Motley Crue Get Cryptic About Tommy Lee's Band Status; Plus Most Precious Blood, Burst & More News That Rules, In Metal File

'This society ... is so ridiculous. It's all about gossip,' Nikki Sixx says, when asked whether drummer is still in the band.

Remember how, back in September, there were all those news reports floating around the Web about outspoken, Kid Rock-hating Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, and how he had either resigned or been booted from the band? Yeah, well, so does Metal File.

At the time the news first broke — by way of a lawsuit the band had filed against its former manager, which stated, "Lee recently informed [bassist Nikki] Sixx and [guitarist Mick] Mars that he was resigning from the band, and his resignation was accepted" — the Crüe's representatives would neither confirm nor deny Lee's ouster. So ever since, like most of the band's fans, we'd simply assumed Lee was done with the Crüe — that, perhaps, spinning records as a celebrity DJ was more his speed.

Considering all this, Metal File must admit we were awfully confused by Lee's appearance with the band last week in Los Angeles, when the boys revealed their upcoming Crüe Fest tour, which makes its inaugural run this summer, starting July 1 in West Palm Beach, Florida. So when we had the opportunity to sit down with the band following the press conference, we just had to ask: What's the deal with Tommy?

Of course, the Crüe have been in the rock and roll game long enough (make that 27 years) to know how to dodge a few questions — which is precisely what they did.

"You know, it's so funny," started Sixx, whose side project Sixx:A.M. will also be on this summer's Crüe Fest. "[Saints of Los Angeles] is loosely based on the book 'The Dirt,' and originally, we were going to call it The Dirt. But this society, where it's at right now, is so ridiculous. It's all about gossip. Everything is gossip. It's demented to have people standing in line at the grocery store, reading something they know is a lie and buying it. And so, that's the thing with this band — we fit into that perfectly. Mick just told me a few minutes ago that he found out he's dead, on the Internet. That's the second time that's happened to him. I have one death, and he has two. I'm jealous."

And that was that. Lee, who was present for the interview, said nothing. While we may never know what really happened with Tommy and the band (perhaps that's a story they're saving for "The Dirt, Part 2"), it's at least good to know that the Crüe were able to overcome whatever problems they were having, so fans could have another LP from the world's most notorious rock band.

On June 17, Saints of Los Angeles, which boasts 11 tracks, including "Face Down in the Dirt" and "Mother----er of the Year" (Lee's favorite cut on the disc), will land in stores. It's the band's first all-new studio effort since 2000's New Tattoo. The record, the Crüe said, marks a return to their original sound and is chock-full of hard rockers for longtime fans to latch on to.

"We started talking about what should be the first single, and everybody had something different," frontman Vince Neil said. The band elected to go with the record's title track, which is now streaming at the Crüe's MySpace page. "Usually, when people put out an album, there's maybe one or two songs where you know that's the single. I kept singing these songs, and going, 'Nah, that's the single.' And then the next song — 'Nah, that's the single.' That's cool, and it's a good sign. It's all hits."

"This album really tells the story of Mötley Crüe," Sixx added. "It's about coming from nothing, playing the clubs and getting a record deal, and then making it to the top and then kind of imploding, and all the fun stuff and the craziness that went along with it. And then, it's about making it back to where we're at today. It's a cool rock record, and 'Saints of Los Angeles' is just one of the songs in that story."

For this forthcoming LP, the Crüe wanted to decimate everyone's expectations, deciding to churn out a guitar-heavy masterpiece that honored their unique sound while still taking it to the next level.

"Every time we make a record, we talk about it," Sixx said. "What is it that we really want? On this one, everybody agreed we wanted something that was really guitar-driven, and then it just fell into place."

"It's a nice blend of today, yesterday and a few years ago," Lee chimed in. "It's Mötley 2008."

"But it's perturbing," Sixx interjected. "People go, 'So you went back to your original sound.' But if you played Saints of Los Angeles alongside [1989's] Dr. Feelgood, you'd say, 'Oh, no.' What you're hearing is guitar, and oh, is it dirty. We've always been dirty, but this is a perfect record for 2008."

The first-ever Crüe Fest will hit 40 cities before winding down August 31 in Pittsburgh. In addition to Sixx:A.M., Buckcherry, Papa Roach and Trapt have been enlisted as the tour's support acts. The fest had been in the works for sometime, and Sixx was surprised that details hadn't leaked before last week's news conference.

"It's hard, when you're putting something together, to keep it quiet," Sixx explained. "One person can overhear somebody say something and put it on the Internet, and next thing you know, it's headline f---ing news. On this tour, we've got some great bands with great songs — bands that are exciting to watch. These are the young guns coming up, and it will make for a great show. Loud, aggressive rock and roll with great frontmen. ... It's what we would want to see."

The rest of the week's metal news:

Former Otep guitarist Rob Patterson — who most recently served as Korn's touring guitarist — is reportedly engaged to his girlfriend, Carmen Electra. According to People magazine, he popped the question this past weekend; the two have been dating for less than a year. Considering Carmen's been married to Dennis Rodman and Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro, we're giving this next marriage three months. ...

Not only do they slay, but the Dillinger Escape Plan dudes are also advocates for animal rights. The band recently shot an ad for peta2, in which they appear alongside dogs with the tagline "Be an Angel for Animals." Head on over to peta2's Web site to see the ad. ...

The lineup for the sixth-annual "Dude Fest" in Indianapolis has been completed. Taking the stage June 20 will be — among others — the Red Chord, Nachtmystium and Plague Bringer. On June 21, Pig Destroyer, Hewhocorrupts and Lords perform. Closing things out on June 22 will be Kylesa, Skeletonwitch and Demiricous. ...

Necrophagist have added drummer Romain Goulon of Disavowed fame to their lineup; that means Marco Minnemann is out of the band. "[We want] to thank 'human metronome' Marco Minnemann for playing drums on last year's Summer Slaughter Tour. It was an honor and a lot of fun playing with one of the world's greatest drummers," the band said in a statement. ...

Russian Circles and Daughters will be hitting the road together June 3, starting in Iowa City, Iowa. The tour will run through July 1, when it lands in Buffalo, New York. ...

Sweden's Burst are in the midst of tracking their forthcoming LP Lazarus Bird. The disc will feature the tracks "I Hold Vertigo," "Cripple God" and "I Exterminate the I." Look for the record in stores this fall. ...

Thrash specialists Toxic Holocaust have been added to reunited metallers At the Gates' upcoming North American tour. Also opening will be Darkest Hour and Municipal Waste. ...

Most Precious Blood are in the studio, recording their fourth album, Do Not Resuscitate. "While all our spineless contemporaries reach for the stars, we've returned to our roots," guitarist Justin Brannan said in a statement. "The new songs are short, fast, hard and mean. We wrote an album to remind us of the stuff we grew up on, the music that got us into hardcore when we were teenagers. We harnessed that raw energy and power, the unbridled passion of those days at CBGB and basements and VFW halls across the country, sleeping on concrete floors and shoplifting for fun, back when it felt like you were really part of something different. We've checked the rock and roll ambitions and delusional fantasies at the door, and wrote a hardcore record like only we knew how."