The Real Story Behind Vince Neil and Guns N’ Roses Feud

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 11: Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses performs onstage during the "Not In This Lifetime..." Tour at Madison Square Garden on October 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)

The rock and roll world has seen its fair share of feuds and rivalries over the years, with many of them taking place in the heart of the Los Angeles music scene during the 1980s and early 1990s. One such feud was between Axl Rose, the frontman of Guns N’ Roses, and Vince Neil, the lead vocalist of Mötley Crüe.

Sunset Strip’s Cathouse

The origins of their rivalry were shrouded in controversy, with conflicting stories about what actually happened that fateful night at the Cathouse, one of the Sunset Strip’s hottest clubs at the time.

According to Neil’s then-wife Sharise Neil, Izzy Stradlin, Guns N’ Roses’ rhythm guitarist, had been hitting on her while her husband was away on a white-water rafting trip. When she rebuffed his advances, Stradlin allegedly grabbed her shirt and pulled it down, prompting her to slap him in the face. In retaliation, Stradlin reportedly karate-kicked her in the stomach. However, Stradlin claimed that he had simply ignored Sharise when she tried to flirt with him.


MTV Video Music Awards in 1989

The feud between Neil and Stradlin came to a head at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1989, where Mötley Crüe presented Guns N’ Roses with the award for best heavy metal video. While on stage, the two bands seemed cordial, but backstage was a different story. Neil had planned to confront Stradlin about the Cathouse incident and punched him in the face, causing him to fall to the ground. A GN’R sound guy then punched Neil, and the band’s manager tackled him before he could do any more damage.

Axl Rose was not present during the altercation, but he was not one to let a perceived slight go unpunished.


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In an interview with Mick Wall, a British music journalist, Rose declared that he was ready to give Neil a “good ass-whipping” and challenged him to a fight, using whatever weapons he preferred. Rose denied making these statements after they were published, leading to further tension between the two rockers.

Neil, for his part, was not one to back down from a challenge. He invited Rose to a fight on live television, which Rose declined. Rose then allegedly invited Neil to meet him in various locations, including the parking lot of Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard and the Venice boardwalk. However, Rose never showed up, leading Neil to accuse him of chickening out multiple times.

The feud between Vince Neil and Axl Rose eventually died down, and the two musicians went on to focus on their respective careers. However, their rivalry remains a part of rock and roll lore, a testament to the intensity and drama that can arise when egos clash in the world of music