Mick Mars Explains How Prog Rock Inspired His Solo Album, Recalls How He ’Winged’ His Classic Mötley Crüe Solo

Former Mötley Crüe axeman Mick Mars has reflected on his first-ever solo album and how it all differs from his old band material, as well as what people were expecting to hear from him.

Called “The Other Side of Mars,” Mick’s debut solo record is expected to come out on February 24 this year. So far, we’ve heard three songs from it which the guitarist released as singles. However, the moment his first single “Loyal to the Lie” came out in late October 2023, it was clear that Mars is doing something unexpected — it’s not bluesy-oriented material and it’s very unlike Mötley Crüe. In a way, the stuff so far is more in the vein of nu metal with a dash of classic metal and industrial.

During a recent appearance on the Talkin’ Rock show, Mick was reminded of how the material doesn’t resemble Mötley Crüe, especially not compared to what Nikki Sixx or Vince Neil did in their own solo material. The guitarist then explained how his music was actually inspired by some unexpected stuff, offering (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“Let’s take ‘LA Noir’ [closing song from the album, not yet released] for an example because it’s instrumental, but it’s based on those old B-movies in the ’40s — those smooth sleuth movies, with 6/4 time signatures and stuff, real slinky, sleazy, and comical kind of thing. [Laughs] It’s that kind of stuff that I think about.”

Interestingly enough, there’s some serious prog rock on his mind when he talks about his new material. He added:

“When I was younger, I would listen to King Crimson, Gentle Giant, and that kind of stuff for more intricate progressive rock. But yeah, that stuff impressed me a lot, too.”

Going more into the matter, Mars also reflected on how, despite many of his fans’ expectations, the record ended up not being very bluesy.

“My heart lies in the blues, but I didn’t want to put out a blues album,” the guitar legend explained. “So I still have that heavy stuff in me too.”

On top of the prog rock stuff that he mentioned, Mars says that there’s also other somewhat unexpected influences. Sure, apart from Jimi Hendrix who’s pretty much everyone’s influence one way or the other, Mick cites jazz legend Wes Montgomery as another example.  

“When Hendrix came out, I was floored [laughs] because I was like a little kid,” he said. “But yeah, that’s stuff I’m listening [to], many, many different music — Wes Montgomery too, jazz music, and all that. It’s all there in my head, waiting to come out.”

Mick Mars - Undone

A jazz-inspired record from Mick Mars definitely sounds like something we’d be interested to hear. However, he’s probably far from that idea, especially knowing that he didn’t do a bluesy album as many have thought he would.

“I think that’s what a lot of people expected to hear from me,” Mars said when he was asked about this decision. “And actually, I didn’t want to go down that path. Even though I love the blues, I didn’t want to go down that path.”

“I wanted to go down a whole different thing, I guess. It’s in me, it’s there, and I just wanted to not repeat the same blues stuff over and over. [Laughs] I don’t know how to explain it clearly. I just didn’t want to go there.”

Mick Mars - Right Side of Wrong

During the same interview, Mars also reflected on how his legendary guitar solo for Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” wasn’t actually planned in advance at all.

“That just came up. I didn’t really have anything planned,” he said when asked about how the lead part came to be. “I just winged it, actually. Just played it and perfected it, of course — real minor things — but it is what it was when I played it. Just pretty much how it is.”

And, to be fair, a lot of lead parts were made like this. However, not as many are so memorable compared to what he did on “Home Sweet Home.”

Mick Mars - Loyal to the Lie

In an interview from late 2023, Mars discussed his decision to not do a blues-oriented record, explaining:

“Yes. Exactly. Exactly right. Because I love the blues, I love jazz. I love blues. I love all that stuff. And I was pretty sure that the Mars-listening audience would expect that.”

“And I didn’t want it to be predictable. So I wanted to get the big, thick, heavy stuff that sometimes I couldn’t do.”

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

“I mean, I could always do it. But yeah, I think that everybody was thinking more that it was going to be a little bit more bluesy and that kind of stuff. So I went in the opposite direction.”

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 and brands like Sam Ash.