Playin’ in a travellin’ band

No, we are not talking Creedence here today…

20 years ago I used to daydream I was a backup singer in a rock band. What could be more exciting than going on tour with a rock band and get to enjoy every night’s performance, singing and dancing on stage?

These are the ladies that inspired my daydreaming: The Nasty Habits.


Emi Canyn and Donna McDaniel were hired as Mötley Crüe backup singers in 1987, and they went on tour for the “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Dr. Feelgood” albums, and they also performed at the legendary “Moscow Music Peace Festival”. Those albums and the shows totally rocked my world and so did these women. On tour with Mötley Crüe! Can you imagine? Surely it was not all wine and roses but still… Oh, the envy.

Emi would eventually marry Mick Mars, but (surprise, surprise) it ended up pretty sour. For a while, she was also the lead singer in an oh-so-eighties hard-rock band called She Rok. This video is actually a live perfomance included in the film “Thunder and Mud” by director Penelope Spheeris (who would also give us “The Decline of Western Civilization, Part II: The Metal Years” and “Wayne’s World”).

But my favourite Nasty Habit has to be Donna McDaniel. She not only went on tour with Mötley Crüe… She also toured with Billy Idol!


I haven’t been able to find clear information about who’s the other singer, but I think she might be Carla Day, who was also a backup singer for REO Speedwagon in 1989.

That’s a clip from a December 1990 show at Wembley Arena, London. I used to have this show on a video tape and it never failed to hypnotize me. Here’s another perfomance of that song in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in January 1991, where the girls are wearing a different outfit, without wigs. (Maybe because it was summer over there?)

Donna McDaniel also worked in some movies and nowadays she has a succesful catering business in California. You can show her your appreciation here.

I don’t want to go without mentioning that onstage with Billy Idol there was also another great woman, keyboard player Bonnie Hayes.