Nikki Sixx on why Mötley Crüe picked John 5 as Mick Mars' replacement: “He checks all the boxes. He's an insane player”

Nikki Sixx and John 5
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation / Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Last week, months of intense speculation was put to bed when it was confirmed that John 5 would be joining Mötley Crüe as the glam-metal outfit’s new live guitarist.

The Rob Zombie electric guitar star was drafted into the Crüe crew shortly after it was announced the band’s co-founding and original guitarist, Mick Mars, would be taking a step back from touring duties.

Many suspected that John 5 would be the man to fill Mars’ boots, with the guitarist recently adding Mötley Crüe covers to his setlist, posing for a photo alongside the band’s drummer Tommy Lee and seemingly leaving the Rob Zombie lineup.

He also has a musical history with the band, having received writing credits for three original Mötley Crüe songs on the band’s The Dirt film soundtrack.

Now, Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx has shed some light on the decision to choose John 5 as Mars’ replacement, labeling him an “insane player” while answering fan questions on social media.

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“He checks all the boxes,” Sixx wrote. “He's a insane player. Has respect for our music, is funny as fuck and has history with us and we've written some pretty big hits together.”

The hits Sixx references include The Dirt (Est. 1981), Ride with the Devil and Crash and Burn. As for their “history”, John 5 has played alongside Sixx as part of the L.A. Rats supergroup, and once told Outburn (opens in new tab) that Sixx is “one of the most inspiring people” he’s ever known.

Sixx also tapped John 5 for an episode of his My Favorite Riffs video series, which saw the pair record a version of Zombie’s I’ve Been Everywhere.

When news of John 5’s appointment broke, the guitarist issued a statement that said, “I'm honored to carry on Mick's legacy and am looking forward to playing these songs.”

Prior to John 5’s appointment, it was announced that Mars would be retiring from touring as a result of his struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis – a form of inflammatory arthritis he has battled since his late teens.

A statement shared with Variety (opens in new tab) read, “Mick Mars, co-founder and lead guitarist of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe for the past 41 years, has announced today that due to his ongoing painful struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.), he will no longer be able to tour with the band.

“Mick will continue as a member of the band, but can no longer handle the rigors of the road. A.S. is an extremely painful and crippling degenerative disease, which affects the spine.”

As such, John 5 will replace Mars when Mötley Crüe head out for their The World co-headlining tour with Def Leppard next year.

Mars played his last show for Mötley Crüe in September this year, with footage capturing the guitar hero tearing through Kickstart My Heart.

For a list of upcoming The World tour dates, head over to Mötley Crüe’s website (opens in new tab).

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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.