Shortly after Mötley Crüe embarked on its reunion tour with promises that it would go for two years nonstop, guitarist Mick Mars checked in with New Times. Given Mars' health problems and constant physical pain (he recently had both hips replaced and has struggled with a degenerative illness for almost two decades) and well-publicized past squabbles with vocalist Vince Neil and drummer Tommy Lee (nipping at each other like two highly strung Beverly Hills poodles), the Crüe's endurance comes as a surprise. Mars' gruff, deadpan, and none-too-optimistic assessment of the situation, however, quickly restores faith the members of the Crüe have lasted this long without managing to kill themselves. If nothing else, we can always count on them to act like debauched dirtbags, but Mars assured us that as long as he's around, common sense will prevail in Camp Crüe.
New Times: There's talk that this might be your last tour because of your health. How far can you see this going?
Mick Mars: I'm not sure. I don't know where this stuff is taking me. It's taking me somewhere, I'm just not sure where.
Mtley Cre joins Aerosmith
Sound Advice Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach
Friday, November 24. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $40 to $200. Call 561-793-0445, or visit www.livenation.com.
How have you been feeling on the shows so far?
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I've been doing OK, just a little for lack of a better word bent.
There's also talk of not being sure the band will last the whole tour because of the rift between Tommy and Vince. Vince recently was quoted as saying "I don't like Tommy, and he doesn't like me." What's your take?
Before we even started talking about this reunion thing, pretty much all the baggage was aired. If there's any disagreements or anything, we four sit down as a band without any interference, without any outside people or anything else.
How much did that interference used to happen?
All the time... all the time. This is the first tour where we've sat down as just the four of us and said, "Hey, this is bothering me." Instead of having someone put the bug in someone's ear, saying, "Hey, Tommy's saying this stuff about Nikki [Six, bassist]" or "Nikki's saying this" about me. Now we say, "Hey, did you do this or say this?"
Why do you think Vince quit?
I don't know. It was kinda stupid. To me it was like a lesson [mimics band dialogue]:
"Well, I'm gonna leave."
"Ah well, fuck you. Get outta here."
"Well, OK then, fire me."
"OK, you're fired. Wait, wait... no, you're not."
"Well, I'm leaving..."
"...Dumb. Now, you figured it out: You ain't gonna make it on your own, and neither are we."
When you were diagnosed and broke your health situation to the rest of the guys, how did they react when you told them about it? From your description in [the band's autobiography] The Dirt, it doesn't seem like they were very supportive.
I don't think they understand the extent of the damage that it causes to your body or how painful it is and how much more of an effort it takes to do things.
What's the scariest fan experience you've ever had?
I was in Las Vegas and some guy came across the stage with a flying football tackle. You know how they do that jump with their arms crossed and hit you? One guy did that to me. It hurt. I didn't want to go back onstage. The paramedics were saying, "Lemme check you out. Lemme check you out." I was like, "Get the hell away from me!" But he was not very happy that he did that. Because of security, he needed to go away in an ambulance, not me.
Honestly when does being able to get laid any time you want get boring?
I don't know. I haven't been laid in over five years. That's the truth. Lemme say this: There's a lot of skanks, OK. That's about the best I can put it. "Laid any time I want to..." Be careful.
OK, but when does it get boring?
Well, I guess it doesn't get boring, because you can leave with a different girl every night. But you gotta be really careful. Protect yourself there you go.
How do you think you were able to avoid taking advantage of all the temptation?
I just think about stuff a little more, I guess. I don't really know. It's just my personality. I think about stuff. Maybe I think too much... It sounds weird, huh?
It actually sounds very sensible. Just "think about something before you do it," right?
That's how I feel about it! I don't wanna have any paternity suits or gonorrhea or syphilis or AIDS or HIV or any kind of shit!
Or manslaughter/assault charges or...
When you see other famous people who do stuff, like athletes or musicians or even Vince Neil you know what it's like to have those same temptations.
I'm saving myself for the right girl.
How do you feel when you see other famous people doing stuff that's...
Ridiculous? Stupid? I see their bank account going down. Lawsuits, lawyers, being sued. All that crap. It's like, you know, I'd rather just sit in my room and play my guitar and be happy with that. Instead of like knocking out a wall or throwing a TV out the window or having sex with some maniac girl that's, "Hey, you got me knocked up, you fucker, and I'm gonna sue you." I don't need that shit anymore. I never got it, really, but I don't want it to happen anyway.
And that doesn't create much tension between you and the rest of the band?
Heck no. What they do is their business. Just as long as I know that they're onstage and we're... four together and that we are a unit and we love each other more than anything else.
But it's hard to believe that the drugs wouldn't affect the playing quality.
The drugs that I was taking were the equivalent of a Vicodin, OK? Which didn't mess me up. It didn't make me high. It just relieved the pain.
I meant the other guys' "recreational" drug use.
I guess they learned a lesson from it.
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