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Vince Neil's Donington

The Motley Crue mainman reflects on the band's four appearances at Monsters of Rock and Download... and looks forward to the final show on Sunday

From titanic tyros to the final frontier, Motley Crue's longstanding love affair with Donington will end on June 14, when they play for the last time at the Download Festival.

It began at the Monsters Of Rock Festival in 1984, when the Crue, then the hottest new name in rock, were the opening act on a day headlined by AC/DC and featuring Van Halen, Ozzy and Gary Moore. Seven years later, they were back, third on the bill to AC/DC (again!) and Metallica, joined by Queensyrche and The Black Crowes.

In 2007, they played for the first time at the Download Festival, headlining the second stage on the second day, while Linkin Park topped the bill on the main stage. Two years later, they were back on opening day, again headlining the second stage, with Faith No More doing the honours on the main.

This year, as the band continue their final tour, they will be special guests of Kiss on the main stage, completing a journey that started with them being regarded as unquenchably sybaritic headcases and ends with them hailed as untouchably entertaining showcasers. And no other band has played as often at Donington (across Monsters Of Rock and Download) without headlining the main stage. That itself makes them unique.

These are Vince Neil's recollections on Motley's 31-year Donington road trip.

1984

“Oh, I have very vivid memories of that one. It was our first festival in Europe, and we were outta control kids back then. That was the time when we were into biting everyone. We'd run around, grab people and bite them. It didn't matter who they were, or where we bit them! I actually bit Eddie Van Halen's hand. He wasn't happy at all!

“I also remember Nikki Sixx standing close to Malcolm Young. Now, Malcolm is really small, and Nikki is very big, especially in his platforms and with big hair. So you can imagine the contrast. Anyway, Malcolm must have said something nasty to Nikki, because the next thing I knew, Nikki had Malcolm by the throat and was lifting him off his feet against the wall! Great, we're the openers and they're the headliners. But we didn't care about things like that.

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