CARMINE APPICE Says He Never Heard Back From NIKKI SIXX About His 'Jam-Off' Challenge

May 19, 2024

Carmine Appice says that he couldn't believe it when Nikki Sixx called him "a washed-up drummer" in response to comments he made about Mick Mars's exit from MÖTLEY CRÜE.

When Mars, a co-founding member of MÖTLEY CRÜE, announced his retirement from touring with the group in October 2022 as a result of worsening health issues, he maintained that he would remain a member of the band, with John 5 taking his place on the road. However, he has since filed a lawsuit against MÖTLEY CRÜE, claiming that, after his announcement, the rest of CRÜE tried to remove him as a significant stakeholder in the group's corporation and business holdings via a shareholders' meeting. In his lawsuit, Mars also alleged that he was the only bandmember to play 100 percent live on their 2022 stadium tour, insisting Sixx "did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour."

Mick's lawsuit came less than a month after Carmine told Ultimate Guitar that he had been talking to the guitarist about his exit from MÖTLEY CRÜE: "Mick told me, 'When I was on 'The Stadium Tour', I was not happy,'" Carmine said. "Basically, everything was on tape; it was all planned out and ultimately a lot of crap. 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 MÖTLEY CRÜE, 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 [Neil] 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.' 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."

When Ultimate Guitar asked Appice to clarify that "Mick wasn't getting along with the rest of" MÖTLEY CRÜE, Carmine said: No, he wasn't. 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. 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.'"

On March 15, 2023, Sixx, who had not given any interviews about Mars's departure from CRÜE, apparently responded directly to Appice's comments, writing in a tweet: "Love how people talk FOR us without talking TO us. This is why the media has lost credibility. Obviously by printing BS they make money off of advertising and we're not into that clickbait game. When the truth comes out it will be FROM üs."

He added later that same day: "A washed up drummer trying to speak for us? And bottom feeder media running with it to make money off of lies? Welcome to the sad new world of LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME."

On March 17, 2023, Sixx took part in a Twitter question-and-answer session and was asked by one fan: "Is what Carmine Appice said true?" the CRÜE bassist replied: "A washed up drummer speaking for our band without any of the facts is as ridiculous as bottom feeder media running with stories without fact checking. When you hear the truth it will be from us." This prompted Appice to respond by challenging Nikki to a "jam-off to see who the better musician on their respective instrument is."

Now, during a brand new interview with The Logan Show, Carmine was asked if Nikki ever reached out to him about his "jam-off" challenge. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "No. And that whole thing was so messed up, because I didn't mean to do anything. When I was doing an interview about the BBA [BECK, BOGERT & APPICE] record that was coming out, the guy said, 'What do you think about this? And why do you you think Mick left?' So I just told him what Mick told me. Mick didn't say, 'Don't say anything.' I just told him what started that whole war that's still going on. It was unbelievable. I was reaching markets I never was in before, and I was seeing myself in this one that one."

He continued: "I knew Nikki for a long time. They opened up for Ozzy when I was with Ozzy, and Nikki lived around the corner from me. We used to go out for breakfast, and I got his phone number and his real name in my phone. And I haven't talked to him in a while, but ever since they got big, they got a little stuffy. Now that'll come out now: 'Carmine says Nikki Sixx is stuffy.' But that's the truth.

"So when he started that stuff, and he called me a has-been drummer, I said, 'You fuck. What did you start? Give me something that you started in this industry. I can tell you a bunch of stuff I started that's still going on. What did you start?' That's why I challenged him. I never heard anything back. Because I was a has-been drummer, he said."

Carmine previously addressed his war of words with Nikki during a May 2023 appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", Carmine was asked if he had anything to add to everything that had been said between all the parties. He responded: "Everything that I said, Mick pretty much backed it up with his lawsuit. I was just doing an interview, like we're talking. And when I do interviews, I'm pretty candid. Mick told me that stuff, and I didn't mean it to go out of proportion like that.

