John 5 confirmed as new Mötley Crüe touring guitarist

John 5
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

John 5 has been officially confirmed as the new touring guitarist for Mötley Crüe, after it was announced the band’s original and co-founding guitarist Mick Mars would be retiring from live duties.

Mars’ retirement was confirmed yesterday (October 27), with the electric guitar hero stepping back from touring as a result of his ongoing struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis – a form of inflammatory arthritis he has battled since his late teens.

In a new statement posted to Mötley Crüe’s social media, the band heralded the Rob Zombie guitarist as an “absolutely outstanding musician” and announced he would be joining Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx on the road ahead of their The World tour with Def Leppard.

It read, “While change is never easy, we accept Mick’s decision to retire from the band due to the challenges with his health. 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,” it continued. “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 honor his musical legacy.

“We will carry out Mick’s wish and continue to tour the world as planned in 2023. 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 of you Crüeheads out on the road!”

In response to the appointment, John 5 said, “I'm honored to carry on Mick's legacy and am looking forward to playing these songs.”

The news ends weeks of speculation surrounding the guitarist, with many spectators predicting John 5’s Mötley Crüe recruitment following his absence from Zombie’s Aftershock Festival appearance earlier this year.

At the same time, John 5 posted a picture of him posing with Crüe drummer Lee, with podcast host Jason Green further fueling the fire by asserting, “I am reporting it as fact: that John 5 will be joining Mötley Crüe for their upcoming foreign tour.”

Unbeknownst to the public, John 5 has inadvertently been prepping himself for his stint with Mötley Crüe during his recent solo shows, which have included a variety of Crüe covers such as Kickstart this Heart and Home Sweet Home.

The new-look Mötley Crüe lineup will hit the road next year for their co-headlining The World tour with Def Leppard, which is scheduled to kick off on February 18 in Mexico City. The six-month tour will see the two bands visit the UK, Europe and South America, before concluding on July 6 in Glasgow, Scotland.

For more information, and a full list of tour dates, head over to Mötley Crüe’s website.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.