Caught in a web. (Tommy Lee)
Tommy Lee is in a great mood and has every reason to be. His new album, which has been given the name "Never A Dull Moment" (something like "Not a single moment of boredom") has just been released and has already begun a life of its own. It's full of great songs, great guitars, great vocals and killer drum tracks. And it's all produced, written and played by Tommy Lee himself with a little help from friends like Chino from Deftones and Brandon and Mickey from Incubus. We recently caught Tommy while preparing for a new tour. On this tour, Lee will play some drums and mostly play guitar and sing in a brand new band with Will Hunt on drums.
- Modern Drummer: How did you find Will?
- Tommy: I've auditioned a lot of drummers. Will came and crushed everything. I realized that this guy is perfect because he basically plays what I played on my last album. And he plays like me. Will is a cool guy. Sometimes in rehearsals, he strums drum fills from classic Crue songs. And he says (imitates southern accent) "Yes, I stole it." For this tour, DW gave him a set like mine - General Lee - orange - like the car from the TV show Dukes Of Hazard.
- M.D.: Will there be any electronic drums?
- Tommy: Yes, he will play a big electronic kit with two Ddrum heads, six pads and a kick drum. What I especially like about this band is that we sound the same live as on the record. We reproduce every recorded sound. It was important for me to achieve the right sound. And I spent a year of my life working with my co-producer Scott Humphrey to achieve a certain sound and mood. Accordingly, it was important for me that it was the same live. When you record an album, the end result should be exactly your vision of the whole. On "Hold Me Down" the drums are soft and low at first, and I set Will up to play like that with all those electronic sounds. And he is completely open to it. This is new to him and he says: "Oh, this is crazy!" I send it to a completely different dimension. We play well together. We are like two boys in a candy store. I'm so glad I found it.
- M.D.: Where did it come from?
- Tommy: Will was in Stuff Mojo and another band, Scrape. So, he is not a beginner, he is already experienced.
- M.D.: Let's talk about your new CD. How did you record the drums?
- Tommy: Scott Humphrey has a really cool rig in his garage. He placed these drums on a wooden platform with a round platform. And there's also a circular curtain around the entire set. If you want, you can completely surround the drums with a thick velvet curtain and make the sound completely dry. Or, if you open the curtain, the sounds will fly around the room, creating a feeling of openness. It was a very cool place for drums.
- M.D.: At what point in the recording were you writing drums?
- Tommy: I usually prefer to record the drums last. Because by this point I already know exactly what the song needs and what it doesn't need. Sometimes when the drums are recorded too early, you end up playing too much. Or you just don't know exactly what the drum part should be. And you might have done things differently later.
- M.D.: How were the loops you used on this recording created?
- Tommy: Many of them were created right in the studio. Scott was also involved. Everything changed during the recording many times. I made some loops with Steinberg's Reason program. It's a cool program. I made some loops with Fruity Loops for PC and of course I used Acid. It was cool.
- M.D.: Let's talk about songs. Were some of them based on drums?
- Tommy: The song "Blue" started with drums. There was an amazing sound of a kick drum and a snare with a delay, and I suddenly said: "I have to record this before I forget it." I just got a Gibson Chet Atkins guitar back then. And I took it out of the case and the riff came to my mind. I wrote the whole song in literally five minutes. It's incredible how the sound of something can inspire you.
"Afterglow" started with a guitar riff. "Sunday" - from guitar and drums. On "Body Architect" the guitars played very percussively. Guitars have switches that allow you to play them like a drum. I hit the guitar with my fist. It's deadly. I'm a drummer, so I play the rhythm guitar and sing the rhythm. Everything I do has a rhythm.
"Face To Face" and "Higher" are straight-to-the-face rock drums. The song "Higher" inherently hovers above real life. In the song "Fame-02" I was thinking about Bowie, but I tried to make the song my own taste.
- M.D.: If someone rummages through your record collection, what would surprise them?
- Tommy: Andrea Bocelli and other operas. Don't be surprised, but I love dance music, so they can find both Basement Jaxx and Orbital.
- M.D.: Do you have any favorite jazz drummers?
- Tommy: I remember seeing Chet Wackerman. But it's more fusion than jazz. I like Steve Smith. Bozzio (Terry Bozzio), but this is also not quite jazz. I have to admit that I listen to quite a bit of jazz and country. I'm not very familiar with all this.
- M.D.: What about funky drummers?
- Tommy: I don't remember the names, but I listen to funk. I've always liked Prince's drummers. He always has good drummers.
- M.D.: Without showing disrespect to your colleagues, are there bands you would like to play in?
- Tommy: Oh, I need to think about it. Lots of different teams. U2, Van Halen, AC/DC, remaining members of Led Zeppelin. You can continue...
- M.D.: Can we talk about Motley Crue?
- Tommy: Of course. I communicate with Nikki, we are good friends now.
- M.D.: Will you play together again?
- Tommy: I never say never. But now I'm perfectly happy doing my project. Maybe in a few years…
- M.D.: Did you enjoy this golfing party hosted by Modern Drummer and Mitch Marine?
- Tommy: Oh, yes. After golf, I had a jam at my house. I played drums and Stewart Copeland played guitar. It was cool. I thought, "Oh my god, I'm jamming with Stuart Copland!" And Adrian Young from No Doubt… everything was so cool. Every drummer I know plays golf. Maybe we will make these meetings regular, we will get together and rage.
- M.D.: I think that the new album will attract new listeners to your music.
- Tommy: When I was doing a show with Sum 41, 13 or 14 year olds would come up to me and say, "Tommy, can I take a picture with you?" It was cool!
- M.D.: How are your boys? I heard Brandon at the beginning of "People So Strange" - he says "Let's Rock!" Are they interested in music?
- Tommy: They're fine, thanks. They are completely in the music. They have a small DW set. They have electronic drums, keys, guitars and amplifiers. I bought all this for them so that they would have everything they could be drawn to. Who knows how it could all end. But they definitely like to beat the drums. We have a small band and we play jams. They both play guitars and I play drums and at the end of the song they say "Thank you, goodnight!" It's so cool, they really love it all. It's so great to see their burning eyes.
- M.D.: What's the best and worst thing about being solo when you have to do everything yourself?
- Tommy: The best thing about this is that if it's successful, you can slap your ass knowing it's all you. And the worst thing is if it's bad, you can kick your own ass. The best part is that no matter how bad or good it went, I won't go crazy - I know I made a good album. If it's not very successful, well, I know I did the best I could.
Translation - Yevgeny Ryaboy.