Mick Mars (born Robert Alan Deal; either May 4, 1951 or April 4, 1955) is an American musician and guitarist. He is known for being the lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe until the band retired in 2015.
Mars was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, but his family moved to Huntington, Indiana soon afterward. Before he was 9 years old, his family relocated again, this time to Garden Grove, California. He dropped out of high school and began playing guitar in a series of unsuccessful blues-based rock bands throughout the 1970s, taking on menial day jobs. After nearly a decade of frustration with the California music scene, he reinvented himself, changing his name from Robert Deal to Mick Mars and dyeing his hair jet black, hoping for a fresh start. In April 1981 he put a want ad in the Los Angeles newspaper The Recycler, describing himself as "a loud, rude and aggressive guitar player". Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee, who were putting together a new band which would soon become Mötley Crüe, contacted him. After hearing him play he was hired for the band.
Mars has contributed songwriting to John LeCompt, the former member of Evanescence and the other band members of Machina, and to the Swedish band Crashdïet. Their second album entitled, The Unattractive Revolution, was released on October 3, 2007 and featured two songs co-written by Mars.
Mars played guitar on the title track of Hinder's 2008 album Take It to the Limit, and contributed a guitar solo to the song "Into the Light" by Papa Roach, on their 2009 album Metamorphosis. Mars also contributed a guitar solo to the song "The Question" on Rock Star: Supernova runner-up Dilana's U.S. debut album Inside Out. In 2010 he co-wrote a song with Escape the Fate for the band's self-titled album, which was instead withheld from the album and reserved for a later release.
For most of his professional career, Mars has openly struggled with ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic, inflammatory form of arthritis that mainly affects the spine and pelvis. It was initially diagnosed when he was 17 years old and has increasingly impaired his movement and has caused him a great deal of pain. This led to hip-replacement surgery at the end of 2004.
Over the years, the illness has caused his lower spine to seize up and freeze completely solid, "...causing scoliosis in [his] back and squashing [him] further down and forward until [he] was a full three inches (7.6 cm) shorter than [he] was in high school."