Motley Crue – Interview With Mick Mars [1999]

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Motley Crue

Hey, Mick!

Hey, man. What’s happening?

Not much. Been waiting to talk to you guys for a few weeks.

Really?

Yeah.

Well, you got me now. (laughs)

How has the tour been?

It’s been going really well.

I’ve heard it’s been interesting.

Well, you know, things happen every now and again. (laughs)

I heard Vince got hit with a bottle. I think that was one of the reasons we didn’t hook up with him earlier.

Yeah. We were in Bakersfield, and some bonehead, I don’t get why people throw shoes and bottles, hit Vince right in the throat with a tequila bottle.

I don’t get it either. You pay good money to see a band and then try to stop them from playing by hitting them with something.

I know. It’s crazy. It’s unfortunate because he couldn’t do anything else. We couldn’t finish the show because of one bonehead. You feel bad for the other people, but what can you do.

I go to a lot of shows and it still blows my mind why people do it.

Yep. And you know what? It really hurts, too.

How is the chemistry with the new lineup?

It’s going well. We’ve known Randy (Castillo, drummer) forever, and he was really familiar with the material so he fit right in. It’s all really good.

I also read some fan input that they like the new intro to “Home Sweet Home” when you play it with the acoustic guitar.

Oh yeah? That’s cool. That is really great. I guess you get used to hearing a certain song a certain way and I didn’t know how it would go over. I was like, ‘You know what? I hope they dig it.’ I mean, I can play piano but not very well.

Have you been performing anything new?

We’ve played all our greatest hits and all that kind of stuff. We threw in some songs that we haven’t played in a while, like “Red Hot”, “Too Young To Fall In Love”, and a couple of different ones.

I’m a fan of the early stuff, especially the first album. I actually have the record. I was going to get a cd a while back but didn’t. Now I noticed that you have reissued the old albums with new tracks.

Yeah. There are songs that we added as little extra bonuses, like songs from that era, like “Shout At The Devil”, we changed ’em up and made it a little different. So, instead of buying the same thing, here is something new.

Speaking of something new, have you been working on a new album?

Oh, yeah. Myself and Nikki write all of the time. Every day, I’m writing. I always play my guitar for hours and hours and hours, trying to come up with new riffs and licks and new song ideas. Nikki does the same. So, yeah, we are writing every day.

How do you put the songs together?

Mostly I get a concept for a song and I’ll write this riff and I’ll write some chords and choruses. Then I’ll show it to Nikki and he’ll go, ‘Oh, yeah, I get the idea.’ Then he’ll say, ‘What if we do this?’ or ‘What if we change this part to do this?’ And if it makes sense I’ll tell him, and then he’ll write some lyrics. The chemistry between him and I, good lord. (laughs) It’s the good stuff, you know?

Do you have an idea of when you might release a new studio album?

We are going overseas to Japan and we’ll start recording and rehearsing new songs. Probably, I’d say February or March for a new album. Then we’ll rehearse up and tour again for the new record.

Any ideas on how it might sound?

We don’t really premeditate anything. I probably have an album’s worth of material ready, and I know Nikki does too, so we’ll probably rehearse and choose the songs by what sounds great. That is usually how we do it. It isn’t really a conceptual thing. We just play.

You have a new live album coming out in November.

Yeah. We have so much live material that when we put out the live album it’ll probably say, “Dr. Feelgood, Live from ’89 in Houston, TX”, or something like that. You know? There may be some stuff from this tour because we recorded three or four shows from this tour. We’ll just pick and choose. We may be sitting in the studio and say, ‘Hey, we recorded “Bastard” in ’86, that would be a good one.’ It’ll be a mixture of all tours.

It seems impossible to pick a greatest hits album, then try to choose songs from the all of those tours.

It’s hard. (laughs) That is about the best way I can say it. There are so many good songs that I enjoy playing that it is really tough.

You have to look back and go, ‘Man, we left this off, we left this off.’

Exactly. That is exactly how it is. (laughs)

What did you think of The Donna’s cover of “Too Fast For Love”?

The what?

The Donna’s, the band. They did a cover of it for their latest album.

How is it?

It’s good. It’s an all girl punk band out of California.

That’s cool. I didn’t even know they did that.

How different is touring today compared to the early days?

I get a little tired. The only negative thing is you get really tired. Some of the drives are really long and bouncy because of the bus, but you get paid to see the world. God, that is the best. You see thousands of your fans screaming. It’s so worth it. No matter how tired you get. You get up there and it’s like you get all this energy from them. This is the shit.

You guys left Elektra to start your own label too. How did that come about and did you do that for more freedom to do what you want without answering to anyone?

Exactly. You know, Elektra records, I don’t know what is the matter with those people. From what I understand, this could be a rumor, but this lady had taken over as chairman and wanted to change the label to a black label. That is all fine and dandy, and we put out some albums and they put no effort behind them. So it was like, ‘You know what? Let’s get together with all the lawyers and do all this legal crap so we can get our own label going.’ The good part is that we did get all of our masters.

I’ve done a few interviews where artists say they wished they owned their masters because right now they don’t own anything.

Yep. I’m glad that we had lawyers good enough to get all of our stuff back. They got everything back, so it’s all good for Motley Crue.

What do you think about hard rock today and music in general?

You know, I think, in my opinion, hard rock comes and goes all of the time. It is always refreshing to hear a new style, but it always comes back to the good old rock ‘n’ roll. You know, the ‘hard-rock-kick-you-in-the-nuts’ always comes back. Like the saying goes, ‘You can’t kill rock ‘n’ roll.’ And you can’t.

You are right. Even when everyone was saying electronica this and that, then all this boy band stuff, rock still does great. Limp Bizkit out sold everyone recently.

Yeah. I still say there is no substitute for big, loud, in-your-face guitars. It’ll always be there.

Do you think you guys get overlooked as one of the greatest bands of all time?

Yeah. But I don’t think about it that much, really. It may sound strange, but I’m so in deep with Motley Crue, I shouldn’t do this but I do, but I find myself shutting myself off from everything but my band.

Do you feel that along with bands like Aerosmith, Ozzy, and the Rolling Stones, that the reason you are so successful, aside from still writing good music, is that you guys have that rock star quality, unlike a lot of acts today?

You know, I’m flattered that you ask that, but I don’t have an answer. I do what I do and I thank God that people are into it and appreciate it by coming to shows and supporting us. I count my blessings every day. It is such a positive thing for me.

Are you so successful because you guys are so dedicated to the band? It seems most bands would rather hang out than do anything else.

Yeah. They’d rather hang out and get hammered and use drugs and stuff; we went through that too. We made it through that, and it gives us another thing that we can look back on and write music about. We have stuff to write about, like falling down in the gutter, puking drunk and snapping at people. All that stuff is just a lesson in life.

Did it make you mad that in the mid 90’s everyone wrote you guys off as being washed up?

Nah. I don’t take any of that to heart. Not at all. It is like a good old car. You know when you start it up, you know it’s going to start up every time. And no matter how many people say, ‘That old car ain’t going to start anymore,’ and you know what? It does.

+ charlie craine