Vincent Neil Wharton is the lead singer for the band M?tley Cr?e.
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Neil was born in Hollywood, California to Odie and Shirley Wharton. During the 1960s, his family moved around Southern California from Inglewood to Watts, before finally settling in Glendora attending Sunflower Intermediate School and later Royal Oak High School. Neil eventually got in trouble at school for fighting and drug use, and was subsequently expelled. As well as having an interest in music while a teenager, Neil was also interested in surfing, basketball, baseball, football, and wrestling.
Neil was discovered while performing with his band, Rockandi in 1980, and joined M?tley Cr?e in 1981. Neil had been friends with Tommy Lee in high school (at one point, Vince lived in Tommy's van, then Tommy's parents invited him in, and Vince slept beside Tommy's bed). M?tley Cr?e was looking for a lead vocalist at the time and were impressed by Neil, after hearing him through Lee. M?tley Cr?e released its first album, Too Fast for Love the same year. In 1983, M?tley Cr?e released Shout at the Devil, a blockbuster success that has established the band as one of the biggest acts in the history of rock and roll.
In 1985, Neil regrouped with M?tley Cr?e to record Theatre of Pain. The band subsequently recorded the hugely successful Girls, Girls, Girls (1987). The band then released their highest-selling album, Dr. Feelgood, in 1989 after going through drug rehabilitation. The band's stint in rehab was due to bassist Nikki Sixx's overdose on heroin in December 1987. Sixx was revived by two adrenaline shots to the heart, which inspired the hit song "Kickstart My Heart," but the band's management nevertheless cancelled an upcoming European tour and insisted that all members of the group go to drug rehabilitation with the admonition: "If you guys go to Europe, at least one of you will be coming back in a bodybag."
In February 1992, Motley parted ways with Vince Neil, both sides issuing statements. Motley Crue claimed that Vince was more interested in car racing and partying than the band's new music, and claims that Vince quit the band on his own accord. Neil claims that he was fired from the band, because he didn't approve of the bands new musical direction.
Vince had taken up indie racing a few years prior, often turning up at celebrity races. Vince enjoyed the sport so much, that he eventually formed Vince Neil Racing. Vince was racing in the Indy Lights open wheel developmental series at the time. Vince retired from racing in 1992 after crashing his car during a race in Long Beach after the third lap.
In 1992 he released his first solo offering, the single "You're Invited (But Your Friend Can't Come)" was featured on the Encino Man soundtrack. Vince quickly made a video for the song which featured a cameo by Pauly Shore. The video does not feature guitarist Steve Stevens as Stevens was hired after the song and video had been released. Stevens re-recorded the song for Vince's first solo album.
Exposed, was Vince's first solo album, and was released in 1993. The album debuted at #13 on the Billboard charts. The album featured Steve Stevens (former Billy Idol guitarist and Atomic Playboys founder, and who subsequently played all bass and guitar tracks on 'Exposed'), Dave Marshall, Robbie Crane, and Vik Foxx. The album debuted at number 13 on the Billboard 200 and eventually went platinum, doubling the sales of M?tley Cr?e's 1994 self-titled album with singer John Corabi (previously of The Scream). All previous M?tley Cr?e albums had sold at least one million copies. The band eventually went on tour, opening for Van Halen.
The album includes a cover version of Set Me Free from the Sweet?s Desolation Boulevard album, as well as a ballad titled Forever which was dedicated to his wife Sharise, who filed for divorce from Neil earlier that year. Pornstar Janine Lindemulder can also be seen in the video for, "Sister of Pain." Vince also recorded two bonus tracks for the Japanese edition. These tracks include: Blondes (Have More Fun) and a cover of The Ramones? I Wanna Be Sedated.
The band's first show was played at the Roxy. They called themselves, "Five Guys From Van Nuys."
Vince released the single, "Can't Have Your Cake" and made a video for it. The video would feature an up and coming starlett by the name of Pamela Anderson, and Vince's son Neil Wharton, who portrayed a young Vince Neil in the video. Vince also shot a video for, "Can't Change Me" which was filmed at the, "Record Plant."
