Mötley Crüe have finished their first studio album with John 5 – and promise it’s “heavier than anything”

Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx (left) and John 5 onstage in Kansas
(Image credit: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Nikki Sixx has revealed that Mötley Crüe have finished tracking their first studio album with John 5 on electric guitar, signaling that the long wait for a new record from the band has almost come to an end.

Sixx took to his Twitter account last Saturday (May 13), to share the news that the record was “100 percent officially done and ready for mix," with the finishing touches polished off in a London studio alongside frontman Vince Neil. 

Sixx and Crüe decamped to London this past weekend, in advance of their world tour with Def Leppard picking up (at the latter’s hometown), on May 22 at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. 

And besides roaming around and taking in the sights, the Los Angeles rock institution put the finishing touches on what will be their first studio album since 2008’s Saints of Los Angeles, and their first without co-founder Mick Mars on guitar.

That chapter of Mötley Crüe’s oft-combustible history has, of course, ended in acrimony, with Mars suing the band

Mars had announced his retirement from touring with the band last October, with his long-standing struggle with the debilitating condition ankylosing spondylitis causing him too much pain to handle rigorous touring schedules. 

He was, it seems, planning to remain in situ when it came to the studio, with latter-day master of the Fender Telecaster John 5 thought to be joining as only the Crüe’s touring guitarist. Now following the lawsuit, it looks like we’re officially in a new era.

“The [new Mötley Crüe] songs are fucking heavy,” John 5 told Eddie Trunk on his Sirius XM show, recently (via Blabbermouth). 

“I sound like a little excited kid right now, but they're heavy and they’re mean. I can’t wait for them to come out. I’m just so excited... All I can tell you is that it’s heavy and it’s aggressive, and I think people are going to dig it because, talking as a fan, it’s fucking badass.”

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There are no further details as to the new Mötley Crüe album’s title or track listing. The band’s setlist for their epic stadium run with Def Leppard has been front-to-back classic Crüe. But there is one tantalizing detail for long-time fans; Bob Rock returns as producer. 

Having captured the ur-Crüe sound on the band's 1989 smash-hit album Dr. Feelgood, who better to deliver a 21st-century hard-rock blockbuster? As a long-time fan and new-start guitar player, John 5’s perspectives are instructive. He describes working with Rock as “one of the most incredible experiences ever." 

“I’m thinking, ‘We've got so much great technology today’… but we got in that room and it was like being in a garage working on a song when you were in high school,” he told Trunk. “It was incredible, and we documented a lot of it too.”

Maybe some of that heaviness John 5 speaks of will be coming from Rock and his approach to capturing guitar tone. His proclivity for multi-tracked guitars, layering parts using many different guitar amps, not only helped Crüe reach their commercial zenith on Dr. Feelgood, but Metallica too, with the Black Album (1991) ushering in a new stadium-packing era for the band.

Meanwhile, the Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard co-headlining juggernaut rolls on. After Sheffield, they hit mainland Europe and return to the UK in July. 

See Mötley Crüe for full dates and ticket details. And then take a look at John 5’s Crüe live rig – it’s a surprisingly minimalistic setup for what is arguably the most maximalist gig in rock.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. 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.