Mick Mars Of Motley Crue: 'Don't Let Anyone Stand In Your Way'

UG conducted an interview with Mars, who filled us in on the inspiration behind the overhauled website and the Crue's upcoming schedule.

Mick Mars Of Motley Crue: 'Don't Let Anyone Stand In Your Way'
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After almost 3 decades in the business, piles of platinum and gold albums, and a whole lot of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, the gentlemen in Motley Crue are still a viable force in the music world. It's not necessarily such an easy task when you spend 8 years away from the studio and must reconnect with newer, younger generations, but the band's latest album Saints Of Los Angeles debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts and is closing in on gold status. At the heart of every Crue endeavor has been the instantly recognizable riffs of Mick Mars, who has opted to stay out of the spotlight while his bandmates have frequented the reality show circuit. The past few years have been no easy ride for Mars, who has privately suffered from a debilitating, inflammatory disease called ankylosing spondylitis, but one look at the veteran guitarist's schedule indicates that pain will be no obstacle. While Motley Crue has already kicked off its latest tour in support of Saints Of Los Angeles, Mars has a few other irons in the fire. His latest endeavor is www.MickMars.tv., a highly interactive website that will not only offer general information on the Crue, but will also feature guitar lessons taught by Mars. The site, launched by Paid, Inc. on January 29, will include periodic clinics, interactive tablature for legendary Crue songs, and opportunities to acquire memorabilia. Ultimate-Guitar recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Mars, who filled us in on the inspiration behind the overhauled website and the Crue's upcoming schedule. Although the interview was conducted via email (all responses have been left as Mars intended), the guitarist's soft-spoken persona was conveyed effectively. He may be a man of few words, but Mars made one thing loud and clear: There is no shortage of passion for his role as musician. UG: Thanks so much for talking with me today, Mick. Your newest endeavor, MickMars.tv, sounds like an incredible source for fans and musicians in general. What inspired you to launch the site? Mick: I felt that the old website I had was not good enough. The new one has a lot more information on what I'm doing. I understand you'll be featuring online guitar lessons through the site. Will you be covering musical theory as well as covering classic Motley Crue songs? No music theory. I feel from my soul and heart.
"Music and touring keeps me going."
Congratulations on all you've accomplished in the past few years. Between the Grammy nomination and the nod from iTunes (which placed the song Saints of Los Angeles on their Best of 2008 list), Motley Crue definitely is having a resurgence in popularity. When you were writing Saints of Los Angeles, did you have a feeling that it would stand up against such classics as Theatre of Pain or Dr. Feelgood? I had every intention of doing just that. Did the songwriting process for Saints of Los Angeles change dramatically from the approach you have taken in the past few decades? Yes, the recording process has changed a lot over the past few years. It was much easier to record S.O.L.A. using new technology, a lot less stress. The new album marks the first time you've had James Michael as a producer. What kind of dynamic did James have with the band, given that he's spent a good deal of time working with Nikki in Sixx: A.M.? Simple. He's young, knows how to use Pro Tools, he has a great ear for tone and he is really easy to work with. A very talented person. The band has used quite a few different producers in the studio over the years. Is that to keep things fresh? Yes !!!! You have been responsible for some of the most identifiable rock songs in the music world. Do you feel a certain amount of pressure to keep the iconic riffs coming? Sometimes I do. I try to be as original as possible with my riffs. It looks like the band has a steady stream of tour dates for the next month. I know that you've got a lot of fans who have been concerned with your physical plights and are thrilled that you are still going strong in spite of such a rigorous schedule. Are you anxious to get back on the road? Always ready to tour. Fuck the pain. Music and touring keeps me going. You've been keeping quite busy outside of the Crue, co-writing material with Hinder. Are those experiences highly collaborative or are you given creative autonomy? It was only one session. It took me about an hour. I was thrilled at the chance to play on their album. You also are a guest player on the new Papa Roach track Into The Light. Talk a little about those sessions. Those sessions were recorded on the road during Crue Fest. A lot of the bands on the tour had studios on their busses. I had a killer time working with Papa Roach. I'd love to talk about what equipment you're using these days. I know you've used everything from Gibsons to Kramers to Fenders over the years, but what are we most likely to see you play at the upcoming shows? Fender and Marshall. There is no other !!!!!!!!!!
"I try to be as original as possible with my riffs."
