John 5 officially joins Mötley Crüe

John 5
(Image credit: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images)

Mötley Crüe have officially announced John 5 as the touring replacement for co-founder and guitarist Mick Mars, who recently stepped down from the road for health reasons.

This news could be filed under ‘worst-kept secret of 2022’, with the rumour mill spinning overtime that John 5, Rob Zombie’s go-to master of the Telecaster, was going to hook up with the Crüe. He has long been a fan of the band, a close friend of Nikki Sixx, with whom he plays in the Los Angeles-based rock supergroup L.A. Rats, and has covered classic Crüe tracks live. 

He recently posted various pictures on his Instagram account from Mexico, where he was spending some downtime with the rest of the band celebrating drummer Tommy Lee’s birthday.

Mötley Crüe announced the news in a statement, but first saluted Mars’ bravery for battling the degenerative condition ankylosing spondylitis (AS) since he was a teenager.

“While change is never easy, we accept Mick's decision to retire from the band due to the challenges with his health,” said the band. “We have watched Mick manage his ankylosing spondylitis for decades and he has always managed it with utmost courage and grace.

“To say ‘enough is enough’ is the ultimate act of courage. Mick’s sound helped define Mötley Crüe from the minute he plugged in his guitar at our very first rehearsal together. The rest, as they say, is history. We’ll continue to honour his musical legacy.”

John 5 has chops to burn, but big shoes to fill. Mars was the unsung hero in a band whose appetite for the OTT and decadence often pulled focus from what he was doing on guitar.

“I’m honored to carry on Mick’s legacy and am looking forward to playing these songs,” John 5 wrote in the statement.

He will be pressed into action soon enough, as the next stage of Mötley Crüe’s tour with Def Leppard picks up in Mexico City on 18 February 2023, after which both bands will tour the Americas before hitting the UK in May. 

“We will carry out Mick's wish and continue to tour the world as planned in 2023,” the band continued. “No doubt will it take an absolutely outstanding musician to fill Mick's shoes so we are grateful that our good friend, John 5 has agreed to come on board and join us moving forward. We'll see all you Crüeheads out on the road!”

See below for full dates.

Motley Crue and Def Leppard tour poster

(Image credit: Def Leppard / Mötley Crüe)
Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.