At the peak of his power, Vince Neil was the lead singer of America’s most iconic ‘hair metal’ band. Today, at 61, he is doing the exact same thing he was a generation ago: selling out stadiums across the states.
Director Scott Sternberg and Neil have been friends for years, but the question of a documentary never came up until April 2020. After seven years, the idea of Mötley Crüe touring across the United States again—in their classic glam and glad—had been unearthed. Sternberg took the helm and gave Neil the platform to tell his story—in his own words—for the first time with Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil: My Story.
“He [Neil] never really told his story before, at least not from his point of view. Everybody knows Mötley and has a lot of information about the four guys’ stories, but he felt that this was a good time to do it,” Sternberg told LAMag.
“The fact is that Mötley’s story, in his mind was to start to really introduce the music to other people who have not heard it before. We have a whole new generation of people that are hearing it and he’s saying—they’ve done three or four shows already in big stadiums— there’s a lot of young people in there,” Sternberg continued.
And the generational appeal of Mötley Crüe is undeniable. In an era drowned out by pop and music masquerading as ‘pop-punk,’ all roads point towards a revival of the hits that Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, and Tommy Lee were putting out more than a generation ago.
Rather than focusing solely on this revival, however, the documentary hones In on Neil’s personal story—the highest of highs and lowest of lows. The rock n’ roll lifestyle can be anything but calming. Beneath the appeal of touring, performing to thousands, and cashing checks, there seems to be a consistent melancholic undertone to such a way of life.
For as much prestige and notoriety that being the lead singer of Mötley brought Neil, his traumatic experiences were also widely publicized due to his popularity. This is not something that he shies away from in the documentary, as Neil speaks candidly on multiple tragedies he has seen in his time in the limelight.
“It’s about him being a storyteller and getting him on-camera… he was very emotional and passionate about telling the truth,” Sternberg said. “Especially when you’re talking about these two deaths in his lifetime; telling the Razzle story and then talking about the death of your three-year-old daughter—I mean, I can’t imagine losing a child.”
The documentary also reveals intimate fragments of Neil’s past. In one segment, Neil is brought around his old neighborhood in Compton and reflects on many of the trials and tribulations he faced as a child.
One of the more warming stories is that of when Neil nearly played for the Varsity baseball team at his high school. As he tells it, he made the team but faced a crucial moment in his career.
“I was a good ball player and they said ‘well if you want to be on the team you have to cut your hair,” Neil said. “So, it was either I cut my hair and go on with my life or I don’t cut my hair and sing rock n’ roll songs.”
Of course, he chose the latter, and the legacy of Mötley began from there: a commitment to long hair, rock n’ roll, and kickstarting the hearts of thousands.
Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil: My Story premieres on Sunday, June 26 at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on REELZ.