NIKKI SIXX Says MÖTLEY CRÜE 'Made The Right Decision' Hiring JOHN 5 To Replace MICK MARS: 'It Feels Like A Family On Stage'

May 1, 2024

In a new interview with Josh Klinger of Chicago's Rock 95.5 radio station, MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx spoke about the band's latest single, "Dogs Of War", which was made available last Friday, April 26 via MÖTLEY CRÜE's new deal with Nashville's Big Machine Records. When Klinger noted that the track doesn't initially sound like CRÜE, Sixx concurred, saying (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That verse, that opening verse was purposeful. I remember playing it for [DEF LEPPARD's] Joe Elliott. And he was, like, 'Oh. Wow. Oh, that's cool,' like unexpected. Part of being a songwriter is to do the unexpected, not to always do the expected.

"I don't peruse around a lot online and read a lot of comments, but every now and then I do, and it's always, like, 'You need to make a record that sounds like 'Looks To Kill'," he continued. "And I'm, like, I understand that, 'cause AEROSMITH's my favorite band. I'm, like, 'You guys need to make a record like 'Rocks' again.' But the point is, of being an artist, is that you evolve, and sometimes you lose people and sometimes you gain people, but you can't just be stuck in a rut 'cause people tell you to be stuck in a rut. If you wanna be that consistent thing that always sounds the same — some of my favorite bands are like that, but that's just not who MÖTLEY CRÜE is. So that's, in a sense, a compliment when you're, like, 'Wow, at first it doesn't sound like MÖTLEY CRÜE.' The whole idea is for someone who likes MÖTLEY CRÜE to go, 'Oh, let me listen to this a few times. This is different.' And then you realize, as long as [CRÜE vocalist] Vince [Neil] is singing, it sounds like MÖTLEY CRÜE. There's no way around it. We could do a pop song and it'll sound like MÖTLEY CRÜE with him singing."

Sixx also discussed the addition of John 5 to MÖTLEY CRÜE's lineup. John 5 joined MÖTLEY CRÜE in the fall of 2022 as the replacement for the band's co-founding guitarist Mick Mars. Mick announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE in October 2022 as a result of worsening health issues.

"John's been around with me for a while," Nikki said. "I had him write a song with me and Desmond Child for Meat Loaf called 'The Monster Is Loose'. And I put him on a SIXX:A.M. song he wrote with me called 'Lies Of The Beautiful People', which was a big song for that band. And I wrote a lot of [MÖTLEY CRÜE's] 'The Dirt' [soundtrack] songs with him. And he actually played guitar on those songs; the majority of those guitars are John. That was just because of the inability to get the songs recorded with Mick."

He continued: "John was kind of like easy prey for us. It was perfect. It was, like, well, he's a friend and he knows the band and he loves the band. And I talked to the band about it, 'cause we were put in a horrible situation. I mean, you've gotta imagine how much of my life is dedicated, and Tommy [Lee, CRÜE drummer] and Vince's life, when we were basically told that our guitar player's leaving the band. And we had to really think hard about, we were, like, 'Okay, do we let [concert promoter] Live Nation down? Do we pull off the tour and kind of screw DEF LEPPARD over? But what about our families and our fans?' So, we had to make a really hard decision. And I feel like we made the right decision."

Nikki added: "Sometimes you've gotta make a hard decision, and the decision was made to carry on. And I'm glad we did. We didn't just wing it. John had been around with us in different versions of playing, whether it was with me or other stuff. So it was hard, but the right thing to do. And now there's kind of a new lifeblood because we're out on the road. And then, of course, it's a nice energy amongst me and Tommy and Vince, because we've known each other for 43 years, and bringing in somebody else that it feels comfortable for us, it feels like a family on stage."

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 in the summer of 2022 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.

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, in early April 2023 the now-72-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.

MÖTLEY CRÜE's new deal with Big Machine Records sees the band working together again after making the 2014 project "Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute To Mötley Crüe", which featured CRÜE tracks covered by country stars RASCAL FLATTS, FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE, Darius Rucker and more. Big Machine also partnered with MÖTLEY CRÜE guitarist John 5 for the release of his 2021 album "Sinner".

MÖTLEY CRÜE's last studio album was 2008's "Saints Of Los Angeles", which was followed by a 2009 "Greatest Hits" compilation.

In 2018, MÖTLEY CRÜE recorded four new songs for "The Dirt" movie, including the single "The Dirt (Est. 1981) (Feat. Machine Gun Kelly)", "Ride With The Devil", "Crash And Burn" and the band's own spin on Madonna's "Like A Virgin".

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