Robbie Crane says that he left the band after getting into a fight and punching Neil. Crane says in an a interview conducted with Metal Sludge, that the band had missed a show due to a broken down bus, and Vince had to perform with members of other bands (Slaughter and Warrant), and the two got into a heated exchange when Crane arrived at the venue. Crane says that he hit a drunken Neil, causing Neil to hit and cut his head open on a spike on the ground. Crane also said that Foxx was fired from the band after stealing equipment.
Vince gave up touring due to throat problems, and soon began playing at his bar called, "Bar One." He also started renting out property for porn movie shoots, and throwing lavish parties at his home in Malibu.
Vince started dating playboy Playmate Heidi Mark during this time. It was during a vacation to Hurricane Hole on Paradise Island in the Bahamas that Vince had a jet skiing accident and broke a few ribs.
It was during a vacation to Hawaii in 1993 that Neil recorded a sextape with pornstar Janine Lindemulder and model Brandy Ledford. The Internet Entertainment Group had plans to release the sex tape, and was the same company that previously marketed the Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson sex tape. However Ledford was just starting to make a name for herself in the movie and TV industry and refused to sign her consent. The sex tape was released anyway, but it was titled 'Janine and Vince Neil Hardcore Uncensored'. Brandy Ledford's name was not mentioned, and the company blurred out her face.
Death of Skylar
In 1993 Neil divorced Sharise Ruddell. In the Summer of 1995, their daughter, Skylar Neil, died of Wilms' Tumor, a childhood cancer of the kidneys. Skylar had no symptoms until she was taken to the emergency room with stomach pains initially believed to be appendicitis. The undiagnosed tumor had ruptured and spread through her abdomen, and despite chemotherapy and several surgeries, Skylar died on August 15,1995.
Vince created the Skylar Neil foundation. The Foundation?s mission is to honor Skylar by raising money and awareness through unique charitable events and activities it sponsors, and, grant and award the money raised to medical, research, and educational institutions/groups/individuals who are doing breakthrough work to find cures for cancer, AIDS, and other diseases. Vince hosts an annual golf tournament to raise money.
In 1997 Vince had a memorial tattoo inked in the centre of his chest as an everlasting tribute to his late daughter Skylar.
In 1999, Vince filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Rocketdyne, claiming the company's allegedly toxic waste dumping was responsible for the death of his daughter. Neil's suit charges that Rocketdyne knowingly dumped fuel in an area adjacent to property where the rocker and his family lived without warning to him and other residents. Neil says workers at Rocketdyne's plant and other nearby residents have been pursuing claims against the company due to increased cancer rates in the area.
Carved in Stone
In September 1995, Neil released Carved In Stone, an industrial-oriented album produced by the Dust Brothers. The album was recorded and was put on hold while Vince was dealing with Skylar. It sold less than 100,000 copies in the US, and Neil's contract with Warner Bros. Records eventually came to an end. Some versions of the album feature "Skylar's Song." The album was re-released in 2004.
By 1997, both Neil's solo career and M?tley Cr?e's fortunes were declining and he accepted their invitation to rejoin the band. They released the album Generation Swine which debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts. It wasn't long before tension erupted again, this time prompting Tommy Lee to leave the band. They replaced him with Randy Castillo, who later on recorded New Tattoo with the band in 2000, but things came to a halt when Castillo died from cancer in 2002.
In 2003, Vince Neil was featured (as a solo act) in the "Rock Never Stops Tour" along with other '80s hard rock bands.
Vince Neil on stage with M?tley Cr?e in 2007
Vince Neil has toured his solo band, which consisted of Slaughter members Jeff Blando and Dana Strum, as well as drummer Zoltan Chaney.
Motley Reunion - 1997
The band got back together and released the album Generation Swine. To curb Vince's drinking, Nikki had the idea of fining band members $25,000 if they were caught drunk on tour. After a show in San Francisco, Vince's taxi driver told Nikki that Vince had been drinking the night before, which caused a fight between Nikki and Vince in the lobby of their hotel. Needless to say, Vince left the band telling the others that he would be better on his own. Nikki and Vince would meet a few days later in Los Angeles to discuss Vince's debts and drinking problems. Vince and Nikki became really close after that meeting, the only problem would be with Tommy Lee, who at that point could not stand to be around Neil.
After the Motley tour ended, Vince checked himself into rehab. He was also dealing with bankruptcy issues, and creditors were going after his assets, some of which were partly owned by other members of Motley Crue. It was during this time that Vince gave the green light for I.E.G. to release his sextape.
