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© Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/Corbis
Although he's famous for playing fat, crunchy riffs and stinging solos - through walls of Marshall stacks, of course - on heavy metal classics such as Girls, Girls, Girls and Shout At The Devil, Mick Mars, the 'silent shredder' of Motley Crue, really considers himself a bluesman at heart.
“I discovered the blues when I was maybe 12 or 13," Mars says. "I was in my house and they were playing this really loud music next door. I could literally feel it through the window – our houses were pretty close together. I didn’t know what they were playing, but it sounded good. So I went over, knocked on the door and said, ‘Hey, can I borrow that record?’ I can’t remember what the album was, but it was the blues."
The first blues record Mars bought was the 1965 debut album by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. After he got a load of their follow-up, East-West, he was hooked. "I started going out and getting things by Champion Jack Dupree, Pacific Gas & Electric and all of these different blues bands," he says. "And then along came Jimi. What Jimi Hendrix was playing was blues, but he took it a whole step further. What he did was unbelievable."
As to how he's incorporated the blues into his own style, Mars says, " The only way that I can describe that is to look at what all of the players were doing in the ‘80s. They were doing these scales, but there wasn’t any feeling at all. Without sounding cheesy, but I want every note to be from my heart and my soul. So that’s what I take from the blues – feel.”
On the following pages, Mick Mars lists those guitarists whom he considers to be the 10 greatest blues players of all time.