It’s a lawsüit!
Mick Mars, the 71-year-old guitarist born Robert Deal, announced in October he would retire from touring with the headlining hard rock group Mötley Crüe, citing a chronic ailment stemming from a spinal disease. On Thursday of this week, as reported by the New York Times, Mars filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing the other three members of the band of pushing him out of the organization and cutting him off from future profits.
According to Mars’s claim, the remaining members of Mötley Crüe, lead singer Vince Neil (born Vince Wharton), drummer (and inadvertent adult film star) Tommy Lee (born Thomas Bass), and bassist-principal songwriter Nikki Sixx (born Frank Feranna Jr.), responded to his decision by holding an emergency shareholders’ meeting with the principal members of the organization, and decided to throw him out of the band, remove him as a director of the corporation, and take away his shares.
Mars’s lawyer, Edwin F. McPherson, released a statement, saying, “It is beyond sad that, after 41 years together, a band would try to throw out a member who is unable to tour anymore because he has a debilitating disease.” He added, “Mick has been pushed around for far too long in this band, and we are not going to let that continue.”
The suit also claims that the band’s de facto leader Nikki Sixx has been making decisions without consulting other group members, and that Mars has been on the receiving end of “gaslighting.” Mars claims that Sixx has accused him of poor guitar playing, hitting the wrong notes on stage, and claiming he had “some sort of cognitive dysfunction.”
A lawyer for the band, Sasha Frid, called the suit “unfortunate and completely off base” and said that the members of the group signed an agreement in 2008 stating that they would cease receiving money if they resigned. Frid said that Mars was offered a compensation package “despite the fact that the band did not owe Mick anything,” but “Mick refused and chose to file this ugly public lawsuit.”
V.F. has reached out to representatives of Mötley Crüe for comment but have not heard back.
Decades ago, the guitarist was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a kind of arthritis that causes lower back pain. Citing the disease, Mars issued a press release in October that he “can no longer handle the rigors of the road” but “will continue as a member of the band.” The band issued its own statement soon thereafter, referred to Mars as “retired” and announced John 5 as his replacement. Mars claims that the band then demanded he sign an agreement significantly reducing all further touring and merchandise profits, and that he would receive nothing from any product that named or depicted his replacement.
“The band’s primary function is to tour and perform concerts,” Frid said. Though the group’s platinum-selling years were the 1980s, Mötley Crüe still has an active live performance schedule. Their last full-length album release was Saints of Los Angeles in 2008. Since then, they have released only a small handful of singles, often with a guest artist.