Mick Mars Shares His Thoughts On Being Underrated

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In a recent conversation with WRIF radio, Mick Mars opened up about being considered an unsung hero of 1980s guitar playing. The host shared his view that Mars might be one of the era’s most overlooked talents. Mars responded with humility and insight:

“It doesn’t bother me being seen as underrated. I believe there are quite a few who share your opinion, and of course, others who might not. Perhaps my style, not racing across the fretboard trying to squeeze in countless notes, has something to do with it. I’ve always admired Alvin Lee from Ten Years After, especially his performance in ‘I’m Going Home.’ His speed was astonishing, yet his playing remained melodic, precise, and perfectly suited to the song. It showed me speed could also be about melody and clarity.”

Mars also shed light on his recent challenges, particularly his legal battle with ex-band members Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, and Vince Neil following his decision to stop touring due to his struggle with ankylosing spondylitis, a debilitating bone condition. He revealed his diminished role in the band’s last few albums:

“On ‘Generation Swine,’ I can’t say any of my playing made the final cut. The direction was to make the guitar not even sound like one, more like a synthesizer, which left me feeling quite sidelined. My contributions were frequently removed, replaced by others.”

He indicated a similar sense of exclusion during the production of subsequent albums, noting:

“I wasn’t part of the songwriting process; I hardly contributed at all. I managed to get maybe one riff into the entire album.”

Despite Mars’ significant impact on hits like ‘Looks That Kill,’ ‘Kickstart My Heart,’ and ‘Wild Side,’ his contributions have often been overshadowed by his band’s internal conflicts and his distinct approach to guitar playing. His pioneering technique of tuning down for a heavier sound, though now common, was revolutionary at the time and is among the reasons some consider him underrated. His innovative style and the unique tonal quality he brought to the music often didn’t receive the recognition they deserved amidst the band’s more visible dramas.

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