Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars Talks Las Vegas, New Music and Guitar
Mötley Crüe were one of the most significant hair metal bands of the ’80s, toting metallic riffs, a mesmerizing visual presentation and a wild-child reputation that earned them legions of adoring fans.
Now, the guys of the Crüe are tearing up Las Vegas during a two-and-a-half week residency at the Hard Rock Hotel’s Joint.
“It’s going pretty well” guitarist Mick Mars told Gibson.com about the run, which kicked off February 3. “The first few days that you play a new venue, you have to get adjusted to the room, adjusted to the sound and adjusted to get the production, right, and that kind of stuff, and it’s getting better and better every night.”
A few hours before show time, Mars checked in with Gibson.com to talk more about the residency – which runs through February 19 – and explain why when it comes to great guitar playing, “what’s most important is practice.”
Did Mötley Crüe ever have a dream of having your own residency in Las Vegas? I mean, you’re the first rock band to really do so.
Not really! I’m an old-school type of person. When it comes to residencies, I think Mötley Crüe is kind of breaking the ice in that area, because when I think of residencies, I think of the older names and non-rock acts. So, I feel like it’s what we did with the Roxy in Los Angeles with the rock scene. We were the first unsigned band to play there, which opened up a whole new area for bands that were unsigned to play. So, we could be doing the same thing here. I don’t know – I don’t have a crystal ball [laughs]. But, I’m guessing stuff like that will happen.
What have you guys been pulling out at the shows, song-wise?
A lot of the standard songs that we play. The hits that if you don’t play them, people go, “How come they didn’t play ‘Kickstart My Heart?’” But, we’ve thrown in a few songs that are more unfamiliar with the crowd, like off Generation Swine, and we threw in “Piece of Your Action” off the first album.
Is it hard to believe Mötley Crüe have been rocking for over 30 years?
I’m surprised none of us has choked each other! [Laughs] The family thing of “I’m not going over to Rodger’s house for a week!” [Laughs] I really didn’t have a clue if we were going to last 20, 30, 10 or five years. Again, I’m from old-school, and I’m a couple years older than the guys, and I’m used to seeing bands last maybe seven to 10 years. The Stones were the very first band that I ever saw really last, and then Aerosmith. We just kept chugging along, and people seemed to love the band. But, I didn’t foresee that 30 years at all.
Do you have a #1 favorite Mötley Crüe song of all time?
I would have to say probably one of the songs that I really enjoy playing is “Primal Scream.” I have a really good time playing that song.
I’ve heard that you guys are planning to put together a movie and new album by 2013. What can you tell us about the progress on that?
We’re working on it, and I believe we have the producers lined up. The directors I met with a month or so ago, and they’re all really cool people, and they get it. They understand what rock and roll is about. When I talked to them, I went, “This isn’t all fun and games and fluffy stuff. This is the real deal... ” That’s the realism of how rock and roll really is. So far, these directors really get it, and the producers also really like the idea. I’d give it a 99 percent chance of happening, along with a new record.
What guitar-playing tips do you have for our readers?
Really, it depends on how far you are. I’ve had people tell me, “I’m at a standstill.” What I would usually do when I hit a standstill is take on somebody that I didn’t know. Like, after I learned a lot of blues things when I was a little guy, I would want to step it up, so I stepped up to Wes Montgomery or George Benson to learn a different type of thing. But, what’s most important is practice. I can’t read, so I just play with my feel, with my soul and with my heart and put everything that I have into it. I play some stuff, and I don’t know what it is, but people will come up and say, “Hey, when you did that pentatonic scale, that was out of this world!” And I go, “What’s that?” [Laughs] But, practice, practice, practice is the best way to do it.