Tommy Lee - The Power of Self
Tommy Lee has something to say about a lot of things. Iconic drummer for the multi-platinum selling mythical rock band Mötley Crüe, solo artist, master of mayhem…philosopher? To have a conversation with Tommy Lee is to be regaled with tales of a life lived to the extreme, and to bear witness to a dynamically creative imagination. Yes, Tommy Lee has that whole Law of Attraction thing nailed down in spades. He dreams up larger than life adventures and makes them happen, not just for him, but for all of us. Anyone who has ever been to a Mötley Crüe concert and felt their breathe escape their body as they watched Lee drum his heart out, upside down and on a roller coaster, will back me up.
Tommy Lee might be more mellow these days, but his imagination is still operating on high octane. Now living his life sober, married to social media star Brittany Furlan and a father to two adult sons, Dylan Jagger Lee and Brandon Thomas Lee (MTV’s The Hills: New Beginnings), the 58 year old living legend might be more mellow in body, but his spirit remains a livewire, ready to jump at any adrenaline fueled pursuit that will scratch his insatiable itch for feeling alive.
Lee’s latest musical endeavor, his newly released album, ANDRO, boldly crosses musical genres. Fourteen tracks feature a roster of incredibly talented artists, punctuated by both male and female vocals, creating a medley of defiant metal, brazen alternative and progressive pop.
Tommy Lee is humble, shockingly down to earth and grounded in his love for the music. Our conversation travels through images of his childhood, religious upbringing, the power of hard lessons learned and the purity of rock ‘n roll debauchery sans social media.
Allison Kugel: Let’s talk about this new album, ANDRO. I really loved how you showcase all of these up and coming artists, and I love that you worked with so many women on this album, really talented women. Where did you find them?
Tommy Lee: So much of this record happened organically and authentically. I didn’t set out to make a record that was half male and half female energy. I love the female voice and that energy that it brings. It can make you cry, it can make you feel sexy, so many things. I keep a collaboration list of people that I love, where I think, “One day I have to do something with this person.” So, in writing for this album, there were moments when I was writing these tracks that needed that female energy on them. I love that kind of music. I mean, I love all kinds of music, but I would be working on a song and be like, Oh My God! I know that Push Push would just kill this song!” And I’ve been following her for years. She was on my list of people to work with. That is really in a nutshell how it happened. The voice would come to me once the music was starting to come together. I would say, “I know exactly who to do this with.” I ended up with just as many male tracks as female tracks, hence the album title, “ANDRO.”
Can you describe your creative process?
“My process is never the same. I will hear a melody and I will sing a basic melody and put it down as a scratch, so I don’t forget it. Sometimes it will come as a drum beat that I’m hearing, and I’ll just put down the drum, or sometimes a keyboard or a guitar part. It’s never the same. I don’t have a method. It’s always random and I love it because it just comes in spurts from different places. A lot of times a melody will come into my brain and I’ll just grab my phone really quick, so I don’t forget it. There is nothing worse than having these incredible ideas and losing them. I’ve done it so many times where it’s 2 or 3 in the morning and I’m thinking, “Oh My God! This is so good, there is no way I’m going to forget it, and I just go back to bed. And then I forget it! It wasn’t meant to be, I guess.”