Ex-MÖTLEY CRÜE Singer JOHN CORABI: 'I Don't Envy JOHN 5 At All At This Point'
August 13, 2023
In a new interview with Clint Switzer of the "On The Road To Rock" podcast, ex-MÖTLEY CRÜE frontman John Corabi, who joined the band in 1992 as the replacement for original singer Vince Neil, was asked for his opinion on John 5 stepping in for the band's founding guitarist Mick Mars after Mars retired from touring with CRÜE as a result of worsening health issues. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I love John. He's great. And it's weird because I have nothing but mad respect for John because I've known him for a gazillion years. My manager used to manage him, so I've known about him forever. And he is an insanely talented guitar player."
Addressing Mick's April 2023 lawsuit against MÖTLEY CRÜE in which the guitarist claimed that, after his announcement that he would no longer tour with the band, the rest of CRÜE tried to remove Mars as a significant stakeholder in the group's corporation and business holdings via a shareholders' meeting, John said: "None of this stuff, all the shit that's going on between Mick and them, none of it surprises me. It doesn't. And John's got big shoes to fill, and he's kind of stuck in this. And trust me, I get it, 'cause I was stuck in this shitty place as well between MÖTLEY CRÜE and whoever was being replaced's fans. You know what I mean? I had to deal with the fans that were massive Vince Neil fans, and I get it. And it was awkward at times to sit and listen to the guys do interviews where they went out of their way to slagVince. I didn't even know the guy, so I had nothing shitty to say about him. But it is what it is, man."
He continued: "I don't envy John 5 at all at this point, you know what I mean? He's kind of in a weird position, 'cause I know he adores Mick, and he's friends with all the MÖTLEY guys, so he's kind of in a weird position. They offered him a great gig, and he's doing it. So trust me, I can relate."
When Mars announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE last October, he maintained that he would remain a member of the band, with John 5 taking his place on the road.
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 last summer 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.
Back in December, about four months before Mick filed his lawsuit against MÖTLEY CRÜE, Corabi told Backstage Pass Rock News about the guitarist's exit from the band: "Personally, my verdict is… I have an opinion, I have a thought on what transpired, but I haven't heard anything from Mick. The statement that we've all gotten was from MÖTLEY and their management and whoever's on that side of the camp.
"I know John 5. I think he's a brilliant guitar player. I am not taking [anything] away from John, because I love the guy to death. He is a guitarist's guitarist. But I can't help but think, when we were doing the 'Generation Swine' record, there was a rub between me and Mick, which transpired during… They had already told me that they were bringing Vince back, and their manager said to me, 'Can you help them finish the record?' And I said, 'Yes.' And every day they would call me at nine or ten o'clock in the morning, and it was Nikki, this guy Scott Humphrey and Tommy [Lee, drums] — [they] were producing the record — and they would call me every day, and they would go, 'Hey, can you come by the studio and play some guitar?' And I said, 'Well, as long as Mick is cool with it, sure.' Well, every day I'd get to the studio and they just complained, like, 'Oh my God. We had Mick here yesterday till two o'clock in the morning. We couldn't get anything out of him,' and blah blah blah. So, that was '95. And then they did the record. Now, I can tell you right now most of the rhythms on that record were mine. And if Mick was sitting here, he'd go, 'Yeah, most of the guitars were his.' So I played on the 'Generation Swine' record. I don't know if Mick played on 'New Tattoo' — I'm not sure — but I know it was DJ Ashba on 'Red, White & Crüe', on the new songs, and I know on 'Saints Of Los Angeles', it was DJ Ashba. And then I know on the movie 'The Dirt', the new songs that they did [for the accompanying soundtrack], [a cover of Madonna's] 'Like A Virgin' and all that shit, it's John 5. So they haven't had Mick… they haven't been using him since — fuck — '95.
"Again, I'm just looking at things the way I look at 'em and I can't help but think that they just went for the upgrade — in their minds," Corabi added. "You do have a history there; the fans are used to that history.
"And you know what? Folks, if I am wrong, I'll come back again with you and I will say, 'I apologize. I'm wrong.' But until I hear it from Mick, I don't buy any of it."
Corabi previously talked about Mars's supposed retirement from MÖTLEY CRÜE during an appearance on a fall 2022 episode of the "Life In The Stocks" podcast. Saying that there was something else that was "kind of bugging" him about the way Mars's exit from MÖTLEY CRÜE's touring lineup was announced," he added: "Because since that announcement came out, I've reached out to Mick and his wife a few times. And Mick hasn't responded at all. And I sent [his wife] — she's from Switzerland — so when I was there last week, I sent some photos of the Alps — I was in the Alps — and I wrote to her, and I said, 'Hey, I'm in your motherland.' And she wrote back. Then I came back, and I was, like, 'Hey, man, how's Mick?' And she goes, 'He's fine.' [And I said], 'Hey, what's going on?' Crickets. So that's kind of unusual behavior for Mick and [his wife]; they would normally [be] just, like, 'Yeah, dude. Everything's cool. Whatever.'"
Speculating about the possible reasons for Mick's silence, Corabi said at the time: "I don't know if he's embarrassed or he's maybe… Who knows? Maybe he's angry and maybe he's being told not to say anything to anybody. Maybe there's gonna be a lawsuit. I don't know. But I just know how those guys operate, and I would not be surprised if they didn't say, 'Mick, look. You're in pain. We've got John 5. We're gonna bring him in.' Maybe throw him a bone — like every time they tour, throw him some money — but 'we're gonna move forward with this guy.' It wouldn't surprise me."
Corabi clarified: "Now, this is all a theory. I know about as much as you guys do. But personally, I don't believe a word of that statement at all."
Mars — whose real name is Robert Alan Deal — served as MÖTLEY CRÜE's lead guitarist since the band's inception in 1981.
Back in 2016, Mars released snippets of two solo songs, apparently called "Gimme Blood" and "Shake The Cage". The tracks, which were recorded at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, where Mars has lived for about 10 years, featured Corabi, who appeared on CRÜE's 1994 self-titled album. Corabi later said that he didn't contribute to the writing process for the two songs, but that he was open to collaborating with Mars on some brand new material.
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