“You wouldn’t look at sheet music by Mozart and say, ‘I’m gonna improvise over this part’”: John 5 on why he keeps his improvisation in Mötley Crüe to a minimum

“I wanted to play those solos exactly as they were written.”

Mötley Crüe

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Current Mötley Crüe guitarist John 5 has opened up about why he prefers not to improvise while performing the band’s songs during live shows.

Speaking to Guitar World, the former Rob Zombie rocker says he spent “every day for months” practising Mötley Crüe’s back catalogue just so he could play every solo and every refrain note for note.

“I wanted to play those solos exactly as they were written,” John 5 explains. “Those solos are so important to me as a fan, and they’re so important to the audience. The squeals in Looks That Kill or the harmonics in Dr. Feelgood – these are very important to me and the world.”

Likening the band’s tunes to that of Mozart, he said, “It’s like you’re looking at some sheet music; you’re looking at Mozart, and you’re like, ‘Well, I’m gonna improvise over this part’. No. That’s how those songs were written, how they were recorded, and how they should be performed. I wanted to give those songs respect.”

That said, John 5 reveals that there are times where he’s allowed to go wild on his axe: “I checked with the guys and said, ‘I’m going to play them as they are on the records.’ They said, ‘Okay, well, you can have a solo.’ And that’s when I go completely berserk. It’s kind of a perfect situation.”

In related news, Nikki Sixx recently said that Mötley Crüe “never saw it coming” that Mick Mars was going to quit the band amid their huge world tour.

“In the middle – not even the middle – of a huge tour, we had to ask ourselves, ‘Do we want to let the fans down? Do we want to let Live Nation down? Do we want to let Def Leppard down? Do we want to let ourselves down because an original member of our band can’t tour anymore?’ We had to have a deep, deep look into what we were going to do.”

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