Mike on America

Vince Neil, The Governor of Nevada and Me

Vince Neil

What do Vince Neil of Motley Crue, the Governor of Nevada, O.J. Simpson and I all have in common? We were all in Las Vegas this week and three of us talked to each other. (Sorry Juice but you had split by the time I thought of it.) So what did Vince, the Governor and I talk about? Business.

In Vince's case it was a little bit of 'sex, drugs, and rock n' roll', and allot of 'motorcycles, tequila, restaurants and tattoos'. Those last four are all businesses Neil is developing. A line of 'signature', custom bikes fabricated in Las Vegas, one of which you can see in the front window of Vince Neil Ink right on the Las Vegas Strip. If you've never seen Vince up close, he's pretty much a human canvas, with each of the tattoos representing a 'moment' in his just under 50 years of life. It's quite the journey.

Over 40 million records Motley Crue has sold to date, and they're still performing. The tattoo parlor is a joint venture with Harrah's, and after nearly a year of getting the 'bugs' out, they're ready to open up more 'Vince Neil Ink's' around the country. He's also opening a restaurant in Palm Beach this fall. The concept is something akin to Jimmy Buffet's 'Magaritaville', but with rock n' roll, an 'edgier' version.

But, the real key to his business future is in the bottle. 'When I hold this bottle, I see my retirement,' Neil says sitting outside on the recently rebranded patio bar of La Salsa on the Strip.

'This bottle' is Tres Rios, a high end tequila that has beaten Patron in a taste test. Neil, who quit drinking 6 months ago, has national distribution and a name to go with it. And where better than Las Vegas to launch?

Which is exactly what Governor Jim Gibbons and I spent a morning talking about. Las Vegas as a business 'mecca', in fact the whole state of Nevada as one. Tourism is the engine of growth, but there are many many small and medium sized businesses migrating to the desert because it's easy to business here.

'We're the fastest growing state in terms of business development anywhere in the country,' says the former fighter pilot, turned Congressman, turned Governor just 9 months ago. But he and his state are also facing one of 'the' toughest problems these days. They also lead the country in foreclosures. Acres of homes sit empty, prices are dropping like two dollar bettors at the crap tables. He's called a meeting of all the top bankers in the state for October 4th.

'I expect them to be there, and I expect them to bring solutions, ' he says, as we stand over looking downtown Las Vegas from outside this satellite office. Nothing will slow down growth like losing your home or not being able to afford one. They're building allot of tall buildings here, but who will occupy all that space?

We'll see. Do you think it was a good idea to shoot the tequila part of the story before the tattoo parlor? I'll let you know when the swelling goes down.

MOA is off to Oregon next week.

Questions?  Comments?  mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com