How Vince Neil Beat Motley Crue to the Punch With ‘Exposed’
Vince Neil drew first musical blood against his then-estranged Motley Crue band mates, beating them into record stores by nearly a year with the April 27, 1993 release of his debut solo album, Exposed.
It wasn't the last salvo. In fact, no singer-vs.-band debacle in the pop-metal scene had generated more press or more deeply tested allegiances since Van Halen’s spiteful parting with David Lee Roth.
But while the new Motley Crue would try – and fail – to essentially grow up by replacing their partying ways with brooding grunge philosophies, Neil was wise enough to stick with what he knew.
As a result, prototypical tracks like "Can’t Have Your Cake," "Fine, Fine Wine" and the first single, "You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)," packed pyrotechnic guitars to indecently banal lyrics, often sounding suspiciously similar to Motley Crue’s final triumph, Dr. Feelgood. But then, what better way to win over fans torn about their loyalties?
Listen to Vince Neil Perform 'You're Invited'
Even the musicians hired to co-write the material with Neil made perfectly good sense for someone determined on staying his musical course, including the talented Jack Blades. The Night Ranger and Damn Yankees star brought with him the mandatory ballad in “Can’t Change Me,” among other tunes. Also on board were former Billy Idol guitar shredder Steve Stevens, and recent Ozzy Osbourne cast-off Phil Soussan.
Neil’s studio band was completed by ex-Enuff Z’Nuff drummer Vik Foxx. Following a serious disagreement between Stevens and Soussan (who would eventually place an injunction on the LP over uncredited songwriting), rhythm guitarist Dave Marshall (from glam chanteuse Fiona’s band) and bassist Robbie Crane (later of Ratt) were brought in for the subsequent tour, which oddly enough saw Neil opening for Van Halen.
Despite the high profile dates, music videos and fan-pleasing songs, Exposed rose no further than a respectable No. 13 on the U.S. album chart and failed to earn gold certification – a far cry from the multiple platinum awards that Motley Crue had grown accustomed to stockpiling.
The only consolation for Vince Neil came from seeing his old bandmates’ endure similar misfortune, when their eponymous LP featuring new singer John Corabi suffered from similarly underwhelming sales after alienating fans with its radical change of sound. Realizing, perhaps, that they were greater than the sum of their parts, Neil was back into the fold by 1997.
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