Sometimes interviewing the most discreet member of a band might be an interesting move. “He doesn’t talk much, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t think a lot”, you might tell yourself, hoping to deal with a lively character who will show you another side of their band. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work every time.

In the present case, Mick Mars, Mötley Crüe’s guitarist, is neither the most talkative, nor the most committed of musicians when it comes to interviews. When we ask him the meaning or the reason behind the sudden re-release of the band’s albums, his answer is a terse: “I don’t know”. He couldn’t even tell us what the atmosphere’s like during his own band’s tours, since, on his own admission: “When I’m on tour, what I do is, I come in, I play, I leave”. In this instance, we wanted to know more about the atmosphere during the shared Mötley Crüe/Poison tour, given that the relationships between the various members of the band were a little tense. Most notably, Nikki Sixx, bassist for the former, and Bret Michaels, vocalist for the latter, had violently bashed one another on Internet in the months leading up to the announcement of this shared tour.

But we’ll forgive his answer to the next question, regarding Vince Neil’s (the Crüe’s singer) strong presence in the media in the past year, due to his legal setbacks and sometimes violent love affairs. “How are the other members of the band living this situation? Do they talk together about that? Aren’t they a little upset about being associated with all those problems?” Mick Mars’ answer: “No comment”.

Nevertheless, we did manage to learn a few things regarding the band’s future, as well as his own current affairs.

We started by commenting on a statement made by Tommy Lee, who considers that the time for studio albums is now over due to the evolution of the record industry. Mick Mars had this to say about it: “I would say it’s back to the way it was in the sixties, singles, EPs and things like that. When you go on iTunes or whatever, you can see what’s downloaded. A lot of bands ruin the other stuff… You would have to buy a whole record just to have one song. It’s so much better and so much easier the way it was back in the sixties: you hear something like the Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’, you would go out and just buy that, you know? Without having to have all the rest of the stuff.” Despite this, Mötley Crüe will continue to release studio albums. The next one could be released “possibly in 2013”.

We also got a little update on his activities outside of Mötley Crüe. For the man is rather busy: “I’ve been working with a lot of people, like Crashdïet and James Durbin, of course, with Twiggy [Ramirez, Marilyn Manson’s bassist]. Lots of different people. Terry Bozzio as well. That takes us back a little bit! [laughs] That sort of things. Trying to play a lot of different things with a lot of different people, in a lot of different styles, approaches of their music not to break away, but to expand on what I already know. I know how to play guitar, but I want to know even more different styles. I’ve been playing weird stuff, like flamenco or Hispanic music, on guitar solos, when I had to do that, like finger picking or Gipsy kind of style. I’m trying to expand on that. Even though I’m an old geezer, it doesn’t mean I can’t still learn! [laughs]”

Regarding his participation to former American Idol contestant James Durbin’s album, he declares, in a more detailed way: “I think he has a very good chance of making it, like big time. But he has to persist and to keep listening to what’s going on. I think he’s pretty hip to what’s going on, as far as current music and stuff like that goes. Actually, I think his next album will be harder that this one”. With such a career as his, does being involved in a young artist’s first album make if him young again, if only during the recording? “Ah, no, I still feel like I’m as old as I am! [laughs]” It was also a good opportunity to compare the working methods from the two eras: “Recording in the 80s was a lot different, ‘cause we were recording to tape. So we had to cut the tape for the best drums track, as we’d go through the songs several times. We’d cut the tape up in sections for the best drums track. Then we would go back, and I would record my guitar parts. Maybe Nikki would record the bass part first, or I would do the guitar parts until we got it right. We didn’t cut the tape on me, I just had to keep playing it again and again, until it was the way that I was happy with it, the way the producer was happy with it. Today, with Pro Tools, we kind of pass the hard drive around. If I was to go to DJ Ashba’s place, he’s got some stuff that we’ve written, so we can go there and just put in on hard drive then send it to James and Nikki, and they’re like: ‘Yeah, that’s cool, but could you try this?’ We just play around with different ideas, and it’s so much faster and easier.”

As for his solo album, about which he insisted he wouldn’t enter the studio before finding the perfect musicians, his search seems to be doing well, even if he can give no name as of yet: “I still got to talk to my lawyer and to the people themselves. I know who I want to get involved with, but I don’t want to say who it is, because if I do, that would be a rumor, wouldn’t it? I don’t want to start a rumor thing. But I’ve pretty much picked out who I want to play with. And I’m sure they’ll want to play with me, I’m positive”.

To conclude, on a lighter note, we broached the subject of the band’s demands on tour or for a concert. Mick Mars confirms that the band did ask for seventy towels on the occasion of their performance at the Hellfest: “But we do worse stuff, we’re Mötley Crüe! [laughs] It depends on where we play. If we’re in the US, we do some whack stuff, but when we’re over here, we get pretty limited. We have limited time, and we don’t do a lot of headliners here. We’re mostly playing festivals and stuff. We have little extra stuff. We just get on, play and get off stage. We do as much as we can, but we can’t pick chicks out of the crowd and have them dance around on stage and go topless, or anything like that! [laughs]”. Which, as you’ll all agree, is a real pity, if only from a strictly egalitarian point of view.

Interview conducted on Thursday 8th December by phone.
Transcription and translation: Saff’, with help from Stan

Mötley Crüe’s website: motley.com

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