Exclusive Interview: Motley Crue’s Vince Neil Says ‘Most Bands Forget That This is Entertainment’
Motley Crue singer Vince Neil, in an exclusive interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, takes the younger generation of rock bands to task for depressing people instead of entertaining them. He also disagrees with bandmate Tommy Lee's stance against future Motley Crue albums, and reveals he has yet to ride the "Drumcoaster" that's getting so much attention on the band's current summer tour:
How's the tour going so far?
It's going great. The shows have been, you know, if not sold out, really close to it. The crowds have been great; the bands are playing great; it's been a lot of fun.
You let the fans pick your setlist this time. It seems they came pretty close to what you've played before...
Well, some of them were kind of no-brainers, you know. Everyone's gonna vote for, obviously, the hits. But some of them, we weren't really expecting, like 'Smokin' in the Boys Room' and 'Too Young to Fall in Love,' which we haven't done in a long time. So, it was actually really cool to be able to do those songs again.
Was anything they chose hard to sing, where you said, "Oh, you bastards!"
Hard to sing? No, nope, nope nothing! These are the songs that I love to sing. 'Too Young to Fall in Love' has probably been one of my favorite songs forever. We're also doing 'Ten Seconds to Love' and 'Too Fast for Love,' so, you know, there's some really cool songs.
Have you gotten to ride Tommy's 'drumcoaster' yet?
No, no, I haven't had the chance to do that yet. I guess I'll have to wait my turn. I love roller coasters. It's just kind of hard, the way it's set up you can't just go, "Hey, let me jump on that," because the people are basically still building it by the time we get to the gig.
You're filling large venues year after year. Do you consider yourselves classic rock now?
Well, I would say so, I mean, Jesus, we've been together 30 years. If that's not classic, then I don't know what is. You know, do you have to wait till you've been together 40 or 50 years? But, yeah, we definitely are pretty classic I guess. It's great to still be viable in today's market, with songs and live performances; the crowds are getting younger, which is really really cool.
That's all true, and yet, there isn't a trace of geezer on you..
Well, you know, that's from running around for a couple of hours a day. What's incredible with these crowds, it's not just the people that grew up with us, obviously, or there would be be a crowd of 40, 45 and 50 year olds out there. But it's their kids, 12-year-olds with 'Shout at the Devil' shirts on, and parents bringing their kids to their first concert at 5, 6, 7 years old. Also, the different types of people that are our fans -- you have attorneys standing next to bikers, and everything in between.
What's your take on the next generation of rock bands? There seems to be plenty of metal contenders, but…
I'm the wrong guy to ask that. I don't really listen, I don't know anything about new music or new bands that are out there. When I listen to music, I listen to stuff I grew up with. Hopefully, there will be a band that breaks through with the rock 'n' roll thing, but there just doesn't seem to be one. Most bands forget that this is entertainment, and you've got to put a show on. Most of these bands are content to wear jeans and a t-shirt, and just stand there and play their music. Which, is kind of missing the point.
You're always great at adding value to your shows, making them fun...
That's why all those '90s bands disappeared -- they were f---ing depressing people.
How long have you been playing guitar?
Well, I've played guitar in Motley since 'Theatre of Pain,' that was, what, 1985, that's been a long time. Don't mistake it, I'm not a guitar player by any means. I mean, I can play, but … it's fun playing that song, and it's fun to get to play on 'Same Ol' Situation.' It's fun for me and it's fun for the crowd, to see something a little different, that's all.
Is it harder to sing any of your older songs now?
No, it's actually getting easier. My voice is getting better now than it's ever been in my 30-year career. I'm just happy it is. Songs are easier to sing now. I think your voice just matures. Even when Motley doesn't tour, I tour with my solo band, so I sing constantly. I haven't had a break since 2003 from singing. It's a muscle -- the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
How's Mick Mars doing?
He's doing great! He's playing great, he's running around on stage, you know, he's a maniac.
Is it true he's going to record an R&B album?
He's been talking about that stuff for years, and I hope he finally does it, because he plays that stuff great. I think it would be great; I think people would be really surprised and dig what he puts out.
Tommy Lee was saying he didn't think the band should put out any more new albums. Do you agree?
No, I like putting out new music. I don't think we'd ever not put out new music. There will definitely be a new Motley record in the next year or so. Right now, we're just focused on touring. Once this tour starts slowing down, then we'll start putting some stuff together and put a record out. We're also planning on doing Crue Fest 3 next summer.
Watch Motley Crue's 'Saints of Los Angeles' Video