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Last week the rock world was shocked and excited to hear veteran rockers Mötley Crüe would be calling it quits following their upcoming (appropriately titled) Farewell Tour. Joined by Alice Cooper, this differs from most bands’ perpetual goodbye offerings by including a Cessation of Touring Agreement, signed by all members at the press conference announcing the tour, that states they’ll no longer be able to play together under the name Mötley Crüe once the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, 2015. To find out why they’re not going away mad and just going away*, we shouted at guitarist Mick Mars to tell us why this farewell tour is something we should Feelgood** about.
With all the tours you’ve announced over the 33 years that Mötley Crüe’s been together, was this past week’s announcement very different for you?
Well, kind of because it’s a final thing. This is it. Final. Done. I don’t like saying this because it’s kind of weird, but it’s like when the Beatles sat down and said “this is it, we’re done. We gave you seven years and we gave you this many albums and we’re done.” I’ve been reminiscing on that. We’ll be absolutely done as a band.
So, has this been an emotionally charged time for you?
I don’t think that any one of us is going to stop talking to each other or doing stuff or being friends or disappearing from each other, that kind of thing. But in terms of playing together and being the band, it felt a bit strange.
Do you recall the first time doing a Farewell Tour was suggested?
Probably maybe three or four years ago. We were talking about it and also talking about going out on top as opposed to waiting and waiting and losing everything. We want to go out on top as opposed to playing a small club where two or three people would come out, or resigning to being the band when only one or two members are left trying to be Mötley Crüe. That just doesn’t work, it has to be the four of us. We have to go out on top and call it a day.
How do you think the public perception of Mötley Crüe has changed over time?
I guess we’ve become more accepted, more so than even 10 years ago. Seeing people that came to your concerts when they were teenagers and seeing them grown-up with their kids. There’s one guy in Indiana named Bob, I’ll never forget him. He’s still gotten around. He has, like, two teeth, I think. So, there’s stuff like that that you see. There’s older fans and there’s younger fans, even teenagers. I think we’ve gotten a lot of respect in the years that we’ve been together, not so much from critics, but from fanbases.
Now that there are families coming to see you and such a wider age-range of your fanbase, has that changed how you prepare for a live show at all?
It’s pretty much the same. Of course, the shows are always different, but as far as preparing for a show, I usually sit and kind of meditate. And then, everything just kind of disappears for a half-hour or so. That’s what prepares me. I grab my guitar, go through my motions, do my meditating thing and then I play. Our fans, what can I say about them? They’re always crazy.
This tour’s also going to see you joined by Alice Cooper for the first time. What made now feel like the right time to tour together?
Well, it was suggested by [concert promoter] Live Nation to do something like this. I mentioned it like five years ago to do Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie and us, and at that point it was shot down. They came to us with Alice and it was perfect. We’ve played with just about everyone on the planet that’s alive and he’s the one person we haven’t played with.
Being Mötley Crüe’s always emphasized the visual element of their music, what’s your favorite Mötley Crüe album cover art?
I like black album covers, so probably the Shout At The Devil one, with the pentagram before the record company changed it to us four on it. If you ever see Mick Mars album covers, they’ll all be black.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Mötley Crüe?
Hmmmm. I don’t know. I think everything is just about pretty close to home. We aren’t drug addicts anymore or anything, and we’re very serious about our music, our business and everything that we have. I think people would be surprised about that, that we have responsibility for ourselves and our fans so we have a plan to do stuff.
Finally, with the emphasis on this Farewell Tour focusing on you all wanting to do what’s right for the band’s “legacy,” what do you want the legacy of Mötley Crüe to be 50 years from now?
Speaking for myself, it’s kind of like if I go back and hear “Rocket 88,” a timeless song, the first rock-and-roll song, it doesn’t get old to me. I hear Robert Johnson, it doesn’t get old to me. What I’m hoping will happen with Mötley, if they hear an old Mötley song, if it’s redone by somebody, they’ll go “Wow, this is a really memorable song.” If kids start a rock band in a garage and say “Let’s redo this “Girls, Girls, Girls” song by Mötley Crüe,” it stays theirs, like a timeless kind of a thing.