Vincent Neil Wharton is an American musician and singer, best known as the lead vocalist of the legendary 80s glam metal band Motley Crue. Vince Neil was the last long-term group member to join the band. The band was formed when bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee started rehearsing. They fired their first guitarist and hired Mick Mars, who was a lot older than the other members. The band was still looking for a lead vocalist. Mars saw Neil perform with the band ‘Rock Candy’ in Hollywood and suggested that they ask Neil to join the band. Lee, who knew Vince Neil from their high-school days, agreed, but Neil rejected the deal, as he was happy where he was. However, as the other members of ‘Rock Candy’ became involved in other projects, Neil grew more interested in trying something new. Thus, when Lee asked him again, Neil accepted the offer and joined ‘Mötley Crüe’ on April 1, 1981, to complete the line-up. Vince Neil left ‘Mötley Crüe’ in 1992, following some disagreements within the band. He was replaced by John Corabi. Soon, he began a solo career. Though he was persuaded to rejoin the band in 1997, he also released four albums as a solo artist. Vince Neil has lived his life on the edge. Fast cars, fast women, fast drugs, he has done them all. His problems have led to legal troubles as well, including multiple arrests and convictions, one of them for “vehicular manslaughter.” Let’s take a ride on the Wild Side with Vince Neil’s life.
Vince Neil: Facts and Trivia You Must Know
When was Vince Neil born?
Vince Neil was born in Hollywood, California, on February 8, 1961. During the 1960s, his family moved around in Southern California, first moving to Inglewood and then to Watts, before finally settling in Glendora.
Where did Vince Neil study?
In Glendora, Neil attended the ‘Sunflower Intermediate School’ and then the nearby ‘Royal Oak High School’ in Covina, where he met Tommy Lee. Apart from having a keen interest in music, as a teenager, Neil also enjoyed basketball, football, baseball, surfing, and wrestling. However, music was his first love and he began playing and singing with school bands and buddy bands at the age of 14 or 15. He joined ‘Rock Candy’ when he was just 17 years old. He had just turned 18 when he joined ‘Mötley Crüe’. He was a big fan of Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth who in Neil’s own words, had a similar “beachy” vibe. After joining the band, Vince Neil married his first wife very quickly.
Vince Neil’s legal troubles
Vince Neil was arrested for the first time (not considering the teenage misdemeanors) in December 1984 and was found guilty of “vehicular manslaughter,” having caused the death of ‘Hanoi Rocks’ drummer Nicholas Dingley, aka “Razzle,” in a car crash. After consuming a copious amount of alcohol and drugs, Vince Neil and Razzle decided to go and “buy some more booze”. Neil was driving his DeTomaso Pantera when he hit a Volkswagen Beetle coming from the other side. Razzle died in the car crash while the occupants of the other car suffered permanent brain damage. Vince Neil came away unscathed from the crash. He spent 15 days in jail, was on probation for 5 years, did 200 hours of community service, and paid $2.6 million in restitution to the victims of the crash.
Vince Neil: Music Career
Vince Neil was the lead singer of ‘Mötley Crüe’ throughout the 1980s. During this time, the band released its first album, ‘Too Fast for Love’ (1981). This was followed by a long streak of successful album releases: 1983’s ‘Shout at the Devil’ (which established ‘Mötley Crüe’ as a big stage band), 1985’s ‘Theatre of Pain’ (which Neil dedicated to his departed friend, “Razzle”), the 1987 smash hit ‘Girls, Girls, Girls,’ and 1989’s ‘Dr. Feelgood,’ their highest-selling album ever. This long string of highly successful album releases established Neil as the frontman of one of the biggest hard rock bands of the 1980s. However, following the release of the band’s 10-year retrospective, ‘Decade of Decadence 81-91’ (which was their first compilation album), Neil quit ‘Mötley Crüe’ in February 1992.
After leaving ‘Mötley Crüe,’ Neil focused on his solo career and released his first solo album, ‘Exposed,’ in 1993, which hit the ‘Billboard’ chart at number 13. Neil later toured for promoting the album, opening for the ‘Van Halen’ tour of 1994.
In September 1995, Neil released his second solo effort, ‘Carved in Stone,’ an edgy industrial album. Its release was delayed while Neil dealt with a family crisis. His daughter, Skylar, had fallen gravely ill. ‘Carved in Stone’ reached number 139 on the ‘Billboard chart and sold less than 100,000 copies.
Although Neil rejoined ‘Mötley Crüe’ in 1997, he continued to pursue individual opportunities and released his third solo album, ‘Tattoos & Tequila,’ in 2010. He had already released ‘Live at the Whisky: One Night Only,’ a live recording of him singing a variety of ‘Mötley Crüe’ back tracks, in 2003.
‘Tattoos & Tequila’ was the soundtrack to the autobiographical book Neil launched in the same year. The book was named ‘Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen.’ Each song of the album was based on a chapter in the book.
Neil rejoined Mötley Crüe in 1997. Later that year, the band released its seventh studio album, ‘Generation Swine,’ followed by ‘New Tattoo’ in 2000, the compilation album ‘Red, White and Crüe’ in 2005, and the last album featuring Neil and the other three original band members, ‘Saints of Los Angeles,’ in 2008. Following Mötley Crüe’s ‘The Final Tour’ of 2014 and 2015, Neil announced (in September 2018) that the band had reformed again and had plans to release new music. During the “Final Tour”, Neil became notorious for being extremely out of shape and unable to sing his parts properly.
Vince Neil: Entrepreneurial Ventures
Vince Neil has also ventured into a wide variety of business ventures. He has launched his own clubs and shops. He has his own tattoo parlor, ‘Vince Neil Ink,’ in Las Vegas. He has also been associated with several wineries and has even introduced his own brand of tequila, ‘Tres Rios.’ Neil also owned shares in various clubs, eateries, and football teams, but none of these interests seem to have lasted long. He has also appeared in a few cameo roles on TV. He has been featured in movies such as ‘Police Academy 6: City Under Siege’ (1989).
Vince Neil: Personal Life
Vince Neil married his first wife Beth Lynn soon after joining Motley Crue. They divorced in 1985. It’s incredible that their marriage lasted this long despite Vince Neil’s reputation of having sex with everything that moves. In April 1987, Vince Neil married Sharise Ruddell. Together, they had a daughter Skylar who tragically died of cancer at the age of four. Vince Neil founded the Skylar Neil Memorial Fund in her memory. The organization raises awareness and gathers funds for various children’s illnesses. Vince Neil and Sharise Ruddell divorced in 1993. In early 1993, Neil began dating actor and former Playboy playmate Heidi Mark. The two were engaged within 2 months but did not get married until 2000. However, after only 15 months of marriage, the couple divorced in 2001, quoting irreconcilable differences. Neil married his fourth wife, Lia Gerardini, in January 2005. In 2010, Neil announced their separation.
Vince Neil also formed and ran his own racing team ‘Vince Neil Racing’ for some time. However, the Too Fast for Love singer proved to be too fast to race and he stopped racing after a horrific crash in 1992.