Mick Mars's upcoming project "sounds huge," according to country-rocker Cory Marks, who got to spend some time with the MÖTLEY CRÜE guitarist this past weekend.
On Sunday (February 5),Cory took to his Instagram to share a few photos and a short video of him with Mars at Mick's home studio in Nashville, Tennessee, and he included the following message: "Spent my Saturday hanging out with one of the coolest, sweetest, most kind down to earth bad asses on this planet that I'm lucky to call a friend. So many stories and a lot of laughs talking music, guns, planes, guitars, drums, travel, road stories (he's got cooler ones than me),health, fitness, zombies, sex, drugs and rock and roll! I now know a lot more about @motleycrue @slash @therollingstones @defleppard and the on and only @ozzyosbourne … yes… If you're wondering Ozzy did snort a bunch of aunts…
"@mr.mickmars THANK YOU for having me over and letting me hear your new project…which sounds HUGE. The rock world is in for something weird, special, great and LOUD. Surreal walking into your studio and the first thing I see is a gold record on top of a bunch of @marshallamps stacked up together with my face and name on it and I'll be sending you a couple more very soon. Don't be surprised if you see Mars & Marks on more songs together down the road… Outlaws And Outsiders forever."
Mars was a featured guest on Marks's song "Outlaws & Outsiders", which was made available in November 2019. The track also included appearances by Travis Tritt and FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH singer Ivan Moody.
Mick announced in October that he was retiring from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE due to his ongoing painful struggle with Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the spine joints and ligaments and can lead to stiffness over time.
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 April, Paul Taylor, well known as an accomplished guitarist/keyboardist who has worked with countless artists as a composer and musician over the decades, most famously with WINGER, revealed during an appearance on the "Sonic Dorms" podcast that he spent "the last couple of years" collaborating with Mars on the CRÜE guitarist's long-awaited solo album.
"I wrote most of the record with Mick and [Alabama musician] Jacob Bunton, who sang with [former GUNS N' ROSES drummer] Steve Adler," Paul said. "Me and Jacob have written a lot of stuff for TV together. I'm really excited to have that come out."
Taylor went on to say that he was impressed with Mick's skills as a guitarist and a songwriter.
"Mick is so awesome, and just the endless cool things he comes up with and the palette of sounds," he said. "There's days I just go, 'Is that guitar? Is that you doing all that?' [It's been] really fun. I'm very excited about that."
According to Taylor, he worked with Mars and Bunton on Mick's solo album "for a good year and a half. And Mick doesn't really want me to say too much about it," he explained. "But he said it's okay just to say it's a heavy record — it's definitely heavy — and it very versatile. I feel really lucky that I got to sit and work with him and turn these things into songs. I think it's gonna blow some people away. It's really cool."
Mars has been working on his solo disc — on and off — for at least the past seven years. Some of the early sessions for the LP were helmed by recently retired producer Michael Wagener (OZZY OSBOURNE, ACCEPT, WARRANT, SKID ROW) at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, where Mars has lived for about a decade.
Three years ago, Bunton revealed that he was the lead singer on Mars's solo album. Speaking to AL.com, Bunton, who has previously also played with LYNAM, said about his collaboration with Mars: "I can tell you that I'm involved and the past several months we wrote and recorded a record and Michael Wagener produced it. The great Michael Wagener from [mixing 1986 METALLICA album] 'Master Of Puppets' and all that kind of stuff. He worked with MÖTLEY CRÜE on their very first record 'Too Fast For Love', when they did it themselves they recorded the record and then Michael Wagener mixed, and then when they got the record deal with Elektra, [QUEEN producer] Roy Thomas Baker ended up going back and remixing it. But on all of their self-released copies, it's Michael. But to make a long story short, Michael's producing the record because that was the first producer Mick worked with in MÖTLEY CRÜE, so he wanted to do his solo album, so it's been really cool. We've been recording it in Nashville and we're almost done."
Regarding what fans can expect from Mars's solo CD, Bunton said: "The songs are really cool, the record is really cool. He's such an inventive player and his riffs are insane and it's definitely going to be what people are expecting. When they hear it … It's really cool."
In September 2019, Mick told Billboard about the musical direction of his solo material: "[It's] not like today's music, which to me is pretty much pop metal and more growly guys. It's all cool and it's all good, and I'm just searching for something that's just a little different than that. I [also] don't want to be living in '85. It's hard to reinvent yourself, but that's what I'm doing now. I'm trying to reinvent the way that I approach music writing. I've got a lot of crap, and I've got a lot of good stuff too."
At the time of the Billboard interview, Mars said that he had been working with a vocalist named Jacob, leading some fans to speculate that he was referring to Bunton. "[He] can be a lot of different voices, and it's pretty amazing," Mick said. "I go, 'I want this kind of voice here,' and he'll pull it straight off."
In a separate interview with "Talking Metal", Mars said that his debut solo record will not sound like anybody else. "Well, I guess it's my own style," he said. "It isn't really blues. My playing has a blues element to it, of course, but it isn't what you would call a blues record. It's more of a heavier rock thing, but I don't wanna even try to 'outheavy' the heavies, you know what I mean? It's just something hopefully just a little different than what's going on now. You're not gonna hear a MÖTLEY-flavored song, except for the guitar, [because] that's me. They're gonna be a bit harder than that, but not as hard as the heavies, like MINISTRY and some of those guys."
In December 2021, former MÖTLEY CRÜE singer John Corabi said that he didn't know if the songs he recorded with Mars seven years ago will make it to the MÖTLEY CRÜE guitarist's solo LP.
Back in 2016, Mars released snippets of two solo songs, apparently called "Gimme Blood" and "Shake The Cage". The tracks, which were recorded at the aforementioned Blackbird Studio, 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.
In August 2021, KORN drummer Ray Luzier confirmed that he is a featured guest on Mars's solo album.