Do you tend to use the same equipment on tour that you used in the studio? No. I use different equipment in the studio than live performances. You've been known to down-tune your guitar to obtain a meatier sound. Did you try out any new tuning styles on Saints of Los Angeles? Yes !!! I dropped down another whole step for a couple of other songs on the CD. M.F.O.Y. (Motherf**ker of the Year) for one. There's a heavy blues influence in much of your writing, and you have been known to often utilize the slide and lap steel. Have any of Crue's songs started with just a slide line or does that element come along much later in the songwriting process? Sometimes I experiment with slide. If I like the way it's sounding and fits the song then I'll use it. I've read that the period after Motley Crue's split in 2001 was a difficult phase in your life, and at one point you even gave up playing the guitar. What was the turning point that inspired you to return to music? I put my guitar down for a couple of years mostly due to depression. It took me that long to get back into and excited to play again. Looking back to the days when you first began to play guitar, can you recall any methods or techniques being particularly beneficial to your progress? I learned by ear. So I would learn licks by slowing my albums down. Way back when they still put out vinyl. Motley Crue has pretty much defined all the glory and excess of rock n' roll, and the public was given a little glimpse of the band's life through books like The Dirt and The Heroin Diaries. Looking back at all you've been through, do you have any regrets? My only regret is what I didn't do. When can we expect the film version of The Dirt to be released? When the time is right, the right script, director, etc. I don't want some cheezy cheap movie made like Rockstar or those other stupid unreal movies. In closing, do you have any advice for all the rock guitarists out there? Play from your heart. Practice A Lot !!!!! Don't let anyone stand in your way. Interview by Amy Kelly Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2009

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    --Nikki_Sixx--
    Lmao... A man of few words, very true, but an absolute legend!! I take my hat off to you Mick, nd ****ing tour NZ!!! HOORAHH
    darbab
    since he came out about his health, people are even more proud of him for rocking out, now its him they go to see.
    bassguitarbubba
    Mick's a man of few words which is OK with me. He got his points across. The interviewer could have done a better job of drawing out more information or asking follow up questions. Mick said he learned to play by ear and that he plays from the heart. These are a couple of indications that he probably isn't well versed in theory, which is probably why he won't discuss theory on his web site. Besides, I've played with guys who are well versed in theory and those that weren't. To be honest, the guys who didn't rely on theory always seemed to have more feeling in their music. Not a criticism, just a personal observation. Please, no hate mail from the theory guys. I know some theory and it's helped me out, but I don't know it all and I get by wonderfully!
    Rtard_GWARRIOR
    Memories of being 5 years old with my plastic nylon string strat thrashing away to Motley Crue. It's sad to see Mick in bad health, But its awesome to see it doesnt stop him from playing with his lower back seized up. I did some research on him recently, And i didnt even know he was 57. Like holy crap. He's that old and still doing this stuff with all thats wrong with him, He's a real insparation to keep playing guitar, No matter what stands in your way.
    Gormanilius
    5_Strings wrote: ivanovosixx wrote: Hey man why you throw shit to Mick Mars? I mean he is the best guitar player ever, even if he don't use music theory 'cause his riffs are the best, and thank God he still alive to keep on rocking, so for the next time you must shut up... atte. A fan of Mick Mars ever considered pro. help?
    The man is good, but not the best. Ranking a guitar player as 'the best' is just stupid anyways. Far too vague
    pirate 667
    maybe his answers are short because it it was done via e-mail. maybe he hates typing.
    Korzack
    "Fuck the Pain" and "Don't let anyone stand in your way" - haha Words to live by. He's a man of few words, but it's always to the point. I still remember the first press conference of the reunion, someone asked if he was still okay for doing it. He just answered "I'm gonna kick your ****ing ass!"
    DarkBlueIce
    Mick is a guitar GOD and is HELL underrated...cant wait for ROTR in ohio...crue will whipe the other bands across the floor!
    theotherguy7145
    "Play from your heart. Practice A Lot !!!!! Don't let anyone stand in your way." HELL YEAH! I shall live my life by this! Thanks Mick! ^_^
    In_a_Trance
    He gets cooler the more I read about him. Probably the only member of Motley Crue I really respect. Also, Mick's hat > Slash's hat
    meleadyoufollow
    ivanovosixx wrote: jakehendrixman wrote: Dude, give him a break. lol He doesn't say much because the guy is the living dead lol There should be a nobel prize awarded to anyone who can discover why Mick and KeiF are even still breathing. As far as music theory, it'll be fun to see how someone like him goes about writing riff or licks and that such. Rn'F'nR Hey man why you throw shit to Mick Mars? I mean he is the best guitar player ever, even if he don't use music theory 'cause his riffs are the best, and thank God he still alive to keep on rocking, so for the next time you must shut up... atte. A fan of Mick Mars
    haha...what? translate?
    Josh_brewer
    ^ Slash has more pressence on the stage, and really stands out during live performances, Mick on the other hand kinda blends in with everything during his shows, like he doesn't try to stand out. They both kick ass though but are very different in playing styles, like trying to compare Peyton Manning and Michael Phelps
    slowmoov
    I remember seeing a clip of the band getting out of a car to rev the crowd. Everyone else was full of themselves and oblivious to anything not related to their own spotlight. Mick (who looked like he was ready to fall over from obvious pain) bent slightly, holding the door, and made sure it didn't slam into anyone in the band. Not really something you'd catch, but I'll never forget it. I have nothing but respect for this dude.
