One thing you can say about Tommy Lee is that he’s nothing like his ex-Mötley Crüe comrade Vince Neil. That is to say, he works hard without relying too much on his old job to propel him. His first proper solo album, Never a Dull Moment (MCA), does contradict its title in spots, but it’s at least an honest attempt at creativity. Hard work and blurting honesty—that’s more than Neil, Nikki Sixx or Mick Mars seem to have going for them anymore.
City Weekly: So, what’s up with the feud between you and [rock parody website] Metal-Sludge.com? You two seemed like a perfect match, you being the notorious wildman and they being the gloriously petulant children they are …
Tommy Lee: You know what? They sent me their 20 Questions thing and the questions were so fucking stupid and just completely disrespectful. Trust me, man, I take a piss on myself all the time; I’m not, like, Joe Serious. But these were really demeaning, shitty fuckin’ questions and I just said, no thanks. And they just went off on me. [The questions] had nothin’ to do with anything. I was just like, “You know what? These are fuckin’ stupid. Nobody in their right mind would answer these.”
CW: Why have you released Never a Dull Moment as Tommy Lee instead of Methods of Mayhem, the band incarnation of your first album?
TL: Methods of Mayhem was a lot of fun, ’cause it was a big creative free-for-all, comin’ out of Mötley Crüe. I’m such a big fan of so many different styles of music. I absolutely was like a little kid in a creative candy store. But when I started writing for this record, this is just where it was goin,’ you know, musically. I played some stuff for my producer and he said, “Man, why don’t you call this what it is? Why don’t you just call it Tommy Lee?” For some reason, I wasn’t sold on that. He said, “Tommy, you’ve been doin’ this for over 20 years, makin’ a name for yourself. Why would you not use it? Everyone knows who you are, whether they like you or not. I think you’re stupid, not using your name and trying to break this underground Methods of Mayhem thing.” I thought about it and thought about it and said, “You know what? He’s fuckin’ right.”
CW: This is a more song-oriented, and focused, album than M.O.M. Do you think it will remind people of your contributions to Mötley Crüe, in terms of songwriting?
TL: Yeah. Yeah! Oh, shit, man. I wrote a lot of the hits. Um … “Wildside,” “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Home Sweet Home,” a bunch of ’em, bro. Yeah. It’s not so eclectic, either. It’s definitely a more straight-ahead, modern rock-sounding record.
CW: Do people tend to think of Tommy Lee the personality, more than Tommy Lee, the artist?
TL: It’s trippy. I think, generally, people don’t read the songwriter’s credits. [They’re] more into readin’ the lyrics and lookin’ at pictures on the CD or this or that. I think a lot of people just didn’t know actually how involved I was in co-producing and writing a lot of the Mötley records.
CW: You’re fronting a band now, as opposed to providing the beat as the drummer. How much of a shock is that for you?
TL: It’s cool. Like, at first, man … it’s a pretty big jump, a pretty big transformation. You can sit in the studio all day and play guitar and sing, but goin’ out and doin’ it live took some time to get comfortable with. Now, I’m really enjoyin’ it.
CW: Are you still friendly with Mötley Crüe?
TL: Yeah, Nikki and I are still friends. He actually lives around the corner from me and we’re still buddies. Vince and I don’t get along very well. We’re cordial when we see each other. Mick has always been a really quiet person. He’s not one to get on the phone and call and say, hello. But I talked to him about a month ago through e-mail. He’s definitely a hermit. He doesn’t go out, he doesn’t call nobody, he’s just kinda on his own, so I don’t get to speak to him as much as I’d like.
CW: You were married to, and got to have wild monkey sex with, what a lot of guys view as the Hottest Woman On the Planet, Pamela Anderson. Was it worth it?
TL: Uh, actually, um … no. [Laughs] No.
CW: And didn’t you think Leah Lail, who plays the nerdy computer chick on V.I.P., was hotter?
TL: You know, at times, yeah. She was sexier. Just ’cause she’s not so blown out, you know? [Laughs] J