Mick Mars is suing Mötley Crüe. As reported by Variety, per the guitarist’s lawsuit, Mars is requesting to see financial books related to the band’s business ventures in advance of arbitration. He is also claiming that the band has made continuous efforts to kick him out and that they are striving to push him to sign paperwork that would drastically cut his percentage of profits related to the band’s businesses.
Last year, news came out that Mars was stepping away from touring with Mötley Crüe for health reasons; not too long after this news came out, guitarist John 5 was announced as his replacement. In a past interview, former Mötley Crüe singer John Corabi shared that he didn’t completely buy the statement released by the band about Mars’ retirement, saying:
“I do [have an opinion]. I will just say this: I know John  as well. He’s a brilliant — and I cannot say ‘brilliant’ loud enough — he’s a brilliant guitar player and a great dude. But the verdict for me is out until I hear a statement from Mick. The statement that we heard was put together by Mötley and their people. And I’m not totally sure I believe what they’re saying. So I’ll just leave it at that.”
Months later, drumming icon Carmine Appice shared in an interview that Mars was not happy with Mötley Crüe’s Stadium Tour, with Appice saying that Mars said the tour was on “tape.” In that same interview, Appice mentioned some conflict taking place within the band, and it seems that conflict has now escalated to Mars suing Mötley Crüe.
Mars’ lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County’s Superior Court this Thursday. Per the lawsuit, he claims that Mötley Crüe has withheld information in regard to various businesses related to the band, businesses that Mars has a 25% ownership share. The guitarist also claims that the band has demanded that he sign a severance agreement that would divest him of these businesses and other future interests. However, if he were to sign this, he would be given a 5% stake in the band’s 2023 tour; after that, the stake would drop to 0%.
Mars says that this paperwork has revealed to him businesses the band is part of that he wasn’t even aware of. The guitarist’s legal action comes in the form of a “verified petition for writ of mandate to compel inspection and copying of books, records and documents,” which are held by several businesses under the Mötley Crüe umbrella.
The lawsuit also clarifies Mars’ intent upon announcing that he was stepping away from touring with the band. Per the statement he provided last year, Mars said he was only stepping away from touring due to health issues; with that said, he has made it clear that he wanted to remain an active member of the band. In response to Mötley Crüe releasing a statement saying Mars had “retired” from the band in general, the guitarist says this statement is, allegedly, part of a campaign to kick him out of the band. Mars says he was down to participate in recording projects, as well as one-off performances.
In response to the band’s position within their demand letters regarding Mars being let go from Mötley Crüe, Mars’ attorney Edwin F. McPherson recounts the legal history of the other members, saying that Mars’ has the least reasons to be let go on the basis of the band’s agreement; said agreement is what has allowed each member to have a 25% of ownership regarding Crüe business ventures.
Among the other details provided in the suit, the guitarist also claims that Nikki Sixx has been belittling him for years, insulting his ability to play guitar and saying he has cognitive issues. Mars also shares that he was the only one performing live on the band’s 2022 Stadium Tour and that the other members were playing to pre-recorded tracks.
The following is also provided within the lawsuit: “How did Mars’s brothers of 41 years respond to Mars’s tragic announcement [about quitting the road]?” asks the suit. “They noticed an emergency shareholders’ meeting for the band’s main corporate entity in order to throw Mars out of the band, to fire him as a director of the corporation, to fire him as an officer of the corporation, and to take away his shares of the corporation. When he did not go away quietly, they purported to fire him from six additional band corporations and LLCs.
“During much of the band’s recent tenure, Sixx continually ‘gaslighted’ Mars by telling him that he (Mars) had some sort of cognitive dysfunction, and that his guitar playing was sub-par, claiming that Mars forgot chords, and sometimes started playing the wrong songs. 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. 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. 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.”
Prior to the release of the duel press releases, McPherson received a “Separation and Release Agreement” to sign. This document says – which Mars says is false – that the guitarist “no longer desires to furnish his services and perform in the Band,” and “Mars no longer desires to be an officer or director of the Mötley Crüe entities.” The document then concludes by stating Mars resigns as an “officer” and “director” of “Mötley Crüe Entities.” This is the paperwork that would cut Mars’ profit shares.
Per a footnote provided in the lawsuit, it’s expressed that, even if a band member who is a shareholder were to quit or be fired, it isn’t uncommon for them to maintain their rights. McPherson says “Countless members have left countless bands (typically after much less than 41 years), or died, and still maintained (or their estates maintained) their shareholder, officer, and director status, as well as their concomitant right to profits.”
McPherson also says that he was warned 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.”
McPherson replied with the following: “Your attempt to squeeze some alleged performance issues into the phrase ‘conduct constituting legal cause for such termination’ is absurd. More importantly, however, for the band to think long and hard about, is that asserting this as a basis for termination also opens the door for a lot of public scrutiny into the quality of the performances by the other members of the band.” This refers to the allegations that the band was performing their 2022 tour on “tape.”
The band’s attorney has made a counteroffer, saying that if the guitarist signs the paperwork to divest his shares, his shares of the band’s 2023 tour would be boosted to 7.5%, instead of 5%.
Upon Mars refusing to sign this paperwork, Mötley Crüe commenced an arbitration. Regarding this decision, the filing says the band would prefer 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.”
Keep a look out for more on this story as it develops.