Def Leppard’s Rick Allen Speaks Up on Why Mick Mars Really Left Mötley Crüe, Talks What He’s Like

Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen recently appeared on the Appetite for Distortion podcast, discussing his work and the band’s stadium tour with Mötley Crüe. During the chat, Allen touched upon Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars and his decision to retire from touring due to troubles with ankylosing spondylitis.

Certain musicians, including the former Crüe vocalist John Corabi, suggested that this wasn’t Mars’ decision. However, Rick Allen shot down these claims by offering during this new interview (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“It was Mick’s decision to really move on and just get to the next part of his life. And we all know that Mick has suffered terribly, terribly with pain; you see it on his face all the time.

“And I think the only time I ever saw him truly in his element [was] when he was up on stage playing with the band. It was more his decision. That must have been a super hard decision.

“I mean, it would have been different if the guy was being thrown out of the band, but it wasn’t like that at all. It was a personal choice that he made. And you can’t say that that’s wrong. It was right for him at the time.

“Over the months — well, actually years — that I’ve known him, I really started to talk to him. So unassuming. Such a soft, gentle soul.

“And when I first met him years ago, I was actually quite afraid, you know. [Laughs] But he’s the exact opposite of that — just a really sweet, generous person. So it must have been a very difficult decision for everybody to have to go through that.”

Ernie Ball: String Theory featuring Mick Mars

The decision for Mick Mars to leave was made public in late October last year. Although leaving the touring lineup, the guitarist would continue to be an official member of the band.

At that point, it wasn’t officially confirmed, but rumors started flying around the internet that it was John 5, known for his work with Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, who would replace Mars. Eventually, these rumors turned out to be true.

The statement about Mars leaving the band was shared to Variety by his official representative. It 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.

Motley Crue Live 2022 4K HDR First Energy Stadium Cleveland, Ohio July 14, 2022

“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 for theories that Mars wasn’t the one who actually made the call to part ways with Mötley Crüe, vocalist John Corabi addressed the issue last November by saying:

“I will just say this: I know John [5] as well. He’s a brilliant — and I cannot say ‘brilliant’ loud enough — he’s a brilliant guitar player and a great dude. But the verdict for me is out until I hear a statement from Mick. The statement that we heard was put together by Mötley and their people. And I’m not totally sure I believe what they’re saying. So I’ll just leave it at that.”

Motley Crue 1st Show with John 5 - Kickstart My Heart

Discussing the issue further, Corabi clarified:

“I don’t totally believe Mick’s reasons for leaving Mötley. And I don’t even know if he left Mötley. I believe maybe he was shown the door. Because as long as I can remember…

“Fuck, when we were doing the ‘Generation Swine’ record, they were complaining about his guitar playing then. And if you really look at all of the records they’ve done since then… The majority of the guitars on the ‘Swine’ record, which is one of the reasons why I sued the guys, are mine.

“They were complaining about Mick the whole fucking time. And I don’t know if he played on ‘New Tattoo’ — I’m not sure — but I know on ‘Red, White & Crüe’, it was D.J. Ashba; on ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’, it was D.J. Ashba; and on ‘The Dirt’ [soundtrack], it was John 5.

John 5 Plays Hello Kitty Guitar in 13 Different Styles

“I don’t know. I could be totally wrong about this, so don’t run around and fucking, whatever, put it in print yet, but I’m just saying I’m waiting for Mick’s response. The one that we’ve all heard came from Mötley and their management.”

Corabi also added that he tried to reach out to Mars at that point and that he got no response. He explained:

“Because since that announcement came out, I’ve reached out to Mick and his wife a few times. And Mick hasn’t responded at all. And I sent [his wife] — she’s from Switzerland — so when I was there last week, I sent some photos of the Alps — I was in the Alps — and I wrote to her, and I said, ‘Hey, I’m in your motherland.’ And she wrote back.

“Then I came back, and I was, like, ‘Hey, man, how’s Mick?’ And she goes, ‘He’s fine.’ [And I said], ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ Crickets. So that’s kind of unusual behavior for Mick and [his wife]; they would normally [be] just, like, ‘Yeah, dude. Everything’s cool. Whatever.’

He also added:

“I don’t know if he’s embarrassed or he’s maybe… Who knows? Maybe he’s angry and maybe he’s being told not to say anything to anybody. Maybe there’s gonna be a lawsuit. I don’t know. But I just know how those guys operate, and I would not be surprised if they didn’t say, ‘Mick, look. You’re in pain. We’ve got John 5. We’re gonna bring him in.’

Motley Crue live performing Dr.Feelgood in 1994 with Corabi

“Maybe throw him a bone — like every time they tour, throw him some money — but ‘we’re gonna move forward with this guy.’ It wouldn’t surprise me.”

“Now, this is all a theory. I know about as much as you guys do. But personally, I don’t believe a word of that statement at all.”

Photos: Raph_PH (DefLappardO2061218-51 (49913641228) (Cropped)), Shadowgate (Motley Crue 19 (3689109499))

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.