Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Motley Crue's MIck Mars Interviewed

Jim Otey of Pollstar recently sat down with Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars and filed the following report.

Motley Crue is gearing up to hit the road as the leader of its own touring rock festival, Crue Fest, which features a lineup that boasts Buckcherry and Papa Roach.

The band is also set to release Saints of Los Angeles, its first new studio album with all of its original members in over a decade June 24.

Crue Fest launches July 1 at Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Fla. and will hit more than 40 cities before wrapping up August 31 at Post-Gazette Pavilion in Pittsburgh.

Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars sat down recently to talk with Pollstar about touring, fans, the band's new album and trying to avoid being turned into The Monkees.

You guys are stars in your own right. You could go out on tour and headline, playing whatever size venues you wanted. Why do a touring festival?
I think it was the next real step, the next step up the ladder I guess you'd say. We're still doing arenas, but we wanted to step it up a notch. Not to compete, but to establish that we can also do our own festival, like Ozzfest or Lollapalooza, but we're doing it. It's just stepping up to the plate and taking it on.

You've certainly earned your stripes. You've had high highs and low lows.
Yes, I went from corporal to sergeant.

Who picked the bands on the tour?
We selected them. We had a whole list, everyone from My Chemical Romance on down. We had a bunch of bands like that on the list and we picked the ones we thought would be best for the bill. We looked at what was going on with them chart-wise. You know how that works. Music is a business and you need to look at who's going to fit with your band the best.

Speaking of music being a business, what kind of changes have you seen since you started doing this, especially with touring?
Touring has changed. Well, actually touring won't really change, but the way that you tour does, if that makes sense. In other words, the way that it gets set up. It's a lot more organized now. You still get out there and there are a bunch of things booked, but it's a lot more organized. In the old days we'd play one place and the next night we were supposed to be 2000 miles away. That's impossible.

The people who run it now, the promoters and agents, are more on the ball. It's easier to tour these days than in the past.

So it's gotten easier, but hasn't it also become more necessary?
Yes, but I like touring, even though my body's a little bent up from AS [ankylosing spondylitis]. But that ain't gonna hold me back from touring. It's what I do. It's fun to see all the fans - not only am I growing older, the fans are growing older too. I can see them in the audience looking up just like when they were 16, but bringing their kids. And it's cool.

Do you see a lot of new fans too?
Oh man, yeah. A lot of young fans. I think they snuck daddy's Shout at the Devil out or something.

So now it's the original four guys back together.

You've been back together for a little while now. Is it getting easier to be together because you're older and you might not have the egos you had when you were younger, or is it the same old rock and roll lifestyle?
I think it's pretty close to the same as it's always been. There are a couple of guys that like to go out and "have a good time," as I'll call it. But for me, when I'm done with the gig and I meet a few people and say, "Hi," then I'm off to the next city. Some of the guys like to hang out and go to the clubs and do that kind of stuff. So it's still pretty much the same.

You've been an influence on a lot of younger bands. Is that a little strange to deal with sometimes when, for example, someone from a hot band walks up and says, "Hey man, you were an enormous influence to me?"
It's a bit different, because I don't feel that way. I don't know how to explain it. I've had a few bands, like Hinder and Machina, come up to me and they're just in awe. And I'm going, "I'm just the guitar player. Come on." But I imagine if I had to go up to - if Hendrix was still alive, I'd feel the same. Or with Jeff Beck or Eric Clapton, I'd probably - no I can say, safely, that I would feel the same.

The Internet has changed things a lot. Do you think it's helped metal and hardcore bands as much as it has indie bands?
I think it's helped tremendously. But there's still TV stuff that I feel is necessary, like some of the late night shows - Leno, Letterman and Kimmel. Those things are still important. And radio interviews are still an important thing too, even though there isn't much left in the way of radio other than satellite. But you can get away with a lot more on that than you could on regular radio.

Do you think it's still possible for a band to be as big as you were?
I think it's still possible, if they have the right marketing plan and the right people behind them pushing - and if they work. If your manager goes, "You have to do abcd to get to this point," and the band follows that and does it, they can do over the top things. Because the good managers - not to sound egotistical, but managers like the one I've got - have a plan and you follow that plan and stick to it. So you can do it, but doing it is hard work.

Is the new album, Saints of Los Angeles, vintage Crue or is it a more mature Crue?
It sounds to me like vintage Crue - meaning "Feel Good," "Girls, Girls, Girls" and that kind of stuff - but at the same time, it's more modern sounding. The rawness from back then is on the album, but the songs are more modern. They fit into the genre today, instead of sounding like it's 1980. It's modern, but it's Motley too.

Have you been involved in the preparations for the movie based on the book "Dirt," which is about the band?
The movie is still in the works. I've gotten a few scripts, but they weren't true to the story, so I didn't care much for them personally. It was like they wanted to do a Monkees kind of thing. And that ain't Motley Crue. They keep trying to polish it up, but we're a lot different than most of the scripts we've gotten. So the movie is still in the works, but we've still got to find the right director and find the right script and everything else. It will come out, but I don't know when.

Is there a headlining run in the works for after the festival tour to support the new album?
We're working on a world tour, not a world festival tour, but we're doing 40 or more dates on Crue Fest and then after that we'll do Europe and Japan. There are tons of festivals to do in Europe. And in Japan we'll go over and play eight or 10 gigs, because it's not a very big place. Then we'll hit Australia and hopefully new places like Argentina. And of course, we'll play Mexico City.

ANIMAL: Mick, hope you beat the damn spondy, I know what kind of hell it can be. I go in for surgery June 30th for my spondy which I had for a year, every day is pain. Wish you the best, I know what you are going through.

Discuss this topic and more at OLD SCHOOL METAL - GLAM - HAIR METAL - HARD ROCK

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