Grunge is often (unfairly) blamed for ending hair metal’s popularity, but Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard admits he was influenced by many of the ‘80s biggest rock groups, including Motley Crue.

"The first Motley Crue record was punk-rock to me,” Gossard explained during an appearance on the Let There Be Talk podcast. “It was in that Motorhead, Sex Pistols area. It is heavy, and at the time, the hair and the makeup — it was a little bit more gender-bending, it felt a little bit exciting in this kind of the Bowie sort of way.”

Watching Motley Crue push boundaries with their music and persona was an eye opening experience for Gossard. "That was just like, 'Wow, you can be a freak.' Yeah, we were absorbing that, and bands like the Cult who made that record with Rick Rubin, which was just like a romantic goth band from the '80s. Then they did this kind of shift and it felt great.”

The Pearl Jam co-founder went on to explain that what he admired about many of the era’s acts was their ability to merge different styles of music. “That was the exciting thing about the '80s — all bets were off,” Gossard declared. “It's going to be dance or it could be glam, or it could be funk, or it could be heavy metal.”

Motley Crue wasn’t the only '80s artist to leave an indelible impression on Gossard.

"Freddie Mercury, Prince, all these way-out, flamboyant stars, but also punk-rock,” the guitarist admitted. “It was just such an eye-opening thing for me to experience — people that loved all kinds of music, and I've never recovered.”

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