Mick Mars Discusses Mötley Crüe’s New Song, Final Tour and Playing "Memorable" Guitar Parts
This is an excerpt from the June 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the rest of this story, plus features on Nikki Sixx, Pantera, Carlos Santana, the history of MXR pedals, Nergal, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from EVH Gear, Dunlop, Randall, Taylor Guitars and more, check out the June 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.
Crüe Cüt: After more than 30 years together, Mötley Crüe are calling it quits. Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx talk about their past excesses and achievements—and what the future holds for them all.
“After this, Mötley’s done!” proclaims Mick Mars. He’s talking about Mötley Crüe’s recently announced Final Tour, which will see the band crisscross the globe—with Alice Cooper in tow for the North American leg—for one last hurrah. It’s a farewell celebration of the highest order, and one that is, Mars assures, truly a farewell.
Indeed, lest anyone think the guitarist and his Mötley mates—singer Vince Neil, bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee—are, like too many bands before them, merely setting the stage for their next reunion, think again. This past January, the Hollywood-bred foursome staged a press conference under the banner “All Bad Things Must Come to an End,” at which they signed a legally binding “cessation of touring agreement.”
The document prohibits the band members from hitting the road, individually or in any configuration collectively, as Mötley Crüe after 2015, effectively putting a cap on what has amounted to more than three decades of onstage decadence.
Why now? According to Sixx, the idea is to end it the way it began, all the way back in 1981. “We want it to be the same four guys,” he says. “We want it to be while we’re still at the top of our game. We want to go out with dignity.”
Below is an excerpt of the Mick Mars portion of the interview. The entire interview — including the Nikki Sixx portion — can be sound in the new June 2014 issue of Guitar World.
EXCERPT: Nikki mentioned that the two of you have been working on a new song together. What can you tell us about it?
This song is for the Final Tour, and it’s about the Final Tour. The working title is “All Bad Things Must Come to an End.” It’s probably about half finished. We have to wait for Vince to sing it, and then I’ll do my soloing and ear candy all over it and stuff like that. But what happens with us after that, music-wise, is kind of vague, I guess. I’m not gonna paint myself in a corner and say, “Oh, yeah, there could be more music coming out,” when I don’t really know. I don’t really have the answers. I know that the contract we signed says that in no way will any of us go out playing Mötley Crüe music as Mötley Crüe. And it’s pretty binding and pretty heavy. So that’s it.
You’ve teased the idea of doing a solo album for years. Now that Mötley-related activity is winding down, will this become a reality?
Absolutely. I’ve been writing for quite a long time, and I’m going through some of the archives that I have, things I’ve written going back to ’95, ’96. And I think what a lot of people may say—and I have to say “may” because I don’t know—is, “This is crap.” [laughs] Or, they may say, “Wow! I didn’t know Mick could write like that! I didn’t know Mick could play guitar like that!” Hopefully that happens. If it doesn’t, then that’s okay too. I mean, it took 20 years for a lot of the fan base and everyone else to realize how groundbreaking the  Mötley Crüe album with John Corabi was. So you never know.
There have been rumors that you and John Corabi might also be working together again.
There’s been a lot of talk about it, but we haven’t gotten together yet. John’s built his name up pretty big here in Nashville, and I would never want him to do something that would take him away from his thing. But to sit and collaborate and write songs together would be cool for both of us, I think. So if it happens, then great. If not, that’s cool too. We’re still friends.
As far as Mötley’s music is concerned, is there anything you look back on and think, “We could have done that better”?
Well, there are two albums that aren’t my favorites: Theatre of Pain and Generation Swine, although there’s a couple good songs on each one. Theatre of Pain has “Home Sweet Home,” and on Generation Swine there’s a song called “Glitter” that’s real good. But those are two records where I felt we could’ve done better.
Guitar playing in the Eighties, especially in hard rock and metal, was heavily dependent on flash and tricks and speed, which was not your style at all. Do you feel your abilities were overlooked as a result?
Sometimes. Because everybody and their mother was playing all scales, all the time. Like, “Oh, I’m a great guitar player now!” But everyone was just doing the same licks over and over and over. My schooling came from listening to records, and thinking about how I felt about the song and following the melody. My goal was always to play something that fit and something that was memorable, not just a barrage of notes. And because I didn’t play all the scales or do this or that, you know, people thought that I was this crap guitar player.
After more than 30 years playing with Mötley Crüe, how would you most like the band to be remembered?
I’d be happy if people thought of us in the top 100 iconic bands that ever came along, like the Stones and Hendrix and Zeppelin and those guys. That’d be nice. If I could get in that category, then yeah, I’d be a happy man.
Photo: Justin Borucki
For the rest of this story, plus features on Nikki Sixx, Pantera, Carlos Santana, the history of MXR pedals, Nergal, columns, tabs and reviews of new gear from EVH Gear, Dunlop, Randall, Taylor Guitars and more, check out the June 2014 issue at the Guitar World Online Store.