As previously reported, Mötley Crüe guitarist, Mick Mars, is suing his former bandmates. Mars’ reasons for his suit, and the band’s response, via their attorney, can be read here.

Now Variety has some follow up information to this circumstance. In addition to the band’s statement, Crüe’s lawyer has also provided seven crew members’ complaints about Mars’ playing on the band’s 2022 tour.

Robert Long, the band’s production manager since 2007, said in the statement provided by group attorneys, “When he is off, the band’s entire performance suffers.Mick’s performance during the Stadium Tour was unworkable and very difficult to manage…Mick would consistently forget chords and songs so the band would have to stop and re-teach those parts to Mick to remind him of the arrangements. … Mick’s performance issues continued throughout the tour. He would consistently miss notes; play out of tune; play the wrong chords during a song; stay within a chorus of a song and never come out of it; forget the song that he was playing and start a different one; and would get lost in songs. This happened at every show. … Our playback engineer put in cues for Mick so that he would stay on course but he would miss the cues.”

Tour manager Thomas Reitz, who joined the band with the 2022 tour declared in his statement that “Mick was struggling, forgetting chords and songs. He was not up to speed with the songs and could not play his solos. The other band members spent hours trying to help Mick. Mick would often get frustrated and confused. I also witnessed the band and crew’s frustration with Mick’s mistakes first hand during the rehearsals. Mick’s issues continued and got worse during the tour. Virtually at every concert, he played the wrong chords, wrong song or would forget what song he was playing. A sound technician would always need to have a backup track ready in case Mick played the wrong song or chord.”

The group’s monitor engineer, Scott Megrath, who also started working with Motley Crue with the 2022 tour, said in his declaration that, at certain points,”I had to make sure that the other band members would not get Mick’s feed into their earpieces because that would confuse them and potentially ruin the show. Mick’s mistakes happened on numerous occasions and at every show. In my years of experience, I have never seen mistakes like this by a guitarist on stage.”

The other four declarations from crew members — including Nikki Sixx’s bass tech, Fred Kowalo; Tommy Lee’s drum tech, Steve Morrison; production coordinator/designer Ashley Zapar; and front-of-house engineer Brent Carpenter — proceed along the same lines as the above statements.

In turn the magazine also spoke with Mars, who told them, “I carried those bastards for years,” which is why he thinks his 41-year history with the band should not end with him facing off with the other three members in the halls of justice. Read excerpts from his interview, below, with Variety.

Variety: First off, how has it feel, quitting the road — and everybody can agree you did retire from that — after 41 years with this band?

Mars: Forty-one years of hard work, mentally and physically, of course. I miss it, but I don’t, you know what I mean? Playing-wise, playing in front of a large crowd and seeing the world, I miss that. But my body says, “You can’t do that, Mick…” But, I didn’t know you had to get sued to retire (altogether). That’s kind of crazy. I had to throw that out there.

Variety: There has been a lot of speculation among the band’s fans, who basically have been kind of confused since October, when there were competing statements — you said that you were retiring, just from the road, and the next day, literally, there was a band statement saying that you had retired, period. Fans were like, well, which is it? Now with this legal filing, you’re making it clear it was not your intention to retire altogether, but just to retire as a touring participant. Is that right?

Mars: Yes, exactly. Things get twisted around sometimes from other band members. I don’t really know if I should say this, but… Those guys have been hammering on me since ’87, trying to replace me. They haven’t been able to do that, because I’m the guitar player. I helped form this band. It’s my name I came up with [the Mötley Crüe moniker], my ideas, my money that I had from a backer to start this band. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere. And then to be hearing stuff from people like Bob Daisley from Ozzy Osbourne’s band, when we were touring with them, and Carmine Appice… [In his 2014 memoir, Daisley recounted a conversation with the other members of Mötley Crüe on a tour bus in 1984 when they allegedly solicited his advice about firing Mars, and he strongly advised against it, saying Mars was an integral part of their chemistry. Daisley retold the story in an interview four months ago with Blabbermouth.]

