Heavy Load: Mick Mars
Mick Mars on Mötley Crüe, ill health, pride and prejudice.
Mick Mars has always been Mötley Crüe’s outsider. Born Bob Alan Deal in May 1951, he was hired after placing an ad in the Sunset Strip rag Recycler (‘Loud, rude and aggressive guitar player available’).
Already a decade older than most of the other band members, he lived with a girlfriend in Manhattan Beach while Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil and Tommy Lee lived a life of depravity as portrayed so graphically in the band’s tell-all book _The Dirt_. His bandmates went on to become meat for the celebrity grinder, but in his mid-60s, Mars remains quiet, thoughtful and reclusive.
What was your childhood like?
I was born in Indiana and lived there for my first seven or eight years. My childhood was nothing special.
Were you a good student?
Oh no. I cracked too many jokes. I didn’t take school too seriously. I already knew what I wanted to do, which was play guitar.
What personality trait did you inherit from your parents?
My sense of humour came from my father.
What in your life are you most proud of?
My eldest son. He’s quite a guy.
What’s the secret of your success?
Without a doubt, it’s persistence. I was driven to make it in the music world. And to this day I will not give up on anything.
How is your health right now?
I have ankylosing spondylitis, a disease that seizes your bones together. My back, my spine, right up to my neck and head, they’re all stuck. My hips too. I’ve had hip‑replacement surgery… But aside from all of that I’m okay [laughs].
And it’s not to blame for the decision to call an end to Mötley Crüe?
It’s nothing to do with my health. Over the years we’ve talked about stopping, and it’s time to leave the nest.
Off stage, what are your hobbies and pastimes?
I can’t drive my car any more, or hop on my bike. And I can’t go out for a putt [play golf]. So the answer is nothing. Music is all I do.
Do you believe in God?
That’s a firm answer. Care to elaborate?
No I don’t.
What are the best and worst drugs you’ve taken?
When I was a teenager I’d take Seconal [a barbiturate with a hypnotic effect]. That would be the most dangerous one. And when I got older and my AS really kicked in I would take Vicodin, Xanax or Adderall. OxyContin [a derivative of morphine] was by far the most dangerous. I was taking all of them all together.
Did your parents read The Dirt?
No, I’m sure they didn’t. I don’t know if anyone from my family read it.
Why would they not?
When I was sick, everyone but my parents abandoned me. I’m talking about my siblings. I was begging for help and basically they told me to go fuck myself. I haven’t seen any of my family in eleven or twelve years. Except for my son.
Other band members have famously done so, but did you ever film a sex tape?
Nope. I have no interest in that whatsoever. I would look like a monkey on a beach ball.
What can Mick Mars do that nobody else is capable of?
Nobody can play like Jeff Beck. Nobody can play like Jimi Hendrix – though a lot of people try. And nobody can play like me.
Post-Crüe, you’re going to release a solo album. What will it sound like?
It’ll be a hard rock record, but it’s tough to categorise. It’s not metal. It’ll make your hair fly back in the breeze.
You also plan to write a book.
Yes. But it won’t be anything like The Dirt. After thirty years [of being suppressed] I’m gonna be bringing out a lot of shit.
Do you feel you still have a lot to prove?
Yes. I feel like I’m the most unpopular popular person on the planet. Everyone says that I can’t play the guitar, but I’d like them to know that I can.
What is the meaning of life?
A movie by Monty Python.
What will be written on your tombstone?
If I have to go down that route, it’ll be a little plaque so big [gestures to indicate three or four inches square] and it’ll just say: ‘Dead’. That’s all.
What? No name?
No name. Just ‘Dead’. But my last will and testament is to be cremated and not buried, and it’ll be in a gold urn. I want my ashes dropped dead-centre of the Bermuda Triangle. That’s where I’m going.