Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars dropped a bombshell this week when he sued his bandmates, claiming they are ripping him off financially and trying to remove him from the band, following his retirement from touring last fall due to health issues.
Mars announced last fall that he was putting the lid on a more than 40-year touring career, and passing the baton to guitar virtuoso John 5. Mars has battled a chronic, inflammatory form of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis since he was a teenager.
Mötley Crüe said at the time of Mars' announcement that the cofounder would remain "a member of the band," but would not continue touring due to his condition.
But Mars tells a different tale in his lawsuit, suggesting retirement was pushed on him and that he was forced to sign a severance agreement that would leave him with a 5 percent stake in the band's current 'World Tour' tour and nothing for future tours.
The guitarist continues, accusing his bandmates of disparaging his guitar playing and gaslighting him, suggesting he had cognitive issues that were affecting his ability. Meanwhile, Mars says Sixx in particular "did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour" last year, and instead outsourced his parts to a pre-recorded track. Drummer Tommy Lee and singer Vince Neil also used backing tracks to buoy their performances at times, Mars said.
Mars has not put a dollar figure on his complaint. Instead he has demanded documents related to the band's businesses, so his lawyers will be equipped with all relevant information when they go to arbitration.
In a statement, a lawyer for Lee, Neil and Sixx described the lawsuit as "unfortunate and completely off-base." They pointed to a 2008 document signed by all four band members in which they agreed that no "resigning shareholder [would] be entitled to receive any monies attributable to live performances (i.e., tours)."
The attorney also claimed that Mars owes the band "millions in advances that he did not pay back — the band offered Mick a generous compensation package to honor his career with the band."
The statement goes on to suggest that the guitarist has been "manipulated by his manager and lawyer" into filing suit.
In concludes that "The band did everything to protect him, tried to keep these matters private to honor Mick's legacy and take the high road. Unfortunately, Mick chose to file this lawsuit to badmouth the band. The band feels empathy for Mick, wishes him well and hopes that he can get better guidance from his advisors who are drive by greed."