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Mötley Crüe

Mick Mars Files Suit Against Mötley Crüe, Claims He Was Forced Out Of The Band And That His Bandmates Used Pre-Recorded Parts On Reunion Tour (Updated)


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It would appear that the rumors of discontent between glam rock legends Mötley Crüe and their guitarist Mick Mars were true. In October of last year, it was announced that the 71-year-old musician would be stepping down from his live duties with the group. An official statement issued by the band indicated that Mars‘ struggles with Ankylosing Spondylitis were the reason for him stepping back.

While the band indicated Mars had retired, Mars himself intended to remain onboard as a potential recording member, while also being open to performing at select shows. Ultimately, John 5 of Rob Zombie, etc. fame was named as his live replacement, having since assumed the role onstage with the band.

However, a recent social media beef between Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, etc.) indicated that Mars was unhappy with being sidelined. Appice also alleged during that feud that Sixx‘s performances amid Mötley Crüe‘s latest reunion touring were all on ‘tape’.

TMZ report that Mars has now filed suit against his bandmates, after being unhappy with how they have handled his cut of the business since he was forced to step down. Chief among Mars‘ complaints is that the band allegedly diminished his 25% cut of the proceeds from the band’s touring down to 5% after he stepped back.

He also claims that he was forced out of the band’s touring lineup amid a band meeting, though he maintains he could still record and play limited live engagements. Mars further alleges that Sixx would routinely gaslight him about the diminishing quality of his guitar skills.

Mars also alleged in his suit that Sixx “didn’t play a single note on bass” during at least some of the band’s reunion touring, stating that Sixx mimed along to pre-recorded parts. Mars‘ suit seeks to access to the band’s financial records to establish a proper accounting of what he feels is his rightful share of the profits.

Update: April 06th, 2023 10:26 AM:

Variety have published some more insight into the suit. Portions of Mars‘ legal filings have been reprinted by the aforementioned publication, with some notable entries shared below:

“[Mötley Crüe] noticed an emergency shareholders’ meeting for the band’s main corporate entity in order to throw Mars out of the band, to fire him as a director of the corporation, to fire him as an officer of the corporation, and to take away his shares of the corporation. When he did not go away quietly, they purported to fire him from six additional band corporations and LLCs.”

The suit further contends:

“During much of the band’s recent tenure, Sixx continually ‘gaslighted’ Mars by telling him that he (Mars) had some sort of cognitive dysfunction, and that his guitar playing was sub-par, claiming that Mars forgot chords, and sometimes started playing the wrong songs.

Astonishingly, Sixx made these claims about Mars’s playing while he (Sixx) did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour. Ironically, 100% of Sixx’s bass parts were nothing but recordings. Sixx was seen fist pumping in the air with his strumming hand, while the bass part was playing. In fact, a significant portion of (Vince) Neil’s vocals were also pre-recorded. Even some of (Tommy) Lee’s drum parts were recordings. Some fans actually noticed that Lee was walking toward his drum set as they heard his drum part begin.

Mars, at times on the tour, did play the wrong chords, but not due to any cognitive dysfunction. He was playing live, and his in-ear monitors were constantly malfunctioning, causing Mars to be unable to hear his own instrument. The fact is that Mars is rarely mocked or criticized online. He is a quiet member of the group, who shows up to play, and puts his heart and soul into each performance. Conversely, other band members are often criticized online, particularly Neil, who is routinely torn to shreds for, among other things, not remembering the songs.”

The suit also alleges that the band had essentially attempted to legally strongarm him out of his 25% share of the band via a depreciating scale of their business going forward. Per the suit, Mars‘ share in the band’s 2023 touring would lower to 5%, with 0% being offered for future touring beyond. It is said that arrangement would also apply to merchandise profits, sans any merchandise depicting Mars‘ replacement John 5, which would see Mars entitled to 0%.

Per the suit, the alleged paperwork that the band presented Mars would force him to divest himself from the the band’s various business interests. He claims to have been unaware of the existence of some of those associated businesses listed in that arrangement, and thus is seeking access to the band’s financial records.

Mars claims that when he refused to sign the severance arrangement, the band sued him to force him into arbitration, resulting in him opting to countersue.

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