Motley Crue Guitarist Mick Mars Is Retiring From the Band

After four decades of debauchery, Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars is retiring from the band.

“While change is never easy, we accept Mick’s decision to retire from the band due to the challenges with his health. We have watched Mick manage his Ankylosing Spondylitis for decades and he has always managed it with utmost courage and grace,” Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx said in a joint statement shared with Billboard on Thursday (Oct. 27).

“To say ‘enough is enough’ is the ultimate act of courage. Mick’s sound helped define Mötley Crüe from the minute he plugged in his guitar at our very first rehearsal together,” they continued. “The rest, as they say, is history. We’ll continue to honor his musical legacy.”

The band noted that per Mars’ wish, Mötley Crüe will continue on with its planned 2023 world tour, and revealed who would be filling in as guitarist. “No doubt will it take an absolutely outstanding musician to fill Mick’s shoes so we are grateful that our good friend John 5 has agreed to come on board and join us moving forward. We’ll see all you Crüeheads out on the road!”

The 71-year-old rocker had said he will continue to be a member of the group, but cannot go on the road anymore due to a lifelong battle with a painful degenerative spinal condition.

The news of his retirement was first reported by Variety on Wednesday (Oct. 26), which quoted a statement from an unnamed Crüe representative. “Mick Mars, co-founder and lead guitarist of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe for the past 41 years, has announced today that due to his ongoing painful struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.), he will no longer be able to tour with the band,” the rep explained. “Mick will continue as a member of the band, but can no longer handle the rigors of the road.  A.S. is an extremely painful and crippling degenerative disease, which affects the spine.”

The news of his retirement comes just a few days after the metal legends announced the latest leg of their co-headlining tour with Def Leppard, which will run through Latin America and Europe from February to July of 2023.

After announcing a farewell tour in 2014 — which included the band signing a binding pledge that they would not hit the road again — the Crüe hit the road again for a massive stadium tour this summer. That outing with Leppard, Joan Jett and Poison sold 1.3 million tickets and earned $173.5 million after being delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The next tour kicks off on Feb. 18 with a show in Mexico City, and is slated to run through a July 16 gig in Glasgow, Scotland.

Mars (born Robert Deal), described his painful struggles with A.S. in the band’s 2001 biography, The Dirt, writing, “My hips started hurting so bad every time I turned my body that it felt like someone was igniting fireworks in my bones. I didn’t have enough money to see a doctor, so I just kept hoping that I could do what I usually do: will it away, through the power of my mind. But it kept getting worse.”

The guitarist wrote of having trouble breathing and intense stomach pain that made it feel like “my whole body was about to fall apart.”

Gil Kaufman