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Tommy Lee is 58, continuing 8.
“I’m already behaving like an (offensive) kid – I realized:” Whatever with the 5! “” Jokes the boisterous drummer of Mötley Crüe, who celebrated his birthday earlier this month. “I’m going in Benjamin Button style, I’ll go back.”
But Lee hardly lives in the past. Following the success of last year’s “The Dirt,” a biographical film on Netflix that outlines Mötley’s wild early days, the musician is taking another bold step into the future with his solo album, “Andro,” released on Friday. This is his first solo effort since 2005 “Tommyland: The Ride” and he avoids rock for an eclectic mix of hip-hop, EDM, funk and R&B. The experimental, heavy-duty guest recording was largely written and recorded in Lee’s basement studio in Calabasas, California, at the home he shares with his fourth wife, social media star Brittany Furlan.
“Mötley fans, they expect this from me now. I started doing this in 2000, smearing different genres and hybrid things,” Lee said. “Either I lost them then, or they followed.”
USA TODAY recently caught up with Lee via Zoom to talk about new music, sobriety and the late Eddie Van Halen.
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One of my favorite songs on the album is your cover of Prince’s “When You’re Mine” with singer Lucas Rossi. How did this come together?
Tommy Lee: If you know the original, it’s super acceleration and poppy. When Lucas came to me with the idea of slowing him down and making him super dark and sexy, this song took on a completely different meaning for me. When it slows down like that, the lyrics in this song are sad. I feel this song like, “Wow! That’s hard.” It was really fun to make this version and if you’re going to replay a Prince song, you better finish it well.
Have you ever crossed paths with Prince in the 80’s or 90’s?
Lee: I have met him twice. Mötley Crüe was rehearsing in Studio A once and we heard Prince rehearsing in Studio B. I’m such a big fan of Prince, so I said, ‘I’m just going to keep banging my head through the door, hoping to catch him come in and greet him. “And I did. He was with this massive guard who was supposed to be 8 feet tall, and here’s Prince who is (much shorter, even) with high heels. I did everything I could for “I didn’t like it, but it was great. I met him again at a club a few years later. Then, the strangest thing: I was once engaged to his ex-wife (Mayte Garcia). Talk about some weird weirdness.”
Next week you will be sober for a year. How do you feel?
Lee: It feels good, I dig it. Idle time is satanic for someone like me. We went on tour on New Year’s Eve 2016, I went home and just (insultingly) bored to death. I just got into this crazy tunnel of boredom, drinking literally every day from morning to night. I drank 2 gallons a day, and my wife said, “I’ve never seen anyone drink this way. You’re fine and you’re functioning, but that’s crazy. It can’t be good for you.
Was there a time when you knew you had to go to rehab?
Lee: We were planning to go on a tour of the stadium and I was like, “Man, I can’t do this. I should probably stop this madness and go back in the middle of things and go do this tour.” This was definitely one of the reasons for pumping the brakes.
Your teammate, Nikki Six, has been discovered for his sobriety and past addiction struggles. Was he a support through that?
Lee: Dude, he took me to rehab. (Laughs.) He was insanely supportive. He came here and I didn’t know he was coming – my wife called him. I remember waking up, lying in bed and hearing, “Come on, dude, let’s go!” I look and I think, “What’s Nikki doing in my bedroom right now? This (weird) And he was like, ‘Let’s go!’ And I’m like, ‘Where?'” My wife had created it. , well, before we left “and I poured myself (a drink), which was probably all vodka and a little splash of cranberry, got in the car and left. So he was great, he was wonderful. 900 years, Jesus, so our friendship has become even closer than we were before.
Mötley Crüe was forced to reschedule his tour for next summer due to COVID. Have you been in contact with any of the boys to work on new music in the meantime?
Lee: We haven’t talked about making new music, although that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Like everyone else, we’re just trying to figure out if (live music) will happen again. Nikki and I designed this crazy show at the stadium, which sits in this giant warehouse in Las Vegas, where productions are being built. I just sit there and wait. So we’re dying, man. We’re dying to go out and play. I miss him terribly. Hopefully people get together (explicitly) together, let’s understand this and get back to normal, if there is such a thing.
What was your reaction when you heard Eddie Van Halen pass by this month?
Lee: I’m still shocked by that. Three weeks ago, I was hanging out with (former Van Halen singer) Sami Hagar, and he didn’t mention it. I assumed he had taken out the cancer and he was up and up. But man, what a sad thing. We literally lost one of the most innovative, amazing guitarists of our time. Definitely.
Nikki said in a podcast last year that Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neal once bit Eddie. Is it true?
Lee: Yes, we were all on the Monsters of Rock tour (in 1984): AC / DC, Van Halen, Mötley Crüe. We were all partying and Mötley had this thing we would do if we really loved you: Some people at five, other people hugging, we will bite you. Vince went and just pounced on Eddie and Eddie was so crazy. He was like, “What’s (explicitly) wrong with you?” He was not very receptive to him. I bit Malcolm Young (from AC / DC) and he hated him too. We did this for several years until we overcame it or realized that it could be a little dangerous.
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