Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil is pretty blunt about his reasons for penning his autobiography. It has little to do with setting the record straight, though there is a little of that, and not much to do with settling scores, though his feelings about his fellow band members and managers are pretty clear as well. Neil sees Tattoos & Tequila as simply another way to “build his brand” as his financial advisors have told him, and help sell his solo record, his tequila and maybe bring in a few more customers to his Dr. Feelgood’s restaurant chain (two and growing!), according to the book.
Hell, Neil admits that he likely won’t even bother reading this book. Which is a shame because as rock memoirs go it is pretty decent one, thanks in large part to his writing partner, longtime music journalist Mike Sager. Sure there is plenty of self-fellatio and ego-stroking on the part of Neil, but Sager also gives others a chances to tell the Vince Neil story in a more measured way, talking to three of Neil’s ex-wives, his parents, his current wife and his ex-managers, among others. Rather telling, Sager points out that none of Neil’s Motley Crue bandmates wanted to speak on the record for this book.
To call Neil’s relationship with his fellow band members strained would be a bit of an understatement. Despite the fact that the band still tours today, at this point it is strictly for the cash.
“These days, I’m basically like a free agent… If we have to go on tour, the corporation hires me,” Neil states in the book. “For me, the best thing for now is just to limit my contact with Motley Crue… With Motley Crue, these guys are not my friends. And they haven’t been for a long time.”
There is no denying that Motley Crue was one of the best glam metal bands of the 80’s and 90’s, but the band is clearly just going through the motions for the sake of the bank accounts, according to this latest bio.
Neil addresses his drug addictions, though admits he still drinks tequila every now and then; he talks about the night he accidentally killed his friend and drummer for Hanoi Rocks in a drunk driving accident; and talks about screwing up his marriages; but most of the better Motley Crue stories have already been covered in the band’s 2002 bio Motley Crue: The Dirt. Regardless, Tattoos & Tequila is still a fun read and surprisingly balanced.
Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen by Vince Neil with Mark Sager/Grand Central Publishing/2010/hardcover/320 pages