Nikki Sixx recently spoke about MÖTLEY CRÜE ‘s decision to hire John 5 to replace original guitarist Mick Mars, who announced his retirement from touring with the group last October
Sixx tells U.K.’s Planet Rock: “I’ve been friends with John forever and I would make jokes, ‘As long as you’re a 5, I feel good being a Sixx.’ Y’know, stupid best buddy jokes.
“Me and that guy have been either hanging out at each other’s houses, writing songs… he plays (guitar) all day long. So, he comes over here and he grabs one of my guitars or brings his own and we just sit around and play and talk about the ’70s and how great LYNYRD SKYNYRD and ‘Scooby Doo’ was.”
He continued: “My wife just said that when Mick told us he was leaving the band and I told her I’d talked to Tommy [Lee, CRÜE drummer] and Vince [Neil, CRÜE singer], and everybody feels that John would be a great fit, and I hadn’t called John yet because you had to be sure we were doing everything correctly. My wife said, ‘Well, that’s great.’ I said, ‘What do you mean by that?’ She goes, ‘Well, you’ll be going on stage and you’ll be on the phone to John.’ And they’re, like, ‘You gotta go on stage!’, and he’ll be like ‘Okay, call me back in an hour and a half.’
“So we’re always chatting and jamming and the friendship is so wonderful. Him and Tommy are really close. Vince loves him. He’s just a great guy and a great musician and he gives us a great opportunity as a three-piece so to speak to really lock in. He’s just such a great guitar player.”
Discussing MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s musicianship to how it was while Mick Mars was still in the band, Nikki said: “It’s nothing against any other musician that you play with, just that when you play with new musicians you play differently. We’re still playing the same songs that people wanna hear but it kind of like re-inspires you. And I’m sure the same thing would happen if they got a new bass player. They’re like ‘oh wow, he’s attacking it differently.’ So it’s never about how bad anybody was.
“It’s a nice time [for MÖTLEY CRÜE] and it’s kind of inspired us to write a little bit,” he added. “We love our history, we’re very proud of everything we’ve done. We’ve always been really supportive of Mick no matter what Mick was going through. We’re just happy with where we’re at right now.”
Regarding Mick ‘s lawsuit against MÖTLEY CRÜE, Nikki said: “If a member of a band tells you that they can’t tour because of health reasons, you have two choices. You can quit as a band [after] 42 years of work. Or we could look at each other and go ‘are we done yet?!’ We’re really peaking and we understand [Mick ‘s] health issues.
“We wish him the best and we know that he’s a little bit confused and being misled by representatives right now. But we still have to stay focused on why we’re here.”
Mick Mars suffers from the arthritic condition Ankylosing Spondylitis which affects the spine and sacroiliac joint. He informed MÖTLEY CRÜE last summer that he would no longer tour with the band but would still be open to recording new material with the group.
Attorney Edwin McPherson filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mick Mars in Los Angeles County’s Superior Court on April 6, requesting that all corporate entities associated with MÖTLEY CRÜE reveal their records related to their business dealings after Mick notified the band that he would be retiring from the road due to his ongoing struggles with his arthritic condition ankylosing spondylitis.
Mick says in the lawsuit that MÖTLEY CRÜE cut his percentage of profits after he announced he would no longer be touring with the group. He also claims the band’s lawyers made him feel like he should be grateful for the small cut he was offered. Mars also claims a band meeting was held where the group decided to “unilaterally” remove him from MÖTLEY CRÜE altogether.
Speaking with Variety, Mick Mars said about the other members of MÖTLEY CRÜE: “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, Bob Daisley recounted a conversation he had with the other members of MÖTLEY CRÜE back in 1984, when they had allegedly asked his advice on how to go about firing Mars, to which he strongly advised against. Daisley also retold the story recently in a talk that was featured on BLABBERMOUTH.NET.]
“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.”