If you are even dimly aware of the past 40-ish years of American rock music, then you probably already know that Mötley Crüe had an absolutely absurd career. Right now, longtime Crüe drummer Tommy Lee is out promoting his new solo album Andro, which means he’s giving a lot of interviews and telling a lot of stories. Lee is the subject of our latest We’ve Got A File On You feature, and he tells a lot of stories in that one. But he neglected to mention the time that Vince Neil bit Eddie Van Halen. Thankfully, that story has come up elsewhere.
In a new interview with USA Today, Lee reflected a bit on the recent death of Eddie Van Halen, the titan of rock guitar, and he expanded a bit on the biting story. Last year, both Lee and Nikki Sixx were on a SiriusXM podcast, where they talked a bit about the band’s old habit of biting people they liked. This was a band ritual: If they liked you, they would bite you hard enough to draw blood.
On that podcast, they said that Vince Neil once bit Eddie Van Halen when Mötley Crüe were on tour with Van Halen, and that this incident almost got them kicked off the tour: “We weren’t allowed to leave our trailer when Van Halen was walking to the stage.”
In that USA Today interview, Lee has a great line about it:
We were all on the Monsters Of Rock Tour [in 1984]: AC/DC, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe. We were all partying, and Mötley had this thing we would do if we really loved you: Some people high five, other people hug, we would bite you. Vince went over and just chomped on Eddie, and Eddie was so mad. He was like, “What the [expletive] is wrong with you?” He wasn’t very receptive to it. I bit Malcolm Young [of AC/DC], and he hated it, too. We did that for a couple of years until we were either over it or realized it might be a little dangerous.
I would personally love to know more about the Mötley Crüe band meeting where they decided to stop biting people.