Vince Neil Part One





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Vince Neil’s vocals on the Shout At the Devil album & tour were a blend of pop-punk, metal aggression & California homeboy. That snarl was a perfect compliment to Mick Mars’ sleazy guitar tone. His pronunciation was always a little confusing to me & I had difficulty understanding what he was saying most of the time. He became more of a Rock singer in the mold of a David Lee Roth or Steven Tyler with the Theatre of Pain to Dr. Feelgood records, but however Vince has sounded, it’s his voice that is one of the main distinctions of the Motley sound. Certainly Nikki Sixx was lucky to find a man who knew just how to sing songs like ‘Ten Seconds To Love’ which is essentially an AC/DC tune translated into West-Coast American Sleaze rock.



One of the great things about Vince is that because he is not really a musician, he doesn’t have a lot of conceit or pretension that way . . . so you’re getting an honest, if flawed, performance most of the time. Vince has famously become known as a poor live vocalist but he was pretty darn great in the 1980s as the many live videos littering YouTube right now will attest.


I won’t go into the present-day troubles that Vince is experiencing (but you can read about them here at Paul Miles’ 2011 Crue News Page at his venerable Chronological Crue site HERE). Here it is two decades since Motley’s Decade of Decadence & Vince seems to be the one having the most difficulty controlling his demons. Maybe that’s the price exacted from a deal with the Devil? How else can you explain the fact that these people are still alive? :)



Metal Edge Awards 1987 & One Motley Looking Crew

I have heard this said about Nikki Sixx: ‘Geez, for a heroin addict he looked pretty good.’ And it’s true, many of the Girls-era photos have him appearing moderately healthy. But this photo session from 1987 has the Crue & especially the Sixxster looking pretty haggard. Nikki is trying to hide some fucked–up eyes above & in the other photos below. Click on the pin-ups to get a close-up look.
It looks like Nikki & Mick made wardrobe changes or it is another session. This is essentially what they wore on tour & I really prefer this to the ‘costumes’ from some of the other Girls photo sessions. I’m gonna do a post on Crue photo sessions I’ve always hated, many of which come from the Girls era. But these are very rock n’ roll, bad-ass & decadent.
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I can only assume that all the photos in this post are from the same session but I could be wrong . . . anyway, they’re all from the same period when the boys were at the peak of their decadent & destructive behaviour on the Girls tour. Metal Edge caught up with them to give them Readers Poll Awards for 1987 in which Motley beat all challengers, winning in nine categories including best metal band (as opposed To Bon Jovi’s win for best band of the year), best vocalist, drummer & bassist (no Mick but he won the year before), best song of the year, best dressed & etc. Bon Jovi was a close second winning a lot of the other categories. Another example of the Motley Crue vs. Bon Jovi rivalry. (More Motley Magazine Polls in a future post).
The boys almost look goaded into the whole thing . . . & how do you walk into a room & give all the other guys awards & not one for Mick?!
There’s a clue right there. Steven Adler & the rest of Guns N’ Roses didn’t join Motley on the road until November, months after the tour started & during the deepest of Nikki’s & the band’s various addictions. The disastrous tour in Japan loomed only a month away.
Here’s video of Nikki’s & Tommy’s Jack Daniel’s routine from the Girls, Girls, Girls Tour. Also, we’ll leave you with a video of the boys performing a great Crue B-Side, ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ from a rare outdoor set in Columbus, Ohio. They sound great here. These videos contain coarse language. Bad is bad.
Nikki Sixx Solo Girls Girls Girls 1987-Jack Daniels
Bad Boy Boogie-Motley Crue-1987

The DR. Is In! Motley in 1989-Feelgood is Released-Sleaze Patrol Files TV


Dr. Feelgood was released around September 1st, 1989. That’s a pretty darn long break from the Girls record & tour. The Girls record was released in May of 1987 so that’s almost two and a half years between records . . . & with the Dr. tour starting in November of ‘89, this was almost a two-year touring break as well. There must have been a lot of last minute mixing or something with the record because it really should have been released earlier in the year. The ‘straight-jacket’ photos were unleashed on the public earlier in 1989 & can be seen as a way to tide the fans over until some new music was released.


Some slight backtracking here: here’s an early 1989 Circus article with Tommy reporting things Motley from the Little Mountain Sound Studios in Vancouver. The boys are playing Moscow & Feelgood is scheduled to be released in July.

