VINCE NEIL - “No Regrets” Doing VH1 Remaking Special

December 30, 2004, 19 years ago

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The Philadelphia Inquirer ( has issued the following report from Hugh Hart:

LOS ANGELES - Glam-metal fans know VINCE NEIL as the blond MOTLEY CRUE lead singer who helped define bad-boy chic in the '80s. Punk-rockers know HENRY ROLLINS as the former BLACK FLAG front man who parlayed his role as a hard-core motormouth into a mini media empire.

Come Saturday, TV viewers can experience fresh aspects of these 43-year-olds via a pair of wildly divergent shows.

Rollins assumes the persona of movie critic on Henry's Film Corner, which runs at midnight the first Saturday of each month on the Independent Film Channel. And you can watch Neil's face and body get worked over big time by a team of consultants on Remaking, a "reality" series of 90-minute specials premiering at 9 p.m. on VH1.

Remaking, which will restyle Vanilla Ice and singer Taylor Dayne in the future, reminds us that survival in the fickle pop-music world often hinges on a well-timed makeover.

About 20 years ago, Neil and his image-savvy band crafted a wild look that inspired dozens of heavy-metal hair bands. But he acknowledges in a phone interview that he had grown a little complacent in recent years.

"I'd watch these shows where people are a bit overweight and say to myself, 'God, I wish something like that would happen to light the fire under my butt and get into the gym,' because I was about 15 pounds over what I want to be."

Neil felt the flame in February. Lounging poolside at a Miami hotel, he got a call from his manager and a VH1 executive who explained the concept. Neil signed on for a 90-day regimen. He says he has no regrets.

"The thing about it is, you've really got to make a commitment to do something like this, because once you start, you don't want to end up where you began," says Neil, in Los Angeles earlier this month rehearsing for a coming Crüe reunion tour.

As cameras rolled, Neil stopped drinking vodka, gave up junk food, lost 30 pounds, switched hair color from blond to brown, sang his first power ballad - and put himself in the hands of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon for 9 1/2 hours.

"They did a lot of things," he says nonchalantly. "Brow-lift, upper-lower eyes, partial face-lift, cheek implants, nose job, jaw-line sculpturing.

Neil's jowls are nearly gone, and he has been able to swap his 39-waist pants for 31 jeans. (We'll have to wait until summer to see what Neil's equally naughty band mate, Tommy Lee, looks like on NBC's reality series Tommy Goes to College.)

A few blocks from the Crüe's rehearsal hall, Rollins talks about his new show from the comfort of the Hollywood Boulevard house that serves as headquarters for the publishing and record companies he owns.

"Have I been living my life to reinvent myself as a film critic? No!... Like to try different things? I think I should, lest one paints oneself into a corner where people go, 'Oh, you're the guy in the video.' "

The heavily tattooed Rollins has been lifting weights for decades and has no interest in a physical makeover. He was, however, intrigued to try another venue that would showcase his gift of gab.

"I've done a lot of rock-and-roll," says Rollins, who joined Black Flag in 1981 and later led the Rollins Band. "But I've also written 14 books. I do 90 to 100 speaking dates all over the world every year. I have a radio show. I've acted in 20 films. And I may not be the learned film scholar, but if I can talk about films I'm enthusiastic about and directors that I'm really geeked on, then why not do it?"

On his Dec. 4 debut, Rollins dissected Sean Penn's performance in the coming The Assassination of Richard Nixon with Fight Club director David Fincher, and listened to firefighters sound off about Ladder 49.

For Saturday, he has invited a high school economics teacher, picked at random to represent the "everyman point of view," to discuss the new film William Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Female boxers will critique the 2000 movie Girlfight.

He'll review the coming Kevin Bacon drama The Woodsman with Daryl Hannah, a favorite of indie filmmakers. But don't expect celeb-obsessed patter.

"By God, let's geek out a little," Rollins says. "Who's watching IFC? Young actors, wannabe directors, film students. If they could pin [Quentin] Tarantino in a corner, it'd be, 'How'd you get that shot?' not 'What's it like to work with Uma Thurman, she's so hot.' "

On each 30-minute show, besides playing the genial host, the fiercely opinionated Rollins goes solo with a couple of unscripted rants called "Teeing Off" and "Rollins' Revenge."
"I'm just winging it," he says. "We do four takes, and whichever one gets the biggest laugh and the loudest claps from the crew behind the camera, that's the one we use."

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