Mars has retired from touring due to ongoing health issues

John 5 Motley Crue
John 5 [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

Mötley Crüe have confirmed that Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 will be taking the place of original guitarist Mick Mars for the band’s upcoming World Tour with Def Leppard. Mars, 71, retired from touring on Wednesday due to his “ongoing painful struggle” with Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.), a degenerative disease which affects the spine. While it had been rumored, Mötley Crüe confirmed John 5’s involvement with the band in an official statement Thursday.

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!

– Vince, Tommy, and Nikki [Mötley Crüe] 

John 5 adds, “I am honored to carry on Mick’s legacy and am looking forward to playing these songs.”

It has been rumored for the past few days that John 5 would be taking Mars’ place on stage. The rumor carried a lot of weight given John 5’s history with The Crüe. In 2019, John 5 co-wrote the songs “The Dirt,” “Crash and Burn,” and “Ride with the Devil” for the soundtrack to Netflix’s Mötley Crüe biopic The Dirt.

Motley Crue
Mötley Crüe [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

John 5 is also very close with Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, whom he called his “best friend.” In a 2019 interview with Outburn Magazine, John 5 said of Sixx,”We love each other. He has inspired me and taught me so much about life in general. He’s a phenomenal songwriter, lyricist, author, everything. He’s always telling me to listen to this audio book or see this movie. He has a happy marriage, a happy life, a successful band he started from the ground up. He’s one of the most inspiring people. He’ll text me all the time to read something or try something. It’s wonderful. He’s a phenomenal photographer as well. I remember him telling me that he’s going to take bass lessons again and get into playing with his fingers. He was so dedicated.”

In addition to his current work with Rob Zombie, John 5 has also toured and recorded extensively with Marilyn Manson, Rod Stewart, David Lee Roth (Van Halen), among others.

Next year, Mötley Crüe will be continuing with The World Tour alongside Def Leppard. The trek kicks off on February 18, 2023 in Mexico City, MX. In May, the European leg begins with a performance in Sheffield, UK. Stream the official tour trailer below. In addition to their own headlining dates, both bands are slated to perform at some of the world’s biggest rock music festivals including Sweden Rock Festival, Finland RockFest, COPENHELL in Denmark, and Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium.

Mick Mars’ final performance with Mötley Crüe came on September 9 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on The Stadium Tour.