MÖTLEY CRÜE has officially recruited John 5 as its new guitarist following Mick Mars's decision to no longer tour with the band.
Earlier today, MÖTLEY CRÜE released the following statement: "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!"
Added John 5: "I'm honored to carry on Mick's legacy and am looking forward to playing these songs."
A longtime friend of MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx, John 5 is one of the credited co-writers on the three original songs on CRÜE's "The Dirt" soundtrack and he is also a member of L.A. RATS, the supergroup featuring Sixx, Rob Zombie and drummer Tommy Clufetos.
John 5's involvement with MÖTLEY CRÜE as the band's new guitarist was first reported as a rumor by the Metal Sludge web site on October 7.
Speculation about John 5 replacing Mars gained strength after the longtime ROB ZOMBIE guitarist failed to appear with the shock rocker at this year's Aftershock festival in Sacramento. Rob was instead joined on stage by returning guitarist Mike Riggs for the first time since 2006.
John 5 has performed MÖTLEY CRÜE songs a number of times in the past. Back in 2018, John 5 was joined by Sixx along with ANTHRAX's Scott Ian and his wife Pearl Aday at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California to play a cover of "Shout At The Devil". Earlier this year, the guitarist ran through renditions of both "Home Sweet Home" and "Kickstart My Heart" at various shows on his U.S. tour.
John 5 spoke about his close friendship with Sixx in a 2019 interview with Outburn. At the time he said: "Nikki, he's my best friend. We love each other. He has inspired me and taught me so much about life in general. He's a phenomenal songwriter, lyricist, author, everything. He's always telling me to listen to this audio book or see this movie. He has a happy marriage, a happy life, a successful band he started from the ground up. He's one of the most inspiring people. He'll text me all the time to read something or try something. It's wonderful. He's a phenomenal photographer as well. I remember him telling me that he’s going to take bass lessons again and get into playing with his fingers. He was so dedicated. We worked on 'The Dirt' soundtrack together. When we went into the studio, he did it all with his fingers. [MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer] Tommy Lee was like, 'Look at you.' He's just such a dedicated person. I loved ['The Dirt'] movie; it was killer."
Mick's retirement was officially announced on Wednesday via a statement from his representative to Variety. The statement said: "Mick Mars, co-founder and lead guitarist of the heavy metal band MÖTLEY CRÜE for the past 41 years, has announced today that due to his ongoing painful struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.),he will no longer be able to tour with the band. Mick will continue as a member of the band, but can no longer handle the rigors of the road. A.S. is an extremely painful and crippling degenerative disease, which affects the spine."
Back in 2013, CRÜE singer Vince Neil said that Mars's ongoing battle with Ankylosing spondylitis, a painful form of chronic arthritis that causes vertebrae in the spine to fuse together, as well as the band's desire to "go out on top" were the primary reasons for CRÜE's decision to call it quits after 2015. "It's just time," Neil said nearly a decade ago. "Mick's health is not that good, and touring is tough on him. I'm sure in five, 10 years' time, we'll probably do something together again, but it's not gonna be like a KISS farewell to the farewell to the farewell tour. We're not gonna be like that."
CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee echoed Vince's comments at the time, telling Canadian progressive-house music producer and performer Deadmau5 in a video: "Our guitar player, Mick, he has a spinal disease that's slowly fusing his vertebrae together. It's one of those things that's treatable, but not curable. So it's just progressively getting really worse and it's painful for him, so he doesn't wanna tour much longer. I can't say I blame him… The last thing we ever wanna do is go out running on two cylinders with some hired guy playing guitar; that's just wack. So we wanna go out with one big hurrah with the original guys and be done with it."
However, in an October 2013 tweet, Mars painted a different picture, claiming that his medical condition had never affected his playing. "Once again, any rumors regarding a farewell tour due to 'my poor health is BS," he wrote. "I am doing fine, my AS has never kept me from touring." He added: "Thank all of you for knowing the truth… When I'm done touring, you'll hear it from me."
The 71-year-old Mars has struggled with Ankylosing spondylitis since his late teens and spoke about his first experiences with it in CRÜE's 2001 biography "The Dirt".
"My hips started hurting so bad every time I turned my body that it felt like someone was igniting fireworks in my bones," he said. "I didn't have enough money to see a doctor, so I just kept hoping that I could do what I usually do: will it away, through the power of my mind. But it kept getting worse. Then, one afternoon while doing my laundry. I started having trouble breathing. At first, it felt like someone had plunged a knife into my back. But as the weeks passed, the pain kept moving around my back. Next, my stomach started burning, and I worried that my whole body was about to fall apart. I thought that there was a hole in my stomach, and acids were leaking out and destroying my bones and organs. I'd grab hold of doorknobs, anchor my legs into the ground, and pull with my hands to stretch my back and ease the pressure out."
Mick told Metal Sludge in 2008 that his condition had worsened in the later decades and that he 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 MÖTLEY were having a break, I knew if I didn't stop, I was gonna die. In the end, I had to go to a neuro-psychiatrist to straighten me up, and he said to me, 'Just hold the guitar for an hour a day — don't play it, just hold it.' It was pretty bizarre but I got through it, and in the end, I think I'm actually a better player because of it."
Last week, it was announced that MÖTLEY CRÜE and DEF LEPPARD will go global in 2023 with their co-headline "The World Tour". Produced by Live Nation, the trek will kick off on February 18, 2023 at Foro Sol in Mexico City and include stops throughout Latin America before heading to Europe in May 2023.
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