Ladies and Gents, Mr. Tommy Lee

Mötley Crüe (Credit: Ross Halfin)

There aren’t many rock ‘n roll drummers who’re acknowledged names within the common family. Some exceptions to this are Ringo Starr, Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Travis Barker, and essentially the most talked about all of them, Tommy Lee. Lee’s life has been unintentionally public, and, within the course of, folks have constructed a personality round him. It’s an attention-grabbing one, unequal elements magnificence and beast. 

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Beginning this Might, Mötley Crüe hit the highway, performing headlining slots at festivals akin to Welcome to Rockville, Summerfest, Louder Than Life and Aftershock, in addition to county gala’s and their very own arena-sized shows. Forward of that, they’re releasing their first new music for the reason that extra songs they recorded for the soundtrack to their Netflix biopic, The Filth, based mostly on the Neil Strauss biography of the identical identify.

“Canine of Conflict” is launched at present, April 26, together with a completely CGI music video. Written by the Crüe’s main songwriter and bassist, Nikki Sixx, Lee, and their new guitarist, the incomparable John 5, the tune is traditional Crüe with a 3.0 improve. More durable and heavier than they’ve traditionally been, “Canine of Conflict” breaks up the crunch and grind with stadium-ready, signature Crüe cries of “whoa-oh.” Vocalist Vince Neil sounds in uncommon type, maximizing on the studio’s capabilities and delivering a sing-along-ability that rivals that of 1989’s “Kickstart My Coronary heart.” The video for “Canine of Conflict” performs like a Grand Theft Auto cutscene with the band experiencing numerous harmful situations, together with going to hell and to area, however returning resilient—not in contrast to actual life. “Canine of Conflict” is a worthy addition to the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum group’s 100 million-selling catalog.

(Single Artwork Courtesy of Massive Machine Data)

The tune is one other landmark in what has been a busy couple of years for Mötley Crüe. In January 2024, they opened the digital Crüeseum, “the world’s most infamous museum,” that includes memorabilia and private objects from the group. In addition they resurrected their S.I.N. Membership fan membership. They’ve been within the throes of celebrating their fortieth anniversary since 2021. August of this yr is the thirty fifth anniversary of Dr. Feelgood. Starting in 2022, they performed stadiums with Def Leppard as a part of The Stadium Tour in North America, which prolonged to The World Tour in 2023. 

When Lee Zooms in to replace SPIN on all issues Mötley Crüe, he’s amped, to say the least. His eyes sparkle behind tinted, black-rimmed glasses. His blue headphones push his middle-parted hair ahead so it kinds curtains round his face. In his proper hand Lee clutches a blue lighter and, in his left, a cigarette. From a sequence necklace, a medallion hangs over his black T-shirt, partially blocking the phrase “WEHO,” which is spelled with white outlines of our bodies. If there may be pores and skin seen, it’s tattooed, together with his triceps, the place the ink has pale into tattoo blue.

There isn’t sufficient proof on Lee’s face to justify his 60-plus years. There’s additionally no signal of his current hand surgical procedure, which he shared along with his followers on Instagram. Lee is able to go.

You’re headlining a number of festivals this yr. What are your recollections of taking part in the U.S. Pageant in 1983 throughout the early Mötley Crüe years?

TOMMY LEE: I can inform you, flying over 200,000 folks in a helicopter, I believe I’m 19, and I’m searching the window, and actually I’m like, “Are you fucking kidding me? We’re taking part in there?” I had no concept what we have been entering into. A competition, yeah, however flying over that and then sitting down behind the drums and searching at simply mud, I couldn’t see the place the gang ended. You look out on the ocean, and it simply retains going without end. That’s what it was like, and I used to be identical to, “Oh, my god. Oh, my fucking god. That is insane.” No person actually knew who the hell we have been. We have been taking part in in entrance of 200,000 folks, and most individuals have been tripping out going, “Who the fuck are these guys?”

