John 5 Says New Motley Crue Music Is Heavier Than Ever
John 5 enthused about Motley Crue’s new music, saying he felt like he was back in a school garage band as they recorded with producer Bob Rock.
In a recent interview on Sirius XM’s Trunk Nation, the new guitarist told host Eddie Trunk that there seemed to be no sign of the group slowing down soon.
When asked about how the sessions had gone, John 5 compared the experience to how Metallica was seen working with Rock, all together in a live room, which was new for him because he normally recorded in the studio control room.
“Bob would come in and [say], ‘OK, let’s try this here, and that here and this here,’” 5 noted. “It was one of the most incredible experiences ever. … I’m thinking, ‘We’ve got so much great technology today’… but we got in that room and it was like being in a garage working on a song when you were in high school. … It was incredible, and we documented a lot of it too.”
Turning to the new material, he said, “The songs are fucking heavy. … I sound like a little excited kid right now, but they’re heavy and they’re mean. I can’t wait for them to come out. I’m just so excited.” When Trunk asked if they compared to Crue’s work on their second album, John 5 replied that “there’s some riffs that are heavier than anything that’s on Shout at the Devil.”
John 5 went on to say that although he wasn’t aware of release details, he was certain they’d come up with a “handful” of “fucking killer tracks.” “I don’t know if they’re completely done but I would say they’re like probably 98%,” he explained. “It has to mixed; it has to be mastered. … All I can tell you is that it’s heavy and it’s aggressive, and I think people are going to dig it because, talking as a fan, it’s fucking badass.”
On the subject of Crue’s upcoming plans, the guitarist noted, “Hopefully we’re going to keep rockin’ this … they seem to be on fire. … There’s talks for a lot of things in the future. Hopefully, we just keep going and going and going and going until – who knows – maybe the 50th anniversary? … I think that it’s going to keep going because no one has talked about slowing down.”
MOTLEY CRUE LINEUP CHANGES: A COMPLETE GUIDE
The complete story of Motley Crue’s lineup changes.
1981-1992: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil
Motley Crue played their first show on April 24, 1981, opening for Y&T at Hollywood’s Starwood Hotel. Thanks in part to high-profile gigs such as Ozzy Osbourne’s opening act and at the US Festival, the often controversial group quickly rose to the top of the hard-rock landscape. Their sophomore album, ‘Shout at the Devil,’ cracked the Top 20 in 1983, and three more multi-platinum efforts followed before the close of the decade. In the fall of 1991, they signed a lucrative new record contract reportedly worth as much as $35 million. But personality conflicts and a difference of opinion about the band’s musical direction led to singer Vince Neil’s ouster in February 1992.
1992-1996: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, John Corabi
A year after Neil made a respectable start to his solo career with the Steve Stevens-powered ‘Exposed’ album, Motley Crue emerged with new singer John Corabi and a heavier, more serious sound. The new lineup’s self-titled 1994 LP didn’t connect well with most of the band’s earlier audience, though it has since obtained a cult-favorite status among fans. The accompanying tour was poorly attended, and partway through the creation of a follow-up record, Corabi – frustrated by what he deemed a dizzying series of changing creative directions – parted ways with the band.
1996-1999: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil
With Motley Crue’s commercial fortunes in free fall, and Neil’s sophomore album ‘Carved in Stone’ failing to crack the Top 100, the original foursome decided to reunite and complete the already in-progress ‘Generation Swine’ record. In retrospect, they probably would have been better starting fresh, as the final result was a muddled mess of material that was ill-suited to his vocal style. The following Motley Crue vs. the Earth tour was better received, and everything seemed to be back on track.
1999-2002: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Randy Castillo
Turns out the original lineup’s second stint didn’t last very long. Lee had grown eager to explore other forms of music. “I always told myself that when my heart wasn’t in it, it was time to quit,” he explained in the band’s official autobiography ‘The Dirt.’ “And my heart wasn’t in it.” When he left to form the band Methods of Mayhem, Motley Crue replaced him with former Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo, with whom they recorded 2000’s back-to-basics ‘New Tattoo.’ A cancer diagnosis soon forced Castillo off the tour in support of the album and claimed his life in March 2002.
2000-2002: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Samantha Maloney
With Castillo sidelined for health reasons, Motley Crue enlisted former Hole drummer Samantha Maloney to play drums on the band’s ‘New Tattoo’ tour. “The entire band was very supportive and respectful of me. I had the time of my life!,” she told NRK. “Some of the fans at first were hesitant, but I won each and every fan over every night after song one.” Maloney can be seen and heard on 2001’s ‘Lewd, Crued & Tattooed’ concert video, and would go on to work with Eagles of Death Metal and Peaches.
2004-2015: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil
After a two-year hiatus, Motley Crue’s original lineup reunited for the second time in 2004. “The only thing people ask us about is if we’re getting along. Of course, we get along,” Lee told The Guardian, addressing the band’s previous public squabbles. “Time heals – it’s been six years. People change, grow up. I think we all have the attitude now that if we could just fucking get along instead of fucking with each other, we could continue to do this for as long as anybody wants to.” Over the next decade, they released one more studio album (2008’s ‘Saints of Los Angeles’), headlined two editions of the Crue Fest festival and shared co-headlining bills with Aerosmith and Kiss before embarking on a farewell tour that concluded on New Year’s Eve 2015.
June 2007: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Will Hunt
When an am injury forced Lee to miss two U.K. show on Motley Crue’s 2007 summer tour, he reached out to Evanescence drummer and Crue fan Will Hunt. “I just happened to be in London for four days on a break,” Hunt told MusicRadar in 2010. “Tommy called me and said, ‘I need you to play tonight!'” Lee rallied enough to play “Kickstart My Heart” at one of the shows.
August 2009: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Morgan Rose
Two years later, another injury – this time the result of playing with sparklers – put Lee out of action for a pair of shows on the Crue Fest 2 tour. Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose was there to fill in. Eager to earn his keep, Lee hung around onstage to add backing vocals and play piano on “Home Sweet Home.”
October 2015: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Glen Sobel
A tendinitis flareup knocked Lee off the drum stool for a handful of shows on the band’s farewell tour. Alice Cooper was opening the entire tour, and his powerhouse drummer Glen Sobel was there to fill in, with Lee performing his by now customary “Home Sweet Home” duties.
June 2022: Nikki Sixx, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Tommy Clufetos
No sooner did Motley Crue kick off their highly anticipated, twice-delayed Stadium Tour than Tommy Lee gave the crowd some tragic news: He had broken four ribs and would be unable to play the shows in their entirety. Instead, he split his drum duties on the trek’s first six shows with veteran fill-in drummer Tommy Clufetos, who’s worked with Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper and more. “My fucking heart is broken, along with the ribs,” Lee told the audience on the first night of the tour. “So I’m gonna fucking pop in and out as much as I can.” By the seventh date of the Stadium Tour, Lee was back playing full Crue sets.
October 2022-Present: Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, John 5
Motley Crue revealed another major lineup change in October 2022: Mick Mars, the band’s stalwart guitarist since 1981, announced his retirement from touring, ceding his position to longtime Rob Zombie guitarist John 5. Mars fought hard every time he took the stage: He battled health issues throughout his career, most notably ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic, inflammatory form of arthritis that gradually impaired his movement. 5’s classic rock bona fides are impressive: He’s worked with David Lee Roth, Rob Halford, Alice Cooper, Sebastian Bach and more, and in 2021 he debuted the L.A. Rats supergroup featuring Nikki Sixx, Tommy Clufetos and Zombie.