"The thing for me is I knew Nikki since they opened up for Ozzy," he continued. "And when they opened up for Ozzy, I'm like the kind of guy, when I'm on a headlining tour, I befriend the opening act. Like LED ZEPPELIN with VANILLA FUDGE, I befriended John Bonham and all the guys. Same thing here. I was friends with these guys. Nikki used to live around the corner from me in L.A. We used to go out for breakfast at this '50s café, and we were friends. Even their title 'Raise Your Hands To Rock' on that [third] album ['Theatre Of Pain'], that was my title. I told him we were working on a song, 'Raise Your Hands To Rock', with KING KOBRA. And he said, 'Oh, man. I love that title. Do you mind if I steal it?' I go, 'Oh, come on, dude.' So he gave me credit: 'Thank you' for the initials, 'Raise Your Hands To Rock'. And we were friends. So to hear him talk about me like that, it kind of pissed me off. But it is what it is. And I read all these things about other musicians talking about him. I said, 'Wow, I didn't realize everyone had hatred for this guy.' I haven't seen him or talked to him in years. Same with Tommy [Lee, MÖTLEY CRÜE]. Tommy and I used to hang out when he married to Heather [Locklear] and Pam [Anderson]… And I haven't seen him for ages."

Carmine went on to say that he "got a cease-and-desist letter" from the MÖTLEY CRÜE camp after he initially publicly revealed some of the things Mick had told him. "That's why I stopped talking about it," he said. "But then when Mick said all that stuff, it kind of vindicated me, because he said everything that I said. Because that's what he told me."

In response to Mars's lawsuit, CRÜE's manager of 30 years, Allen Kovac, told Variety that Mars is coming out with a list of allegations "to gain leverage in a smear campaign on MÖTLEY. He's attacked the band, and he's done it in a slanderous way, with false accusations and misrepresenting the facts to the fans. Mick is not the victim. The victims are MÖTLEY CRÜE and the brand, which Mick is so prideful of." But, he added, "What's upsetting to me is not Mick, but his representatives, who have guided Mick to say and do harmful things to the brand he cares about so much, MÖTLEY CRÜE. He has a degenerative disease and people are taking advantage of him. It's called elder abuse."

Kovac continued: "Mick's representatives have no idea what they've created, but I've stopped the band from speaking about this, so they're not gonna turn the fans against Mick. But I am going to make sure that people understand that Mick hasn't been treated badly. In fact, he was treated better than anyone else in the band, and they carried him and they saved his life."

Mars suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS),a chronic and inflammatory form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine and pelvis. After years of performing through the pain, he informed the other members of MÖTLEY CRÜE in the summer of 2022 that he could no longer tour with them but would still be open to recording new music or performing at residencies that did not require much travel.

Regarding Mick's claim that he was the only CRÜE member to play 100 percent live on their most recent tour, Kovac told Variety: "Everything is live with Nikki's bass playing and Tommy's drum playing. When they've used loops, they're still playing. There are augmented vocals, which were (recorded) in the studio and are backgrounds behind the two ladies who are singing and (other background vocals by) John 5 and Nikki Sixx, and before that Mick and Nikki." He described the pre-recorded vocal layering as where "you multi-track and you do gang vocals with, like, 20 people, just like all the other bands do with background vocals. They've got background vocals in the mix. That's the truth.

"But Nikki played his bass and always has," Kovac continued. "Vince was singing better than he was before (on the latest tour). That was in reviews. Now, John 5 is playing like who John 5 is. I've heard John 5 perform and I heard Mick perform. Both are great guitar players. Unfortunately, Mick is not the same. He hasn't been the same for a long time. Which was in reviews! You see that the professionals knew. DEF LEPPARD (which alternated headlining spots on tour) knew. And (Mars) caused a train wreck up there, because he would play the wrong songs and the wrong parts, even with the guide tracks. When he played the wrong song, it wasn't Nikki Sixx that had a tape; it was the soundman bringing it into the mix so the audience could hear a song, even though the guitar player was playing a different song." He says audiences "would hear it at first, but (sound engineers) would fix it so that we could keep the song going. I heard it. I'd go to the sound board."

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