The thing that they keep pushing, for many years, is that I have a bad memory. And that’s full-blown, out-of-proportion crap. Around 2012, when they first started saying that my memory was bad and I didn’t remember the songs, I came home and saw all my doctors, because I keep myself together, because I’m an old bastard. They had all the 10th Street people there [from the band’s management] — probably about five or six people — (versus) all my doctors going: “There’s nothing wrong with him.” And now they’re still playing that game with me.

So, no, the truth is: I want to retire from touring because of my AS [Ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory, arthritic disease that causes vertebrae to fuse]. I don’t have a problem remembering the songs. I don’t have a problem with any of that stuff. But I do have a problem with them, constantly, the whole time, telling me that I lost my memory. No. Wrong. That’s wrong. Absolutely wrong.

But my stupid body is telling me “No, don’t do that” [stay on the road]. You know, I’m gonna be 72 years old, and I’ve been touring with these guys 41 years, helping build the brand, helping do this and that. And you’re served with papers and going, this is crazy. This is stupid. I mean, come on.

Variety: In your suit, there’s a footnote that refers to other instances where someone retired from certain duties in a veteran band but remained on the board or remained a full partner. It sounds like you thought there is precedent for wanting to get off the road but still have full participation as a shareholder and being on the board, if there is one, and that sort of thing.

Mars: An example would be Ace Frehley. Ace Frehley still owns everything that he had when he was in KISS. And Foreigner, with Lou Gramm

Variety: You say you were offered a severance package that involved getting 5% of the current tour, which of course is the first one without you, and then that would be it. [He says in the suit that the band later upped the offer to 7.5%, provided he signed off on having future interests in the band’s companies.]

Mars: That’s an insult to me that they’re offering me that… I could come back with this and go like, “Hey, you know what? I’m gonna counter because you assholes are felons. You (Lee) for spousal abuse; you (Neil) for manslaughter.” [Sixx has only been convicted of misdemeanors, not felonies.] I’m not doing that. It just makes me really upset that they want to try and bully me more or less out of the band, so it’s the last man standing that collects everything. And if there’s any real justice to it, I’d be the one that would be the only one that has no criminal record. I’m pure. I’m clean as a freshly washed baby. [Laughs.] I haven’t done anything. And these guys have all gone over the top — heroin addicts, on and on and on and on. And I’m being beat up, mentally…But the hazing, the gaslighting and all that stuff, when they tell me that I’m losing my mind and I’m this, that and the other…

Variety: In the present day, though, there have been a lot of statements made about you not being able to place efficiently on your final tour with them last summer and fall. Your response to that is that at least you were playing live, when you allege in the suit that 100% of the bass parts were pre-recorded and some of the singing and drum parts were not live. But is there anything to you not being up to snuff?

Mars: I call bulls–t on that. I know the songs. I’ve even said to those guys — when we were on the phone, when they were all gonna fire me — I go, “You take your drums and play this song. You take your bass and play this song. And I’ll play the song correct.” And prior to this particular stadium tour, when we rehearsed, the first thing that happened when I walked in was, Nikki Sixx was like, “Hey, Mick, how did that part go? I can’t remember it.” So that’s how our rehearsals went. I rehearsed all of these songs for three months, every day, solid, twice a day. When I walked into this rehearsal for the stadium tour and I said, “Pick a song, I know them all,” (the response was) “Uh, we aren’t gonna do it that way,” to quote Nikki Sixx.

And yes, on this particular tour, Nikki’s bass was 100% recorded. Tommy’s drums, to the best of my knowledge, there was a lot. I can’t say he did all of it recorded, but there were some reports from people in the audience that said, “Oh, I heard the drums playing, but there’s no Tommy on there. The song started, and there’s no drummer.” Stuff like that. And actually everything that we did on that stadium tour was on tape, because if we didn’t, if we missed a part, the tape would keep rolling and you’d miss it.

