The 71-year-old guitarist Mick Mars, whose real name is Robert Deal, announced in October that he was quitting touring with the hard rock band Mötley Crüe. The musician’s departure was attributed to a persistent condition brought on by a spine illness.
Mars, who is suing the other three band members for allegedly forcing him out of the group and depriving him of potential income, filed a case in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, according to The New York Times.
The remaining Mötley Crüe members, including lead singer Vince Neil (born Vince Wharton), drummer Tommy Lee (born Thomas Bass), and bassist-principal songwriter Nikki Sixx (born Frank Feranna Jr.), allegedly held an emergency shareholders’ meeting in response to his decision and decided to fire him from the group, remove him from his position as a director of the corporation, and take away his shares in the company.
The Lawyers’ perspective
Up until this point, the Crüe camp had only sent out terse comments and Nikki Sixx’s irate tweets. Allen Kovac, the band’s 29-year manager, was so incensed by an interview Mars gave to Variety after the lawsuit was filed that he agreed to go on the record in response to what he considered to be the musician’s most outrageous claims, including whether or not the group’s performances are largely recorded. The lawyer admits, “I have a lot of regrets that I’m having to do this,” and notes that he persuaded Nikki Sixx, the band’s unofficial leader, to refrain from speaking to the media himself in order for the bassist to continue “taking the high road.”
Since Mars’ 41-year tenure with the band looks to be coming to a controversial conclusion, his lawyer, Edwin F. McPherson, has provided more details on why he believes his client hit a breaking point and chose to not only file a lawsuit but also go public with how he feels the band has wronged him.
Gaslighting Vs. Defamation
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 taking other group members on board, and that Mars has been on the receiving end of “gaslighting.”
Kovac claims that Mars is making a list of accusations in order to “gain leverage in a smear campaign” against Motley. He made defamatory claims about the band and misrepresented the truth to the audience when he assaulted them. The victim is not Mick, the advocate notes, Motley Crue and the company, which Mick is so proud of, are the victims.
In the end, so much of this comes down to: It’s personal, with issues primarily between Mars and Sixx that the arbitration judge may not even want to look at. Both members feel betrayed, or at the very least, deeply hurt by the other, while Neil’s or Lee’s name hardly come up a fraction as often as the tales of old wounds unfold.
What went wrong with Mötley Crüe all those years back?
The musician was given a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis, a kind of arthritis that results in lower back discomfort, decades ago. Mars stated in an October press statement that he “can no longer handle the rigours of the road” but “will continue as a member of the band.” He listed the sickness as the reason. Soon after, the group released a statement of its own in which it described Mars as “retired” and named John 5 as his replacement. Mars alleges that after that, the band insisted on having him sign a deal that drastically reduced any future touring and merchandise profits and said he would not be paid for anything featuring his replacement.
Mars was the penultimate member to the band and the only one who, at the time, could actually play effectively, according to those who have seen the Netflix film The Dirt, which is based on the Crüe’s heyday. If the movie’s history is to be believed, the Los Angeles-based group, known for their teased-out hair and, in their inception, faintly demonic logos, appeared to have mixed views about their new member being around ten years older than everyone else. Mars was the one who came up with the group’s identity.
Mick Mars has contributed to some of the Mötley Crüe’s catchier songs throughout the years, such as “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Dr. Feelgood,” and the power ballad “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away).”
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