L.A. GUNS' PHIL LEWIS Says MÖTLEY CRÜE Has Always Been 'A F***ing Atrocious Band': 'I Never Liked Them'

April 19, 2023

In a new interview with Thomas S. Orwat, Jr. of Rock Interview Series, L.A. GUNS frontman Phil Lewis weighed in on Mick Mars's recent lawsuit against MÖTLEY CRÜE in which the 71-year-old musician claimed that he was the only bandmember to play 100 percent live on CRÜE's 2022 tour, alleging that bassist Nikki Sixx "did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour." Phil said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's incorrigible, isn't it? It really is. It's such a swindle. But it's probably a lot better. I mean, they'd probably sound like utter shit if they were live, with the big stadium and the big lights and Vince [Neil] singing in the way that we've come to know and love.

"They really are a fucking atrocious band; they always have been," Phil continued. "And the only good player, the only good one in the band, has been very unceremoniously dismissed.

"I never liked them. I never did. I never bought one of their records. I loathed 'Girls, Girls, Girls'; I hated all of it. Occasionally I caught the attention of Nikki, and he doesn't like me. I'm a sad little pumpkin as to what he thinks about me. I just find him to be a big fraud.

"It's a punishment of luxury — somebody that became a millionaire at such an early age that they never really developed social skills," Lewis added. "It's like taking a bird out of a nest when it's not ready to fly; it won't develop. And I don't think, really, that any of them… The three of them aren't very well socially developed. They're not very good. And Mick's a different category entirely because he was so much older before success.

"Success can be a punishment quite often. And in their case it must just be so painful right now having been idolized for so long and now to called out as frauds, essentially as instrument-holding MILLI VANILLI, as a disgrace. They've gotta be hurting real bad."

Wondering loudly if MÖTLEY CRÜE deserves all the criticism it has gotten in the wake of Mick's lawsuit, Phil said: "I don't know. They make a lot of people happy. A lot of people couldn't care less. They just wanna go there, have a good time, drink beer and be with their buddies. We're just not that kind of a band."

Asked if would join MÖTLEY CRÜE if he was offered $50 million to step in for Vince Neil, Lewis said: "I would never get that offer. But they really fucked up when they went with John 5 [as Mick's replacement] and not [L.A. GUNS guitarist] Tracii Guns. And I'm glad they did, obviously. [John 5] is not the right fucking fit at all. And Tracii would just be so perfect. He's, like, Hollywood; he's a brat like them. He's just like the next generation down, and it would have been such an incredibly good fit. But Tracii's not trendy. It's gotta be fucking Rob Zombie's guy or it's gotta be Lenny Kravitz's wife or ex-girlfriend. It's gotta be trendy. It's gotta be somebody incredibly important. It gives them a sense of importance. And, as I said, I'm glad they fucked up and they didn't [hire Tracii]. They should have got Tracii.

"And would I take it? Hell yeah. I'd take it," Phil admitted. "I'd do it in a heartbeat. [Laughs] All I've gotta do is get on stage and mime and wiggle my ass and wear whatever I want. Yeah. 50 mil? C'mon. Let's go."

Last October, Guns, who played with Sixx in a band called BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION two decades ago, said that John 5 was "a great choice" to replace Mars in MÖTLEY CRÜE.

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.

Regarding Mick's claim that he was the only CRÜE member to play 100 percent live on their most recent tour, CRÜE's manager of 29 years, Allen Kovac, told Variety: "Everything is live with Nikki's bass playing and Tommy's [Lee] 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."

Back in 2016, Tracii told Philadelphia's 93.3 WMMR radio station that BRIDES OF DESTRUCTION fell apart after MÖTLEY CRÜE "got back together." But he went on to say that working with Nikki was "an amazing experience." He added: "I was the biggest MÖTLEY CRÜE fan; I loved 'Too Fast For Love' and 'Shout At The Devil' — they were really influential records in my life. When the BRIDES played live, we would do a few songs from each of those records at the end. We'd do the BRIDES album, 'cause it was only eight songs, so that set was thirty minutes, and then we'd do a mini L.A. GUNS set and a mini MÖTLEY CRÜE set. When we played [U.K.'s] Donington, playing [MÖTLEY CRÜE's] 'Live Wire' in front of ten, fifteen thousand people — or way more than that; whatever it was — it was the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever had in my life. It was wild, man — so cool."

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