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20 Years Ago: Vince Neil’s ‘Exposed’ Released

Warner Bros.

Next to Van Halen’s spiteful parting with David Lee Roth, no other singer vs. band debacle in the pop-metal scene generated more press or tested allegiances harder than Motley Crue’s ugly divorce from singer Vince Neil in 1992.

And on April 27, 1993, the blond banshee drew first musical blood against his erstwhile Crue mates  - beating them into record stores by nearly a year, amazingly enough! – with the release of his debut solo album, ‘Exposed.’

What’s more, 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 offerings such as ‘Can’t Have Your Cake,’ ‘Fine, Fine Wine’ and the first single ‘You’re Invited (But Your Friend Can’t Come)’ (which was featured in the Pauly Shore vehicle ‘Encino Man’) packed several D-cups worth of 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?

Even the musicians hired to co-write the material with Neil made perfectly good sense for someone determined on staying his musical course, and included talented Night Ranger and Damn Yankee, Jack Blades (who brought with him the mandatory ballad in “Can’t Change Me,” among other tunes), 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 curiously saw Neil opening for Van Halen.

But despite the high profile tour, music videos and fan-pleasing songs, ‘Exposed’ rose no further than a respectable no. 13 on the U.S. album charts 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 Neil came from seeing his old bandmates’ endure similar misfortune, when their eponymous LP featuring new singer John Corabi (ex-the Scream) suffered from similarly underwhelming sales and alienated fans with its radical change of sound, to boot. Realizing, perhaps, that they were greater than the sum of their parts, Neil was back into the Crue fold in 1997.

Next: Best Reunion Tours

Watch Vince Neil’s ‘You’re Invited (But You’re Friend Can’t Come)’

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