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Music

10 pressing questions: A cleaner Crue

Front man Vince Neil and the boys have ended their lengthy walk on the wild side. They're clean and sober and in town Friday night.

By GINA VIVINETTO
Published February 17, 2005


  photo
[Publicity photo]
At 43, Vince Neil still believes in love. He recently honeymooned with his fourth wife, Lia Girardini.

Motley Crue's surprising reunion and the band's newly released Red, White and Crue, a greatest hits package featuring several new cuts, have happy metal heads tossing up the mighty devil horn salute.

Fans feared the band was finished after singer Vince Neil and drummer Tommy Lee had a public brawl in a Las Vegas airport six years ago. More recently, guitarist Mick Mars endured hip replacement surgery to fix problems related to a progressive spine-fusing disease.

The band that made history for its reckless living is growing older. Bassist Nikki Sixx, who once was brought back from the brink of death while under the influence of heroin, is now clean and sober.

Neil, too, is a changed man - and not just because of his recent $80,000 splurge on plastic surgery. The singer has seen tragic times, starting with his 1984 vehicular manslaughter conviction after crashing his car and killing his best friend, Razzle, drummer of Hanoi Rocks. In 1995, Neil slipped into depression after Skylar, his 4-year-old daughter, died of stomach cancer.

From a hotel in Los Angeles, Neil, 43, answers 10 Pressing Questions about his recent honeymoon (with fourth wife Lia Girardini), his penchant for fine wine, and how he opts to make every day a good day.

(1) How did the honeymoon go? Oh, it was a lot of fun. We took our private yacht up through Fort Lauderdale, through the Keys. We went to Key Largo, Palm Island, Marathon. We did that thing, then we went to the Ritz-Carlton in South Beach for a few days. But we picked the coldest weeks (late January/early February) in Florida history! (Laughs.)

(2) Reports are the reunion isn't going well with you and Tommy. No, we're having a great time.

Tommy told some magazines that it felt weird to be in the room with the four of you. The first meetings we had all together, yeah, we hadn't seen or talked to each other in years. It would be that way with anybody. But, when we started rehearsing, when we announced our press conference and said we were getting back together, it was like we had never been apart. It felt like six days, not six years.

(3) I saw you guys back in 1989. You were still hitting those high notes, but, geez, songs like High Wire must be murder. How are the pipes now that you're six years older? Better than they have ever been. I haven't stopped touring since the breakup of Motley Crue. (Neil has toured in support of his solo music.) When you keep singing, you just keep getting better and better. I'm hitting every note better than I've ever been able to.

(4) How many times have you bleached your hair? Back in the old days, a lot. When I used to do it myself, every time the roots came in, the bleach came out.

Have you shared a lot of hair care products with girlfriends over the years? Only when they bought them for us.

(5) Is there a tattoo you have yet to get? I actually just got some work done not too long ago. I just keep adding and adding and adding. Sometimes I won't even know what I'm getting. I'll just book an appointment and be like, "Ah, I don't know, let's just do something."

About three weeks ago I got my whole right elbow done . . . I had all the area between (the tattoos there) filled with leopard skin, so it's solid. And, I have a new wine coming out so I had the label put on my left arm - you know when you bend your arm in the crease? I had the wine label put in there.

Tell me about the wine. We bought a winery up in Napa Valley, about 400 acres, and we have a cabernet sauvignon coming out. It's called "V" - you know for Vince. It's pretty cool. It's a great tasting wine. It should be out by the end of February.

I would not peg you as a wine connoisseur. I love wine.

So, you have a very sophisticated palate? (Sarcastically) Oh, yeah. Actually, I think people like me who drink a lot of wine are called winos. (Laughs.)

I thought you four were Jim Beam and Jack Daniel's types. Do any of the other guys drink wine? I stopped drinking hard alcohol within the last year and I started drinking wine. I just kind of dug it.

Do you smoke cigarettes? I ask because of your voice. No, I have never smoked. (Jokingly) I never looked good with a cigarette. Nikki never smoked and now he does smoke. Mick used to chain-smoke and now he doesn't smoke. We're kind of switching things all around.

Nikki used to be the drug addict-alcoholic and now he goes to AA. Things change.

(6) You've had your fair share of tragedy in life. If a younger guy came to you and said, "What's it all about?" what would you tell him? I take everything as it comes. I don't worry about what's going to happen in the future. I try not to regret stuff. Anything that has happened in the past has happened. I look toward making every day a good day.

You seem to have a very optimistic outlook. Very optimistic.

You just got married, for the fourth time. You still believe in love? Yeah. Absolutely.

(7) Whom do you regard as some of the best front people in rock? For me, it was David Lee Roth. He was unbelievable as a front man. He still is. It's just too bad him and Van Halen couldn't work it out. He idolized Jim Dandy. Then there's Robert Plant and, of course, Mick Jagger, and, of course, Elvis Presley.

(8) If you hadn't made it in rock, what would you have done for a living? When you go down to the beach, I'd be the guy who rents you the Jet Skis.

You love the beach? Yeah. That would be my ultimate job, lay around in the sun, and some guy comes up, "Sir, I'd like to take this Jet Ski out into the water," and it's like (happily), "Okay, here you go." Push him out in the water. That would be cool!

(9) Tommy golfs. Do you ever do anything real square: sit around and play board games with your wife? (Dumbfounded) Nooo. Whoa, okay, have you ever played a board game? I used to love the game of Life. That was cool. You had the little car and stuff. (Nostalgically) Yeah, I liked that game.

Do you have any hobbies that would shock us, something really ordinary? I have these fruit trees I take care of in my yard at home (in Los Angeles). I have this bada- lemon tree. I get the best lemons off it. We get, like, three lemons a day. It's very cool. We use them in cooking or whatever.

(10) How did you meet Lia? She was in the front row at a concert. So, when fans dream of meeting and marrying their favorite rock stars, this sometimes happens? Yeah. She was in the grass area at this big show and she couldn't see the stage. She could only see me on these big giant screens. She was with, like, six girlfriends and she goes, "I'm going down to the front row."

Somehow, she got through all the security and she was leaning up against the barricade in the front row. I got her a (backstage) pass. And, that was it. That was six years ago. We kept in contact, but we didn't start dating until two years later. She would come down to my Beverly Hills house. Finally, after a while, I just said, "Hey, why don't you just move in?"

So, who wears the pants in the relationship now? (Immediately) She does! Are you kidding?

Gina Vivinetto can be reached at 727 893-8565 or gina@sptimes.com

PREVIEW: Motley Crue, 8 p.m. Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $37.75-$47.75. (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100.

[Last modified February 16, 2005, 08:33:04]


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