L.A. Guns Frontman Says Mick Mars Was ‘The Only Good One’ in Mötley Crüe, Says John 5 is Not the Right Fit

In the midst of the whole Mötley Crüe and Mick Mars legal clash, the frontman of classic glam metal and hard rock band L.A. Guns, Phil Lewis, weighed in on the whole thing. And, according to what he said in a recent chat with Rock Interview Series, he’s not exactly the biggest fan.

Sure, L.A. Guns are Mötley Crüe are contemporaries and belong to the same hair or glam metal movement. On the other hand, maybe this is the standard thing among hair metal bands. Asked about Mick Mars’ legal action against his old band, Lewis said (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“It’s incorrigible, isn’t it? It really is. It’s such a swindle. But it’s probably a lot better. I mean, they’d probably sound like utter shit if they were live, with the big stadium and the big lights and Vince [Neil] singing in the way that we’ve come to know and love.”

But Lewis went a step further and doubled-down on this, calling them outright “atrocious.” He continued:

“They really are a fucking atrocious band; they always have been. And the only good player, the only good one in the band, has been very unceremoniously dismissed.”

But this isn’t new for Lewis, at least according to what he said in the interview. It turns out that he never really liked Mötley Crüe, adding:

“I never liked them. I never did. I never bought one of their records. I loathed ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’; I hated all of it. Occasionally I caught the attention of Nikki [Sixx], and he doesn’t like me. I’m a sad little pumpkin as to what he thinks about me. I just find him to be a big fraud.”

“It’s a punishment of luxury — somebody that became a millionaire at such an early age that they never really developed social skills. It’s like taking a bird out of a nest when it’s not ready to fly; it won’t develop. And I don’t think, really, that *any* of them…

“The three of them aren’t very well socially developed. They’re not very good. And Mick’s a different category entirely because he was so much older before success.

And Lewis didn’t stop there. He even compared them to

“Success can be a punishment quite often. And in their case it must just be so painful right now having been idolized for so long and now to called out as frauds, essentially as instrument-holding Milli Vanilli, as a disgrace. They’ve gotta be hurting real bad.”

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

On a more positive note, Lewis also wondered whether Crüe really deserves all that hate. He said:

“I don’t know. They make a lot of people happy. A lot of people couldn’t care less. They just wanna go there, have a good time, drink beer and be with their buddies. We’re just not that kind of a band.”

Further on, the interviewer asked Lewis if he’d, hypothetically, jump in to fill in for Vince Neil if offered a sum of $50 million. He replied:

“I would never get that offer. But they really fucked up when they went with John 5 [as Mick’s replacement] and not [L.A. Guns guitarist] Tracii Guns. And I’m glad they did, obviously. [John 5] is not the right fucking fit at all. And Tracii would just be so perfect. He’s, like, Hollywood; he’s a brat like them.”

Motley Crue - Mick Mars's IEM (In Ear Monitor) - Girls, Primal Scream and Kickstart My Heart 2022

“He’s just like the next generation down, and it would have been such an incredibly good fit. But Tracii’s not trendy. It’s gotta be fucking Rob Zombie’s guy or it’s gotta be Lenny Kravitz’s wife or ex-girlfriend. It’s gotta be trendy. It’s gotta be somebody incredibly important. It gives them a sense of importance.”

“And, as I said, I’m glad they fucked up and they didn’t [hire Tracii]. They should have got Tracii.”

He also added:

“And would I take it? Hell yeah. I’d take it. I’d do it in a heartbeat. [Laughs] All I’ve gotta do is get on stage and mime and wiggle my ass and wear whatever I want. Yeah. 50 mil? C’mon. Let’s go.”

MÖTLEY CRÜE & DEF LEPPARD - 'THE WORLD TOUR' 2023 - Ciudad de México - Cam

Well, at least Lewis is honest about that part. But after what he said in the interview, the chances of him getting any kind of a similar offer are almost non-existent.

As the legal battle between Mars and Crüe rages on, Mars’ friend and drum legend Carmine Appice recently revealed that he got a cease-and-desist letter from Mötley Crüe’s lawyers. Carmine, who’s the first one to start the whole online chaos by revealing what Mick told him, commented on the legal battle:

“Oh, it’s been unbelievable. Did you see what came out since then between Mick and the rest of the band? I’m sure you did. It’s all so sad, but it vindicates my story, which I never thought would start an entire viral Internet thing.”


“The response that came out of it was amazing, and his [Nikki Sixx’s] response of calling me a ‘washed-up drummer’ was pretty wild and pretty hurtful. But I got a great response from people through their comments, and a lot of people are behind me, so it’s all good.”

“That said, I did get a cease-and-desist letter from all these lawyers who work for Mötley Crüe, so I can’t go into too much detail. I have to be careful with what I say, but then again, we’re not really talking about details; we’re just talking about what happened.”

“I honestly was very surprised. I didn’t think he’d go there, all things considered. It really was a surprising thing because we were friends. And after the fact, I challenged Nikki Sixx to a jam-off, but I got no response. I’m not surprised, as I could jam circles around all of them. I’m sure of that. But yeah, what he said was sad because we were friends, but I guess we’re not anymore.“

Photos: Ted Van Pelt (Phil Lewis – L.A.Guns 2010), pitpony.photography (Sixx A M Rock Im Park 2016 (15 von 15)), Tyrel Snowden (John 5 (cropped))


  • 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.