Motley Crue’s Manager + Mick Mars’ Lawyer Explain Lawsuit From Both Sides
Both Motley Crue manager Alan Kovac and Mick Mars' lawyer Edwin F. McPherson have opened up about the lawsuit the guitarist filed against the band last week where he disputed the terms of his exit from the touring lineup, amid other claims.
Variety has been the primary source for information surrounding this lawsuit, which alleges that Mars was "unilaterally" removed from the band in order to trigger contract language regarding a resignation, meaning he would no longer be entitled to touring revenue as a result. As Kovac explains to Variety, Mars was offered a five percent cut at first, which was then upped to seven-and-a-half percent, but both deals were rejected by the 71-year-old guitarist.
In their initial response to Mars' lawsuit, Crue called it "unfortunate" and "completely off-base," also noting that they feel "empathy" for him and they hope "he can get better guidance from his advisors who are driven by greed."
Mars also claims that a significant portion of Crue's 2022 Stadium Tour performances were pre-recorded and that bassist Nikki Sixx's parts in particular were 100 percent pre-recorded. This notion was refuted, in part, by the band, who in turn allege that they had to utilize such pre-recordings in order to patch over the guitarist's sloppy playing, which included playing incorrect chords, losing himself in parts of songs, etc.
In an exclusive interview with Variety, Mars said he knew all the songs and that Sixx was the forgetful one when it came to rehearsing songs for the set.
Now, Kovac and McPherson attempt to clear the air on their respective sides of the legal dispute.
What Motley Crue manager Alan Kovac says
It's Kovac's position that what Mars has publicly said is an attempt “to gain leverage in a smear campaign on Motley."
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 manager continues, "The victims are Motley Crue and the brand, which Mick is so prideful of.”
Rather than assigning blame directly to Mars, Kovac expresses discontent over who is encouraging the guitarist to make these decisions.
“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, Motley Crue. He has a degenerative disease and people are taking advantage of him. It’s called elder abuse. Mick’s representatives have no idea what they’ve created, but I’ve stopped the band from speaking about this, so they’re not going to turn the fans against Mick. But I am going to make sure that people understand that Mick hasn’t been treated badly. In fact, he was treated better than anyone else in the band, and they carried him and they saved his life."
Kovac goes on to recollect Mars' poor health status in the early 2000s, where he and the band helped him recover from a fragile physical state wrought by a combination of ankylosing spondylitis (the degenerative condition Mars has been enduring since he was 27) and opiate addiction.
He also clarifies how Crue used backing tracks on tour last year, contending, "Everything is live with Nikki's bass playing and Tommy [Lee}'s drum playing," while also confirming the band uses "augmented" vocals that were recorded in the studio and played in the background, amid onstage backing singers as well.
READ MORE: Nikki Sixx + John 5 Have Been 'Writing Random Riffs,' Could Motley Crue Release New Music?
"Unfortunately, Mick is not the same. He hasn’t been the same for a long time. Which was in reviews! You see that the professionals knew. Def Leppard (which alternated headlining spots on tour) knew. And (Mars) caused a train wreck up there, because he would play the wrong songs and the wrong parts, even with the guide tracks. When he played the wrong song, it wasn’t Nikki Sixx that had a tape; it was the soundman bringing it into the mix so the audience could hear a song, even though the guitar player was playing a different song," the manager states.
What Mick Mars' lawyer Edwin F. McPherson says
Kovac also cites Sixx's act of loyalty to Mars in which the bassist once got a tattoo of his now disgruntled longtime bandmate as a means of demonstrating that Sixx nor Crue are the proverbial "bad guy" in this situation.
“Just because you get a tattoo of someone does not mean you get to oust them from your band’s corporations and LLCs 41 years after they start with you," counters McPherson.
The lawyer was also upset over the release of statements that were collected from Motley Crue's crew members in early February, all attesting that Mars couldn't cut it onstage and was making numerous mistakes on guitar just about every night.
"It is interesting that these declarations about Mick’s playing are from employees of Motley Crue, who rely on the band for their livelihood. I noticed that there are no declarations from anyone about the other members’ playing – or not playing," adds McPherson, referencing Mars' claims that pre-recorded tracks were also utilized onstage on behalf of the other three Motley Crue members.
It's the band's argument that these backing tracks were necessary due to Mars' off-kilter performances in order to maintain the integrity of the songs so that they align with fan expectations at each show.
Hammering his point home, McPherson goes on, “Did you ever wonder why Motley Crue’s lawyers drafted declarations stating that Mick was unfit to perform successfully on tour, and had them signed — albeit by people whose livelihoods depend on pleasing Motley Crue — in response to Mick announcing that he is retiring from touring? If Mick is so bad, isn’t it a matter of ‘problem solved’? … The bottom line is that this case is not about whether or not Mick can still play. It is not even about whether the other band members are playing anything at all. But if you are going to gather disparaging declarations from employees, and kick someone out of the band for not playing properly — ironically, after he tells you that he can no longer handle touring anymore — you better get out of your glass house.”
Whether Mars is still a member of the band in any capacity (such as recording duties and one-off or residency-styled live performances) also seems to be up in the air, largely due to contractual language and subsequent monies owed under those terms.
“No, resigning from touring — or even from the band entirely — is not resigning from the band’s corporations and LLCs,” McPherson argues, “Corporate law doesn’t work that way. If Jeff Bezos stops working at Amazon someday, he still gets to own the company! So does Mick.”
What Motley Crue's litigation attorney Sasha Erid says
It also appears that Mars' team is keen on pressuring Motley Crue to turn over certain documents in relation to the lawsuit, a demand Mars' own lawyer was not even made aware of prior to the lawsuit going public. He says that if he did know beforehand, he would have worked to obtain those documents without the lawsuit.
Kovac, meanwhile, denies knowing about this request before the lawsuit was filed.
Motley Crue's litigation attorney Sasha Erid weighs in on this, claiming the requested records were provided to Mars and his legal team and that additional documents would have been provided if asked for.
Erid feels that Mars' claims about Sixx's 100 percent pre-recorded tracks are a "flurry of lies" and that "these allegations have nothing to do with his request for corporate records. It is completely irrelevant and superfluous; and no code or case law requires such allegations be made to get documents."
“The only reason these bogus allegations appeared in this legal filing is so that Mick and his lawyer would be protected by the ‘litigation privilege’ — which protects parties from statements made in legal filings," Erid reasons, continuing, "Mick and his lawyer filed this bogus lawsuit because if these statements were made in the press, the band would sue them for defamation and slander. This lawsuit is nothing more than a malicious attempt to badmouth the band. It’s not surprising that they made no attempt to serve us with it or ask me if I would accept service. They don’t want these documents — they just used this as an opportunity to mislead the public to create leverage.”
Read the full report at Variety.
Motley Crue in 2023
Motley Crue's world tour continues with guitarist John 5 filling the void left by Mars' live departure. See all of the upcoming dates here and head to this location for tickets.