MÖTLEY CRÜE’S MANAGER SLAMS MICK MARS’ “SMEAR CAMPAIGN” AND “FALSE ACCUSATIONS”
As drama continues to circle around the Mötley Crüe camp, due to guitarist Mick Mars’ lawsuit against his former bandmates, and the band’s response to his allegations (via their attorney), now the band’s manager, Allen Kovac, shares his observations with Variety magazine.
According to the publication, Kovac, the band’s manager of 29 years, was so angered by an interview Mars gave Variety, he agreed to go on record addressing what he believes are the musician’s most scurrilous accusations…
…Kovac says Mars is coming out with a list of allegations “to gain leverage in a smear campaign on Mötley. He’s attacked the band, and he’s done it in a slanderous way, with false accusations and misrepresenting the facts to the fans. Mick is not the victim. The victims are Mötley Crüe and the brand, which Mick is so prideful of.”
But, adds the manager, who says he has always liked and gotten along well with Mars over the last three decades: “What’s upsetting to me is not Mick, but his representatives, who have guided Mick to say and do harmful things to the brand he cares about so much, Mötley Crüe. He has a degenerative disease and people are taking advantage of him. It’s called elder abuse.”
He continues, “Mick’s representatives have no idea what they’ve created, but I’ve stopped the band from speaking about this, so they’re not gonna turn the fans against Mick. But I am going to make sure that people understand that Mick hasn’t been treated badly. In fact, he was treated better than anyone else in the band, and they carried him and they saved his life.”
Regarding Mars’ accusations that the band’s live shows are all pre-recorded, Kovac states, “Everything is live with Nikki [Sixx]’s bass playing and Tommy [Lee]’s drum playing. When they’ve used loops, they’re still playing. There are augmented vocals, which were (recorded) in the studio and are backgrounds behind the two ladies who are singing and (other background vocals by) John 5 and Nikki Sixx, and before that Mick and Nikki.”
He describes the pre-recorded vocal layering as where “you multi-track and you do gang vocals with, like, 20 people, just like all the other bands do with background vocals. They’ve got background vocals in the mix. That’s the truth.”
“But Nikki played his bass and always has,” Kovac continues. “Vince was singing better than he was before (on the latest tour). That was in reviews. Now, John 5 is playing like who John 5 is. I’ve heard John 5 perform and I heard Mick perform. Both are great guitar players. Unfortunately, Mick is not the same. He hasn’t been the same for a long time. Which was in reviews. You see that the professionals knew. Def Leppard (which alternated headlining spots on tour) knew. And (Mars) caused a train wreck up there, because he would play the wrong songs and the wrong parts, even with the guide tracks. When he played the wrong song, it wasn’t Nikki Sixx that had a tape; it was the soundman bringing it into the mix so the audience could hear a song, even though the guitar player was playing a different song.” He says audiences “would hear it at first, but (sound engineers) would fix it so that we could keep the song going. I heard it. I’d go to the sound board.”
The manager says that, despite what he alleges was a pattern of terrible performances, the band never thought of firing Mars — until he announced that he would be coming off the road due to the difficulty of touring with the debilitating AS [Ankylosing spondylitis] condition he’d been dealing with since age 27… “They honored their commitment and propped him up,” Kovac says. “Now there’s a new guitar player. I want people to hear the difference. They’re gonna play the U.S. again in a bunch of markets, and people will be able to use their own ears, just like they can use their own judgment about third-party declarations and contracts instead of spin…”
Regarding funds Mars claims he is being shafted out of, Kovac stated that if you take touring out of the equation for Mötley Crüe, “there’s nothing left. What is left?” Sixx has made it clear that he doesn’t believe the band will record new albums in the future. As far as other conceivable benefits of remaining in the band, apart from touring splits: “There are no record royalties,” he points out, since the group made a deal in 2021 to sell its master recordings (which they acquired for themselves in the ‘90s) to BMG. Additionally Kovac says, “there are no publishing royalties or income from performance or neighboring rights,” since all the members have sold or are selling their publishing. (The manager says the other three have already made deals for offloading their publishing — Variety reported in 2020 that Sixx sold his 70% share to Hipgnosis — and that Mars in in the process of selling his 10%. Mars’ attorney did not comment on the status of his publishing.) “What is left?” Kovac reiterates. “What does he want to do?”
