Mötley Crüe are being sued by their co-founding guitarist Mick Mars over claims they ripped him off and subjected him to “gaslighting” and mockery amid his painful spinal disease.
Mick, 71 – who helped found the group in 1980 alongside Tommy Lee, 60, and Nikki Sixx, 64, before the group later added Vince Neil, 62, as lead singer before they hit the big-time – makes the claims in a lawsuit filed against his fellow rockers in Hollywood, while they are on their farewell tour without him.
The suit states: “During much of the band’s recent tenure, Sixx continually ‘gaslighted’ Mars by telling him that he (Mars) had some sort of cognitive dysfunction, and that his guitar playing was sub-par, claiming that Mars forgot chords, and sometimes started playing the wrong songs.
“Astonishingly, Sixx made these claims about Mars’s playing while he (Sixx) did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour.
“Ironically, 100 per cent of Sixx’s bass parts were nothing but recordings. Sixx was seen fist pumping in the air with his strumming hand, while the bass part was playing. In fact, a significant portion of (Vince) Neil’s vocals were also pre-recorded. Even some of (Tommy) Lee’s drum parts were recordings. Some fans actually noticed that Lee was walking toward his drum set as they heard his drum part begin.”
The suit goes on: “Mars, at times on the tour, did play the wrong chords, but not due to any cognitive dysfunction.
“He was playing live, and his in-ear monitors were constantly malfunctioning, causing Mars to be unable to hear his own instrument. The fact is that Mars is rarely mocked or criticised online.
“He is a quiet member of the group, who shows up to play, and puts his heart and soul into each performance.
“Conversely, other band members are often criticised online, particularly Neil, who is routinely torn to shreds for, among other things, not remembering the songs.”
Paperwork filed at Los Angeles County’s Superior Court on Thursday (06.04.23) through Micks’ attorney, Edwin F McPherson, says the band withheld information about Mötley Crüe businesses in which the guitarist has a 25 per cent ownership stake.
Mick – real name Robert Alan Deal – adds in the suit the band has demanded he sign a severance agreement that would divest him of those and other future interests, in return for a 5 per cent stake in the group’s 2023 tour.
The rocker announced in 2022 he wouldn’t be joining the ongoing Mötley Crüe tour as he was retiring from the road due to his continuing and painful struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Known as AS, it is an inflammatory disease that can cause some of the bones in the spine to fuse.
Experts say the fusing makes the spine less flexible and can result in a hunched posture, and if ribs are affected, it can be difficult for sufferers to breathe.
Mick, who has had the disease since his teens, underwent hip surgery in the early 2000s to help him continue touring .
He told Metal Sludge in 2008: “I kept getting worse and worse, and I just stopped playing guitar for almost two years.
“Nowadays, it’s not so bad, but back then when I was high on all that stuff and Motley were having a break, I knew if I didn’t stop I was gonna die.”