Last year, Mötley Crüe garnered attention as classic guitarist Mick Mars exited the lineup, citing health issues, and was subsequently replaced by John 5. While the band announced new tour dates and appeared to be moving forward, tensions arose earlier this year when Mars filed a lawsuit against the band, accusing bassist Nikki Sixx of “gaslighting” him into believing his cognitive skills and guitar abilities had deteriorated more than he realized.
Amidst the animosity between the iconic hair metal group and their former guitarist, a positive dynamic seems to exist between Mars and John 5, with the latter revealing that they maintain communication. As a devoted Mötley Crüe fan, the former Rob Zombie guitarist engaged in weekly video sessions covering the band’s songs in anticipation of his inaugural live performance alongside Sixx and the band.
In an interview with Guitar World, John 5 delved into his process of learning and interpreting Mick Mars’ guitar work for live performances. He expressed a commitment to playing the solos exactly as they were originally written, emphasizing their significance both to him as a fan and to the audience. John 5 highlighted iconic elements such as squeals and harmonics, emphasizing his desire to honor the integrity of the songs and their historical impact.
“I wanted to play those solos exactly as they were written. Those solos are so important to me as a fan, and they’re so important to the audience. The squeals in ‘Looks That Kill‘ or the harmonics in ‘Dr. Feelgood‘ – these are very important to me and the world.
“It’s like you’re looking at some sheet music; you’re looking at Mozart, and you’re like, ‘Well, I’m gonna improvise over this part’. No. That’s how those songs were written, how they were recorded, and how they should be performed. I wanted to give those songs respect.”
While adhering to the original compositions, John 5 also noted that the rest of the band afforded him some creative leeway to infuse his own artistic touch into live shows. This balance allowed him to stay true to the essence of the music while adding his unique flair during designated solo sections.
Additionally, reports have surfaced indicating that Mötley Crüe is collaborating on new music, with John 5 assuming guitar duties and renowned producer Bob Rock contributing to the project. While specific details about the new music remain scarce, the prospect of fresh material from this legendary rock group, featuring John 5’s distinct guitar work, has piqued the interest of fans and the music industry alike.
I checked with the guys and said, ‘I’m going to play them as they are on the records.’ They said, ‘Okay, well, you can have a solo.’ And that’s when I go completely berserk. It’s kind of a perfect situation.