Mick Mars Recalls Producer Complaining About His Guitar Sound, Reflects on Mötley Crüe’s Overlooked Album

Now a former member of Mötley Crüe, Mick Mars looked back on the band’s difficult days back in the 1990s. Speaking to Eddie Trunk in a recent interview on the “Trunk Nation” podcast, Mars was reminded of the band getting back together with Vince Neil and doing the controversial “Generation Swine” album later that decade.

In fact, around that time, Mick even felt like quitting the band altogether since he wasn’t satisfied with the way things were going.

“That era right there of the ‘Generation Swine’ was a bit difficult for me,” Mars admitted (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs). “And it was difficult for me because the band was really trying to reinvent itself when it really didn’t, because it was really hard for me to come up with stuff that…”

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Mick eventually parted ways with Mötley Crüe in 2022. Initially, he was only supposed to be out of the touring lineup, with former Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 filling in the spot. However, it turned out that there were deeper issues at hand, and Mick and Crüe went into an all-out legal (and media) war.

However, Mick’s dissatisfaction with how things were in the band goes way back. Particularly with “Generation Swine,” Mick recalled the sessions for this album. What was weird about the whole thing is that, despite the classic lineup getting back together, Mötley Crüe went on to do a more “alternative” record, going more towards the industrial rock sound.

It went to the point where Mick, as he reveals, was supposed to make his guitar not sound too much like a guitar. He continued:

“Well, the producer of that record, to make it short, [said] ‘That sounds too much like a guitar.’ And I’m going, ‘It is a guitar.'”

Along with the band’s own Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, the album was co-produced by Scott Humphrey. As far as his work as a producer and engineer in the music business goes, Scott is best-known for his collaborations with Rob Zombie, so doing Mötley Crüe must have been a massive change for him.

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“That one was a little rough on me,” Mars added, “but we got through it, just like we’re supposed to do as a band. And that was bad, but yeah, I mean, it was hard. And, yeah, a lot of stress.”

During the same chat, Mick was also asked about his current health and whether it affects his ability to play and write music. Considering the fact that he has released his first-ever debut single recently, as well as the fact that he’s finally releasing his long-awaited debut record, it seems that he’s doing well.

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For most of his life, Mick has been dealing with ankylosing spondylitis, which is one of the reasons why he decided to quit touring in the first place. When asked whether the condition is affecting his ability to play, he replied:

“Not at all, my ability to play is as strong as it ever was. I think you could tell from my record. My mind is perfectly normal. Well, you’re not very old, but I’m an old guy, and I still feel like my brain says, ‘You’re only 19.’ You know how that works?”

“And no, there’s nothing wrong with my memory, there’s nothing wrong with anything except for, you know, I have AS [ankylosing spondylitis], and that stuff gets to be pretty painful. When you have to travel and the intensity of that — get on this flight and fly here 13 hours and then get up, play and do this and then go — it gets to be pretty much of a beating.”

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Another thing Mars discussed during the interview was Mötley Crüe’s 1994 self-titled album. Being the only record featuring John Corabi on vocals, it didn’t achieve any significant commercial success at the time. Nonetheless, these days, it feel like people are rediscovering that brief era of the band. When reminded that the album “has aged remarkably well,” the guitarist explained:

“At the time, people actually weren’t ready to accept it. After time and stuff, and then all this, it’s like, ‘Oh, okay. How come this didn’t…’ you know?”

“So it’s all good with people rediscovering stuff like that as cool. It’s like when you rediscover an old Beatles song or an old Stones song. You rediscover it, and you go, ‘Whoa, that’s better than I remember.’ [Laughs] So it’s like that kind of a deal for me.”

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And Mick admits that he felt really well about the music on the album, and he still does, despite it not reaching the levels of popularity that other records had:

“And I thought it was a great album when it came out. And I still do. I’m really happy that a lot of people are rediscovering that album because that one has a lot of really good songs on it — as well as very meaningful things to say.”

Photo: 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 Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.