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Motley Crue Guitarist Mick Mars Retiring From Touring

Mars, 71, has battled the degenerative spine disease Ankylosing Spondylitis for years
(Photo by Mick Hutson / Redferns)

Founding Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars is retiring from touring with the long-running rock quartet as he continues his battle with the degenerative spine disease Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.). Mars, however, will remain a part of Motley Crue offstage.

Here’s what Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx had to say:

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.

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. The rest, as they say, is history. We’ll continue to honor his musical legacy.

We will carry out Mick’s wish and continue to tour the world as planned in 2023. 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!

At 71, Mars is significantly older than bandmates Neil (60), Lee (61), and Sixx (63), but has been able to manage his condition on tour for decades with the help of a 2004 hip replacement. Veteran guitarist John 5 is taking over for Mars.

“I’m honored to carry on Mick’s legacy and am looking forward to playing these songs,” John 5 said in a statement.

Despite an extensive farewell tour and what was said to be its final show on Dec. 31, 2015, Motley Crue reunited in 2019. Its massive summer stadium tour with Def Leppard brought in big bucks at the box office, so much so that it will resume in February for dates in Latin America and Europe through July.

Mars recalled early symptoms of A.S. in Motley Crue’s 2001 biography The Dirt, describing the pain as “like someone had plunged a knife into my back. But as the weeks passed, the pain kept moving around my back. Next, my stomach started burning, and I worried that my whole body was about to fall apart. I thought that there was a hole in my stomach, and acids were leaking out and destroying my bones and organs. I’d grab hold of doorknobs, anchor my legs into the ground, and pull with my hands to stretch my back and ease the pressure out.”