Born Vincent Neil Wharton on February 8, 1961 in Hollywood, California, Vince Neil
is best known for being the front man of the heavy metal band Motley Crue. He grew up in Compton, California, a city notorious for the high incidence of poverty and crime. Growing up, Neil had experienced being slashed in the face by a gang member, alongside frequent fighting and drug use. He dropped out of school and instead concentrated on his music. As a teenager, he was also interested in other things, such as surfing, baseball, football, wrestling, and golf.
Neil was discovered by the band he is most identified with, Motley Crue, in 1980 while performing with his original band. A year later, Motley Crue released its debut album “Too Fast for Love," albeit with little success. Two years later, the rock band would release “Shout at the Devil,” a blockbuster success that would make them one of the biggest hits of the decade. After a brief stay in a drug rehabilitation center, the band members released what would be their highest-selling album in 1989.
Neil left Motley Crue in 1992 to reportedly pursue a solo career. According to the band, however, he was fired because he was more interested in racing than doing the band's work. He released his first solo album in 1993 while Motley Crue released another a year later in 1994. Both were able to sell more than 300,000 copies, which while widely considered to be successful, paled in comparison to all prior Motley Crue albums which have each sold at least a million copies.
In 2003, Neil was cast in yet another reality show, the very first season of The Surreal Life
. The show features celebrities who are said to be past their primes and puts them in a Hollywood Hills mansion for two weeks. As if this were not enough, unforgiving cameras also follow their every move. In this season, Neil came off quite well, according to viewers. He was portrayed as laid back and sedate most of the time. He talked about his daughter's death on the season's pilot episode very maturely, perhaps to the frustration of those behind the show who wanted to milk the event for all its drama. Other highlights of the season include a camping trip and actor Corey Feldman
's wedding to his girlfriend at the season finale with no less than rapper turned evangelist MC Hammer
leading the ceremony.
(Photo courtesy of VH1)