Wanted: someone who can sing, scream and scare Tommy Lee.
That’s what it takes to be the lead singer of Supernova, the drummer’s new all-star band with Gilby Clarke and Jason Newsted — a job that will be filled during the course of the summer TV show “Rock Star.”
“The singer, the ringleader, should be a little dangerous, a little scary, like we’re not sure if he’s going to make it through the show,” said Mötley Crüe’s Lee. “You know, there’s something exciting about that someone with something to say, somebody who is elusive and weird and strange. That’s what brings you back.”
“They have to be able to go out there, arms flailing, and then jump back and get the hell out of the way,” said Newsted, formerly of Metallica. “When I go by flying, spitting sweat and blood, they have to be able to hang with that. If I’m screaming in their ear right before they sing, they better sing on time. It’s few and far between that can stand next to us and do that thing.”
While Supernova are open to the idea of having a singer of “any gender, any size,” they’re disappointed in the female contestants they’ve seen so far. “Why is it that the hot chicks never can sing?” Lee asked. Still, they’re open to the possibilities — after all, this is new territory for each of them.
Supernova started when producer Mark Burnett asked Lee to do “Rock Star,” and the drummer presented a short list of people he wanted to play with: Clarke, who had a brief stint in Guns ’N Roses, and Newsted (see “Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted Turn To ’Rock Star’ For Supergroup Singer” ).
“I said, ’Where do I sign up?’ ” Burnett said. “They’re three icons. And they all watched the show last year” when J.D. Fortune was picked to replace the late Michael Hutchence of INXS (see “INXS Insist Finding J.D. Was An ’Organic’ Process, Think ’Angels Got Together’ “ ). “They got it.”
Newsted thinks that because there’s never been a singer for Supernova, the search this time will be more authentic. “They had a precedent set, like their singer was going to be this cat that’s going to be almost like Michael Hutchence,” Newsted said. “We won’t have that.”
Plus, there’s the added element that the music is all new. The band has been working with songwriter Butch Walker (Pink, Avril Lavigne). “We build this stuff from the riff rock that we know and refine it and bring it,” Newsted said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to — doing the music we’ve been working on for months and then finally delivering it to people.”
“We knew INXS, we knew their back catalog, and we had an idea of what the band was about,” “Rock Star” co-host Dave Navarro said. “Now it’s about finding the band’s sound and finding out how they are and watching Supernova evolve.”
While the CBS show is on the air this summer, Supernova will be in the studio, recording their debut album, and their hope is that some of those sessions will make the last three episodes, when they’ve selected a singer.
“The world television audience, they have to see what we’ve been seeing,” Newsted said, “when the cameras are on, the lights are on, and the amps are all the way up.”