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Concert Shots’ Sonya Shelton caught up with Nikki just before the guys headed to Moscow [see Moscow post below] to talk about the new record & the state of Motley in 1989. His still unpublished book of poetry is mentioned as is his childhood penchant for copying-out song lyrics. This is a mature Sixx saying goodbye to the ‘80s & to a new life for Motley that we all now know didn’t happen, unfortunately. It’s great to hear him ‘categorize’ the earlier Crue records & say that Too Fast is a ‘pop-punk’ record. It’s rare to hear punk music cited as an influence as much in those days as it is now after all the faux punk of the ‘90s-‘00s. Also below is a short Circus article with Nikki discussing Motley’s tour plans . . . I love how writer Anne Rasso refers to him as the ‘self-proclaimed “King of Sleaze” . . . 

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. . . And then, of course, the hard rock masterpiece is released . . .


The reviews & attention were mostly very positive, the audience & media echoing the band’s line that this was the most powerful & stream-lined Crue yet.

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The Crue had gained an industry respect that had not been formerly forthcoming. When Dr. would go on to sell 5-6 million (still not in the same league as Bon Jovi or Guns N’ Roses), the Crue were regarded as heavyweights. The following article by Mike Smith of Powerline has him salivating over the album as he is introduced to it at a listening party. There are new Motley photos & an interview with Vince & Nikki.

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I’m going to be a little all over the place with the rest of my Dr. Feelgood-era Crue collection. There is a lot of media from the tour & YouTube now has all kinds of 1989-1990 Crue stuff. We’ll leave you with some Sleaze Patrol Files TV: a Tommy Lee interview I taped from back in ‘89 when he made it up to Canada to do press for the record. This is an interview that was aired on The New Music. It was also used for Much Music’s Power Hour & I will upload that vid soon. Also, here’s a interview with Vince & Tommy from ‘89 just after the record came out. They are so pumped to be Motley!

Tommy Lee in Canada 1989-The New Music
Vince Neil & Tommy Lee November 1989

And here’s the third of eight parts of Dr. Feelgood-era video from a Crue fan on YouTube. Stay tuned for more sleaze at the SPFiles . . .

Dr. Feelgood era part 3 of 8

Great Motley Tunes #1 – ‘Starry Eyes’

When she laughs . . . she’s got the power of a child in her eyes
And when you cry now, she’ll hold you like a man’s supposed to be held
I can’t get into words how I feel, get it right in this song, no, no, no
Set her free, needed a friend to come back to me . . .
The starry eyes . . . who-oh
The starry eyes . . . who-oh

 Too Fast For Love is one of the moments in Motley’s career that puts them in a different place & category than the other Hard Rock bands of their generation. The album is almost a ‘missing link’ type document in itself . . . not an example of punk & metal turning into glam metal but THE iconic moment when something happened. I didn’t hear the record until the late ‘80s & it sure sounded immature & strange to my ears . . . but as I got to know it more I began appreciating the things present on this album that were almost subsequently lost as Motley forged ahead in the ‘80s.

That one thing that I couldn’t articulate at the time was the vulnerability & wistfulness of some of the tunes, especially ‘Merry-Go-Round,’ ‘On With The Show’ & ‘Starry Eyes.’ These tunes were like little 3 minute Hollywood dramas, street operas or stories of a time that had more to do with the ‘70s almost. That’s the difference between early Motley & many of the bands that came after: the Crue were still somewhat from an older scene or vibe than a Bon Jovi or a Poison or a Ratt. You really hear that on Too Fast.

Standing alone in the light you can see her cry
With a smile & a wink & a sparkle in her eyes
She calmly sighed, ‘I will be alright . . . ‘
OK child, you gotta take the pain of a man in the streets
You better let me in, you’re needing a friend even just for one night . . .
The starry eyes . . . who-oh
The starry eyes . . . who-oh

And then it’s time for Mr. Mars to play one of his strange, wailing, shredding solos that still somehow have all kind of heart & sentiment. The stuff he plays as the song ends is just great too . . . real dramatic & powerful.
The intro with the gong lends to that minor feel of the song, the kind of Chinatown, gangland thing that they hinted at again with the ‘Too Young To Fall In Love’ video & even the Shout At the Devil track ‘Danger.’ This is the kind of stuff that the macho caricatures of the Glam Metal scene could never duplicate. In fact, this type of Hollywood sleaze drama stuff would be done to much greater success about 5 years later when Guns N’ Roses released ‘Appetite For Destruction.’ Songs like ‘My Michelle',’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine,’ ‘I Think About You’ & several others sound like updated versions of these early Crue tunes.

The breakdown is one of the examples of kinda ‘rock band jazz’ that was in the Crue’s sound at that time. The breakdown to ‘Stick To Your Guns’ is very jazzy as well & I gotta think this is Tommy’s influence because he would have been playing jazz stuff with the school band(s) he was in up to the formation of the Crue. It’s another eclectic element to their sound that was lost even by Shout.

More Classic B-Side Motley COMING UP ON THE SLEAZE PATROL FILES . . . .