He played his part in the birth of ‘Glam Metal’, he lit up Sunset Boulevard in the ‘80s, and he’s made a household name of himself in more ways than one, over the years. We all know Tommy Lee as that bad-boy drummer of Mötley Crüe, a band who has sold over 100 million albums worldwide by kickstarting our hearts, and can’t stop no matter how hard they try.
But that’s not all, Lee explores all other facets of the entertainment industry; so whether you remember him from rock and roll’s answer to American Idol with Rock Star Supernova, or his Californication cameo playing ‘Home Sweet Home’ on keys, you’ll know he’s always put himself out there.
The infectiously ecstatic musician is preparing for the release of his first solo album in about fifteen years. Titled Andro, the DJ-infused hip-hop record features a myriad of artists, producers and vocalists – a follow-up to Tommyland: The Ride – paired with his autobiography book release.
Ahead of Andro’s release in October, our favourite-forever-party-boy had a chat with us from his LA home about the release of his long-awaited project, as well as hanging out with Machine Gun Kelly on-set of Netflix’s The Dirt, and collaborating with Post Malone.
“I’ve been working on it for very close to two years, I’m so fucking excited man” the rockstar exclaims. “I’ve heard it so much, and the fact that I still like it after all this time is saying a lot” – Lee says, laughing at his own restlessness.
Everyone expected all members of Mötley Crüe to take a well-deserved break after concluding their massive farewell tour across the planet, but not Tommy.
“I’m not very good at sitting around, and I tried to after the Mötley tour was over in 2016, like I told myself I’m just going to take a year off and not do any music, but a tonne of ideas just started coming. You know how one thing leads to another – and then shit, before you know it you’ve got twenty to thirty songs [written].”
Having lived a life of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, Lee always has the adrenaline for more. In unison to writing and recording upcoming LP Andro, he’s not only been busy planning and rescheduling a stadium tour across the U.S. with Poison, Def Leppard, and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, but before that, he was spending a lot of his time with The Dirt’s film and production crew.
The 2019 release on Netflix is based on the 2001 book biography The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band (our film review here). In the biopic, Lee was played by Machine Gun Kelly, who impressed everyone with his commitment to the role and uncanny resemblance to Tommy Lee.
“I’ve known Machine Gun Kelly for a few years” he tells us, remembering his experiences with the rapper. “He’s given me a lot of inspiration, because while he was in preparation for the movie, I saw something I haven’t seen a long time in an artist, and that was his actual dedication to the role and to the overall movie.”
The drummer laughs in reflection at how well the recent VMA winner played him. Given the hip-hop style and direction of Andro, it only makes sense that someone of Kelly’s stature would play Lee in the flick.
“He was crazy about getting together with me and going through every single line and making sure it was exactly how it went down, including taking four months of drum lessons. If anything, I was inspired by his will to make something the fucking best it could possibly be”.
The controversial musician always has a finger on the pulse for more up-and-coming artists across all genres (except Country), and has recently come across a song recorded by rapper Tyla Yaweh titled ‘Tommy Lee’ – and not only that, but it features one of the biggest musicians in the world right now, Post Malone.
After hearing the track, Lee was so stoked he got in touch with both Tyla and Malone, and without hesitation they recorded a remix of the song, which features as the closing track on Andro.
“It was super cool, man. It was a crazy honour that they wrote a song called ‘Tommy Lee’, I was like ‘wow that’s fucking wild’ and then they they asked me if I would be into doing a remix and I was like, ‘abso-fucking-lutely’ I will” the giddy drummer recounts.
They actually recorded two remixes in the end. “One of them was like a trap version and then the other one was just a full straight-ahead rock version, with banging drums and guitars. They love that version so we went with it on the record.”
It doesn’t take much to feel the energy in the room when watching the remix video, despite it seeming like Posty couldn’t quite join the other two for the filming. That didn’t faze Lee though, as he’s spent a lot of time with the beer-pong connoisseur.
“I played drums on his Beerbongs & Bentleys record a couple of years ago, so we had him here at my house and I played a track on his record here. We hung out, partied and jammed together. We also played one of his songs ‘Congratulations’ live with John Mayer.”
Lee recalls Mayer was in town at the time. “John was playing at The Forum here in Los Angeles, so Post and I went up and rocked that tune with him. Post is a super great guy and it was a fucking blast to work with him.”
Beyond collaborating with the next generation of musicians, Tommy’s also been getting on board with the next generation of social media. The Crüe veteran has jumped on the TikTok bandwagon, with the push from his wife Brittany Furlan who has been highly popular on the platform recently.
“We might have something planned for the release of the record (on TikTok) coming up in a while” the big-time-musician teases. “I’ve had some fun with it though – somehow, my wife drugged me into the TikTok world and it’s actually quite fun. There’s a lot of crazy shit out there that could entertain you for hours.” One of the most well-known TikTok releases by Furlan was the trend of her repeatedly hitting him ‘accidentally’ until he cracked it.
Lee’s been recently known for his active stance against Trump on Twitter, and now the US President’s trying to take TikTok away from the Californian resident too.
“Everything is so fucking strange” he says, confused at the logic. “You never really know what the reason is for this stuff, but maybe it’s because the people shit all over him on TikTok and he didn’t like that” Tommy laughs, as recalls Trump’s rally being sold out by non-attending TikTok revolutionaries.
Once borders reopen, Lee’s looking forward to promoting his album outside of social media, and across the world – including Australia. “I really miss it out there in Australia, I love it a lot”, recalling his many visits, amongst the most recent tour on Mötley Crüe’s Australian leg of the farewell tour in 2015.
He’s equally excited to finally release Andro next month. “I cannot wait for it to get into your ears. I want you guys to listen to it and want to fucking break something, or dance around – I don’t care, ‘cause there’s something for everyone on the record.”
Before putting the phone down, Tommy Lee assures us he still goes dancing down on the Sunset Strip you know, for old times’ sake.
“Every once in a while, I’ll be down in that area just to see what’s up. I’ll either stop at Rainbow, and just get a drink or a pizza, or I’ll go to the Roxy next door, and even Whiskey [a Go Go]. It’s so funny because like anything, a lot of things have changed over there, but man, there’s a lot of certain things that haven’t where you see some of the same people, hanging out in the same places.”
Interview by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
Pre-order Andro here
Tommy Lee – Andro tracklisting
1. Knock Me Down ft. Killvein
2. You Dancy ft. Lukas Rossi
3. Ain’t Tellin Me Nothing ft. Pavan Mukhi?
4. SOMA COMA ft. Shotty Horroh
5. When You were Mine ft. Lukas Rossi
6. Hot Fudge Sundae ft. Josh Todd
7. Caviar on A Paper Plate ft. Mickey Avalon
8. Leave Me Alone ft. Killvein
9. Demon Bitches ft. Brooke Candy, Moon Bounce
10. P.R.E.T.T.Y ft. King Elle Noir
11. Tops ft. Push Push
12. Make This Storm King Elle Noir
13. Make it Back ft. PLYA
14. Tommy Lee [Tommy Lee Remix] ft. Tyla Yahweh, Post Malone