What Was in Motley Crue’s ‘Cessation of Touring’ Contract?
On Jan. 28, 2014, at a press conference in front of dozens of witnesses – and the world looking on via media coverage – the members of Motley Crue signed a document that they said prevented them from touring again after their farewell road trip.
The “Cessation of Touring Agreement” came into effect at the end of 2015, and contained a clause that meant Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars would be the subject of a lawsuit if they attempted to break the deal.
“After more than three decades together, iconic rock ‘n' roll band Motley Crue announced today the Final Tour and the band’s ultimate retirement,” they said in a statement. “The announcement was solidified when the band signed a formal Cessation of Touring Agreement, effective at the end of 2015, in front of global media in Los Angeles today.”
The news was accompanied by comments from the band members. “We always had a vision of going out with a big fucking bang and not playing county fairs and clubs with one or two original band members,” drummer Lee said. “Our job here is done.”
Guitarist Mars added that their history had included “more drama than General Hospital." “It keeps ’em watchin’, and they keep comin’ back,” he added.
Crue’s attorney, Doug Mark of Mark Music & Media Law, was in attendance for the signing of the agreement – which, they emphasized, was the first of its kind. “Other bands have split up over rancor or the inability of people to get along,” Mark said. "But this is mutual among all four original members and a peaceful decision to move on to other endeavors and to confirm it with a binding agreement.”
Watch Motley Crue's 'The End' Press Conference
However, the details of the agreement were never made public. All that seemed certain was that Sixx, Neil, Lee and Mars could not use the name “Motley Crue” for touring after 2015. And even though they could be sued if they tried to break the deal, it wasn’t clear who’d do the suing.
Even Crue’s manager, Chris Nilsson, was scant on details of the agreement when asked if it prevented them from reuniting for standalone events. “I’m not really sure,” he told Pollstar at the time. “One thing I will say is that I think it’s really important to them that they do what they agreed to do. They agreed that this will be the final tour. … I can’t really speak on the specifics of the agreement, but this is the final tour.”
LawDepot notes that, by law, a contract becomes “voidable” if “a party breaches the terms of the contract” and that the “party affected by the particular circumstance may choose to either set aside the contract or continue with it.” If it’s assumed that the four band members signed their agreement as four individual parties – Mark confirmed "everyone had their own counsel" – it follows that one or more of the four would have to want the contract to continue. If all four want to set it aside, it’s legally voidable.
Responding to the suggestion that the deal could be broken, Sixx said at the signing, “You guys in the press, you keep looking for the loophole. We're gonna stick to our word.” "It would take all of us to agree to do something," Neil observed. "But I don’t see us going back on our word and saying, 'Aw, forget it, forget it you guys – we were just kidding,' you know? No, we won’t be doing any more concerts."
However, a comment by Mark noted that the deal never had anything to do with preventing actual performances. "It's an agreement that binds the four of them to not utilize this trademark for touring in the future," he said, to which Sixx added, "Pretty simple."
On November 18, 2019, Motley Crue announced their reunion by posting a video that showed the cessation agreement and the desk it was sitting on exploding into flames. So yes, they managed to find a loophole.