It all began one Christmas morning when Mick was 6 years old. His parents had given him a guitar that had Mickey Mouse ears and a crank that, when turned, played Mousketeer songs. Mick was by no means "mousketeer material" so he tightened the guitar strings until it made a sound that was music to his ears. At just 6 years old, Mick was a musical genius in the making.
Mick joined his first band, The Jades at 14. The Jades were a Beatles cover band in which Mick played the bass before replacing the guitarist. School was of no interest to Mick so when he attended, he often found himself in trouble for making music his priority instead of schoolwork. He soon dropped out of school to focus on his music. Mick moved into the shed behind his parent's house so he could play whenever he wanted and as loud as he wanted, without interruption.
In April 1981, thirteen years after he moved out of his family’s home, living in Orange County, Mick Mars was reborn. He dyed his hair black and placed a want ad in “The Recycler”, an LA newspaper, describing himself as a “loud, rude and aggressive guitar player”. This gained the attention of Nikki Sixx and the two decided to form a band together. Tommy Lee joined on drums and upon Mick’s prodding, they persuaded local Rock Candy singer, Vince Neil to join them. It was Mick’s suggestion that the band be called Mötley Crüe, a name that had stuck with him from an interaction from his days as a member of White Horse when a band manager walked into the room and called them “…a motley looking crew.” After dabbling with spelling and punctuation, he came up with “Mötley Crüe”.
Unique to the other hard rock/heavy metal guitarists of his era, Mars’ guitar style is steeped in the blues tradition. He employs frequent use of the metal slide in his soloing and takes in both the rhythm and lead guitar duties of the band. Mars frequently tunes his guitar down to D (rather than the standard E) to get a stronger and crunchier rhythm sound. The altered tuning also increases string slack to get his characteristic hammer-on trills, pitch bending and pinch harmonics during soloing. Mars has introduced the pedal steel guitar to many of Mötley Crüe’s later recordings and live sets, and has taken an increasingly critical role in songwriting. Mars is responsible for many of Mötley Crüe’s best know guitar riffs.
In 2001, Mötley Crüe split and Mars dealt with bankruptcy, depression and worsening health problems. Mick has struggled with ankylosing spondylitis, since his initial diagnosis. This disease has increasingly impaired his movement , caused him a great deal of pain and led to a hip replacement surgery at the end of 2004. The illness has caused his lower spine to seize up and freeze completely solid, “causing scoliosis in my back and squashing me further down and forward until I was a full three inches shorter than I was in high school.”
In December 2004, Mötley Crüe reunited to begin their climb back to the top, and despite his precarious health condition, Mick was able to perform in the Carnival of Sins Tour in 2005 and the Route of all Evil Tour, with Aerosmith, in 2006. Mötley Crüe remains at the top of their game with their Summer 2008 release of Saints of Los Angeles, and Touring Extravaganza – Crüe Fest.