Last year in October 2022, John 5 departed Rob Zombie’s band to become a part of Motley Crue as he replaced Mick Mars as the guitarist struggled with health issues.
The split seemed amicable enough until last month when Mars sued the band for his share of the profits, accusing bassist Nikki Sixx of “gaslighting” him into thinking that his mental faculties were declining and that memory loss was preventing him from playing the songs properly. Mars also added that the hair metal legends extensively used backing tracks, claiming that Nikki didn’t play live at well, something that the guitarist was opposed to.
Crue also addressed the issue with a counterstatement reiterating that the guitarist was unfit to perform and stating that there were no backing tracks involved in their performances, which led to many fans and musicians becoming divided between both parties.
John 5 talks about the matter
Now, in a new interview with SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk, John 5 addressed some of the controversies surrounding his joining the Crüe.
When questioned about his current relationship with Mars in light of the massive lawsuit, the guitarist said (via Loudwire):
“Me and Mick, we talk all the time. We exchange Christmas gifts and things like that. When I was announced as the guitar player, he was one of the very first texts that I got and he said, ‘You’re going to kill it.’ It’s good. It’s not like it’s some stranger coming in. We have a great respect for each other.”
John 5 also addressed the claims that Nikki extensively uses backing tracks, with the guitarist denying this, claiming instead:
“Not 99 percent, not 98 percent, but 100 percent, Nikki is playing every single note on that stage.”
When questioned specifically about footage that shows the bassist with one hand in the air while playing, John 5 went on to say that Nikki is simply playing open notes and doesn’t need both hands on the bass, adding:
“It doesn’t mean you’re not playing bass. Nikki plays 100 percent. Here’s what makes me crazy… well, it doesn’t really make me crazy because when people say we’re playing to backing tracks, I take it as a compliment because we rehearse so hard.”
“We even have penalty flags if someone messes up at rehearsal — we throw a penalty flag at them. We rehearse so much and I take it as a compliment because it means we sound that good live. In my heart of hearts, I know that we’re playing live.”
The guitarist concluded:
“Do you really think that we would put a mistake on a track or something? No, it’s crazy. It’s so crazy, but 100 percent he plays every single note on there. Just listen to the shows before you make these statements, because you’ll hear mess-ups and that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is.”
“Yes, we do rely on technology for backup vocals, for intros, for outros, sirens, horn hits, things like that. Of course, they’ve been doing that since Dr. Feelgood. I’m not saying we don’t rely on technology for things like that. Backups, intros, outros, things that we can’t replicate ourselves. But me, Nikki, Tommy [Lee] and Vince [Neil], we’re all live up there.”