The History Of Vince Neil And Guns N’ Roses’ Feud

In the heyday of 80s LA rock, a war of words and (alleged) fists erupted between Guns N’ Roses’ volatile frontman, Axl Rose, and Vince Neil, the brash lead singer of Mötley Crüe.

Rose, known for his explosive temper, was itching for a fight and made his intentions known in a bombastic interview. This feud reportedly stemmed from an altercation at the Cathouse, a notorious Sunset Strip club frequented by LA’s metal elite. However, the truth behind this incident is as murky as spilled whiskey on a sticky bar floor.

Both Rose and Neil offered wildly different accounts, leaving fans to speculate about what truly sparked this legendary rock and roll brawl.

This article briefly and succinctly dives into the history of this feud, separating fact from fiction and exploring the tangled web of accusations, threats, and outrageous pronouncements that fueled this long-lasting animosity.

The Spark Ignited At Cathouse
The feud’s roots trace back to the infamous Cathouse nightclub. While Vince Neil was away white-water rafting, his then-wife Sharise Neil, a model and mud-wrestler, found herself at the club alongside Izzy Stradlin, Guns N’ Roses’ rhythm guitarist.

Accounts of the night sharply differ. Sharise claims a drunken Stradlin grew aggressive, harassing her and receiving a slap for his advances. Her story details a violent retaliation – a kick to the stomach.

Stradlin, however, paints a different picture. He claims Sharise initiated unwanted flirtation and was simply dismissed. This unresolved incident set the stage for a future confrontation.

Months later, at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards held at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, Vince Neil nursed a grudge. Unknown to everyone, particularly Stradlin, Neil planned a fiery encounter backstage. The awards show, hosted by Arsenio Hall, was about to witness the first act in a long-lasting feud.

The Infamous Backstage Brawl At The MTV Awards
The 1989 MTV Video Music Awards seemed like a night of camaraderie. Mötley Crüe even presented the award for Best Heavy Metal Video to Guns N’ Roses for their iconic song “Sweet Child o’ Mine” from their landmark album Appetite for Destruction

Photos captured a seemingly friendly exchange onstage between the two bands. However, tensions simmered beneath the surface.

While Izzy and Axl joined Tom Petty for a rendition of “Free Fallin’” and later closed the show with Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”, Vince Neil remained backstage, harboring resentment. In his 2001 memoir, The Dirt, Neil described the encounter that ignited the feud.

According to Neil, as Stradlin exited the stage, Neil confronted him. Words escalated, and Neil punched Stradlin, sending him sprawling to the ground. The altercation escalated further. A member of Tom Petty’s crew retaliated with a punch to Neil, and a Guns N’ Roses manager intervened before things spiraled further.

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