Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011 | 2:54 p.m.
First, don’t call Vince Neil a “former” anything, unless perhaps a “former inmate” by the end of this month.
I made this “former” slip while introducing Neil as the “former frontman for Motley Crue” during the appearance he made with his girlfriend, KSNV Channel 3 entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs, on the episode of “Kats With the Dish” that aired Friday on KUNV 91.5-FM. This is the new radio show that airs at 6 p.m. Fridays, which I co-host with Tricia McCrone.
The ever-fascinating couple taped their 30-minute segment on the evening of Feb. 11, less than a week before Neil was booked into Clark County Detention Center on DUI charges. This sentence stems from his arrest in June for driving under the influence of alcohol after attending a party at the Las Vegas Hilton following the Daytime Emmy Awards.
- Vince Neil and Alicia Jacobs and comic Gilbert Gottfried
At the top of the broadcast, I confidently (and inaccurately) said of Neil, “He is the former frontman for Motley Crue …”
I should have instead been referring to John Corabi, who did replace Neil in the band for a time in 1992. Neil is back with the Crue and has been for years. I know this because I have seen them perform live twice in the past two years, at the old and new Joint. But I’d just been reading some oldie-but-goodie coverage of the band and revisiting that acrimonious period (and really, every period for Motley Crue seems steeped in some sort of acrimony). I’d just read Neil’s account from his book, “Tattoos & Tequila,” just before meeting up with Neil, and the word “former” stuck to my brain like a barnacle.
“Former?!” Neil said, laughing, which was the first word he uttered in his appearance. We then went on a brief back-and-forth about how this happened, and my explanation that I consider every frontman “former” after each live performance until the next was uniformly rejected.
“If that were true,” Neil said, delighting in pinning me down on this issue, “Mick Jagger would be the former frontman of The Rolling Stones.”
So a lot of this was edited out -- for time, mostly. But the half-hour offered a revealing ride with Neil and Jacobs, during which they talked of their quite-public six-month relationship and the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle that helped lead to his arrest.
About 15 minutes into the segment, I asked Neil if he would revisit that night and to talk about what it would be like for a rock star who just turned 50 to be locked up (his sentence is 15 days, to be followed by 15 days of house arrest).
His answer: “Obviously, it was something that happened, and it should not have happened. There are so many other options that you can take instead of saying, ‘Yeah, I can drive home.’ But I did it.”
Neil then called into question the penalty he was to serve.
“They were a little harsh in the sentencing,” he said. “But they wanted to make an example out of me, and it is what it is. … It’s not bad, but it’s still jail. Jail is jail.”
I asked if he saw why they gave him that penalty, and he said, “Well, I think just because of my past (Neil was charged with felony DUI in a 1984 accident in Redondo Beach, Calif., that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle Dingley and injured two others). That kind of factored into it. But I’m going to do it, do my time and put it behind me and move on with my life.”
Neil’s immediate plans after being released are to fill a few solo dates, then rejoin his Motley Crue band mates for rehearsals in L.A. in advance of a world tour set to begin in April in Mexico City. Neil says the tour will certainly play Las Vegas.
More highlights of the show, which are linked to this online column, or if you will, “blog.”:
• Neil and Jacobs described a surreal scene at the Hilton on the night he was eventually pulled over. As he said, “Well, I don’t want to get into that night, but I was hitting on Susan Lucci (laughs), and I yelled at Alex Trebek.”
“He told him to keep his hands off of me, but he was doing nothing inappropriate,” Jacobs said. “We were just talking.”
“He was eating a sandwich,” Neil said, laughing.
I then offered to Jacobs, “Maybe you were in your own category: The answer: Alicia Jacobs. The question: Where are Alex Trebek’s hands?”
• Neil, still an active party inhabitant at events around town, says his rock lifestyle is winding down. “There’s not much more you can really do. When it’s 30 years with a band like Motley Crue, there are going to be some crazy times. Everyone knows of our exploits, having read all the dirt. … I wrote the book not to talk about what I’ve done in the past, but to clear things up. So many unauthorized books out there, and I’m reading and going, ‘I did what?’ ”
• Neil says that today he does not interact socially with any member of Motley Crue and hasn’t spoken to any Crue mate about his arrest. “They have their own lives in Los Angeles, and I’m here. Nikki (Sixx) has his radio show that he does every day, Tommy (Lee) out on tour, I think, with his solo band. The only time we really talk is when we’re doing rehearsals or are out on tour. … It’s all business. It’s 100 percent business, pretty much.”
When asked if, during down moments, he thinks of calling or spending time with any of his band mates, he said, “No. No. You know, we don’t travel in the same circles. Everybody has their own lives, their own families and kids. It’s not like it was when we were 22 or 23, living in the same apartment above the Whisky A Go-Go.”
• When the Dish asked how the two met each other, there was a palpable pause before Neil said, “Uh, dead air.” Then he laughed. The two did agree that they met in 2007, at the opening of Vince Neil Ink tattoo studio at O’Shea’s.
“He gave me a fake tattoo on my leg,” Jacobs said. “I had his saliva on my calf before I knew it. It had his name on it. He branded me.” Dish also asked what attracted Neil to Jacobs, and his rock star-worthy answer was, “Her boobs.”
Then he laughed and added, “I’m kidding! It’s just everything, the whole package.”
Jacobs answered that question with “his shoes,” also a joke. She said she was impressed with his sense of humor, humility and his devotion to his pet Cocker Spaniels, Cakes and Crackers.
• Jacobs has never seen Motley Crue perform but did catch Neil’s solo show at IP Casino in Biloxi, Miss., in late January. “I had the best time. I get it now, why people speak of him the way they do. … He was amazing. I have become a fan.”
Neil’s review of that show: “I had a bad night.” Then he laughed again.
• Drawing from Neil’s “Tattoos & Tequila,” Dish asked Jacobs what she thought of Neil’s claim that his only drug of choice now is “women,” which in the book he colorfully describes with a word that rhymes with "Lucy." “He encouraged me to read (the book), and I was folding over pages.” Neil jumped in and said, “Yeah, ‘I need to Google that! What’s that word mean?' ”
But Jacobs said she asked Neil about some of the saltier episodes, saying, “Boy, this is awkward. … (Turning to Neil) You said that was definitely you in the past, but that is no longer you. You’ve experienced all that. Is that essentially right?”
Neil grinned and quickly answered, “That’s right!”
• Neil said his buddy, Sammy Hagar, took Neil’s decision to start his own brand of tequila (Tres Rio) and compete with Hagar’s Cabo Wabo with characteristic humor. “I’ve known Sammy for a long time, but he called me one day, and I said, ‘Bro, are you bummed?’ And he said, ‘No, no, no. I just want to tell you, everything’s great, because every time they mention your tequila, they always mention mine.’ ”
• Neil says the sadness of losing his daughter, Skylar, will never fully subside. Skylar Neil died at age 4, in 1995, of cancer, and he soon started the Skylar Neil Foundation to provide financial help to agencies assisting children similarly afflicted.
“Time heals, but it doesn’t heal all,” Neil said. “I have a portrait of her in my bedroom, and I pause and think about her. But that’s the point of keeping her name alive. People think about her and think about what she stands for. It gets sad, but I try to think of the good times that we had together.”