Mick Mars has revealed his passion for progressive rock, saying one of the reasons he loved the genre was that he couldn’t play it.

The former Motley Crue guitarist also said he’d once been in discussions to join art rock outfit Sparks, but that it would have been a disaster.

“I went through surf music and British Invasion, and then I discovered blues and jazz,” Mars told Classic Rock of his formative days in a new interview. “All the drummers in those days were into jazz, so I thought, ‘Okay, I‘ll listen to some jazz.’

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“I listened to Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, all those people, just learning a lot of different ways of doing things and different kinds of music.”

He added: “Stumbling on King Crimson and Gentle Giant was pretty eye-opening for me. When I heard Robert Fripp and the way that he played, I went: ‘How can you do that and do it so fast?’

“It was so different. Everybody knows ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ but when you hear something like ‘Cat Food’ you go, ‘This is really off, but it’s so cool.’”

Admitting he “couldn’t grasp” what was needed to play prog, he continued: “I went to see Gentle Giant in California, and you’ve got them lined up across the stage… they’d go, ‘Da-da-da-da-da-da’ and it would go straight across the stage.

Mick Mars Says Joining Sparks Would Have Been a ‘Train Wreck’

“This guy plays three notes, this guy plays four notes, this guy plays one note. My jaw dropped. I was thinking: ‘How do you do that?’ But I loved it because I couldn’t do it.”

Listen to King Crimson’s ‘Cat Food’

Mars recounted that he’d placed an ad in LA newspaper the Recycler when he was looking for a band, and Sparks’ Ron Mael called him in response. “I told them straight up that it wasn’t the kind of music I played and they would be disappointed in me,” the guitarist said.

“They were more of a glam rock band – David Bowie, T. Rex. I love that stuff, but I don’t play like that… it would have been a train wreck.”

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Gallery Credit: Ultimate Classic Rock Staff

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