The nonstop party that is the life of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee for about the past 20 years gets cranked up several notches on his upcoming solo album, Tommyland: The Ride, which is due in August.
And although he knows it’s a cliché, he swears the album is the best thing he’s ever done.
“It’s true, this is the best thing I’ve ever done!” Tommy yelled from a stop on the Mötley Crüe reunion tour (see “Mötley Crüe Plan Summertime Carnival Of Sin With Sum 41″ ). “I mean, people will be like, ‘Is that f—ing Tommy?’ It’s like an event record.”
That much is true, as Tommy has invited a galaxy of rockers to join him in his playland, among them: Joel Madden from Good Charlotte, Sum 41′s Deryck Whibley, Slash, Dave Navarro, Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger and his good buddy, Backstreet Boy Nick Carter.
“This is more like my last record [2002's Never a Dull Moment] than the Methods of Mayhem record, which was all over the place,” said Lee, who spent several weeks in December and January shuttling between all-day recording sessions and rehearsals for the Crüe tour. “This one is right down the middle, it’s not so hybrid. It has rock, pop, everything.”
Lee’s third solo album will be released to coincide with his NBC reality show, “Tommy Lee Goes to College,” which he said recently got bumped up from a summer replacement to a fall show, due to the positive feedback. The original rush to get the album done meant Tommy had to scrap a planned duet with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, but he did get to record a “f—ing amazing” song with former fling Pink. Unfortunately, he said, the singer later denied him the rights to her vocals.
What you will hear as the theme song to his show is the catchy, feel-good pop tune “Good Times,” which features Navarro on acoustic guitar and producer/singer Butch Walker on the choruses, singing, “Take me away to a place where the good times, good times roll/ Don’t let me stay in a place where the hate can’t steal my soul.”
The album’s likely first single — and the song guaranteed to turn heads — is “Tired,” which paints a scenario that could only exist in Tommyland. With help from Joel Madden on the chorus and Whibley and Navarro on guitar, Tommy pays tribute his famous ex, Pamela Anderson, among other beauties.
“You know when you’re sitting there with one of your buddies and you say, ‘I can’t believe so and so is f—ing her!’ And it’s some supermodel or something and your buddy says, ‘Yeah, but I bet he’s tired of f—ing her.’ ”
OK, so maybe none of us can relate, but it’s hard not to laugh when you hear Joel sing, “Tommy got tired of Pamela/ Ed got tired of Salma/ Hef gets tired of those Playboy girls/ Someone is tired of Miss Nude World/ And I’m tired of you.”
Also lending a hand: Fuel’s Carl Bell on “Sister Mary,” Kroeger on the big rock track “Tryin’ to Be Me” and Something Corporate vocalist Andrew McMahon singing background on the “Coldplay/ Radiohead/ Beatlesy” ballad “Hello Again.”
And, of course, Slash cuts it up on the song “Krusty.”
But, odd as it may sound, Tommy sounds most excited about his collaboration with Backstreet Boy Nick Carter. “Nick sings his ass off!” Tommy said of the song “Say Goodbye.” “We’ve been friends for a while, and he’s so not the milk-and-cookies Backstreet guy people think. Of all the rockers who came by to collaborate, that mother—-er’s the craziest. He’s a maniac. He’s scared me a few times.”
After his first two major-label solo albums failed to catch platinum fire, Lee has jumped off the major train for Tommyland and has hooked up with music distributor the Handleman company in a deal that aims to keep the album’s retail price at around $10.
While it would be hard to mount a traditional tour in support of the album, Tommy’s ambitious plan is to get everyone together to do a two-week series of gigs in a handful of in major cities. In the meantime, both he and Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx have been demoing new songs on their respective tour bus portable studios and it’s likely some of those tunes will end up on a new Mötley record.
“Hopefully we’ll make another record soon,” he said. “I think there’s a good chance we will.”