It began one Christmas morning when Mick was 6 years old. His parents had given him a guitar. It had Mickey Mouse ears on the top and a crank that played Mousketeer songs when he turned it. Mick was by no means into “mousketeer material” so he tightened the guitar strings until it made a sound that was music to his ears. At just 6 years old, a musical genius was in the making.
Sundance, an older friend of Mick’s from the neighborhood, gave him lessons. The first song he would learn to play on Sundance’s guitar was “My Dog Has Fleas”.
A few years later, after the birth of Mick’s sister, Susan, The Deal family moved to Garden Grove California. Frank worked at Menasha Container, the company that made cardboard boxes for Fender, while Tina ironed shirts on the weekends for extra money. Frank later found religion and became a Baptist Minister.
At 14, Mick joined his first band, The Jades. The Jades were a Beatles cover band in which Mick played the bass before replacing the guitarist. School was of no interest to Mick. When he attended, he was often in trouble for making music his priority instead of his schoolwork. Music was his life now and school had no place in it, so he dropped out.
Mick moved into the shed behind his parent’s house. Now, he could play whenever he wanted and as loud as he wanted and no one would say a word.
On a tip from a friend, 17-year-old Mick went to Fresno to play with a blues band that was looking for a guitarist. When it didn’t work out, a disappointed Mick returned home to his parents only to decide later that he needed to be out on his own. Unable to afford a place of his own, Mick moved in with a group of bikers in Orange County.
One night at a party, Mick was introduced to a 16-year-old girl named Sharon. The two began dating right away, but Sharon wanted more of a commitment. Mick was 19 and his mind was made up, Music would remain his first priority. That would soon change when Sharon told Mick she was pregnant. Wanting to do the right thing, Mick married Sharon and they had a baby boy, aptly named, Les Paul.
Sharon got Mick a job at the Laundry mat where he worked during the day while he spent his nights playing after hour club gigs with his band Watoshi. In the mean time, Sharon gave birth to another baby, a girl they named Stormy. Mick quit the laundry mat after injuring his hand and told Sharon he would never work another day job again. Sharon took Stormy and Les and left, later having him thrown in jail for non-payment of child support. This was a major setback for Mick but it didn’t stop him from trying to make his dream come to fruition.
Mick would spend the next 7 years in and out of a band called White Horse. White Horse was a band that Mick saw play in Orange County. He persistently went to every show until they let him in the band. He moved in with the drummer and keyboard player, sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor of their apartment that gave roach motel a whole new meaning. It was the bass player from White Horse that would give Mick an idea he would never forget when he coined the phrase “well isn’t this a Motley looking Crew”. Just as soon as he heard it, Mick wrote down the words Motley Crew and with a little play on the spelling, he decided that he had to have a band called Mottley Cru.
Mick had suggested the name to White Horse, and they Responded by voting him out of the band. Just before his exit from White Horse, Mick once again, became a daddy. Mick and his girlfriend Marcia, had a baby boy in 1976, they named him Erik.
Mick was back at square one. No band, no money and three kids to support. He played in a few bands that were spawn from former members of White Horse. Ten-Wheel Drive, Video Nu-R and Vendetta. Video Nu-R released two singles, Gypsy Woman and Decadence Plus, but they never took off. Ten-Wheel Drive later became Spiders and Cowboys. Now going by the name Zorky Charlemagne, Mick placed a classified add in The Recycler. It read: “Extraterrestrial guitarist available for any other aliens that want to conquer the earth”. All it got him was a bunch of strange phone calls.
Mick was playing at the Stone Pony with Spiders and Cowboys one night and after refusing to pay their price for tequila, he decided to take a walk down to the liquor store to get his own cheap bottle. Inside the liquor store, the guy behind the counter looks at Mick and says, “You look like a Rock and Roller type”. After a brief conversation, Mick invites the guy to come and see him play. The guy, a kid named Frank from Seattle, went to see Mick play and afterwards they had a few drinks. Mick gave Frank his phone number, but there was no way of knowing if he even called, Mick went on tour with Vendetta.
After returning from a tour of Alaska with Vendetta, Mick placed another add in the Recycler. The add read: “Loud rude and aggressive guitar player available.” This time opportunity knocked, and it knocked “Louder than hell.”