Merchandise would seem to be an issue that could be affected by a partial or total severance. The band agrees that Mars is entitled to a fair share of anything that bears his likeness, but not necessarily anything that doesn’t. (It probably goes without saying that the band won’t be selling any T-shirts that still have Mars’ face on them, though, right? Actually, Kovac says they do still sell such an item.)
In any case, Kovac said the band made a good-faith offer to Mars to give him a percentage of the 2023 touring that is going on without him, as a sort of exit package because the other band members “have empathy for Mick” — even though the band’s belief is that he’s owed nothing more going forward that isn’t directly related to his name and likeness. Mars, in his suit, called this proposal a “severance package” that he was asked to sign that would have headed off the scheduled arbitration and left him with no claims to make on future band activity.
He also called it “an insult.” Both sides agree that the offer from the band was to give him 5% of the 2023 stadium tour that he is not participating in (his final gigs with the band were in Sept. 2022). When Mars balked at that, the offer was upped to seven and a half percent — with the group contending that this was a very lucrative alternative to getting zero. The guitarist still did not believe that this was worth signing away what he sees as his ongoing membership in the group, on a business if not performing level.
“He was offered a terrific opportunity,” says Kovac. “An offer was made to him at 5%, and then up to seven and a half percent, to avoid this. What Mick’s asking for is an equal share, 25% — but there’s a guy named John 5 in the band. Mick resigned from touring, and John 5’s getting paid. So who’s gonna pay John 5? None of this makes sense.” He can’t see why Mars didn’t take the deal. “They’ve got (a 2023 tour) they’re about halfway through, so let’s (estimate) $150 million (in gross), and then you take off for production and commissions, and let’s call it 100 or 110 million. What’s seven and a half percent of that? He says it’s an insult. And you’ve got me quoting that the other two guys got zero when they were out of the band” — meaning [singer] Vince Neil and Tommy Lee, during the periods they left the group. “So where’s the insult?”
He reiterates the math, “I think Mick is part of the 1%. Please put that on the record. … Let’s say it was seven and a half percent of $110 million. Could you live on that, even if you have tens of millions already?…”
…Kovac [also discussed] helping Mars get clean two decades ago, and says of that time. “I said, ‘OK, Nikki, something’s wrong. If you guys haven’t heard from him for two and a half years, let’s go to his house and find out if he’s even alive.’ And when we knocked the door down, because Mick couldn’t walk, he could only crawl. He needed a hip operation. Nikki had him sleep at his house and go to some doctors where I had different people from my company taking him. He weighed all of 89 pounds. There was a documentary called ‘The Resurrection’ and it shows the debate of whether to bring Mick back. When Mick wasn’t capable, the band waited a long time while he healed. And even after healing, he was never the same, though he’s been on the road ever since. I call that support.”
“I hope you print that, because that’s true, and ask Mick: How’d you get to those doctors? Did you stay at Nikki Sixx’s house when people were debating about you being in the band or not? Did you end up in the band, despite you disappearing for two and a half years and having to rehab for two years after that? I think that’s important. Did Nikki get a tattoo to show you he would never do anything to harm you? Did you try to harm him by throwing him out of the band because you thought he stole your publishing? Did you prevail?” (The answer, Kovac says, is no.) “Did he forgive you? Which he did, because we all knew he was being taken advantage of. Everyone kept him in the band, but Mick never apologized. And Nikki’s still loyal…”
…The manager says he blames Mars’ supposedly faulty memory, as well as his reps. “He is in pain, and he does have a hard time remembering. Just like he doesn’t remember trying to kick Nikki Sixx out of his band.” As proof that Mars has memory lapses, Kovac pulls up an email that he says the guitarist sent production manager Robert Long on October 6th, asking, “I was just wondering when the second leg of this stadium thing starts, and where. Europe? Let me know.” Although there could be other explanations, Kovac says that’s proof Mars didn’t recall he’d already played his final gig with Crue, “As you can see, he forgot he resigned.”
Read more at Variety.