Vince Neil

Tattoos & Tequila

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If you're a veteran rock act, it's almost expected by this point that you have gone the "unplugged" route, released a collaboration with a symphony, or -- most commonly -- issued an all-covers album of bands that were early influences. On 2010's Tattoos & Tequila, Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil goes with the latter. Although it's not a pure all-covers set (a pair of Marti Frederiksen originals are the black sheep of the bunch), nine of the 11 tracks are indeed covers -- running the gamut from the unexpected (Elvis Presley, Elton John) to the expected (Cheap Trick, Aerosmith). If you're willing to overlook the done-to-death all-covers format, what you'll find is the rawest rock album that Neil has lent this vocals to in what seems like a dog's age. In fact, an absolutely killer rendition of the obscure Cheap Trick gem "He's a Whore" sounds like it could have come from the same sessions for the Crüe's trash-glam classic debut, Too Fast for Love. And you have to give ol' Vince some credit for featuring quite a few uncommon selections here, including Aerosmith's tale of Armageddon "Nobody's Fault," which manages to re-create the heavy-duty vibe of the original (the talk-box guitar was a cool touch), and a slamming take of the Scorpions' "Another Piece of Meat." Heck, "Viva Las Vegas" is even reworked into an ass-kicker. Punk purists will find it a tough pill to swallow that Mr. Neil tackles a Sex Pistols track ("No Feelings") here, but it all adds up in the end. In fact, by the end, you wish that the face of the Crüe stuck solely to covers, as the two aforementioned Frederiksen originals, the leadoff title track and "Another Bad Day," smack of obvious attempts to score on modern rock radio, and don't match the gasoline and fire of their "companions" here. While most of his rock vet comrades often appear to sleepwalk through their respective all-covers sets, it seems to have done the complete opposite to Vince Neil -- as heard through the surprisingly raw 'n' rocking Tattoos & Tequila.

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