In the strip club with Vince Neil

by Brian Clarey

By the time I get to the strip club Vince Neil is already there, plushed out in the VIP section. He’s tucked into a banquette against the wall, surrounded by the kind of women guys like Vince Neil seem always to be surrounded by: leggy, buxom, mostly naked.

A couple of them wriggle all over him — pros, by the look of them — while his traveling companion, Rain Adreani, who is taller, curvier and slightly more fully clothed, sits by.

There are Champagne bottles in iced buckets, carafes of orange juice, martini glasses full of cherries, and one of Neil’s own songs, “Girls, Girls, Girls” naturally, blares throughout the space.

A flat-screen above him shows the video for that song, ca. 1987, when Neil was a strapping 26-year-old helming the world’s wildest band, Mötley Crüe, known as much for their lifestyle as their music, a cocktail of tattoos and motorcycles, leather and makeup, trashed hotel rooms and substance overload.

And women. There were always lots of women. Now Neil, who recently turned 51, leans back in the banquette in the Greensboro strip club off the highway and near the airport, paunchier and more grizzled than the man on the TV screen above him. And despite a reputation for hard partying, swings in temperament and lewd behavior, he seems content.

One might think that going to a strip club with Vince Neil is like cruising Las Vegas with Frank Sinatra, rolling through Cuba with Ernest Hemingway, hitting the Kentucky Derby with Hunter S. Thompson. It’s his element. His kitchen. Neil is known as something of an aficionado. Scores of scenes from his music videos were shot in places like this. He parties in them. Has had his photograph taken in them. Been thrown out of them, and even arrested in them — though to be fair, the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, site of Neil’s 2003 assault arrest, is more of a brothel.

And he’s opening up his own gentlemen’s club in Las Vegas next week, called — what else? — Girls Girls Girls, just a mile off the Strip.

But I’m not really here with Vince Neil…. I’m near Vince Neil, just a few feet away from him in the VIP lounge. But the blond frontman never acknowledges my presence, never looks my way. His handler, Dana Strum — better known as the bassist for the band Slaughter and player in Vince’s band for the show at Ziggy’s tomorrow night — says Neil will be happy to talk with me about the show, about the upcoming Mötley Crüe tour with KISS and the new strip club “tomorrow.”

Also in our entourage are Kathryn Reynolds, great-granddaughter of RJ Reynolds, and her man Greg Redd, who looks so much like the singer that people have been mistaking him for Neil all day.

They flew in from Vegas early this morning to handle hospitality for this one-nighter in the Triad They’re handling the limos, the logistics. They arranged this trip to the Gold Club, and they’re handling the bar tab.

They’re big fans. Redd has seen Crüe twice: once in the late 1980s with Cinderella on the Dr. Feelgood tour, and then again after the band’s resurgence about four years ago.

He says he liked the more recent show better. “I appreciate the music more now,” he says. “At that other show I just got high and drunk.”

He and his lady will be there tomorrow night at Ziggy’s in the VIP balcony.

“As soon as I heard about it we rocked out and got it,” he says. Now the strip-club patrons are cruising by the VIP area, casting glances and craning their necks to see the hair-metal legend in his element. He and his lady retreat to a more private area, with walls and doors that close, taking with them a bottle of Champagne and the choicest cuts from the crew of dancers working the room tonight, about five of them. He does not come back out for more than an hour.

Still the strip-club DJ announces his presence between songs in a voice shared by strip-club DJs the world over: whimsical, exuberant, a little pukey.

“We got Angel on the main stage, and the world-famous Vince Neil is in. The. House. Where are all my party people at?” Later, as I’m outside smoking, a kid in a baseball cap and jorts, maybe 21 years old, approaches me.

“You Vince Neil’s manager?” he asks. I tell him that I’m not. “My mom hooked up with him in the ’80s,” he says to me matter-offactly. “She was a Wrangler model.”

I’m not sure how to respond. Fortunately he keeps talking. “I’d like to shake his hand man-to-man,” the kid says. “Especially since he nailed my mom.”

I tell him that I probably can’t help him out with that. Just a couple minutes after midnight, the rock star and his leggy lady emerge from the VVIP. They hug the good-time girls and Vince slips them a few bills peeled from a wad in his pocket. A phalanx is formed around the couple, and as they head out the door for the limo that Redd’s got waiting, a burly man in a suit displaces the kid in the hat and shorts from his post by the gate, where he was waiting to shake Vince Neil’s hand.