Vince Neil Says He Is “Taking A Beating” On Skating With The Stars
November 21, 2010
Christopher Lawrence of LVJR.com’s Life On The Couch reports: And you thought you were surprised to see Vince Neil on “Skating with the Stars” (9 p.m. Monday).
“I don’t know who stuck their hand in the hat and pulled out my name and said, ‘How about Vince Neil?’ ” the Motley Crue frontman says while waiting for members of a hockey league to clear the rink at the Las Vegas Ice Center. “You know, that’s a big mystery to me, how my name even came up to be asked to do this.”
Not that he’s ungrateful. Or unqualified.
Neil is the biggest name on the “Dancing with the Stars” spinoff — not to be confused with Fox’s low-rated 2006 effort, “Skating with Celebrities” — that also features actresses Sean Young and Rebecca Budig, reality star Bethenny Frankel, skier Jonny Moseley and Disney Channel star Brandon Mychal Smith.
Then there’s Neil’s background as a youth figure skating champion.
Now, I assumed that as a Los Angeles kid who has spent the past 15 years living in the desert, Neil had never been around ice that didn’t come served in a glass. The longtime Las Vegan says even his manager, whom ABC approached about the show, didn’t know he could skate.
So when the singer matter-of-factly refers to his past skating triumph, it’s like that scene in any ’80s teen comedy when the record comes to a scratching, screeching halt during the school dance.
But, sure enough, in his new autobiography, “Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen,” there’s a picture of a young, sweater-vest-and-tie-wearing Neil holding his first-place trophy, standing above his vanquished competition. (“I look like Justin Bieber,” Neil says with a laugh.)
So does that make him the ringer on “Skating with the Stars”?
“Well, no. I mean, I was 12. I’m almost 50 now,” Neil says. “That was a long time ago. It’s definitely not like riding a bike.”
And his body has been through a lot since then. The sorts of things that would have killed lesser men — things that led him to open his book by confirming the now legendary tale of debauchery that ensures that anyone who has heard it will never again look at an egg burrito the same way.
“It’s almost like starting over,” Neil says of his “Skating with the Stars” training. “I mean, some things kind of came back to me. But when you’re 12 years old to when you’re 49 years old, you’re not as limber. You’re not anything like you were as a kid.”
Helping him try to recapture his past glory is his professional partner, bubbly, button-cute ice dancer Jennifer Wester, who has been impressed with Neil’s eagerness to learn.
“He’s incredibly attentive as a student. Actually, that’s probably one of the most shocking things that I’ve found,” she says. “For somebody that’s had such an interesting background, you expect someone with no attention span. You expect somebody that knows who they are in the eye of the public and doesn’t want to necessarily listen to all of your little critiques. … He’s exactly the opposite.”
For safety reasons, each couple is allowed only three hours on the ice each day. But factoring in stretching, warming up and walking through the choreography, Neil and Wester have spent 10-hour days at the rink.
“I’m taking a beating, man. I should buy stock in Icy Hot,” Neil says. “You fall — you definitely fall — and ice is hard. Aches and pains and bruises. And you work muscles that you never worked before.
“This is a serious sport. You know, it’s tough,” he adds. “I don’t wanna put down ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ but, you know, come on. They’re just jumping around on the floor.”
Neil clearly is taking this opportunity seriously, but he still has an image to protect. As a result, he won’t be wearing any sequins or feathers — he’s being costumed by the guy who makes his Motley Crue stage clothes. And don’t look for him to be skating to anything lame. The music for his first routine is a closely guarded secret, but let’s just say it’s an upgrade from the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” he skated to as a youth.
Neil looks confident on the ice this afternoon, but he has been getting a mixed reaction from those who haven’t seen him skate.
“Some fans think it’s great,” he admits. “Some fans, you know, they don’t know what to think — till I explain to them how hot that ice girls are. Now, they’re all coming around.”
But if they’re wondering why he’s doing this, it all comes down to the challenge of competing in a new arena.
“It really is the accomplishment of it. That’s really the thing,” Neil says. “That’s why I wanna do this and see how far I can push myself to be the best that I can in such a short time.
“I don’t listen to critics or anything. I’ve been in rock ‘n’ roll for 30 years, and if I choose, like, I wanna ice skate today, I’m gonna go ice skate. I don’t really listen to any (expletive) like, ‘Oh, he’s ice skating. What’s wrong? What happened to him?’ I do it because I can, and I want to.”