5 Minutes Alone: Mick Mars

The Mötley man on first guitar and new solo album

5 Minutes Alone Mick Mars
(Image: © David Bro/ZUMA Press/Corbis)

As the curtain comes down on Mötley Crüe, Mick Mars shared five minutes with TG to talk Strats, sandwich shops and solo records.

I got my first real six-string...

"My first guitar was actually a ukulele. I learned how to tune it and just picked out single-string songs that were popular in the late 50s and early 60s. My parents couldn't afford a guitar so I started on this $2 ukelele.

"I got my first real guitar when I was 11, that was a Stella and it cost me $12. It was the same kind that Robert Johnson used."

You're all I need...

"If I was going to a desert island I would probably take a Marshall JCM800 and my [1996] Strat - I call her Isabella.

"A lot of multi-guitar player bands, the players are never in tune with each other: that bugs me'

"I've taken some of the old Gibson T-Top pickups and re-wound them to be hotter, probably between 14 and 16 ohm output to drive them more so I don't have to have a distortion pedal. It naturally overdrives the amp and I get a nice fat sound. I've put a Floyd Rose on it as well. I wouldn't need a pedal."

Raise your hands to rock...

"The strangest place I ever played with one of my old bands was at an American Legion hall and all of the old World War II vets came in and freaked out. We played half a song and got kicked out.

"With Mötley, we played a sandwich shop called Pookies. We went up to get paid at the end and they said we owed them money because we drank too much beer."

Power to the music...

"Every band I've ever been in, I've been the only guitar player, so when John Corabi joined Mötley that was different for me. A lot of multi-guitar player bands, the players are never in tune with each other: that bugs me. I was always the sole guitar player and that had a big influence on the style I developed.

"When you have another instrument like a piano or another guitarist it gives you more freedom, but I like to make fat chords and play stuff over the top. To me, that's the soul of the music. I'm one of those weirdos who thinks it matters whether it comes from your heart."

Without you...

"The perfect guitar player to me today is Ed Van Halen. There's a handful of guitar players that I could say changed music - Robert Johnson, Les Paul, Hendrix, Ed Van Halen. Just about everybody else kind of followed what those guys did.

"I'm working on a new album for 2016. I've got a stack of songs that need to be brushed up and finished"

"That's just my opinion, I hope nobody gets mad, because I love Steve Vai and I love Joe Satriani and Yngwie even has his thing that I like about him because he approaches guitar like a violin, he's like a maestro and that is very cool.

"When Ed came out, when Hendrix came out and Robert Johnson, they changed the way guitar playing was done."

Here I go again on my own...

"I think it's time [for Mötley to end]. When we got together I wasn't a kid, but the other guys were kids. You grow up and do stuff together and you hit a certain point where you've got to leave the nest.

"I'm working on a new album for 2016. I've got a stack of songs that need to be brushed up and finished. I've waited until now because up to now, the focus has always been Mötley Crüe.

"I've written a lot of songs over the years that just weren't quite right for Mötley. I discovered one song I wrote 20 years ago. The only thing you'll be able to tell is that it's me playing; it's a lot heavier than Mötley and it isn't a blues, it isn't metal.

"I'm not calling myself this, so please don't take this wrong, but it's like when Jimi Hendrix came out he had this music that made you go, 'Whoa.' Hopefully that's what I'm doing."

Mötley Crüe's Final Tour comes to the UK this November. For more information visit www.motley.com

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