Nikki Sixx Opens Up Mick Mars Leaving Mötley Crüe, Reveals What John 5 Is Like to Work With

Reflecting on the events of the last year or so, Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx said that the band “never saw it coming” that Mick Mars was going to leave the band. While the whole drama between Crüe and Mars still seems to be unresolved, Sixx discussed the issue in the recent edition of the Guitar World magazine, explaining how the band was struck with a huge problem when the guitarist had to leave mid-tour. He explained:

“We never saw it coming that Mick wasn’t going to be able to tour and was going to have to quit the band. In the middle – not even the middle – of a huge tour, we had to ask ourselves, ‘Do we want to let the fans down? Do we want to let Live Nation down? Do we want to let Def Leppard down? Do we want to let ourselves down because an original member of our band can’t tour anymore?'”

“We had to have a deep, deep look into what we were going to do.”

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

Fortunately for Crüe, the band found a replacement pretty fast. John 5, who’s well-known for his work with Rob Zombie and Marylin Manson, seemed like the perfect choice. After some rumors began circling around that Mars was going to leave the band, this was eventually confirmed in October 2022. And these same rumors also involved John 5 as his replacement which, again, proved to be 100% true.

Discussing this further, Nikki Sixx added how choosing John was the right thing to do. He added:

“[In regard to] John, knowing all the members of the band, and me having this relationship with him writing and as friends, and even being in the studio with him writing stuff with the band for ‘The Dirt,’ it felt like a no-brainer in a horrible situation – something we did not ask for or want.”

MÖTLEY CRÜE “Dr. Feelgood” With JOHN 5

Sixx continued:

“And then it was just kind of obvious. If there was ‘the guy’, John was the guy. Like I said, we didn’t choose this, but since we had to be put in this position, we’re very happy with where we’re at right now.”

Of course, we all are aware of John 5’s incredible guitar-playing skills. However, his greatness seems to go well beyond his technical skills and music theory knowledge. As Sixx explains, he’s incredibly flexible and can do whatever the band wants asks him to do:

“John has the ability to play so precisely, and at the same time, he keeps so much emotion in his playing. He obviously can play any style of music, and even blend them together.”

"John 5 Guitar Solo & Smokin/Helter Skelter/Bop Medley" Motley Crue@Atlantic City 2/11/23

“As a collaborator, it’s amazing with John; you’re like, ‘Could you do…?’ And he’s like, ‘Yes.’ ‘Hey, could you do…?’ ‘Like this?’ He’s fun and exciting to hang out with – whether it’s his guitar playing, as a writer, and now on stage. It’s literally like having your little brother right by your side. It’s such a nice feeling.”

The whole drama between Mötley Crüe and Mick Mars actually began with his friend and drummer Carmine Appice revealing that the guitarist was not only unhappy at this tour but that the band was allegedly using backing tracks. Mars confirmed this and the accusations about various things began flying both ways. In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Appice said:

“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.“

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“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.“

“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.’“

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“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.“

“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.“

Motley Crue Live - Home Sweet Home 4K 60FPS

“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.’“

Of course, this was just the beginning. After this particular interview, all hell broke loose and Mars and Crüe are still in the middle of a legal fight. And in a detailed analysis done by Rolling Stone, Mars also revealed that the band was using backing tracks for a very long time now. In fact, it goes back to their “Dr. Feelgood” tour which was back in 1989. He said:

“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.”

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He also added:

“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.’”

Photos: (Sixx A M Rock Im Park 2016 (15 von 15)), 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, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.