Mick Mars, born Robert Alan Deal, is an American musician, best known as the lead guitarist of the band ‘Mötley Crüe.’ He has been with the band since its inception in1981. He dropped out of high school in the early 1970s and began playing the guitar in a series of unsuccessful blues and rock bands. He then took on a wide variety of menial day jobs, as his performances did not pay him much. One of the bands he played with, ‘Whitehorse,’ often used the name ‘Mottley Croo’ in order to avoid paying fines for performing at non-union clubs. It also had a vocalist named Micki Marz. ‘Whitehorse’ seems to have inspired Robert Deal’s stage name. After nearly 10 years of playing for different bands in the California pub and club scene and feeling like he was going nowhere, Robert Deal decided to reinvent himself. He did not just adopt a new name but also acquired a new musical style and a whole new persona. In April 1980, the reinvented “Mick Mars” put an ad in ‘The Recycler,’ a Los Angeles-based classified newspaper, promoting his talent by proclaiming himself as a “loud, rude and aggressive guitar player.” Robert Deal had been none of these things, but “Mick Mars” was determined to change all that. Over the past 40 years, he has proved true to the promise of that ad in ‘The Recycler.’
Childhood & Early Life
Robert Alan Deal was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, and spent his early childhood living in several parts of the state, as his family moved around in pursuit of better jobs and better prospects. After a few years of this rootless existence, the family made one final move, to Garden Grove in Orange County, California. Mick Mars was only 9 years old at the time of their relocation, and it was a move that profoundly shaped his life.
Orange County had an active music scene, and Mick quickly dropped out of school to play the guitar for various bands, most of which were blues-based rock bands that proved unsuccessful. However, young Bobby Deal was gradually getting recognized as a talented and hardworking guitarist.
Bobby’s ad in ‘The Recycler’ was seen by Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, who had been playing bass and drums together, fiddling with Nikki’s lyrics, and thinking about trying to get a band together. The pair got curious about the “loud, rude and aggressive guitar player” advertised in the paper and decided to invite him to an audition. After listening to his story, his voice, his ideas, and his guitar work, the duo offered him a place in their band. Mick accepted their offer, and the band ‘Mötley Crüe’ was born.
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Mick Mars has been the lead guitarist of ‘Mötley Crüe’ since the early 1980s. During its early days, the band saw huge success, releasing one successful album after another and turning ‘Mötley Crüe’ into one of the biggest rock bands in the world. ‘Mötley Crüe’ released their first album, ‘Too Fast for Love,’ in 1981, with Mick delivering a fluent but aggressive guitar sound that was both unique and compelling. It left thousands of rock fans bouncing to the band’s tunes at live shows.
‘Too Fast for Love’ was followed by a long streak of successful releases. These were the 1983 album ‘Shout at the Devil’ (which established ‘Mötley Crüe’ as a big stage band), the 1985 album ‘Theatre of Pain,’ the 1987 smash hit ‘Girls, Girls, Girls,’ and the 1989 album ‘Dr. Feelgood’ (which was their highest-selling album ever). This successful streak established Mick as the lead of one of the world’s biggest rock bands through the 1980s and the 1990s. The sequence of hits culminated in the release of ‘Mötley Crüe’s first-ever compilation album, the 10-year retrospective named ‘Decade of Decadence.’
Since then, Mick has been a continuous presence in the band and has fronted each of their later albums: ‘Mötley Crüe’ (1994), ‘Generation Swine’ (1997), ‘New Tattoo’ (2000), and ‘Saints of Los Angeles (2008).
Despite the band’s apparent dissolution after ‘The Final Tour’ of 2015–2016, the band members have recently been hinting at a reunion. They have even released the soundtrack for ‘The Dirt’ in 2019, timed to coincide with the (long-delayed) release of the film based on the band’s collaborative autobiography, ‘The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band,’ which was first published in 2001.
Family & Personal Life
Mick was born Robert Alan Deal, on May 4, 1951, in Terre Haute, Indiana. He has been married twice. He got married to Emi Canyn in 1990. However, the relationship proved disastrous, and they divorced in 1994. Emi was a backing singer with ‘Mötley Crüe.’ She, however, maintained a close relationship with the band and with Mick until her death in 2017. Mick has an unacknowledged son named Erik Deal, and it is assumed that he may be the result of Mick’s long-term relationship with Emi.
Mick’s second marriage, to Sharon, proved more fruitful. Sharon and Mick had two children: a son, Les Paul Deal, and a daughter, Stormy Deal, who now has a child of her own.
Since the age of 17, Mick has been battling the debilitating disease ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine and the pelvis. Mick has realized that his ability to walk and move about has become increasingly impaired, and any movement can cause him a lot of pain.
Over the last 50 years, the illness has caused Mick’s lower spine to freeze to almost completely solid, causing a curvature that squashes him down and forward, so that he appears at least 3 inches shorter than he was in school. Mick underwent a hip-replacement surgery at the end of 2004, which has aided his mobility to some extent.
Although the ankylosing spondylitis has not affected his arms and hands, or his ability to play the guitar yet, his mobility issues and the pain the disease causes him make it unlikely for him to be able to tour or appear on stage with ‘Mötley Crüe’ again, should the band decide to reunite and start recording again.