Mick Mars claims he barely played guitar on the last three Mötley Crüe albums

Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil and Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe perform onstage during The Stadium Tour at Nationals Park on June 22, 2022 in Washington, DC
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)

Following questions over what is actually live playing at Mötley Crüe's shows, departed guitarist Mick Mars now claims he barely played on the band's last three studio albums. 

Mars is currently in a legal battle with his former bandmates Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee and Vince Neil, over his removal from the band following his decision to retire from touring following decades of suffering with degenerative bone condition ankylosing spondylitis. While the guitarist has accused some members of miming to prerecorded tracks at shows, the band has suggested it was actually Mars that was using the extra help. Now he's dropped another bombshell.

I think I got one lick on that album

“I don’t think there’s one note that I played,” Mars tells Rolling Stone of Generation Swine, 1997's first reunion album with Vince Neil. “They didn’t want my guitar to sound like a guitar, basically. They wanted it to sound like a synthesizer. I felt so useless. I’d do a part, they’d erase it, and somebody else would come in and play.”

According to Mars, this situation didn't improve for the follow-up, 2000's New Tatoo. “I didn’t write any of those songs, since I wasn’t invited,” he says. “I think I got one lick on that album.” 

It's an assertion that bassist Nikki Sixx denies to Rolling Stone: “Mick played lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and any other guitar that’s on that record,” he says.

By Crüe's 2008 album Saints Of Los Angeles, Sixx admits that guitarist DJ Ashba was brought in out of necessity. “Mick was struggling to play his parts,” he says. “So there’s [a] mixture of D.J. and Mick, and we would always make Mick the center focus unless, of course, he couldn’t play his parts or remember his parts."

How can you fire Mr. Heinz from Heinz ketchup?

While the band have been forced to continue their Stadium Tour dates with Def Leppard with a new guitarist in the shape of John 5. Mars is showing no sign of backing down on his legal action.

“When they wanted to get high and fuck everything up, I covered for them,” Mars told Rolling Stone. “Now they’re trying to take my legacy away, my part of Mötley Crüe, my ownership of the name, the brand. How can you fire Mr. Heinz from Heinz Ketchup? He owns it. Frank Sinatra’s or Jimi Hendrix’s legacy goes on forever, and their heirs continue to profit from it. They’re trying to take that away from me. I’m not going to let them.”

In the meantime, Mars has his forthcoming debut solo album, Another Side Of Mars, to look forward to. Release date TBC. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.