Social distancing is “kind of like business as usual” for Tommy Lee, who’s staying characteristically busy at his Los Angeles abode while Californians are under stay-at-home orders during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Motley Crue drummer, who spoke to Billboard on April 1, said that, in addition to preparing for this summer’s The Stadium Tour with Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts — which he states will still happen — he’s staying creative “inside my weird little bubble.” His new solo album, Andro, also is arriving at a to-be-determined date this summer, and he’s learning more about studio software and other gear. (Lee also happened to go viral recently with a March Facebook entry, where he posted a letter by Craig Alan Wilkins berating President Donald Trump that called him, among other insults, “an off-brand butt plug.”)
“It’s forced me a little more inward, which is cool,” says Lee of having to stay at home. “In the last week, I’ve written another three tunes, and I’ve brushed up on the technical side — all the tech-y bulls–t that may not be that much fun but is stuff I need to know about.”
Although he has worked in such projects as Methods of Mayhem and Rock Star Supernova, Andro is Lee’s third studio album under his own name, and his first since 2005’s Tommyland: The Ride. He planned to release the first singles in April and the album in the spring, but both have been pushed back, with the singles most likely coming in June.
“It’s just not a good time to release it right now. I don’t think people are in the mind set to be hearing something new,” he says about the project, a stylistically diverse set that includes collaborations with such guests as Killvein, Push Push and King Elle Noir. “I go back and forth with it, because I think now, maybe more than ever, people are at home and actually looking for something new, but they’re also struggling. It’s just an uneasy time, and when all this blows over, it will be better, I think.”
Besides cooking things up in the studio, Lee has ventured upstairs to take advantage of his kitchen. “Oh, yeah, I’ve learned a couple of different things to cook,” he says. “I’m just using this time to educate myself, whether it’s down in [my basement] studio or baking a f–kin’ carrot cake. That part of it is really cool.”
Meanwhile, The Stadium Tour — a 31-date outing which also features the recently added Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts — is slated to begin June 18 in Jacksonville, Fla. It brings the Crue out of retirement since its Final Tour wrapped on New Year’s Eve 2015.
“Everything’s still a go,” reports Lee. “We’re all in constant communication. [Bassist] Nikki [Sixx] and I have been in several production meetings. You’re talking multiple stadiums, so it’s like two kids in a candy store putting together something people are going to walk [away from] saying, ‘Are you f–king kidding me?!’ That’s our mission right now, and it’s definitely headed in that direction.”
Lee says he is “f–kin’ pulling my hair out” over his trademark drum stunt, which in the past has included roller coaster-like tracks that took him above the stage, over the audience and sometimes upside down. “What am I supposed to do at this point? I literally have done the impossible — and all of it. Do I shoot myself out of a f–kin’ cannon? At a stadium, there’s no ceiling. There’s nothing to hang from, so there’s a bunch of issues we’ve been talking about, trying to get around a lot of that. It’s f–king crazy town, dude.”
He adds, “By the time all this f–king apocalyptic bulls–t is over, I think everyone’s going to be in a really good mood to go out and have the f–king best time ever. I really do. I hope everyone stays inside, and we can get a f–king grip on this and get back to people having their normal lives.”
When announcing The Final Tour at a press conference in January 2014, Motley Crue (which also includes singer Vince Neil) signed a cessation-of-touring agreement that legally forbade it to continue touring after the Final outing. However, the success that Netflix had in turning the band’s 2001 biography The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band into a 2019 film inspired the group to literally blow up (or so it said) the document and return to the road.
“I guess I learned my lesson to never say never ’cause after [The Final Tour], it was, like, ‘We’re never playing again. This is it,’” he says. “So I should never say never, but right now, we’re just taking everything, kind of as they say in f–king AA, one day at a time. That’s all you’re in control of. Who knows what’s going to happen years from now, so let’s go do this [tour], and then we’ll reassess after we trip these [shows] out.”