Mick Mars of Motley Crue
Motley Crue – Back To Basics Brandishing A New Tattoo
Interviewed by Keith McDonald in August 2000
Motley Crue ruled the music world in the 80’s spawning such classic hard rock albums as Shout At The Devil, Dr. Feelgood and Theatre of Pain. Platinum albums, sold arenas and wild parties were the norm for these lunatics. Groupies and run-ins with the law were how the Crue spent their free time giving the band the much deserved “bad boys” of rock label. But they did have their problems though as singer Vince Neil was kicked out in early ’92 and was replaced by ex-Scream vocalist John Corabi. They saw poor album sales and even poorer concert attendance. They wised up in ’97 and reunited releasing Generation Swine and hit the road again. They also parted ways with their label Elektra Records, and started their own label, Motley Records. I had the chance to speak to guitarist Mick Mars while he was in Florida during their Maximum Rock tour in support of their new album New Tattoo.
As for the new album Mick explains “that album I think is pretty much an extension of the Feelgood era and Decade of Decadence when we were doing Primal Scream, that kind of direction. I hate saying or referring to getting back to, but I think it’s a part of the natural progression that we left out”. He also believes that the songs on New Tattoo “could have fit on (Dr. Feelgood) very easily” as they are “trying to reassure people that were Motley Crue again. The experimental stuff is, and I don t want to say back on the burner because (we) always experiment, but bands get caught up” in it. It is also a return to their earlier sound as “we change with every album” as every band “always says back to basics. I like to say a continuation of where we left off” calling it the “next logical step after Feelgood”. When the band released Generation Swine, it was a departure from their raw hard rock sound. “That album was such a far drastic change it would have been cool if David Bowie or Nine Inch Nails did it”. The album was “something I thought when we were recording it and when it came out, that it was really alienating our fans”. This was the last album that Motley Crue recorded for Elektra Records. Mick explains “I don’t want to say anything bad because it always comes back on you. I think they changed the President and the person who came in didn’t like Motley Crue. The promotion” for the band “changed and they dropped the ball. It was a blessing in disguise because we got our own masters back which is unheard of”.
The Crue also had to replace drummer Randy Castillo, due to stomach surgery. “Randy was out” Mick starts, “he moonlights as a sit-in drummer at local Hollywood clubs. His stomach kind of exploded” and they had to “rush him to the hospital and cut open his stomach to repair it. He’s recuperating and it takes a long time for muscle to heal”. In the meantime they are using Hole drummer Samantha Maloney as a fill-in. “Samantha and Nikki had been talking on-line for some time” and that Nikki asked her to recommend some drummers and that “she flew out that night”. The tour has been going well as “Anthrax is no longer on the bill” Mick notes. “What happened was that they came and asked for more money. When you go on tour you set with your accountants” the budget so “you can keep it lucrative”.
The tour continues on as “it’s been talked about lasting till next July. In September it stops in the States” as the band will head to Japan and return to the U.S. around Christmas.
Their new label, part of Beyond Records, home to Anthrax, Meatloaf, Blondie and other well known artist is “doing pretty well” Mick says. “The Greatest Hits went Gold” as New Tattoo is their first studio effort on this new venture. As for his band, “(we re) getting along great. As you get older you kinda figure it out”. People “have their quirks, good sides and bad” and that “all the petty stuff goes out the window”. Motley Crue has been around almost 20 years. “The way I look at it is either the bands get tired of each other or whatever. Most bands last only five years. You can’t get a normal job and work only five years and expect to live off that. It’s what I do” and that “I wanna be like the (Rolling) Stones”.
As for Tommy Lee, Mick hasn’t “spoken to him since he left the band. I wish we would because I miss him” and that “I love him like he was my brother. He had a change of heart and musical taste”. Mick has not heard Tommy’s new project Method’s of Mayhem and is not sure if he’ll return. “I m not going to say he never will” but that “it’ll be quite a while”.
As for Motley’s future Mick adds that “hopefully this tour and album do really well so we can record another record and tour behind it” as he just wants to see “it keep going”.
I’m sure it will.