It’s hard to talk about hard rock without the name Mötley Crüe coming up at some point. The band is notorious for their lifestyles and reputations, and they certainly lived up to the crazy image that rock stars were supposed to have. Front man and lead singer Vince Neil was probably the craziest out of the band members, which included Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, and Tommy Lee. Neil’s antics paid off in some way considering he’s one of the most memorable personas in the history of rock and roll, and he’s also managed a net worth of $50 million. Here’s a close look into Vince Neil’s life and work and how he achieved his fortune.
On February 8, 1961, Vincent Neil Wharton was born in Hollywood, California. The musician has Mexican and Native American roots, and he moved around California throughout his childhood before settling down in Glendora. Neil was much like most teenage boys. He had plenty of interests, which included sports such as basketball, baseball, surfing, wrestling, and football. It was also in his teen years that Neil discovered his love for music, which he pursued in spurts by performing when he could, especially after high school.
Mötley Crüe 200
Mötley Crüe formed on January 1981 with original members Sixx and Lee rehearsing together with vocalist Greg Leon. When things didn’t work out with Leon, Sixx and Lee looked for new members. They came across guitarist Mars and hired him after his audition. The last spot left was for vocals. Although the growing band had other auditions, drummer Lee had someone else in mind. It turns out that Lee and Neil went to the same high school, Charter Oak High School in Covina, California. It turned out to be a good fit, at least at first, and the band was complete before they knew it. Within that year, the newly formed Mötley Crüe released their debut album Too Fast for Love.The rest was history.
The band ended up releasing 5 albums in the 80s. During this time, it was rumored that Neil was the least involved in the artistic process of the band’s songwriting. By the end of the 80s, it was clear that Neil was headed towards a different direction compared to the rest of the band. He became involved in racecar driving, which essentially took up more of his time instead of the band. Neil’s drinking not only began to affect his personal life but it also started to affect the band and Neil’s performance overall. Ten years after the band formed, Mötley Crüe released a greatest hits album; Neil was fired not too long after that album release. In 1992, the band let Neil go because his work ethic just wasn’t up to par with the rest of the band.
Neil had made a substantial amount of money and fortune from his early days with Mötley Crüe, and he decided he still had a future in music even without the band. He decided to pursue a solo career. His first solo album, Exposed,was released in 1993 to positive acclaim. He released a total of 3 solo albums, all of which charted in the US even though they were fairly low in the charts. Exposed peaked at #13—the highest out of the three. Neil also released a few singles throughout his solo career.
Mötley Crüe simply wasn’t the same without Neil. They still had fans; they still had traction. Neither Neil nor the band without him made as much money as they all did when they performed together. The band decided to reunite in 1997. In December 1998, VH1’s Behind the Music aired an episode on Mötley Crüe. This episode became the series’ highest rated episode. It almost served as a wake up call for the band that they must’ve been on the right path. However, the peace didn’t last long. Tensions rose fairly quickly; and next thing they knew, Lee was leaving to pursue something else. The group would disband and reunite again and again for the next couple of decades. Mötley Crüe is currently on reunion status with a tour scheduled for 2021.
It’s no doubt that Neil’s venture in music—with the band or without—has been a successful one. The musician and songwriter continue to be in the music scene today, but that wasn’t the only serious venture he had throughout his career. Neil also happened to be an avid businessman, and he used his influences in music to find success in the club and nightlife market. He’s been in the bar scene since the 90s. In 1998, Neil owned a clothing store on Melrose Avenue called S’Crüe. He started a wine venture called Vince Vineyards in 2003. In 2006, he opened up Vince Neil Ink, a tattoo parlor on the Las Vegas Strip. In 2007, Neil launched his tequila line. Neil would go back to the bar scene again in 2008 when he opened Dr. Feelgood’s Bar in West Palm Beach, Florida. By 2009, Dr. Feelgood’s would expand to Miami and Las Vegas. He would eventually venture into the gentleman’s club business in 2012 with the opening of Las Vegas’ Déjà vu Presents: Vince Neil’s Girls Girls Girls. Along with a couple of friends, Neil also owns an investment firm known as Rockstar Investment Group. The firm acquired Arena Football League’s Jacksonville Sharks in April 2014 and the Las Vegas Outlaws shortly after.
Television and film
As if all his music and business ventures weren’t enough, Neil also dabbled in a little bit of film and television. He’s had small roles in films such as Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989)and The Adventure of Ford Fairlane (1990). You can also find Neil on shows such as The Surreal Life, Still Standing, Skating with the Stars, The Aviators, and The New Celebrity Apprentice.All of these shows and appearances have added to his net worth, but they’ve also just added dimension to Neil’s already superfluous life and career.