Mick Mars’ Dispute With Mötley Crüe Goes To Private Arbitration

January 19, 2024

Let me preface this by saying I have a star tattooed on my right hand to pay homage to drummer Tommy Lee. So this story is a rough one. Mick Mars‘s lawyer said that the issue of whether Mars was illegally severed from Mötley Crüe is heading to private arbitration later this year.

Yeah. Think we all saw this coming.

When Mars announced he was retiring from touring with the band in October ’22 (health issues), he said he’d still be a member of the band, with John 5 taking his place on the road. But Mars filed a lawsuit against the band in April ’23, saying they tried to remove him as a significant stakeholder in their corporation and business holdings via a shareholders’ meeting.

Specifically, Mars says he was asked to sign a severance agreement that would drop him from 25% of the band’s business interest to a 5% stake in the band’s ’23 tour. That stake would then be reduced to 0% for future tours. Mick says band management later bumped the 5% to 7.5% of the ’23 tour.

When Mars didn’t sign, the band took the dispute to arbitration “rather than a public lawsuit so that the public would not be aware of the deplorable manner in which they treated their ‘brother’ of 41 years,” Mick claims in the suit.

Mars talked to Rolling Stone last year and said, “When they wanted to get high and fuck everything up, I covered for them. Now they’re trying to take my legacy away, my part of Mötley Crüe, my ownership of the name, the brand. How can you fire Mr. Heinz from Heinz ketchup? He owns it. Frank Sinatra’s or Jimi Hendrix’s legacy goes on forever, and their heirs continue to profit from it. They’re trying to take that away from me. I’m not going to let them.”

On Tuesday, Mars’s lawyer, Ed McPherson, said the band took too long to produce some of the documents he requested confirms his client was mistreated by his bandmates. “Finally, somebody, somewhere told these guys they can’t bully Mick anymore. We’re in the middle of a huge arbitration that will ultimately decide if Mick has to give up his shares or not, if they did things properly or not. Obviously we claim they didn’t do anything properly. But they feel that they’re above the rules. And that’s what this lawsuit was about.”

Last year, after Mars filed his lawsuit, Mötley Crüe’s manager of 30 years, Allen Kovac, said Mars publicly voice his allegations “to gain leverage in a smear campaign on Mötley. He’s attacked the band, and he’s done it in a slanderous way, with false accusations and misrepresenting the facts to the fans. Mick is not the victim. The victims are Mötley Crüe and the brand, which Mick is so prideful of. What’s upsetting to me is not Mick, but his representatives, who have guided Mick to say and do harmful things to the brand he cares about so much, Mötley Crüe. He has a degenerative disease and people are taking advantage of him. It’s called elder abuse.”

Allen said he didn’t understand why Mars didn’t take the 7.5% of ’23 tour revenue, “They’ve got [a 2023 tour] they’re about halfway through, so let’s [estimate] $150 million [in gross], and then you take off for production and commissions, and let’s call it 100 or 110 million. What’s seven and a half percent of that? He says it’s an insult. And you’ve got me quoting that the other two guys got zero when they were out of the band” — meaning Vince Neil and Tommy Lee, during the periods they left the group. “So where’s the insult? I think Mick is part of the 1%. Please put that on the record. … Let’s say it was seven and a half percent of $110 million. Could you live on that, even if you have tens of millions already?”

This one is going to arbitration, as it should. As a fan since the beginning, this is not a good look for the rest of the band. It’s a shame how Mars is being treated, really.


Written by Todd Hancock