, and many were envious of Bon Jovi, who not only headlined the event and was far more considered to be pop music among the hard rock and heavy metal community, but also had a much more theatrical stage spectacle and longer set times; each band was supposed to do a stripped-down show with just music and no spectacular theatrics. Jon Bon Jovi supposedly offered his headlining spot to Ozzy Osbourne after Ozzy threatened to not go through with his set (a move many felt was calculated to further JBJ's 'boy next door' persona). Ozzy's set was initially scheduled before Mötley Crüe's set. Apparently, Ozzy felt his band was bigger and he should go on after Mötley Crüe. To solve the problem, Mötley Crüe went on before Ozzy but the tape was edited so it appeared Ozzy went on before Mötley Crüe to the viewers back in the U.S. Those involved in the show's production felt this was an egotistical bush move on Ozzy's behalf since this was supposed to be for charity, and left many in the rock 'n roll community confused since Ozzy and Mötley Crüe toured together for Ozzy's Bark at the Moon and Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil albums, respectively, and became fast friends during the tour.
The members of Mötley Crüe were so incensed about preferences shown to Bon Jovi that Tommy Lee punched manager Doc McGhee (who was also the manager for Bon Jovi) backstage at the venue (McGhee was fired shortly thereafter), opting to fly back to the US on their own. The concert was also often chided by the bands themselves as being hypocritical, as many of the musicians were drinking or using drugs at the time despite the ties with the Make a Difference Foundation.