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The Weekly interview: Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil

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Vince Neil (center) and the rest of Mötley Crüe will play the MGM Grand Garden Arena for their farewell tour.
Photo: Erik Kabik
Matt Wardlaw

We’ve seen it so many times before: the bands that go on their farewell tour, and then … they’re right back at it. But for Mötley Crüe, there will be no encores after their All Bad Things Must End tour comes to a close. Allegedly.

The foursome apparently signed a “cessation of touring agreement” in January 2014 set to go into effect after a New Year’s Eve gig at LA’s Staples Center. In an interview with Phoenix radio station KDKB-FM, frontman Vince Neil noted that the band would continue making new music and sell merchandise. “Mötley Crüe will still be around,” he said. “We’re just not gonna tour anymore.”

As Neil shared with us during a phone conversation from the road in mid-December, he’ll have no problem filling up his newly acquired free time in 2016. “I’m back out on the road with my solo band [on] January 16,” he said. “I’m just back out on the road again and doing the same stuff I always do when Mötley doesn’t tour … It’s all rock ’n’ roll.”

Neil has been a sometime Vegas resident for 20 years, and a few years ago he made the decision to move here full-time. “I bought a house at the Desert Inn Country Club before it was the Wynn,” he recalls. “I kind of went back and forth. I would actually go to Vegas on the weekdays and back to LA on the weekends. Finally, it was like, “Why am I doing this?” And I just moved all of my stuff out and became a Las Vegas person.”

Is it cool that one of the last few Mötley Crüe shows you’re playing will happen in Vegas? It’s pretty awesome. When I first saw the routing, I saw that Vegas was actually the second to last city that we’re playing. It’s great. It means I get to go home for a little bit.

Mötley Crüe plays the MGM Grand Garden Arena December 27.

What’s your favorite memory from Mötley Crüe shows in Vegas over the years? The one that really comes to mind was when we closed down the Aladdin Theatre [in November 1997]. We were the last band to play there before it was Planet Hollywood. At the very end of the show, for some reason, the crowd was picking up chairs and tearing the chairs out and throwing them. It was like a riot, total mayhem. It was pretty cool. (laughs)

If what I hear is true, you’ve got four warehouses of memorabilia from your time with Mötley Crüe. Oh yeah, we’ve got four or five warehouses of stuff. We’re going to have to go through a lot of that, since the band is disbanding. I’m going to go grab some of the cool stuff and bring it back to Vegas.

That’s a pretty insane physical reminder of everything that has happened with this band across nearly 35 years. When we finish up, it will be just about 35 years since we started in January of 1981. It’s been a good run.

People wonder whether the era of the arena-rock band is fading away. What do you think about that? I definitely think it’s gone away. There’s only a handful of bands that still want to spend the money and give a great show. It’s really only like us, Kiss, Ozzy [Osbourne], Alice Cooper, you know, the old guys. We’re kind of like the last of real rock stars, you know? It’s kind of sad that new bands have forgotten about what going to a rock show was really about.

It has to be a pretty interesting thing for you, looking at where this band started back in 1981 and flashing forward to present day. How does that band from 1981 compare to the band now? It’s really no different, you know? We have the same ideas, the same values and we’re the same guys. In 1981, we wanted to put out the biggest rock show that we could. But not having much money, you could only do so much. We still went out there in the clubs and would light each other on fire, and we’d have, like, nuns and swords and chop heads off of things. It was always very theatrical, and it’s the same thing today, just now we have the money to buy better bombs!

When the band released the Shout at the Devil album, there’s the album cover, the album title and a pentagram, all wrapped into one package. Did you get a sense at that moment that the record might ruffle a few feathers? Yeah. I mean, they told us that we couldn’t do that. We said, “Well, yeah, we can!” At that time, you know, MTV was brand new. They came out in 1981, also, and it was just the timing. One of our first MTV videos was “Looks That Kill,” and we used a pentagram and all of that stuff. People didn’t know what to think about us. They were going, “Are these guys devil-worshippers?”

But that was the good thing about doing that. It’s not like [now] with social media and every aspect of your life there for anybody to see. Back then, you just didn’t know, unless the new Circus Magazine or Rolling Stone came out where you could read up on the guys in the band. There was a lot of mystery about bands back then, which I think was great. I wish those days were back again.

Mötley Crüe December 27, 7 p.m., $19-$142. MGM Grand Garden Arena, 702-891-7777.

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