Understanding The Personality of Mick Mars and His Struggles With Ankylosing Spondylitis

Music, they say, is medicine to the soul and it takes only people with talent to administer this special kind of therapy. This makes the likes of Mick Mars not just musical artists, but genius in this business.

The string instrument has always been an integral part of some of Mars’ music. From the acoustic to the electric guitar, the sound of the guitar on every of his music has been instrumental to the elevation of his song to a whole new level. That is how much Mick Mars, the lead guitarist of Mötley Crüe values his strings. His guitar, like his songs, is what makes him the star he is today. Then came this chronic disease that is bent on destroying his future in the music industry but even at the face of the worsening health challenges, the metal band guitarist is still at his best, leading his rock band to higher heights. Here are a few interesting facts about the music star and his fight against his prolonged illness.

Mick Mars Fact card

Who Is Mick Mars and How Did He Become Famous?

Born as Robert Alan Deal, Mick Mars is a musician, co-founder and lead guitarist of a heavy metal band Mötley Crüe of the early 1980s. Mick, an Indiana native was born in the 1950s (either 4th May 1951 or 4th April 1955, as his actual birthdate remains unclear) and he spent much of his early years in various parts of Indiana until his family finally relocated to Garden Grove in California.

Discovering his passion and talent in music, young Mars decided to drop out of high school to focus more on playing his guitar and rendering services to some blue-based rock bands. As a matter of fact, he began playing the guitar at the age of 9 and for several years, he joined different musical groups although none of them stood the test of time. Of course, he was not known as Mars then as his first picked name was Zorky Charlemagne. However, after his meeting with a music vocalist named Micki Marz, he was inspired enough to change his stage name to Mick Mars.

Mick Mars
Mick Mars (second right) and the members of the Mötley Crüe

After several trials with different bands, Mick decided to remodel himself in such a way that would present a personality that will best fit the rock band he was about to create. This did work for him as in April 1980, he advertised himself as a loud and aggressive guitarist in a Los Angeles newspaper, The Recycler. The ad caught the attention of the likes of Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx who invited him for an audition after which he was hired to form the band Mötley Crüe.

Mick Mars has been a member of Mötley Crüe since 1980 and he has been part of their successful multi-platinum albums until 2015 when he decided to produce a solo album. His solo album had him work with John Corabi, a former Mötley Crüe member and guitarist.

Dealing With Ankylosing Spondylitis

Looking back at his career, there is no gainsaying that Mick has gone a long way in fulfilling his dreams in the music world not minding the overwhelming health challenge he has been having since the beginning of his career. Mick Mars suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic kind of arthritis that causes inflammation of the spine and pelvis, and he has had that for over forty years. This kind of arthritis is reportedly caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors and it has affected a good number of popular personalities both before and after Mars. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease yet although treatments are given to manage the symptoms consisting of pains and stiffness in the lower back.

Mars was diagnosed with the illness at the age of 17 and after many years of trying to deal with it, he has become more determined not to be put down by it. One of his ways of defeating his health worries is being open to discussing it with people that care to know.  He even detailed his struggles with AS in the band’s autobiography, The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band (the 2001 bestselling memoir that inspired a Netflix movie)

At the first time of experiencing the pain, the guitarist had no money to see a doctor and so he endured the pain with the hope that ie would ease off with time. But the more successful his musical career with Mötley Crüe became, the harder it was for him to enjoy the rewards. Symptom after symptom continued to set in, including the one called ‘iritis’ which produced bolts of pain in his eyes anytime he sights a bright light. Later he developed scoliosis in his back which squashed him further down and making standing straight quite difficult. That, of course, is why he never takes off his platform boots. “I don’t want to be a pygmy,’ he said.

Mars resorted to taking high painkillers just to relieve himself of the pains. He even underwent a hip replacement surgery and had to stop playing the guitar for about two years but after several off and on in his musical career, he is still head bent on keeping the light of his career alit.

Mick Mars Career Achievements and Successes Despite Health Challenges

Despite his worsening health condition, Mick Mars still pushes through with his career. Although he is yet to win a notable award for himself, his contributions to the musical life of his band Mötley Crüe has helped them win two important awards – the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the American Music Award for the ‘Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album’ category.

Mick Mars may not be one of the seasoned songwriters we know but he has also contributed to music creations for some popular bands like Machina and Evanescence. Even while he was with his own rock band, he contributed to the musical successes of important bands like Escape the Fate, Hinde and Papa Roach. Today, after over four decades in the music industry, this star has continued to touch lives with his guitar skills and for Mötley Crüe and has also seen them sell over 40 million records which in return has earned him the over $40 million net worth he currently enjoys.

Regarding the pains caused by the AS, Mars says “It still hurts, but like I said, music is my whole passion. It’s what I do. It’s what I live for. I guess it keeps me alive. I’m just happy to be here, to be able to make people happy, to make people smile and give them what I feel inside from my music.”

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness, if you've found a possible error, be it factual, editorial or something that needs updating, please contact us
Ugochukwu Nwadinobi
Ugochukwu Nwadinobi
Ugo has extensive professional writing experience and has been writing, editing and updating articles on multiple platforms for several years now. Away from work, he is a football addict who loves to catch up on his favourite pastimes.


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