In a new interview with Wyatt of U.K.'s Planet Rock, Nikki Sixx spoke about MÖTLEY CRÜE's decision to hire John 5 to replace Mick Mars, the group's founding guitarist, who announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE last October as a result of worsening health issues.
"I've been friends with John forever and I would make jokes, 'As long as you're a 5, I feel good being a Sixx.' Y'know, stupid best buddy jokes.
"Me and that guy have been either hanging out at each other's houses, writing songs… he plays (guitar) all day long. So, he comes over here and he grabs one of my guitars or brings his own and we just sit around and play and talk about the '70s and how great LYNYRD SKYNYRD and 'Scooby Doo' was."
He continued: "My wife just said that when Mick told us he was leaving the band and I told her I'd talked to Tommy [Lee, CRÜE drummer] and Vince [Neil, CRÜE singer], and everybody feels that John would be a great fit, and I hadn't called John yet because you had to be sure we were doing everything correctly. My wife said, 'Well, that's great.' I said, 'What do you mean by that?' She goes, 'Well, you'll be going on stage and you'll be on the phone to John.' And they're, like, 'You gotta go on stage!', and he'll be like 'Okay, call me back in an hour and a half.'
"So we're always chatting and jamming and the friendship is so wonderful. Him and Tommy are really close. Vince loves him. He's just a great guy and a great musician and he gives us a great opportunity as a three-piece so to speak to really lock in. He's just such a great guitar player."
Comparing CRÜE 's current musicianship to how it was while Mick was still in the band, Nikki added: "It's nothing against any other musician that you play with, just that when you play with new musicians you play differently. We're still playing the same songs that people wanna hear but it kind of like re-inspires you. And I'm sure the same thing would happen if they got a new bass player. They're like 'oh wow, he's attacking it differently.' So it's never about how bad anybody was.
"It's a nice time [for MÖTLEY CRÜE] and it's kind of inspired us to write a little bit," he added. "We love our history, we're very proud of everything we've done. We've always been really supportive of Mick no matter what Mick was going through. We're just happy with where we're at right now."
When Mars announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE, he maintained that he would remain a member of the band, with John 5 taking his place on the road. However, earlier this month the 71-year-old musician filed a lawsuit against CRÜE in Los Angeles County's Superior Court claiming 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.
Regarding Mick 's lawsuit against MÖTLEY CRÜE, Nikki told Planet Rock: "If a member of a band tells you that they can't tour because of health reasons, you have two choices. You can quit as a band [after] 42 years of work. Or we could look at each other and go 'are we done yet?!' We're really peaking and we understand [Mick 's] health issues.
"We wish him the best and we know that he's a little bit confused and being misled by representatives right now. But we still have to stay focused on why we're here."
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.
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."
After Mars filed his lawsuit, 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."
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.