JOHN 5 Shoots Down Claim He Plays Along To Pre-Recorded Guitar Tracks During MÖTLEY CRÜE Concerts

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John 5 has shot down a claim that he plays along to pre-recorded guitar tracks during MÖTLEY CRÜE concerts.

Several videos posted on YouTube have suggested that John 5 was not playing during the song “Wild Side”, with the guitarist seemingly not moving his hands while the music continues to be heard.

However, in a video posted to Instagram earlier today (Tuesday, June 24),John 5 addressed these claims and explained to non-musicians what he was doing to achieve the above-mentioned effect. He said: “I wanna clear up some confusion. Somebody on the Internet or some web site is saying, ‘Oh, John‘s playing to a backing track. His hand isn’t even on the guitar. But I do this a lot. It’s just hammer-ons and pull-offs. But if you’re not a musician, you don’t really understand what’s going on.”

After demonstrating the hammer-on and pull-off technique that he uses on stage, he added: “I think the part in ‘Wild Side’ that’s on the Internet saying, ‘Oh, look, John‘s hand isn’t even on there.’ I do this thing where I flip the pick around on my neck. Very simple. So, it’s not a big thing. You know, a lot of things are played with one hand. A lot of musicians know this, so, uh, nothing to worry about. No backing tracks. Very simple.”

Last August, ex-MÖTLEY CRÜE frontman John Corabi, who joined the band in 1992 as the replacement for original singer Vince Neil, was asked by Cassius Morris if he thinks there is any truth to Mick Mars‘s claim that he was the only bandmember to play 100 percent live on CRÜE‘s 2022 stadium tour, claiming bassist Nikki Sixx “did not play a single note on bass during the entire U.S. tour.” Corabi responded: “Nowadays recording on Pro Tools, ’cause I released a couple of [solo] songs a little bit ago, if you said to me, ‘Hey, can you just give me the rhythm guitar track?’ I could literally just go online, highlight that track and e-mail you just that track. So as far as the drums go or any of that stuff nowadays with computers and all that shit? Yeah, it’s possible. Is it happening? I don’t know. I haven’t toured with MÖTLEY for 27 years, 28 years.”

Asked if MÖTLEY used any backing tracks while he was in the band, Corabi said: “No. I mean, we did use tracks. I’ll say that right now. We were using some backing vocal tracks, and we used, for the song ‘Misunderstood’, there was a 53-piece orchestra on that track, so we just used the orchestra tracks to enhance what we were doing live on stage. But then Nikki was playing bass, Tommy [Lee] was playing drums, Mick was playing guitar, I was playing guitar and I was singing. Now whether or not they’ve elaborated since — I couldn’t tell you. I haven’t seen MÖTLEY live since… I saw them one time in my entire life, and that was a tour they did in, like, 2003 or [200]4 with… they toured with AEROSMITH. And I saw them that one time, and I haven’t seen them since. So I don’t know about Mick‘s claims. Mick has never really been a bullshitter in the past, so if he says they were using tracks, then, you know, maybe they were. I don’t know.”

In June 2023, Nikki told Jen Thomas, the entertainment writer at U.K.’s Metro that “the silliest thing” he has ever read about himself and the rest of CRÜE “was from Mick Mars‘s attorneys,” referencing the recent lawsuit filed against MÖTLEY by the band’s founding guitarist. “I’m just really sad at what’s happened… They put out that the band doesn’t play live. We’re, like, who is playing the bass then? It’s literally one of the funniest things.

“Imagine being in a rock’n’roll band for 42 years and some guy in a suit puts out that the band doesn’t play,” Nikki continued. “The silliest thing is, because of the way a lot of media is these days, they don’t cross-check. They just run with headlines and we call it clickbait. I mean, that’s about as silly as it gets.”

When Mars announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE in October 2022 as a result of worsening health issues, he maintained that he would remain a member of the band, with John 5 taking his place on the road. However, in his lawsuit, which was filed in April 2023 in Los Angeles County’s Superior Court, the now-73-year-old musician said that, after his announcement, the rest of CRÜE tried to remove him as a significant stakeholder in the group’s corporation and business holdings via a shareholders’ meeting.

In response to Mars‘s lawsuit, CRÜE‘s manager of 29 years, Allen Kovac, told Variety that Mars is coming out with a list of allegations “to gain leverage in a smear campaign on MÖTLEY. 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 victims are MÖTLEY CRÜE and the brand, which Mick is so prideful of.” But, he added, “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, MÖTLEY CRÜE. He has a degenerative disease and people are taking advantage of him. It’s called elder abuse.”

Kovac continued: “Mick‘s representatives have no idea what they’ve created, but I’ve stopped the band from speaking about this, so they’re not gonna 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.”

Mars suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS),a chronic and inflammatory form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine and pelvis. After years of performing through the pain, he informed the other members of MÖTLEY CRÜE last summer that he could no longer tour with them but would still be open to recording new music or performing at residencies that did not require much travel.

Regarding Mick‘s claim that he was the only CRÜE member to play 100 percent live on their most recent tour, Kovac told Variety: “Everything is live with Nikki‘s bass playing and Tommy‘s drum playing. When they’ve used loops, they’re still playing. There are augmented vocals, which were (recorded) in the studio and are backgrounds behind the two ladies who are singing and (other background vocals by) John 5 and Nikki Sixx, and before that Mick and Nikki.” He described the pre-recorded vocal layering as where “you multi-track and you do gang vocals with, like, 20 people, just like all the other bands do with background vocals. They’ve got background vocals in the mix. That’s the truth.

“But Nikki played his bass and always has,” Kovac continued. “Vince was singing better than he was before (on the latest tour). That was in reviews. Now, John 5 is playing like who John 5 is. I’ve heard John 5 perform and I heard Mick perform. Both are great guitar players. 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.” He says audiences “would hear it at first, but (sound engineers) would fix it so that we could keep the song going. I heard it. I’d go to the soundboard.”

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