Mick received a phone call about a week after he placed that add in the Recycler. The person who called was Tommy Lee. Mick and Tommy had a brief conversation before setting up a meeting with the band. When Mick showed up to play with the band at a rehearsal, the bass player who had just left his band London, was the one who greeted him. His Name was Nikki Sixx. Two weeks after he had joined the band, it was Nikki who finally recognized Mick and he asked if he was the guy who had come into the liquor store and asked him to come to the Stone Pony. Frank, the kid from Seattle who worked at the liquor store was Nikki Sixx.
At Mick’s suggestion, the band got rid of their other guitar player. It was also his suggestion that they go after the skinny blonde kid who was playing at the Starwood with his band Rock Candy, to replace their current singer. With some pushing from Tommy Lee, Vince Neil accepted the offer to join the band. Now, with all the key players in place, Mick finally had his Mottley Cru. The only thing different was the spelling. With the addition of some umlauts, it became Mötley Crüe. There would never be another name suitable to fit Mick’s new band, nor would there ever be another band capable of living up to that name.
Nikki worked at the Starwood during the day and managed to convince his boss to let Mötley Crüe play. The band played their first show together at the Starwood opening up for Y&T. During that time, none of the record labels were interested in the music that was coming out of the L.A. club scene. So, the band started a label of their own and called it Leathür Records. The band rented a studio for sixty dollars an hour and in just three days, recorded their first album “Too Fast For Love.” It wasn’t easy to get the album out there but the band did eventually find a distributor and the album sold 20,000 copies within 4 months.
One night, Tom Zutaut who worked for Elektra Records happened by the Whisky when he noticed the marquee that read “Mötley Crüe Sold Out.” Tom entered the Whisky and after catching the show, went back to Elektra and persisted that they let him sign the band. Persistence paid off and Tom got his way. Mötley Crüe was signed to Elektra Records.
Initially it was thought that the band would just re-release their version of Too Fast For Love on Elektra, but one of the reps thought it would be better if they remixed it. With the help of Roy Thomas Baker, the band re did the album and Elektra released it on August 20th, 1982.
As Mick had finally found the band that would bring him his much-deserved success, he still remains to this day one of the most underrated guitarists in the industry.
Mick’s 20 plus year career with the band was far from uneventful. From a relationship in which he was abused to the point of attempting suicide, to being arrested in a case of mistaken identity after Tommy Lee had run down a Denver hotel hallway naked. His life would continue to be a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs. Mick battled depression; alcohol abuse and an addition to painkillers stemming from a personal health issue that he would confess to the world just after the band hit their 20-year anniversary mark.
In 1990, Mick married Nasty Habit Emi Canyn and in 1993 filed for divorce due to infidelity on her part. The divorce drained Mick emotionally and financially, but true happiness was waiting for him just around the corner.
Robbie Mantooth, A documentary filmmaker from Tennessee, caught Mick’s attention while working in the production office on one of the bands tours. After the tour, Mick phoned Robbie and made arrangements to visit her in Tennessee. When he returned home to California, Robbie came with him.
On May 22nd, 2001, Motley Crue released their first autobiography entitled “The Dirt”. The book is a basic insight into the formation of Motley Crue as well as personal depictions of their lives as told by the members themselves. It was the release of the book that brought out Mick’s struggle with an incurable disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is the main rheumatic disease in a group of conditions called the spondyloarthropathies (SpA). Collectively, they are referred to as spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis causes inflammation of the ligaments and tendons that connect the vertebrae in the spine. This inflammation causes some damage to the bone, and the body heals this damage by growing new bone. This bony growth replaces the elastic soft tissue and can fuse the joints of the vertebrae. This fusion causes further stiffness and pain. Stiffness and pain usually begins in the pelvis and at the base of the spine and progresses upward through the back to the neck. It can also affect the hips and shoulders, the other larger joints of the arms and legs, and the heels. Ankylosing spondylitis is a relatively uncommon disease that usually strikes in the late teens and early adulthood. It can be mild or somewhat severe.
Mick was first diagnosed when he was 19 and kept his illness hidden, masking it with painkillers and alcohol. It pained him even more that the disease limited his mobility on stage and he could not interact with the fans as much as the other band members did. Mick is working with a physical therapist and with and support from his fans; he is intent on putting AS into remission so that he can tour with Motley once more. When that happens, it will be nothing less than Bittersuite.
Mick and Robbie ended their relationship in December of 2004.
In December 2004, Motley Crue also announced their reunion which includes a new anthology entitled Red White and Crue as well as a world tour kicking off on February 14th, 2005. Mick is presently on Tour as one of the original members of Motley Crue.
Edited by jlosh on 25 Mar 2007, 01:14
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