Mötley Crüe in Headlines For the Wrong Reasons Amid Accusations, Lawsuit

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Mick Mars performing on the band’s 2022 tour

When Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars revealed on Oct. 26, 2022, that he would retire from touring, the band issued a public statement supporting their bandmate’s “courage and grace.” Things changed dramatically when news arrived on April 7, 2023, of a profits participation lawsuit that Mars filed on April 4 against the band. In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Mars, whose real name is Robert Deal, alleged that since his amicable retirement from the stage, the band has since tried to oust him and cut off his future earnings. In a statement, Mars’ attorney, music lawyer Edwin McPherson, said “It is beyond sad that after 41 years together, a band would try to throw out a member who is unable to tour anymore because he has a debilitating disease.” Deadline.com broke the story about the lawsuit, posting it in its entirety here.

Mars turns 72 on May 4. He has suffered for decades from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic form of arthritis. He was replaced on the band’s 2023 world tour by John William Lowery p/k/a John 5.

Mötley Crüe has since vigorously responded to Mars’ lawsuit. “After the last tour, Mick publicly resigned from Mötley Crüe,” Sasha Frid, the band’s litigation attorney told Variety. “Despite the fact that the band did not owe Mick anything — and with Mick owing the band millions in advances that he did not pay back — the band offered Mick a generous compensation package to honor his career with the band. Manipulated by his manager and lawyer, Mick refused and chose to file this ugly public lawsuit.”

There’s more: In the lawsuit, Mars claims that his bandmates—Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee—have been fake-playing and pre-recording certain vocals on their tour. None of the individual members are named in the suit; the defendants are confined to their corporation, touring entity, and other related companies.

Mötley Crüe (Photo: Paul Brown; used with permission)

As Variety reported, “Mars’ suit—filed as a request for records and documents, in response to the band filing its own suit taking him to arbitration—included the allegation that he was the only member of the quartet playing live through 100% of the 36 shows on the 2022 stadium tour. He said Sixx didn’t play a note live, and that Neil and Lee were sometimes seen or heard by audience members away from mics or instruments when their parts were going on.”

The band’s tour manager, Thomas Reitz, countered that argument. In a statement, he wrote, “Mick was struggling, forgetting chords and songs. The other band members spent hours trying to help Mick. Mick would often get frustrated and confused. [His] issues continued and got worse during the tour. Virtually at every concert, he played the wrong chords, wrong song or would forget what song he was playing. A sound technician would always need to have a backup track ready in case Mick played the wrong song or chord.”

In the 28-page petition, Mars acknowledged that “at times on the tour, [he] 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 [him] to be unable to hear his own instrument.”

The band’s complete statement on Oct. 27, 2022, following Mars’ announcement that he was opting out of the tour due to health reasons:

“While change is never easy, we accept Mick’s decision to retire from the band due to the challenges with his health. We have watched Mick manage his Ankylosing Spondylitis for decades and he has always managed it with utmost courage and grace.

To say ‘enough is enough’ is the ultimate act of courage. Mick’s sound helped define Mötley Crüe from the minute he plugged in his guitar at our very first rehearsal together. The rest, as they say, is history. We’ll continue to honor his musical legacy.

We will carry out Mick’s wish and continue to tour the world as planned in 2023. No doubt will it take an absolutely outstanding musician to fill Mick’s shoes so we are grateful that our good friend, John 5 has agreed to come on board and join us moving forward. We’ll see all you Crüeheads out on the road!”

It was signed: Vince, Tommy & Nikki

Mötley Crüe‘s 2023 tour with Def Leppard kicked off on Feb. 18 in Mexico with stops throughout Latin America before heading to Europe in May and wrapping up in the U.K. on July 6. They return to the U.S. for a brief stadium tour that begins on Aug. 5. Tickets are available here and here.

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