MÖTLEY CRÜE Saints Of Los Angeles (2008) Mötley’s comeback album of sorts, Saints… sold almost 100,000 copies in its first week of release and the title track was the band’s second highest charting single ever
MÖTLEY CRÜE Shout At The Devil (1993) ‘If I really had to pick my favourite Mötley album then I’d choose Shout At The Devil,’ Mick says. ‘The other guys were very young at the time and they were eager and hungry…’
And another thing...
Mick Mars’ real name is Robert Alan Deal, which is a darn sight less iconic than the name he gave his son – Les Paul. Cool!
Mötley Crüe: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee stage. ‘When I play live I have more freedom than I do in the studio. I feel really restricted in the studio – I don’t like it, actually. But live I enjoy because it’s just a single guitar instead of double, or triple, or quadruple, or quintuple tracks on the record. Sometimes having all those tracks makes things too pristine for me. I still stick very much to the body of the song – when I play Kickstart My Heart, everyone knows it’s Kickstart My Heart – but I have more freedom to go up and down my guitar and do some stupid little easy guitar tricks. And I can use my whammy more because I know that it’s not going to crash against something else.’
It’s just as well Mick enjoys playing live – since 2008’s Saints Of Los Angeles album Mötley have been on the road pretty much constantly, and this December they’re playing the UK alongside Def Leppard.
‘I’m not really sure how that came about, but I know I’m really happy about doing it!’ Mick laughs. ‘We’ve played with Def Leppard in the US quite a few times. I ran into Phil Collen a few months ago and we had a good chat so I think it’s going to be a really good time. I think the fans and the people who haven’t experienced us both together are going to find it pretty interesting.
‘You know, life on the road with Mötley has its ups and downs. Like any family, or marriage or community there’s always love and hate. It’s like when you get in a fight with your wife, then you go away for a minute and you come back and make up and everything’s all good for a month or so. Then you fight again and come back again. It’s an ongoing thing… it’s the just way that it is after 30 years together. When you hit a 30th anniversary it becomes like: “I know what you’re going to say, so don’t even say it…”
‘I’m pretty close to all the guys. I think Vince distances himself a bit, but not enough that I don’t talk to him or do things with him. Each one of the guys has certain parts about them that I really like, like Tommy’s sense of humour or Nikki’s business mind and the way he writes and the way he conducts his life – I admire that. There’s different things about different guys in the band but I can’t really say that I have a fave.’
Always known for his bluesy solos, Mick introduced slide and pedal steel solos into the hair metal firmament, and in recent years he’s also started to venture away from his traditional Mötley stomping ground.
‘I would like to do other types of music. I just got back from New York where I was writing with Earl Slick and David Johansen from the New York Dolls, which is a totally different sort of music from what we do. And I’ve been doing some stuff on the James Durbin album – he’s a guy that did American Idol over here. He got a record deal and out of the whole world of guitar players he could choose from he picked me – that was pretty cool.
‘And I’ve been writing with different bands of different heaviness and different lightness. I wrote some stuff with Escape The Fate which is a heavier band, then I wrote some stuff with Hinder which is a lighter band, and some stuff with Papa Roach. It’s just to spread myself out and to show I can write this and this, and I can play this and this. Maybe it’ll get people to say: “Wow, I didn’t know Mick could play like that.”’
Under THE INFLUENCE
‘I have quite a few guitar influences,’ Mick says. ‘Hendrix, of course – he was the groundbreaker for a lot of people and he was probably the first real rock blues guy that caught my attention. It was still blues that he was playing but he was doing it in such a different sort of way.
‘I really, really liked Mike Bloomfield, and of course Jeff Beck. And Johnny Winter. All the blues-based guys were my guys – I didn’t think there was anybody else. But then I started discovering other people like Alvin Lee from 10 Years After, and I realised the list of great guitar players is almost endless. So you learn a little from this guy, and this guy, and slowly but surely you discover your own style.’
50 Guitar & Bass FEBRUARY 2012