    Finn666
    Josh_brewer wrote: ^ Slash has more pressence on the stage, and really stands out during live performances, Mick on the other hand kinda blends in with everything during his shows, like he doesn't try to stand out. They both kick ass though but are very different in playing styles, like trying to compare Peyton Manning and Michael Phelps
    Mick can't do much on stage cause his back is all screwed up.
    Tim Shader
    Though his interview is short, but it clears a lot of details for me. Thanx him
    Hello Kitty!
    I love Mick Mars! Yes, his interviews are short but he is one of the greatest guitarist in the world! i can't wait to go on his new website!
    ironmanben
    In_a_Trance wrote: Also, Mick's hat > Slash's hat
    Everything about Mick is cooler than Slash. Mick's hairstyle > Slash's hairstyle Mick's jacket > Slash's jacket Mick's guitar > Slash's guitar Mick's name > Slash's name By the way, his birthday was on May 4th. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICK!!
    Goin' Mobile
    Mick is the man. Even though Tommy and Nikki did all the fighting, Mick is badass in his own way. Handling his spine condition, being a loner, and still playing guitar is pretty metal in my opinion.
    k3vin70
    mick mars is the shitt he's a let my playin do the talkin dude n that's coo that's why i like him and krik hammett but i like kirk the best
    waysay
    Yeah if a fat lady is standing in the wasy when you are trying to get on an elevator, ask her politely if she will move.....always say please!
    Zack Olsen
    This guy is my damn inspiration! He is the only person besides Zakk Wyld, or Robert Johnson to make me interested in the guitar in the first place. Im not going to lie, I kind of suck at it but Im trying. Im looking forward to the lessons soon. Think about how much devotion he has towards the fans though, in '06 he had a hip replacement in the middle of the tour and still played AS SOON as it was over. Hes made of steel, way to go Mick!
    Soadfan8
    simonjw87 wrote: Hehe his answers where too short. I like long interviews from my favourite guitarists.
    personally, i like this alot better than when they take up four paragraphs talking about how they got the tone for a certain riff, or how they had to turn down the mids so the bass stood out more. "oh, well first of all I used those d'addario strings, the gauge 9-42, and we plugged it into a marshall stack but the trick was really in the guitar, a '59 gibson les paul that had a single-coil in the place of where the neck-side humbucker was supposed to be. when the toggle switch was in the middle, they combined to form a really gritty texture unlike anything i had quite experienced before. the reason, then, that we used the lighter strings was because, contrary to what you would believe, the heavier strings actually broke up a little too much with this unusual pickup combination. I had a very simple approach, unplugging all pedals but my boss chorus pedal, and when i play the archepeggiated esus4 chords, they have a shine to them, but then when the power chords come in its just solid and raw. unbelieivable." damn i hate reading crap like that
    les_paul_01
    The_String_Man wrote: no music theory???
    yeah, i thought it was a strange omission too, but at the same time, the crue's music really is best played straight from the heart, not delving too much into the theory. i wish he would play in standard tuning though can't be bothered keep downtuning every time i want to play a crue song...
    Helloween4Ever
    such a modest guy. thats why he is my favorite guitarist. i like yngwie, but hes to much of "im the best". same with a lot of guitarist that shred, but not mars.
    scarfacesuit
    Yeah, not much of a talker is he? Still, I guess he's trying to stay out of the limelight as much as possible. I completely respect that. Great guitarist overall. He's really the main reason I listen to Motley Crue. Vince Neil and Tommy Lee are both tools. I didn't know he was launching a website though. I'll have to check that out.
    Havoc69
    One of my favorites and he barely talks but thats still cool hes modest
    RollingRamones
    This is the guy who inspired me to first pick up the guitar 2 years ago. I can't wait for his online lessons.
    jakehendrixman
    Dude, give him a break. lol He doesn't say much because the guy is the living dead lol There should be a nobel prize awarded to anyone who can discover why Mick and KeiF are even still breathing. As far as music theory, it'll be fun to see how someone like him goes about writing riff or licks and that such. Rn'F'nR
    Eternium
    jakehendrixman wrote: Dude, give him a break. lol He doesn't say much because the guy is the living dead lol There should be a nobel prize awarded to anyone who can discover why Mick and KeiF are even still breathing. As far as music theory, it'll be fun to see how someone like him goes about writing riff or licks and that such. Rn'F'nR
    Easy. Play random stuff and see if it sounds cool. If so, use it.