Work on a new album in 1998 was halted due Tommy Lee serving time in jail. Nikki decided to release a Greatest Hits album instead.
The band came back into the spotlight after their, "Behind the Music" episode aired on VH1 in December 1998. The episode became the highest rated in the series. The DVD was issued with ten extra minutes of footage in December 1999.
In 1999, a drunken Neil got into a fight with Tommy Lee at an airport in Las Vegas. Tommy happened to be under probation, and Vince started yelling for the police. Tommy insisted that Motley find a new drummer after the band finished the Greatest Hits tour. He also insisted that management keep Vince away from him before and after the shows.
Live at the Whisky - One Night Only
Neil released a live album through Image Entertainment in 2003.
In late 1984, Finnish hard rock band Hanoi Rocks was on their first American tour; on December 8, their drummer Nicholas Dingley (aka Razzle) visited Neil's home and spent the day at Redondo Beach. After partying for hours, the two men decided to take a trip to a local liquor store in Neil's De Tomaso Pantera. Neil, who was drunk, lost control of the car and hit an oncoming vehicle. The two occupants of the other car were seriously injured, and Dingley was killed. Neil was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with the crash. His blood alcohol level was .17, well above the California legal limit of .08.
In July 1986, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edward Hinz, Jr. sentenced Neil to 30 days in jail, five years probation, $2.6 million in restitution to the victims of the crash and 200 hours of community service. Neil got out of jail in 15 days for good behavior; M?tley Cr?e dedicated their third studio album, Theatre of Pain, to Dingley.
In August 1999, Vince and Mick Mars made an appearance on Rockline. Vince showed up drunk, and had trouble answering the questions. A few strippers had joined Neil during the interview, and performed sexual acts for the personnel. Mick wound up finishing the interview alone.
Neil's account of this event is documented in M?tley Cr?e's 2001 autobiography The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band.
On June 30, 2002, during a show in Tampa, Florida, Vince fell off the stage after a night of excessive drinking. Ex-Motley Crue singer John Corabi, who was touring with Ratt, saved the day when he came on stage and performed with Neil, who admits his words, at that point, were mostly just mumblings.
In 2002, Neil was the subject of an arrest warrant after pummelling a music producer outside a Los Angeles nightspot. The rocker eventually pleaded no contest to the charge and had his record wiped clean after paying restitution and completing 100 hours of community service.
In 2003, police in Nevada issued a warrant for the Neil's arrest, after he allegedly attacked a prostitute at the Moonlite BunnyRanch, near Carson City.
The warrant stems from a July 10 incident involving Andrea Terry, a sex worker at the brothel, who accused Neil of grabbing her around the throat and throwing her against the wall. Neil faced misdemeanor battery charges and a bail of at least $1,000, according to a Dayton Township court clerk. He entered a no-contest plea to the charge and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service, pay restitution and go through the booking process, which placed his fingerprints on file with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
In 2004, Vince was accused of knocking out an employee of a the nightclub Gilley's Dallas, after a disagreement over sound levels during a concert. An arrest warrant for misdemeanor assault was issued for Neil after a fight during a show on the 30th of October. Police had given the 43-year-old singer a criminal-trespass warning before he left the club and headed to Houston for a Halloween show.
In 2004 Vince became YouTube fodder when he was video-taped doing the chicken-dance during Cincinnati's Oktoberfest celebration.
In 1994 Vince gave up ownership of his, "Bar One" club.
In 1997 Vince opened a strip club called Girls, Girls, Girls which was located very close to Shibuya Station in Japan. Vince eventually pulled out.
In 1998 Motley Crue opened a store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles called, "S?Cr?e" which stockeds clothes from both Nikki and Vince?s clothing lines (Outlaw and Bad Bones), along with CD's, the Motley Brue drink and other items. The store closed in January 1999, with the band deciding to sell the items online.
In 2006 Vince opened his own tattoo parlor called, "Vince Neil Ink." The shop is located in Las Vegas inside O'Sheas casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Neil founded Vince Vineyards, a winemaking venture that produced a 2003 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2003 Sonoma County Chardonnay.
He also produces a limited edition Petite Sirah through EOS Estate Winery.
