MÖTLEY CRÜE has blasted Mick Mars's lawsuit against the band as "unfortunate and completely off base."
In documents filed on Thursday in Los Angeles County’s Superior Court, the 71-year-old guitarist claimed MÖTLEY CRÜE wanted him to sign a severance agreement stripping him of his 25 percent share in the band in exchange for a 5 percent share of the band's current tour, which he is not performing on for medical reasons. Mars also claimed he told his bandmates he would retire from touring duties due to crippling pain from ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the spine joints and ligaments and can lead to stiffness over time, but that he would remain a member of the group.
Earlier today, MÖTLEY CRÜE released the following statement to the media: "Mick's lawsuit is unfortunate and completely off-base. In 2008, Mick voted for and signed an agreement in which he and every other band member agreed that 'in no event shall any resigning shareholder be entitled to receive any monies attributable to live performances (i.e., tours).' After the last tour, Mick publicly resigned from MÖTLEY CRÜE. Despite the fact that the band did not owe Mick anything — and with Mick owing the band millions in advances that he did not pay back — the band offered Mick a generous compensation package to honor his career with the band. Manipulated by his manager and lawyer, Mick refused and chose to file this ugly public lawsuit. Equally unfortunate are his claims about the band's live performances. MÖTLEY CRÜE always performs its songs live but during the last tour Mick struggled to remember chords, played the wrong songs and made constant mistakes which led to his departure from the band. There are multiple declarations from the band's crew attesting to his decline. The band did everything to protect him, tried to keep these matters private to honor Mick's legacy and take the high road. Unfortunately, Mick chose to file this lawsuit to badmouth the band. The band feels empathy for Mick, wishes him well and hopes that he can get better guidance from his advisors who are driven by greed."
In the attached signed declarations, seven crew members offer complaints about Mars's playing in the 2022 tour. Robert Long, the band's production manager since 2007, said in the statement provided by group attorneys to Variety: "When he is off, the band's entire performance suffers. Mick's performance during 'The Stadium Tour' was unworkable and very difficult to manage. It began with the band's rehearsals in April 2022. Mick would consistently forget chords and songs so the band would have to stop and re-teach those parts to Mick to remind him of the arrangements. … Mick's performance issues continued throughout the tour. He would consistently miss notes; play out of tune; play the wrong chords during a song; stay within a chorus of a song and never come out of it; forget the song that he was playing and start a different one; and would get lost in songs. This happened at every show. … Our playback engineer put in cues for Mick so that he would stay on course but he would miss the cues.”
Tour manager Thomas Reitz declared in his statement that "Mick was struggling, forgetting chords and songs. He was not up to speed with the songs and could not play his solos. The other band members spent hours trying to help Mick. Mick would often get frustrated and confused. I also witnessed the band and crew's frustration with Mick's mistakes first hand during the rehearsals. Mick's issues continued and got worse during the tour. Virtually at every concert, he played the wrong chords, wrong song or would forget what song he was playing. A sound technician would always need to have a backup track ready in case Mick played the wrong song or chord."
The group's monitor engineer, Scott Megrath, said in his declaration that, at certain points, "I had to make sure that the other band members would not get Mick's feed into their earpieces because that would confuse them and potentially ruin the show. Mick's mistakes happened on numerous occasions and at every show. In my years of experience, I have never seen mistakes like this by a guitarist on stage."
Mars, whose real name is Robert Alan Deal, announced in October that he was retiring from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE due to his struggle with ankylosing spondylitis. But in his lawsuit, he said he made it clear he could still record with the band or do limited performances, but he just couldn't handle a full tour with his condition.
Mars lawsuit stated that his bandmates held an emergency shareholders' meeting to throw him out of MÖTLEY CRÜE and strip him of his shares in the corporation that manages the group's business interests.
In the lawsuit, Mick said MÖTLEY CRÜE cut his percentage of profits after he announced he was stepping back from touring. Furthermore, he claimed the band's lawyers made him feel like he should be grateful for even that small cut, because they didn't feel they owed him anything at all. Mick also claimed there was a full band meeting and they decided to "unilaterally" remove him from MÖTLEY CRÜE.
Mick also repeatedly accused bassist Nikki Sixx of "gaslighting" him about his guitar skills diminishing, despite the fact that Sixx didn't "play a single note on bass" during a recent tour, according to the guitarist. Mick claims all of Nikki's parts were pre-recorded.
"Although Mars had indicated that the 12 U.S. stadium dates would be his last shows while touring, the 12 anticipated shows ultimately expanded to 36 shows, and Mars performed at every single one of them, in constant pain," the lawsuit said. "Sixx's gaslighting came to a crescendo during the stadium tour, when he, knowing that this was Mars's last tour as a result of his increasingly painful and debilitating AS, and apparently already plotting to force him out of the band and take his shares, repeatedly told Mars that he was playing the wrong chords, and that fans were complaining about his playing.
"Astonishingly, Sixx made these claims about Mars's playing while he [Sixx] did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour," the lawsuit continued. "Ironically, 100% of Sixx's bass parts were nothing but recordings. Sixx was seen fist pumping in the air with his strumming hand, while the bass part was playing. In fact, a significant portion of [Vince] Neil's vocals were also pre-recorded. Even some of [Tommy] Lee's drum parts were recordings. Some fans actually noticed that Lee was walking toward his drum set as they heard his drum part begin.
"Mars, at times on the tour, did play the wrong chords, but not due to any cognitive dysfunction," the lawsuit continued. "He was playing live, and his in-ear monitors were constantly malfunctioning, causing Mars to be unable to hear his own instrument. The fact is that Mars is rarely mocked or criticized online. He is a quiet member of the group, who shows up to play, and puts his heart and soul into each performance. Conversely, other band members are often criticized online, particularly Neil, who is routinely torn to shreds for, among other things, not remembering the songs."
According to Variety, Mars's attorney says 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."
Regarding Mick's longtime battle with ankylosing spondylitis, which he was first diagnosed with at age 27, the lawsuit stated: "This disease caused Mars' lower spine to seize up and freeze completely solid, causing scoliosis in his back, and also compressing his spine downward, so that he is now at least three inches shorter than he was in high school. His spine is now completely seized from pelvis to skull, a condition known as 'bamboo spine.' He cannot move his head in any direction."
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 asking a judge to rule that he can access MÖTLEY CRÜE's financial records, operating agreements and other key information amid the dispute.