Mick Mars of M?tley Cr?e

August 23rd, 2005
by EvilG

Mick Mars of M?tley Cr?e
Interviewed in Jan. 1999 by David Lee
 

MOTLEY CRUE is set to raise its middle digit to the world once more.  This time the vehicle is called “Greatest Hits” and the wheels have already begun to burn a bit of rubber across a very limp and lifeless music industry. Elektra records has been cast aside in favor of the Motleys own label and distribution network. An international tour of theaters and arenas to support the release is currently being planned and Tommy is, finally, out of jail! Things, as they say, are about to happen.

The group that set the standard for outrage and excellence is also using the American portion of their tour to fish for talent by allowing a local group to open the show in each market played. Standard practice for acts of lesser popularity but, virtually, unheard of for groups of MOTLEY CRUE’s stature. The “Kick Start Your Career” contest is an act of genuine class that the group feels it owes the next generation of rockers. A Motley Records(TM) compilation CD is scheduled to follow the tour and will, likely, launch several of these current unknowns onto the national stage.

One thing that you can set your watch by is the fact that their will be controversy of some kind attached to all these goings on. The last tour kept both the PMRC and local law enforcement officials busier than the Arkansas State Troopers under, then Governor, Clinton. Almost as predictable is the fact that Mick Mars will, probably, sit back and watch it all, preferring to let his six string wreak his share of the havoc.  Mars has established a following as a guitar hero that he, scarcely, seems to recognize. He is soft spoken and humble preferring to leave the term “legend” for his own heros, (OZZY and KISS), rather than for himself. In a phone interview Mick told me of both the immediate and some future plans for the band as well as the ongoing legal dispute with John Corabi. I don’t think that I can fully express my excitement over having the opportunity to interview such an important artist from my rock and roll adolescence. I did manage to keep from fawning for most of the interview so as to get as many pertinent facts as possible. In any case, here in his own words, is MOTLEY CRUE’s Mick Mars.


Metal Rules!!
This is the first record without the support of Elektra Records. How does it feel to be Elektra-less?

MICK MARS:
Elektra-less?(laughs) Let me see . . . A lot more free. That sounds like an old hippy thing but it is not so restricted. Unlike Elektra Records, we are going to push it and put it out without dropping the ball. Elektra dropped the ball so many times on our records after “Dr. Feelgood” it was just embarrassing and a little disheartening. When we were first signed with that label we, single handedly, pulled them out of a slump. MOTLEY CRUE enabled them to sign other bands, like, METALLICA and stuff like that. They were about ready to go under. Then when they started dropping the ball it was just so disheartening. Having our own label, we know that is just never going to happen. It is a cool feeling.

 

Metal Rules!!
The Motley Records label has been around for a while, right?

MM:
Yeah.

 

Metal Rules!!
Are there going to be other artists on the label?

MM:
I am sure that there is. Nikki has signed a band to his subsidiary of Motley Records called LAIDLAW and they will be opening for us on this tour. There are a lot of cool things that could come from this.

 

Metal Rules!!
Will they be opening up on this club tour or when you get to arenas?

MM:
It is not really clubs. It is theaters that we are doing but, yes they will be doing that for the six weeks as well as the local band.  There will be a local “Battle of the Bands” winner that will be opening as well. That opens up another door for the bands that might be good but don’t have the money to go to New York to be heard or to LA to be heard.  It is a good opportunity for them and it is a good opportunity for us to discover, undiscovered talent. There are a lot of positives to all this.

 

Metal Rules!!
It certainly has created a good deal of excitement to the kids on the street who now actually have a chance to open up for THE CRUE.

 

MM:
Yeah! Elektra would probably have had a heart attack if we asked them for something like that.

 

Metal Rules!!
They would have, probably, made you take out one of their baby bands.

MM:
Yep.

 

Metal Rules!!
Well, It’s been some time since MOTLEY CRUE has been in the position of being a baby band. It has to feel a bit different for you now that you are the older kids on the block and are looked at as mentors instead of upstarts?

MM:
Um…I don’t know. I don’t think of it that way. I know that we have done a lot and everything but sometimes you just look back and say “I know that we have done a lot but I don’t feel like this mentor I am supposed to be.” Me personally, I just feel like I do what I love to do. I make music and play and do that kind of thing. Tommy went to a concert the other day and the guitar player from GREEN DAY came up to him and was just going on and on about how much he loved MOTLEY CRUE and how when he first started his band they had “Shout at the Devil” and “Too Fast For Love” on their tape decks all the time and that was all that they listened to. It was kinda like, “Wow! Really?” It is kind of interesting but it is weird for me because I look at people like OZZY and go “Cool man!” You know? I guess that is how people look at us sometimes.

