Mötley Crüe Was Using Backing Tracks Way Before You Thought, Mick Mars Claims: ’I Never Liked That Garbage’

Former Mötley Crüe guitar player Mick Mars, who’s currently going through a legal dispute with his ex-bandmates, revealed that the band was using backing tracks as early as one of their classic albums from the late 1980s.

Rolling Stone recently did a whole feature on Mötley Crüe, featuring interviews with Mars, his legal representatives, the band’s legal representatives, the band’s manager Allen Kovac, the band’s former singer John Corabi, and even members of Mars’ old band called White Horse. A new batch of information comes in the form of outtakes that they didn’t include in the feature.

Referring to it as “15 things we learned from our time with Mick Mars,” Rolling Stone released 15 individual parts of their conversation with the guitarist as outtakes. The outtake number 9 reveals that, according to Mars, “The band started using backing tracks at their concerts around ‘Dr. Feelgood’ since the three musicians onstage couldn’t recreate every part of the album live.”

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

This was a new piece of information in the ongoing series of accusations from Mars’ side, claiming that the band’s current tour, which Mars was also part of, features heavy backing track usage. The musician reflected on the time around the release of “Dr. Feelgood,” which was in 1989, and said:

“I remember saying, ‘People know what’s supposed to be there. Will they miss it? Some probably will, but a majority will not. They’ll hear it subliminally the way it was recorded as long as the meat and potatoes are there.’”

As Mars adds, he didn’t feel like doing this but there were, according to his words, “holes to fill.” He continued:

“I didn’t want to fool the audience, but the others wanted to fill in where the holes were. I never liked that garbage.”

Nikki Sixx Backing Track, Mexico 2023

In the outtake number 11, Rolling Stone also reveals Mars’ words about bassist Nikki Sixx not playing live at all during the 2022 tour. As he explained:

“I’ve been with him a long time, and I got fan-based film of him thrusting his arms in the air and stuff when there’s a bass line playing. I’m absolutely positive [he wasn’t playing live bass].

“I think he did that because he felt too much competition from the other bands on the tour, like Def Leppard. I think they made him feel inadequate about his bass playing.”

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

The source further points out that Nikki denied these accusations and that “the band produced sworn declarations by seven members of the crew backing up Sixx.”

Although the band’s former singer John Corabi, who replaced Vince Neil in the 1990s, had some doubts that Mick Mars’ initial departure from the band had more going on behind the scenes, it wasn’t until drummer Carmine Appice revealed, in an interview with Ultimate Guitar, what Mars told him on the matter. Appice, who’s Mars’ close friend, was asked to weigh in on the guitarist leaving Mötley Crüe to which he replied:

“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.

Motley Crue: Wembley Stadium 1st July 2023

“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 Motley Crue, 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.

To elaborate on that further, Appice added:

“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.

Mötley Crüe - Intro/Wild Side - Dublin, Ireland, 4/7/2023

“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.

Carmine also added that Mars also wasn’t getting along with the band members at all:

“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.”

motley crue -the dirt (feat machine gun kelly),live at hellfest 2023-

“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.’

Not long after these statements went public, the legal battle between Mick Mars and Mötley Crüe commenced. Earlier this year, Mars revealed that he officially sued the band and confirmed Carmine Appice’s statement from the aforementioned interview. The band returned fire and the legal war is still ongoing. Meanwhile, Mötley Crüe continues on with John 5 on guitar and the band members, as well as their whole team, deny the backing track allegations.

Photos: De-fexxx666 (Mick Mars – Erie, PA), pitpony.photography (Sixx A M Rock Im Park 2016 (14 von 15))


  • 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.