One of the vital scenes in Motley Crue’s 2019 The Dirt movie occurs afterwards the December 1984 accident in which Vince Neil, beneath the influence of alcohol,” collided his car with an oncoming vehicle, killing Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle and leaving the two passengers in the other vehicle, Lisa Hogan & Daniel Smithers, with brain injury.
It was not until Neil was in the police station that he learned from any officer who Razzle had passed-away. “The impact of the accident finally caught up with me,” the singer wrote in The Dirt novel. “I felt it not just emotionally, but physically, as if I had been smashed with a hundred whiskey bottles. My ribs tore at my torso so bad I could hardly move, and pain shot through my face every time I spoke or winked.”
Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, & the 1980’s Heavy Metal Scene
He thought about how he’d never see Razzle again, plus realized the circumstances leading to the crash could have resulted in a different series of events, like, if the car had skidded in a different angle, Neil would have now been killed instead. “I didn’t know how I could face anyone,” he also wrote. “His band, my band, my wife. I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
Neil was charged with vehicular manslaughter and flipped himself in. During the preliminary hearing, he also arrived face-to-face with Hogan’s & Smithers’ parents. “They looked at me like I had been Satan,” he said in The Dirt, & expanded on it in his autobiography Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell plus Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen. “These people were injured for the remaining portion of the rest of their lives. Like, when I saw them, you can tell they certainly were trashed. This has been possibly more emotional than going to jail. Not probably; definitely.”
Hanoi Rocks canceled the remaining dates on their U.S. tour, played a pair of shows in their hometown of Helsinki, Finland (with the Clash’s Terry Chimes on drums) & broke up in the summer 1985 following a short tour of Poland. Singer Michael Monroe and guitarist Andy McCoy put together a new version of Hanoi Rocks in 2001 that toured until 2009.
“Razzle’s death definitely transformed Vince’s life,” his ex-wife Beth wrote in Tattoos & Tequila. “Before Razzle died, Vince was a drunk. After that, he turned dark. I don’t think he has ever regained.”
While out on $2,500 bail, Motley Crue manager Doc McGhee told the singer he was being court ordered to rehab. “I spent the next 30 days in detox, undergoing intense therapy,” Neil noted in Tattoos & Tequila,” which was basically reliving the accident and over again while frowning therapists jotted down their observations.”
But what most upset him was that none of his bandmates Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars visited him during this period, though he said Sixx phoned him shortly after he entered rehab. Neil knew they had all operated vehicles while drunk in the past; during Neil’s stint in rehab, Lee was even in a motorcycle accident that squashed the hand of Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera.
Sixx, who was deep into a heroin habit at the time, owned up to his behavior in The Dirt.
“Vince has been my bandmate, my unbeatable friend, my brother,” he recalled. “And I didn’t call him didn’t visit him didn’t support him in just about any manner whatsoever. I had been, as normal, only interest indulging myself. … When I thought about Vince, it had been with pity; it was with anger, even as if he was the terrible man and the remaining portion of the members were innocent victims of his wrongdoing.”
Sessions for the Theatre of Pain album began after Neil completed his time in rehab. Sixx greeted him in the studio by offering him a line of heroin, which Neil who thought he was being offered cocaine – reluctantly snorted, causing him to immediately & violently throw up. In one of the movie’s most dramatic scenes, Neil angrily confronts his bandmates: “You men slip me shout, and I’m the fucking problem? You know, I know very well what you’re thinking, I killed Razzle, yeah. Coulda happened to any one of you!”
By this point, substance abuse was starting to affect Motley Crue’s work, as The Dirt film makes clear. Sixx had fewer songs than usually ready for the new LP, so the album was padded with lesser material. Still, Theatre of Pain became their biggest hit to date on the strength of their cover of Brownsville Station’s”Smokin’ in the Boys Room” and the power ballad”Home Sweet Home.”
For a condition of Neil’s release from jail in progress of the trial, he also was required to remain sober, which proved difficult, particularly on the road. Neil recalled in The Dirt that the other group members would blow-out marijuana smoke in his face or question him to pass on a full bowl of cocaine they maintained on the plane. Meanwhile, he would get yelled at if they watched him with a drink.
“On one hand, he deserved it, because if he were caught, the judge would crucify him at his trial,” Sixx wrote. “But on the other hand, there I was lecturing him about drinking a beer when I had a bottle of Jack in my hands and a syringe in my right boot.
“Without realizing it, Tommy, Mick & I attracted on a line and pushed Vince to the other side. And the longer we maintained partying while enforcing sobriety on him, the thicker that line became until the earth beneath it cracked and Vince was left alone on a little sliver of stone, separated from the others of us by a chasm that each one of the pills, girls and therapists in the planet couldn’t mix .”
Vince Neil’s car wreck landed him in jail.
On the advice of his lawyer, Neil pleaded guilty plus was sentenced to 30 days in jail, $2.6 million restitution that came out of the band’s liability insurance & 200 hrs. of community service, which he was already performing by talking to students around the country about drunk driving. The victims’ families decided to the sentence, with Neil’s attorney arguing the singer would be more productive using his fame to tell his story on the road than simply by sitting in jail.
“I walked out the doors of the jail after 18 days,” he said. “That’s what Razzle’s life, & the permanent health of those other two kids, was worth, according to the judicial network. … It was kind of had to deal with the fact that I caused so much damage in a lot of people’s lives plus basically, all I got was a slap on the wrist. … While I was [in jail], I drank & got laid and got a nice suntan. Putting me in jail didn’t; it didn’t do anything.”
While he had been off, Neil’s wife, Beth, & the couple’s daughter (also called Beth) transferred out, leaving him with only his Camaro & the Rolex McGhee had given him for staying sober. The Motley Crue singer didn’t see them again for another ten yrs.