JOURNEY guitarist Neal Schon says that he supports MÖTLEY CRÜE guitarist Mick Mars in his legal dispute with his bandmates over the latter group's ongoing tour.
When Mars, a co-founding member of MÖTLEY CRÜE, announced his retirement from touring with the group last October 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, in his lawsuit, which was filed last Thursday (April 6) in Los Angeles County's Superior Court, Mars said 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.
Specifically, Mars claims he was asked to sign a severance agreement that would divest him of his 25 percent stake in the band's various business interests in return for a 5 percent stake in the band's 2023 tour. This stake, the lawsuit alleges, would be reduced to 0 percent for future tours. Mick claims CRÜE's management later upped the offer from 5 percent to a 7.5 percent stake in the band's 2023 tour, which would remain contingent on Mars divesting himself from the band and their businesses. When Mars refused to sign the papers, the band took the dispute to 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," Mick claims in the lawsuit.
Schon, who founded JOURNEY in 1972 and remains the band's sole consistent member, having participated in every album and tour to date, weighed in on Mick's dispute with CRÜE on social media on Saturday (April 8). Responding to a Twitter poll asking "Are you on #TeamMick [or] #TeamMotleyCrue", Schon wrote "Mick" and added in a follow-up tweet: "Given his health issues, and he obvious swagger, he gives to the band through his guitar playing. He didn't deserve this."
After Mars filed his lawsuit on Thursday, MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx responded on Twitter, writing: "Sad day for us and we don't deserve this considering how many years we've been propping him up. We still wish him the best and hope he find's [sic] lawyers and managers who aren't damaging him. We love you Mick."
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.
"Retiring from touring is resigning from the band," MÖTLEY CRÜE lawyer Sahsa Frid told Variety in response to the lawsuit. "The band's primary function is to tour and perform concerts. And as you saw from the amendment, if a shareholder resigns, he cannot receive any compensation from touring — which is what Mick is trying to get. It's clear-cut that Mick is not entitled to any more money."
In his lawsuit, Mars also alleged that he was the only band member to play 100 percent live on their most recent tour, claiming Sixx "did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour."
According to Variety, Mars's attorney said he was warned by the band's lawyers that "if your client rejects the severance package that was graciously offered to him by the band, he will get next to nothing. I suggest you think about the repercussions of this decision… There is undisputed legal cause here for Mick's removal. Mick is unable to perform as a full-fledged band member. Among other things, as demonstrated during the last tour, he repeatedly forgets his chords, does not play the right song, plays chords of a different song while on stage, and so on."
Mick's filing claimed that MÖTLEY CRÜE filed an arbitration case against him in February, "essentially suing him" to prove that it had the right to fire him from the band.
"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," lawyers for Mars wrote in the petition.
Mick is suing MÖTLEY CRÜE so he can go over all the financial books and determine if he's getting what he feels he deserves.
Neal Schon photo credit: Erik Kabik