As “Canine of Conflict” was beginning to take form, what emotions did it offer you?

We recorded as a result of we have been experiencing one thing that we haven’t skilled in a very long time with John 5 and his fucking power. His new blood reactivated all of us. We’re like “Fuck!” We’re rehearsing to go play exhibits with a bunch of music that we’ve all been taking part in for some time. Throughout that course of, we’re like, “Oh, man, boy, this positive can be totally different if it’s one thing we wrote from the bottom up.” Nikki and I and John began arising with some concepts, and we have been like, “You realize, we have to file this. Our followers must really feel this new power.” It’s not one thing you’ll be able to clarify. It’s important to hear it and really feel it. We all the time say, “You’re solely pretty much as good as your final effort,” and we hadn’t finished any new music shortly. This entire scenario is begging for us to place out what we’re feeling, the place we’re at, what we’re doing. “What’s fucking blowing you guys’ skirts up lately?” Increase, that is it. What you hear once you hear it’s the place we’re at proper right here and now. 

It’s identifiable as Mötley Crüe, however circa 2024.

Yeah, Vince’s voice actually does that as a result of he has such a fucking distinctive sounding voice. Musically, to me, it feels like proper now. That shit is bangin’. To me, it sounds new, however it has its moments of sounding like what folks can be used to, however it undoubtedly has some new fashionable feeling taking place. We’re probably not dynamic guys. It’s fairly dynamic for Mötley to dive down so low within the verses and form of creep round and then simply explode within the choruses. We don’t try this form of stuff a complete lot. It’s new and it’s totally different and it’s the identical all in the identical breath.

John 5 involves Mötley with a powerful CV and references (Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, David Lee Roth). What’s it been like taking part in with him?

You realize what? When you have been to go as much as him and go, “Dude, play me bluegrass meets classical,” he would actually go, “Okay.” A rock guitarist would by no means know methods to play that. He can play fucking something, and it’s scary. He’s from one other dimension. To me, on the finish of the day, you will be essentially the most unimaginable, influential, gifted individual on the planet, however in case you’re an asshole, none of it issues. He’s, fingers down, the nicest man I do know. He’s such a fucking sweetheart. I imply, we’re in heaven. We simply snort the entire time and simply groove on how fucking rad it’s we get to all play collectively. It’s wild.

You had Bob Rock within the producer’s seat once more for “Canine of Conflict.” You’ve labored with him for thus lengthy at this level—is there a shorthand in your communication with him?

Once we first labored with him is when all of it clicked. This man instantly grabs a stool, a microphone, and a guitar, and he was just like the fifth member of Mötley Crüe. He can be within the fucking recording with us. We’d be like, “Oh, let’s put the bridge after this refrain,” or “Let’s transfer it right here. Let’s do this. Let’s change these chords right here.” He was all the time within the trenches with us, and not a variety of speaking. A whole lot of taking part in and listening and going, “Ahh, that’s it!” We talk in a very wonderful means and we talk collectively and we’re all form of going for a similar factor. Going with Bob is an apparent clear alternative as a result of we get one another and we get one another shortly. Within the studio, it strikes fairly rattling quick. We are going to get the whole lot form of massaged, go away for the day, take heed to what we did, and come again and be like both, “Make a couple of modifications” or “Dude, that is cash. Let’s simply fucking file it, go!” Bob’s the most effective.

What was behind the choice to go all CGI within the “Canine of Conflict” video?

I name it sauteed in improper sauce. It’s simply fucked up. We’ve by no means finished a fucked-up animated piece, and it simply captures the vibe. Hopefully it has as a lot affect because the sonic model does. It’s a type of the place you bought to observe it a couple of instances as a result of there’s all types of loopy shit happening.

And who’re the “Canine of Conflict?”

That’s a very good query. Possibly it’s us? You’d should ask Nikki who he thinks that’s, however I’m positive it most likely refers to many. It could possibly be us. It could possibly be “them.” It’s open-ended. Who is aware of?

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