 

Metal Rules!!
O.K. so, you have got a new record going to stores and it is a greatest hits package which begs the question, Why a greatest hits record when it hasn’t been that long since you issued Decade of Decadence” which was a greatest hits package, of sorts?

MM:
A couple of reasons. “Decade of Decadence” wasn’t really a greatest hits. It was more of an album that had the band look back over the first ten years of being together and let us four pick our favorite songs from those albums. “Greatest Hits” is more of what were hits for us. We really couldn’t do a full album because the Tommy going to jail thing kinda put things off and we wanted to get a product out so that people would know that MOTLEY CRUE is here no matter what. We also wanted a product because we were gearing up to go on tour without the time to do a full record and it seemed the most logical move to make.

 

Metal Rules!!
You have two new songs on the record, are they new for this record or have they been sitting around for a while?

MM:
They were written specifically for this record.

 

Metal Rules!!
While I was researching for this interview I came across a reference to you having sung on a song for the Japanese pressing of the last record. Is that true?

MM:
I did? I don’t think so. They might have said Nikki or got it confused somehow. You know how that works, You can say “The American Flag is red, white and blue.” and at the end of the thing they will say “The Mexican flag is orange, yellow and pink.” It gets all switched around. I can sing but I don’t like my voice.

 

Metal Rules!!
So it’s for the shower only(laughs)?

MM:
Yeah(laughs) And for melody lines. I will wait until nobody is around and go “Hey Nikki, listen to this.” I am real careful about it.

 

Metal Rules!!
You have to be other wise it will end up on somebodies bootleg list and be all over the place.

MM:
And then I will be going “Oh God! I sound like a sick cat singing!”

 

Metal Rules!!
Since your future as a singer is in doubt, is being the guitar player in MOTLEY CRUE fulfilling enough for you or is there something else that Mick Mars wants to do artistically?

MM:
Yeah it does fulfill but there is always that element there where you go “I want to do this.” Like Nikki, he has that 1958 record that he did and Tommy wants to do something and Vince wants to do something and so me to. Of course MOTLEY CRUE comes first and anything else will be a side project.

 

Metal Rules!!
I notice that the “Motley Crue” record is not represented on “Greatest Hits”. Is that still kind of a sore spot with Vince and the rest of the band? I ask only because that record has some great music on it and it looks like it may never be played again.

MM:
Well, there is a lot of great music on that record but John Corabi is suing us so, it is, in my opinion, like fueling the fire. That would make it even more ripe for the lawyers to go “Hey! Well, there is a hit right there!” You know what I mean? So, not to sweep it under the carpet but until this whole mess is all done it will, probably, stay right where it is. After it is all over with, you never know what can happen. I am not saying that this will happen but in ten years we can have another greatest hits and go “Let’s put on ?Hooligan’s Holiday'”.

 

Metal Rules!!
It really is a shame that lawyers are so much more involved in the artistic process than the artists at times.

MM:
Lawyers wreck everything!

 

Metal Rules!!
You started out the last tour doing a mini run of dates in theaters and then moved on to arenas with the bigger production. Is that the plan this time around?

MM:
Actually, the “Generation Swine” tour was a little bit of both. It was like some theaters and some arenas. This one we have scaled it down quite a bit. Being a little bit closer and more intimate with your real fans is a good thing. We have six weeks, so far, booked and if this does extremely well then we could keep it going on but it is a hard thing to say at this point. Maybe we will say “Let’s go in and do another record, release it and go back out and do more theaters or arenas.” Or maybe, put something together that is so big that we could play stadiums, its hard to say right now.

 

Metal Rules!!
Is there music written for another record?

MM:
Not yet. There is a lot of music written but we haven’t said “This goes on the next record, this goes on the record after that.”

 

Metal Rules!!
Before we have to leave I wanted to ask you your opinion of technology to make rock music especially because you have always struck me as a real rock and roll guitar player without many of the frills that are available to others.

MM:
I am pretty much a purist. Technology is good and I like evolving and changing but I think that I do my best when I am just playing this raw kind of music. The last album was a huge change for me and a huge challenge. For somebody like, Robert Fripp, it would be a piece of cake but for me it was a challenge. Then again, if you got Fripp to play raw like this he would probably go, ugh!

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