Mötley Crüe Fake-Plays Live, Guitarist Mick Mars Claims In Profits Participation Suit Against Band

Mötley Crüe has never been shy about sharing the dirt, but guitarist Mick Mars has revealed one big secret his bandmates may have wanted kept quiet.

According to a profits participation lawsuit filed Thursday by the 71-year-old six-stringer in Los Angeles Superior Court, Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee have been fake-playing and pre-recorded some of their vocals for the tour. The allegation from Mars not only puts the self-described “world’s most notorious band” in an uncomfortable spotlight, but it also may not go down so well with the millions of fans paying Sixx, Neil, Lee and new touring guitarist John 5 big bucks to see them on tour this year.

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The bad blood that led to today’s pulling back of the rock veil on the rest of the Crüe seems to have started last year, when Mars, who suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, told the boys and management that he wouldn’t be going on the road with them anymore:

Although Mars had indicated that the 12 U.S. stadium dates would be his last shows while touring, the 12 anticipated shows ultimately expanded to 36 shows, and Mars performed at every single one of them, in constant pain. Sixx’s gaslighting came to a crescendo during the stadium tour, when he, knowing that this was Mars’s last tour as a result of his increasingly painful and debilitating AS, and apparently already plotting to force him out of the band and take his shares, repeatedly told Mars that he was playing the wrong chords, and that fans were complaining about his playing.

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% 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 Neil’s vocals were also pre-recorded. Even some of 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.

Interestingly, as if to blunt pushback from the filing, the now Nashville-based Mars does admit he wasn’t always on the right power chord during his last few months with the band. “Mars, at times on the tour, did play the wrong chords, but not due to any cognitive dysfunction,” the 28-page petition says. “He was playing live, and his in-ear monitors were constantly malfunctioning, causing Mars to be unable to hear his own instrument.”

Now, the Crüe are far from the only band to have been said to use backing tracks live. The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Kiss have all been tainted in recent years with the stain of faking it to make it. an embarressed Mars himself even let it slip once in a radio interview that his band used backing vocal tracks while on tours. In 2019, bassist and lead songwriter Sixx admitted that the band has long used embraced technology to “fill out the sound.”

Still these new allegations from Mars, who is still featured all over the band’s website and social platforms, go much further. The claims push the hard rockin’ and hard livin’ Crüe closer to the sludge of Milli Vanilli territory – a place no self respecting outfit wants to be

Not naming any of his bandmates as defendants, the April 4 petition by Mars, filed by heavyweight music lawyer Edwin F. McPherson and Pierre B. Pine of LA’s McPherson LLP, aims for a state judge to provide the guitarist with access to documents related to the band’s various holdings, of which he is a 25% owner/participant.

To that end, with Sixx, Neil and Lee as corporate directors, the actual defendants are Mötley Crüe Touring, Inc., Mötley Crüe, Inc., Red, White and Crue, Inc., Masters 2000, Inc., Cruefest, LLC, Mötley Records, LLC, Masters 2008, LLC, as well as various unnamed business entities.

Read the filing here.

Having ended another tour of the U.S. and Mexico last month and preparing to go to South America and Europe later this spring, Sixx, Neil, Lee and their 10th Street managers allegedly wanted to cut Mars’ compensation to around 5% and have him sign over his rights to the band’s assets. His refusal to walk away from tens of millions of dollars and the subsequent arbitration the band pulled Mars into led to today’s filing.

“They clearly commenced an arbitration, rather than a public lawsuit, so that the public would not be aware of the deplorable manner in which they treated their ‘brother’ of 41 years,” Mars and his lawyers note.

Last year, Motley Crüe completed a hugely successful Live Nation-promoted megatour with fellow aged rockers Def Leppard and support acts Poison and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Turning up the volume in another medium, 2022 also saw the band fictionally featured in Hulu’s acclaimed Pam & Tommy miniseries.

Not long after Mars’ last show with the band he co-founded more than 40 years ago, he announced in October last year that he was pulling back from touring due to his “painful struggle” with the spine-fusing AS.

In a response statement a few days later, the rest of the band said they accepted Mars’ decision to “retire from the band” – which is not what the guitar player actually said. As he reiterates in the lawsuit, Mars was going to “continue as a member of the band,” but was just not going to tour anymore with the band. He still intended to record with them and play the occasional one-off show or residency.

Even for a crew that’s broken up, broken bones, broken everything at least once, any creative reconciliation with Mars is likely well all off the table now.

Representatives for Mötley Crüe, who saw their warts, ODs and all 2001 bio The Dirt turned into a 2019 Netflix movie, did not respond for request for comment on Mars’ petition. Guess that sometimes the Devil doesn’t want to say a peep, let alone shout.

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