In October 2022, it was announced that John 5 would join Mötley Crüe as their new guitarist, replacing Mick Mars who had been struggling with health issues. John 5 had previously been a member of Rob Zombie’s band. The announcement of the split seemed to be amicable, and fans were excited to see what John 5 would bring to Mötley Crüe.
However, last month, Mick Mars sued the band for his share of the profits, citing accusations of “gaslighting” by bassist Nikki Sixx. Mars claimed that Sixx had convinced him that his mental faculties were declining, and that memory loss was preventing him from playing the songs properly. Mars also alleged that Mötley Crüe extensively used backing tracks during their performances, something that he was opposed to.
The issue caused a division among fans and musicians, with many taking sides between Mars and the rest of Mötley Crüe. In response to the allegations, the band released a statement reiterating that Mars was not fit to perform and denying the use of backing tracks during their shows.
The situation has raised questions about the use of backing tracks in live performances and the ethical implications of using them. It has also highlighted the importance of communication and transparency in band dynamics, particularly when it comes to the health and well-being of band members.
Now, in a new interview with SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk, John 5 addressed some of the controversies surrounding his joining the Crüe.
John 5 addressed the claims that Nikki extensively uses backing tracks, with the guitarist denying this, claiming instead:
“Not 99 percent, not 98 percent, but 100 percent, Nikki is playing every single note on that stage.”
When questioned specifically about footage that shows the bassist with one hand in the air while playing, John 5 went on to say that Nikki is simply playing open notes and doesn’t need both hands on the bass, adding:
“It doesn’t mean you’re not playing bass. Nikki plays 100 percent. Here’s what makes me crazy… well, it doesn’t really make me crazy because when people say we’re playing to backing tracks, I take it as a compliment because we rehearse so hard.”
“We even have penalty flags if someone messes up at rehearsal — we throw a penalty flag at them. We rehearse so much and I take it as a compliment because it means we sound that good live. In my heart of hearts, I know that we’re playing live.”
The guitarist concluded:
“Do you really think that we would put a mistake on a track or something? No, it’s crazy. It’s so crazy, but 100 percent he plays every single note on there. Just listen to the shows before you make these statements, because you’ll hear mess-ups and that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is.”
“Yes, we do rely on technology for backup vocals, for intros, for outros, sirens, horn hits, things like that. Of course, they’ve been doing that since Dr. Feelgood. I’m not saying we don’t rely on technology for things like that. Backups, intros, outros, things that we can’t replicate ourselves. But me, Nikki, Tommy [Lee] and Vince [Neil], we’re all live up there.”