Jake E. Lee says that Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee wanted him to replace Mick Mars in MÖTLEY CRÜE.
According to the former OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist, the CRÜE musicians approached him about possibly joining their group in the early 1980s, before he got the call to work with the BLACK SABBATH frontman.
Speaking to Tone-Talk, Lee recalled (see video below): "I quit RATT. I had nothing going on. I was going to MÖTLEY's fucking gigs… Nikki and Tommy wanted me in the band. They actually wanted me to replace Mick — which you can understand that. [I was] fucking better looking and fucking better playing. They wanted me to replace Mick. Mick's in-law or whatever was funding the band, so that didn't happen. And there was [talk of MÖTLEY CRÜE] maybe [having] two guitar players, which even then, I was, like, 'MÖTLEY CRÜE. Two guitar players. I don't know about that.' So, anyway, it kind of started with that. 'Cause there was that thing going. Whether somebody denies it or not, that's what started the rift between me and Mick."
A couple of years later, MÖTLEY CRÜE ended up supporting Ozzy on a U.S. tour. "I'm not saying I had a big deal to do with it, but I remember Sharon [Osbourne] saying, 'This MÖTLEY CRÜE. What do you think about [them] opening?'" Jake said. "I said, 'Fucking MÖTLEY CRÜE. I think they're gonna be the next big deal.' So MÖTLEY CRÜE is opening for us now. At at one point, I'm out partying with… I think it was Tommy… It might have been Vince [Neil]. Who knows? Whoever Mick's roommate was. We go back to the room, and Mick's in his pajamas and he's very upset with us. It was with RATT too — I remember Robbin [Crosby] was there, Stephen [Pearcy] was there. Mick, being the old man, as everybody joked about [him], he made a complaint. I'm not sure what I said. I think just called him 'the old man' and [told him to] shut up. And he did look over at me and said, 'At least I'm not a slant-eyed Japanese bastard.' And I did not like that — did not like it. I hadn't heard it, actually, since I was in grade school — the whole 'slant-eyed Japanese' thing. And it pissed me off. I walked over. I was gonna beat the fuck out of him. And it was Robbin Crosby, who was six-five, he came up to me, picked me and said, 'C'mon, Jake. None of that shit matters.' And he carried me out of the room."
Jake added that he and Mick "made up after that," and he stressed that he didn't believe Mars was "so much racist as he [just wanted to] attack me 'cause I was younger, better looking and I was a better guitarist."
Jake then pondered how his career would have turned out had he joined MÖTLEY CRÜE. "It's an interesting [thought]," he said. "What would MÖTLEY CRÜE have been if I was the guitar player? I'm not even necessarily saying it would be better. Nothing against Mick. [He had] great tone, fucking good rhythm. [He] probably was what they needed to be big. They wouldn't have been as big with me. Musically, they might have been better."
Jake is currently promoting "Patina", the second album from his RED DRAGON CARTEL project, which was released in November.
Photo credit: Joseph Gorelick