Watch Regis Philbin ‘Audition’ for Motley Crue in 1997
The glam-metal group were on-hand promoting their latest LP, Generation Swine, and they embraced the silliness of the awkward host/guest juxtaposition. "Let me just look at you guys close up," Philbin told the quartet. "Motley Crue: Yeah, you fit the name! You guys are probably looking at me like I'm some kind of square!"
Philbin used that contrast for comedy throughout the segment, Motley Crue's first national morning show appearance. He asked the band about their origins, pointed out their interest in "gorgeous blondes," grilled them about their tattoos and teased guitarist Mick Mars for his shyness. ("Mick's nickname is the silent shredder," said bassist Nikki Sixx. "He speaks with his guitars.")
At the end of the interview, Philbin launched into a bit about being stifled by his straight-laced persona. "I really wanna get out of these duds," he proclaimed, looking at his suit. "I wanna be like you guys. I wanna be free!" So he sat behind a piano and tapped out a "rock" variation of children's song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" as the musicians looked on with laughter.
Philbin, who died from natural causes, had another memorable rock star encounter three years after the Motley Crue episode. Joined by the show's regular co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, he interviewed Sebastian Bach about the former Skid Row frontman's Broadway stint with the long-running musical Jekyll & Hyde.