In 2005 Vince created the, "Off The Strip Poker Tournament" which takes place in Las Vegas.
In 2007 Vince started launched his own brand of tequilla called, "Tres Rios." Vince debuted the tequilla at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February 2007.
Vince opened the Dr. Feelgood's Bar and Grill in West Palm Beach. It took over 2 1/2 half years for all of the members of Motley Crue to finally agree and sign-off on the bar concept and location. It was finally determined that it would be located in downtown West Palm Beach on Clematis street, a stones throw away from the ocean and within the high rent district of downtown. On January 19, 2008, Neil played a free concert on the streets of downtown West Palm Beach, Florida to celebrate the grand opening of his club "Dr Feelgood's". On Thursday March 5, 2009 Vince Neil will be opening another "Feelgoods" in Miami Beach.
M?tley Cr?e are currently on tour in the U.S. Crue Fest. M?tley Cr?e announced that they will play the entire Dr. Feelgood album every night of Cr?e Fest 2, to celebrate the album's 20th anniversary.
Television & Film
Vince had a small cameo in Police Academy VI. Footage of Vince preparing for the shoot can be found on You Tube.
In 1990, Neil had a small part in the film The Adventures of Ford Fairlane playing the part of Bobby Black, lead vocalist of the fictional rock band "Black Plague", which also consisted of Carlos Cavazo, Randy Castillo, and Phil Soussan. Opening sequences of the film feature the band playing at Red Rocks Amphitheater where Neil's character makes a grand entrance by swooping on stage via zip-line. He then proceeds to die onstage under suspicious circumstances. Bobby Black's misfortunes continue even in death when at his funeral, a m?l?e takes place resulting in his cylindrical plexiglass casket rolling down a hill (obviously containing a dummy of Vince Neil).
In 2002, Neil was one of the cast members on the first season of The Surreal Life.
In 2004, Neil appeared again on TV for the special Remaking Vince Neil, which showed him trying to recharge his solo career. He also recorded the single "Promise Me" produced by the acclaimed record producer Desmond Child. The song was for sale on iTunes for a brief period of time, but a solo album never surfaced.
In 2005, professional bodybuilder Craig Titus ? who helped Vince Neil lose 20 pounds as part of VH1's Remaking: VINCE NEIL special ? and his wife, Kelly Ryan, were arrested on Friday (December 23) in Massachusetts as fugitives in the slaying of a woman whose body was found last week in Ryan's burned-out luxury car abandoned off a remote desert highway.
It was M?tley Cr?e that got the career boost as Neil and Tommy Lee put aside their differences and toured in support of the compilation album Red, White and Cr?e which was supported by an extensive world-wide tour dubbed Carnival of Sins, The tour featured near-naked female acrobats, fire-breathers and a midget as part of the overall 'circus' atmosphere the band created.
In 2004, Neil appeared in an episode of the CBS sitcom Still Standing, in which he played a tattoo artist.
In 2009 Vince Neil was working on a pilot for a new A&E reality-TV show. According to Vince, the program will follow the singer and his family after his parents have moved in with him. Neil told Eddie Trunk of the "Friday Night Rocks" radio show on New York's Q104.3 FM last night (February 9), "My wife hasn't talked to my mom since the wedding," which took place January 9, 2005 in Las Vegas.
Neil married his first wife, Beth Lynn, in 1981; they divorced in 1985. In April 1988, Neil married Sharise Ruddell, a mudwrestler. Ruddell and Neil divorced in 1993.
On August 15, 1995, Neil and Ruddell's daughter, Skylar Neil, died of cancer. He founded the Skylar Neil Memorial Fund in her honor. Since that time, Neil and the foundation have raised awareness and funding for various children?s illnesses. The Skylar Neil Memorial Foundation has donated millions of dollars to The T.J. Martell Foundation, and it sponsors an annual golf tournament to raise money for children with cancer.
In early 1994, he began dating and later got engaged to actress and Playboy Playmate, Heidi Mark. The two were married in May 2000 but separated in August 2001. After a few attempts at reconciliation, they divorced in 2003.
Neil married his fourth wife, Lia Gerardini, in January 2005. The ceremony was officiated by ordained minister and fellow cast member on The Surreal Life, MC Hammer. Vince and Lia reside in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vince also has a home in Blackhawk, California where he lives for part of the year.
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