Motley Crue Lineup Changes: A Complete Guide
Four names come to mind when you think of Motley Crue: Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Vince Neil and Mick Mars. But the group has undergone several lineup changes at various stages of its 40-plus-year career.
Granted, half of the band's lineups consisted of the twice-reunited famous original foursome, with Sixx and Mars always remaining on board until the guitarist's ongoing health issues forced him to finally retire from the road in 2022. The stories of how first singer Neil and then drummer Lee left and came back to the group — and what happened while they were gone — serve as great examples of the level of chaos that circled the band for much of its career.
After a fast march to the top and a decade-long reign as hard rock's most infamous bad boys, Motley Crue learned just how fickle mainstream music fans could be when they fired Neil and experimented with heavier and more serious-minded music on 1994's Motley Crue. Bringing Neil back but continuing to experiment with new sounds on 1997's Generation Swine didn't work much better.
So the band got back to basics on 2000's New Tattoo. Well, three of them, anyway. Lee decided he was sick of playing the same kind of music over and over, so he split. Five years later, they all realized once and for all that they were happier together. A decade after that, they announced their retirement and made a big show of signing a "legally binding" contract to prevent any future reunions. Four years later, in 2019, they literally blew up that contract and reunited for a lucrative stadium tour that was delayed by the pandemic for two years. Once that was concluded, Mars was finally forced to call it a career.
That's the short version. You can read the complete history of Motley Crue's lineup changes — including the four drummers who briefly filled in after various Lee injuries — below.