Bassist Nikki Sixx told Rolling Stone: "I saw that line in a movie somewhere, I can't even remember what movie. I thought, 'Great idea for a song.' A little tongue in cheek. A little sarcasm there." The movie referred to by Sixx could have been Heartbreak Ridge from 1986. Vocalist Vince Neil added: "That's a great song. We've been playing it for years. I love to play guitar and sing that song. It's kind of a feel-good song. When that song comes on everybody wants to sing along with you." This song also contains lyrical references to 1984's "Too Young to Fall in Love". The phrase "Don't go away mad, just go away" is also used in the song "Just Go Away" on Blondie's 1978 album Parallel Lines.
The music video shows Neil leaving New York City to join his bandmates in Los Angeles for rehearsal. Produced by Sharon Oreck through O Pictures, "Don't Go Away Mad" is the second of two Crüe videos to be directed by Mary Lambert under the alias "Blanche White" ("blanche" meaning "white" in French).