Variety: So what was different from what you were doing than the others, if there was a tape?

Mars: What was going in my ear wasn’t really my guitar. It was some kind of weird, out-of-phase kind of a thing. And I have it here, on my iPad. I’m telling my sound guy, Scotty, to turn up my guitar, and I go, “Wait a minute, that ain’t mine.” Because mine’s a big, huge, fat sound. And so when I started getting at it, it was a lot better. But there was parts with that tape on my guitar that were so horrible, yes, I did lose my spot a couple of times. But not all the time. And it is very difficult. And then it’s also difficult when they have a bunch of old-school 808 bass drums going and turning up the bass guitar. Do you know what that does to a guitar frequency? It drowns it out. And that’s what was going on a lot out front. … You’d have to be me to know it was the truth…

Variety: Just to make it clear, you say that on the ’22 tour, you were playing live, or at least trying to play live, even while you contend some others weren’t, but amid all the audio in the feed, there were all these backing tracks going on that made it confusing to know what was really being heard and what wasn’t?

Mars: Yeah. I can’t prove it because I wasn’t out front, right? But some of my other friends were. People that saw me, I asked, “How was it? How was I sounding, with these tapes and this, that, and the other?” And they’d go, “No, I think you were playing live.” And I go, “Yeah, I was!” But there’s a tape, also, (to fill in) if I made a mistake — which I didn’t. Bbut when I asked them they said, “No, man, your fingers are on. You’re playing it right…” 

Do you think fans will be disappointed to know for sure that you are not a band of brothers, per se, at least when it comes to your part with them? Or do you think people are cynical about it and automatically think, “Well, of course bands hate each other”?

Well, that’s the way it works. Every band hates each other, right? But it’s hard to predict. There’s gonna be a lot of disappointed people, and there’s gonna be a lot of ones who go, “Yeah, tell me something new.” But on the stage, all the band members are like a unit, until they’re off the stage and then they’re not anymore.

I can’t put a number on it, but there’s gonna be a lot of people going: “What the hell is wrong with these guys? You know, Mick just wants to have some peace.” I mean, I’m an old man! [Laugh.] I think some people will really, really care and go, “No Mick, no band.” But they say that about everybody (who leaves a group). It is what it is. And like I said, I’m a part of this company that made this name. I’m not gonna let anybody take it from me — anybody.

Read more at Variety.

12 Responses

  1. They should all retire. They sound terrible now and they sounded terrible in the 80s. Vince cannot sing, they are using backing tracks and their shows completely suck. They are not a good live band and they never have been.

  2. These idiots deserve everything they get , I’ve never been a fan mostly because of Vince Neal’s voice – I’ve said this before rock n roll is a young man’s game , when you have to rationalize introducing pre recorded tracks into your live shows its time to call it a day – the most amazing thing to me is how many fans and casual fans of rock don’t care? and still spend hard earned money on watching an overweight Vince Neal jammed into idiot stage clothes sing horrible karoke to tracks …. that’s not rock or anything close to integrity. its part of whats killing rock music its helping or soon will turn it into a global joke- It’s sad…. older guys trying to hold on to their relevance by hook or by crook ~ same goes for kiss , if you can’t plug in and go for it live.. if your too unhealthy or old and you’ve lost your voice , you can’t fake rock n roll – its time to stop

  3. I wanted to follow up ..there is a huge difference between being a great session player or sideman in a band , lots of older guys do that all around the world – you would expect talent would increase the older and the more you practice your craft it usually does some of these nashville studio guys are insanely talented into their 60s and beyond -when your in a superstar rock and roll hard rock or metal band the reasonable expectations are: you don’t get fat , you maintain your voice , and you should be able to deliver the music live the way your fans expect it … and not with prerecorded tracks … if you need that garbage you need to be done ~

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