With no creative statement to make, no record label obligation to consider, and—let’s face it—no real market for it, you have to wonder why we need a third Vince Neil solo record. But Neil is a businessman, and since we are in the middle of a Motley Crue hiatus, Neil has been a busy boy with Tattoos & Tequila, a record scheduled to coincide with his summertime tour of county fairs and outdoor festivals.
It is also the name of his—wait for it—autobiography, because Neil thought that the definitive Motley Crue biography, The Dirt, didn’t provide him with enough opportunity to share his thoughts on the band’s career.
There is a reason for that: Neil is probably the least literate of the Crue, and one can pretty much surmise from Tattoos & Tequila, the least talented.
It’s time to call bullshit on this lazy hack, who should count his lucky stars that three other musicians gave him an opportunity to be their frontman, particularly after he’s squandered most of the years in the Crue as a spoiled primadonna. Check out his contribution to the band beyond snarling an incredibly limited vocal range on whatever is handed to him to sing. Even that, it seems, can be so much of a chore for Prince Neil that he ends up pointing the microphone out into the crowd with the sole intention of having the audience sing the song for him.
Tattoos & Tequila is no different. Out of the eleven songs, only two are originals and out of those two, neither is written by Neil. If Vince couldn’t find the inspiration to write at least one track for the soundtrack to his own biography, then one has to wonder what his contributions were to the book itself.
The cover versions are atrocious, with Neil cherrypicking a bunch of classic rock songs that he identifies with, probably thinking that when you hear a song like “Bitch Is Back” or “He’s A Whore,” you automatically think of Vince Neil.
The two originals, composed by hard rock candy collaborator Marti Frederikson, are embarrassing, arranged with such a post-modern tinkle that you might wonder if Neil even made it into the studio, or if he just hired some vocalist from a Crue cover band like Live Wire or Red Hot to come in and lay down the vocal duties.
They’re cookie cutter tracks, with the lead-off and title track sounding like a total rip of Cavo‘s “Champagne” and “Another Bad Day” sounding like it could have come off a Firehouse cassette that’s still in the glove compartment of your mom’s ’92 Ciera.
Tattoos & Tequila is probably an accurate representation of Vince Neil. It says nothing about him, and if you try drawing even the narrowest of comparisons between his selected covers and Neil as a person, the most you can say is that he thinks very highly of himself.
Admittedly, this is a Vince Neil solo record, which in itself makes it an easy target. What’s different now is the fact that Tattoos & Tequila is being used as a promotional vehicle to sell books. Sure, Tattoos & Tequila will do fine at the merch tent next to the Scrambler where it will sell by the dozens to drunken fair-goers who know the words to “You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come).”
But this is an album only in the sense of a slapshot compilation that’s being used to promote Vince’s biggest moneymaking venture: a book originally designed to suggest his commitment to sobriety.
Not only does his recent D.U.I. charge blow a huge hole in that claim, but it also proves that he learned nothing after taking the life of Razzle. Tattoos & Tequila may have been a one-star album prior to his latest indiscretion, but with that recent drunk driving arrest and the show after said arrest that had him barking “Who’s been drinking tequila tonight?!” it’s clear that the time has come to stop enabling Vince Neil with such generosity.
While there has always been evidence of Neil’s laziness, his latest effort takes on a more sinister tone, one that seems to indicate that he is above the rest of us. Tattoos & Tequila is no longer a soundtrack to an autobiography that is right now being re-edited with an obligatory “Oops, I fucked up. Sobriety is hard!” epilogue. Instead, this is the soundtrack to his own nihilism, serving as a perfect metaphor to how little music really matters to him. It also does what no album in recent memory has managed to do: demonstrate the utter contempt an artist has for his fans and their intelligence.