A front man in need of no long-winded introduction, Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil has stepped from L.A.’s streets in the early ‘80s to world renowned fame and recognition as the band’s career has spanned over two decades, experiencing success, challenges and triumphs along the way. Deeply involved in everything from his solo band and television appearances, to introducing his brand of authentic Mexican tequila, to fundraising through his charity, The Skylar Neil Foundation (skylarneil.org), Neil has turned the tables on tragedy and gives back where it matters most. Currently on tour with The Vince Neil Band, I spoke with Neil about his endeavors—musical, entrepreneurial, and charitable.
First off, congratulations on finishing another year of Crüe Fest. It must be a great feeling to get out there and see your fans after all these years.
I don’t really know what you mean by ‘all these years,’ because we toured before Crüe Fest 1 with the Carnival Of Sins tour. We’ve always been touring, playing the same outdoor places and arenas, god, forever. It was just another tour. I mean, it was cool that it was the first festival. I love doing the festival stuff. They’re always a lot of fun and we did other festivals, like in the summertime we did a lot of the European festivals. It’s just a great atmosphere with a lot of different bands all day long. It’s cool.
I heard that a Greatest Hits album is coming out around the holidays. Of course this isn’t the band’s first greatest hits compilation. How is this one set apart from previous albums?
I, I actually don’t know. You know, we have other Greatest Hits records out and I think this one has stuff from the new album on it. I don’t know anything else about it (laughs).
It has a life of its own, must be. Well, in addition to touring with Mötley Crüe you have many other projects including The Vince Neil Band. How is working with your solo band a different experience than working with Crüe?
Mainly because everything’s equal in Mötley Crüe. In my solo band I kind of have the last word on everything because it’s my band, but of course my guys have a huge say in everything else, too. But it’s fun. It’s looser. Mötley Crüe is not strict, but it is very structured, I guess that’s what I’m saying. With the production and all that stuff that goes on with Mötley Crüe, in my band we’re loose, man. We go out and have a good time. There’s no set set list and we just kind of play what we feel like playing.
I noticed some familiar names like bassist Dana Strum (Slaughter) and guitarist Jeff Blando (Warrant).
We’ve been together for about four years or something like that and I don’t really remember how we all got together (laughs). It seems to me before Blando was in the band we had a guy named Keri Kelli and he went to go play with Alice Cooper, then I think Jeff came in to replace him and stayed. I can’t remember who was playing bass, but then we brought Dana in and have been together ever since. The drummer we have now, Zoltan (Chaney), replaced Will Hunting who went to play with Evanescence. With solo bands, it’s just kind of tough because I’m with Mötley Crüe and that’s my band and so sometimes these guys get offers from other people and they can’t say no. They have to make a living, too. So some people leave and people come and we’ve been together for about four years or so and just have a great time.
And you’ve done other solo projects, too. So this is all familiar to you.
Yeah, I have two solo records out. The first one came out in ‘90-something. I can’t remember.