1955 – Mick Mars (Motley Crüe) is born…

mick-mars

1955 – Mick Mars (Motley Crüe) is born this day in rock.

Career

After his family relocated from Indiana, to California, Robert Deal dropped out of high school and began playing guitar in a series of unsuccessful blues based rock bands throughout the seventies, taking on menial day jobs to make ends meet. After nearly a decade of frustration with the California music scene, Deal reinvented himself, changing his stage name to Mick Mars and dyeing his hair jet black, hoping for a fresh start. In April 1981 he put in a want-ad in the Los Angeles The Recycler newspaper, describing himself as a “loud, rude, and aggressive guitar player”. Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee contacted him and after hearing him play decided he would be their guitarist. Upon Tommy’s prodding, they persuaded a former high school friend of Tommy’s and local Rock Candy singer/frontman Vince Neil to join. It was Mick’s suggestion that the band be called Mötley Crüe, a name that had stuck in his head from his days as a member of a band called White Horse. One of his band managers walked into the room and called them “…a motley-looking crew.”

Unlike many of the hard rock/heavy metal guitarists of his era, Mars’ guitar style is steeped in the blues tradition. He employs frequent use of a metal slide in his soloing and takes on both the rhythm and lead guitar duties of the band. In the studio and live, Mars frequently tunes his guitar down a full step-to D-(rather than the standard E) to get a stronger and crunchier rhythm sound. The altered tuning also increases string slack to enable 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. In addition, Mars has taken an increasingly critical role in songwriting for the band, coming up with many of Mötley Crüe’s best known riffs.

For the sum of his career with Mötley Crüe, Mars has created the aura of being a somewhat mysterious figure, letting the other members of the band speak for him in public and in print, despite being the eldest and most articulate member of the band. In what public interviews he has conducted, Mars often comes off as a very reserved and somewhat quiet individual, though not shy by any means. A home video made in 1984 and posted publicly on the web by one of his former White Horse bandmates reveals Mars to be a rather jovial, wisecracking, down-to-Earth person.

After an eventual split of Mötley Crüe in 2001, Mars dealt with worsening health problems (see Health section below), depression and eventual financial bankruptcy, reportedly giving up guitar playing. Mars’ situation improved with the reformation of Mötley Crüe, kindling the desire to play again. Mars underwent hip replacement surgery in the autumn of 2004, followed with intensive physical therapy. Despite his precarious health condition, he was able to perform in the Carnival of Sins tour in 2005 and the Route of All Evil Tour with Aerosmith in 2006.

Mars has recently contributed his songwriting skills to John LeCompt (ex-member of Evanescence) and the other band members of Machina.

Mars is currently on tour with the three other original members of Mötley Crüe, supporting their newest album, Saints of Los Angeles, which has revived a strong public interest in the band more than 25 years after its formation.

Mars has also recently contributed his song writing ability to a song off Hinder’s new album Take It To The Limit, which he features in the Track “Take It To The Limit.” The album was released on November 4th, 2008.

Mars has a guest guitar appearance on the song Into the Light by Papa Roach on the album Metamorphosis.

Age

Like many other musicians, Mick has publicly given his birth date as later than it actually is. In a 1983 interview by People Magazine, he lists his birth year as 1956. Mars’ daughter, Stormy, however has publicly confirmed in a 2002 interview that her father was in born on May 4, 1951 in Indiana, a date she took directly from her own actual birth certificate.

Health

For most of his professional career, Mars has struggled with ankylosing spondylitis. It was initially diagnosed when he was 19 years old, and has increasingly impaired his movement and has caused him a great deal of pain. This led to hip-replacement surgery at the end of 2004.

Over the years, 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.”

Equipment

Amps

* Marshall JCM-800 Head
* Rivera Bonehead 100 Watt Head
* Soldano SLO-100 Super Lead Overdrive Head

Guitars

* Gibson Les Paul Customs for Too Fast For Love Shows 1981-1983.
* Gibson Les Paul Custom, B.C. Rich Warlock, Hamer Blitz,Gibson Flying V and Guild Flying Star during the Shout At The Devil tour 1983-1984.
* Kramer Explorers, Kramer Barettas and Kramer Pacers during the Theatre Of Pain tour 1985-1986.
* Kramer Custom Shop Telecasters during the Girls Girls Girls tour 1987-1988.
* Kramer Custom Shop “mirror top” Telecasters and a variety of Barettas and custom shop Kramers during the Dr. Feelgood tour 1989-1990. (Fender Stratocaster in Don’t Go Away Mad video.)
* Fender Stratocasters and Telecaster, Gibson Les Pauls, Charvel Super Strat and Paul Reed Smiths during the Decade of Decadance Shows 1991 – 1993.
* Fender Stratocasters during the Mötley Crüe tour 1994-1995.
* Gibson Les Pauls, Chet Atkins signature and Fender Stratocasters as main stage guitars for Generation Swine shows 1996-1997, Greatest Hits support shows 1998-1999, New Tattoo tour 2000-2001, Carnival of Sins Tour/Route of all Evil Tour 2005-2006.

Pedals

* Dunlop Crybaby Wah Foot Controller (rackmount)
* Rocktron All Access Midi Foot Controller

Gadgets

* Heil Sound Talk Box
* Rocktron Banshee Talk Box

Rack

* Alesis Quadraverb Multi-FX
* Crest 7001 Power Amplifier
* Custom Audio Electronics 3+ SE 3 Channel Tube Preamp
* Dunlop Rackmount Crybaby Wah
* Dynacord CLS-222 Leslie Simulator
* Eventide H3000 Harmonizer
* Rocktron Hush IIC
* Rocktron/Bradshaw RSB-18 Switcher / Router
* Rocktron Replifex Multi-FX
* tc electronics M-One
* VHT 2100 Classic Power Amplifier
* Yamaha SPX-1000 Multi-FX

Family

* Mars is the second of five children of Tina and Frank Deal.
* Two children, Les Paul (1971) and Stormy (1973), with first wife Sharon.
* One child (estranged), Erik (1976), with former girlfriend Marcia.
* Married to Emi Canyon (1990-1994).
* Older brother to Susie Deal.

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