Being a fan of cheesy hair metal since the Reagan Presidency (admit it, some of you started during the first Bush era) there has been a minor issue that has bothered me for the past twenty odd years. That's the lack of love for Mick Mars, the axe slinger for Motley Crue. Mars is an excellent guitarist, maybe a little economical compared to his peers (I can't recall any twenty minute solos from the albums, I haven't seen them live) but that is actually part of his strength. He swoops in, kicks ass and leaves before wearing out his welcome.
Now I'm not the biggest Motley Crue fan in the world, I mainly like the hits such as "Wildside", "Girls Girls Girls" or "Dr Feelgood". So I can't go into whatever his greatest solo is or best riff or anything like that. But I know good playing when I hear it and Mars could definitely play. So why is he so ignored by guitar fans? Normally the lead guitarist is one of the focal points of a hair band. Ratt = Warren Dimartini, Europe = John Norum, Poison = CC Deville and so on. When it comes to Motley Crue, they equal...well, everyone but Mick Mars. And I think the reason Mick Mars gets ignored is, he just ain't pretty.
That was one of the big draws to being lead guitarist in the late 70s thru the 80s, the romanticized vision of guitar god. The guitar god who looked pretty and got the girls while wowing the dudes with his shredding solos. Mars didn't fit that profile, he could amaze with his six string antics but no one wanted to watch him do it. While I watched a video of "Home Sweet Home" today I noticed when his epic power ballad solo came up you see him start the solo then cut to a bunch of slo mo shots of the other band members for the rest of it. Even in his own band he got little screen time.
I remember when Motley Crue broke big with the Shout At The Devil album. There were all these rumors as to why Mars looked the way he did. "He was born prematurely" was one, "He was born with his stomach inside out and that's why you never see his chest" was another, and of course the old standby "He got messed up in a car accident." People just couldn't accept Mick Mars the way he was.
Bottom line, I think Mick Mars doesn't get enough respect for his guitar playing. He let his talent do the talking during the MTV era, a time when looks are more important than sound. So I'm going to take this small piece of cyberspace to say Mick Mars is a bad ass guitarist and here's a nice solo from 1985.