Drummer Legend Reveals Truth on Mötley Crüe Using Backing Tracks, Claims Mick Mars Confirmed ’Everything Was on Tape’

Recently, drummer Carmine Appice spoke up about Mick Mars’ decision to part ways with Mötley Crüe. Known for his work with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Blue Murder, and Cactus, Appice reflected on his friendship with Mars in a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar. When asked to share his thoughts on Mars’ decision to leave the lineup, Appice revealed that the guitarist wasn’t happy in Crüe, particularly due to the band using so many backing tracks for these performances. He said:

“Well, I tell you what I’ve been talking to Mick, and he told me, ‘When I was on the Stadium Tour, I was not happy.’ Basically, everything was on tape; it was all planned out and ultimately a lot of crap. And Mick is a pretty good player, and so, to now let him loose and play the way he wants, that was never going to work for him.

“The truth is that everything has been weird for a while with Mötley Crüe, and Mick didn’t like that everything was on tape. Mick told me that people that came to see it could tell that it was all pre-recorded and that everything was on tape.

He continued:

“When you play in a stadium like that, you can hear a lot of things come to the monitors or what doesn’t. And with Vince’s vocals, bass, drums, guitars, and all the other stuff, it was obvious that it was all on tape. And Mick was pissed off and said, ‘I can play these things. I want to play them. I don’t want to make believe I’m playing them.’

“So, I think that’s one of the reasons why he said, ‘I’m done.’ Sure, the disease that he has doesn’t help, and it doesn’t make life easy on tour, but Mick can play all the licks, and he was allowed to.

MÖTLEY CRÜE - Live @ Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, FL 12 MAR 2023

When asked whether Mick Mars wasn’t really getting along with Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, and Tommy Lee, Carmine replied:

“No, he wasn’t. He had his own means of travel and would travel alone on a bus while the other guys flew everywhere. He said, ‘Man, these guys are pissing their money away, flying to every gig.’ They were all busy still trying to be rock stars, and Mick just wanted to play the music. Mick wasn’t interested in wasting time and money flying everywhere, so he traveled by bus.

“Their lifestyles are different than his, and so there were a lot of disagreements. I think he was just done. They were supposed to have done their last tour, and then they came back. Then they did the Stadium Tour, and that was apparently supposed to be the last. So, when they came back again, he said, ‘You can do it. I’m not going out with you for this.’

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

Further on, Appice was asked to weigh in on John 5 who officially replaced Mars in Mötley Crüe’s live lineup. Although he’s impressed with John’s playing, Appice adds that this doesn’t matter if it’s all pre-recorded anyway. He said:

“He’s a good player. But if they’re on tape, it doesn’t matter. It’s sad because when Motley Crue first went out with Ozzy, they were smoking. I lived out in L.A., and I’d see them perform on the Strip; they’d walk in with their makeup, and they looked like the New York Dolls. A lot of people said, ‘They’ll never make it; that look is over.’

“But a year later, they blew up and did it all themselves. They put their posters all over town, and they were selling out arenas quickly. Then they got a record deal with Tom Werman producing, and that’s when Ozzy caught wind of them and asked them to open for us. At that point, they were really good.

Motley Crue Live - Home Sweet Home 4K 60FPS

Asked whether he was friendly with the guys from Mötley Crüe back in the day when he was in Ozzy’s band, Appice replied:

“I got to be friends with them all, and I used to hang out with Tommy [Lee] and Nikki [Sixx] all the time. They lived around the corner from where I lived, and we’d go to breakfast all the time. And I used to go to Tommy’s house with him when he was with Heather [Locklear]; we were good friends, too. I had a red Ford Pantera, and that’s why Vince [Neal] got on, which is the car he crashed and killed Hanoi Rock’s drummer in.

“So, yeah, I was good friends with all of them. I remember that when they did their second record, I lent them a bass drum of mine, which they used on the album. I went down to the studio while they were recording, and I realized that the bass sound that Tom Werman was getting was not that great, so I stepped in and lent them mine.

Mötley Crüe - Live at Estadio San Marcos - Lima, Peru - Feb 28, 2023 (Full Show + HQ Sound)

“In the end, it sounded great. I stayed in touch, but then, as they got bigger and bigger, things changed. But again, all of Tommy’s tricks that he does, a lot of that came from me. He credited me for that, and I respect him for it. He became a good drummer. I watched him grow, and I watched him get huge. So, it’s sad that we’re not in touch anymore.

In October last year, Mick Mars officially parted was with Mötley Crüe, citing struggles with Ankylosing Spondylitis as the main reason. This only confirmed rumors that were spreading online, claiming that he’ll be leaving the group. These rumors also suggested that John 5 would be joining the band which proved to be true in the end.

Photo: Shadowgate (Motley Crue 20 (3689110677))

  • 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 Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.