At the Billboard Music Awards on Wednesday, Post Malone and Tyla Yaweh performed their single “Tommy Lee,” giving titular props to the ultimate rock star. And on Friday, the Mötley Crüe drummer drops “Andro,” his first solo album in 15 years. The new LP — the title is short for “androgyny” — splits its halves between male and female guest vocalists.
Here, Lee, 58, gets candid about missing Eddie Van Halen, his strange connection to Prince and kicking his two-gallon-a-day vodka habit.
Why was now the right time to do another solo album after 15 years?
When I finished the Mötley tour in 2016, I took a year off. I was like, “I don’t wanna hear music. I don’t wanna think about it.” So I just kind of hit the reset button. I made it a year, and then I just had a flood of ideas. I just started coming down to my studio and went at it. It took about a year and a half, and the record was done before this pandemic.
The album is so eclectic. Is your taste really that all over the place?
Dude, if you saw my playlist, you’d be like, “What?!” I pretty much listen to everything but country music. My s - - t goes from Andrea Bocelli to [rapper] Ashnikko.
Who were your coolest discoveries on “Andro”?
My wife turned me on to this one girl who’s on the record twice: King Elle Noir. I’m like, “Oh my God, this girl’s voice is f - - king insane!” Another one, from the male side, is Shotty Horroh. I’ve been following him ’cause he’s a rap battle champion. The s - - t that comes out of his mouth, dude, is just frightening.
You cover Prince’s “When You Were Mine.” Of all his great songs, what made you pick that one?
That song originally is really uptempo and super happy, but what he’s saying is f - - king dark, dude. Lukas [Rossi, who sings it] had the idea of slowing it down, and the song got really dark. I was like, “Oh my God, this is it!” If you’re gonna do a Prince cover, it better be f - - king great — and you better do it different.
What kind of relationship did you have with Prince?
I met him twice, which was f - - king amazing. It’s always cool to meet your heroes and then have them be what you imagined. And then I was engaged to his ex-wife, Mayte, which was f - - king bizarre. I felt like such a fanboy asking her questions about her ex-husband.
And we just lost another legend, Eddie Van Halen.
It’s f - - king insane to me, dude. It still hasn’t sunk in. I just can’t believe it. We were buddies — like, we’ve f - - king done all kinds of dumb, crazy s - - t together. We always had fun, from playing the US Festival together in front of 300,000 people to being drunk as f - - k driving golf carts into the f - - king lake.
But you’ve slowed down your drinking. Where are you now with that?
A week from now it’ll be a year [sober]. Out of sheer boredom, I was just drinking way f - - king too much. I was drinking, like, two gallons a day. That’s just f - - king insane. And it’s weird — I got to that place where I didn’t even realize it was that much. My wife was like, “Dude, I’ve never seen anybody drink this much. I’m worried for you.” I don’t think I’ve ever drank that much. It was time to f - - king pump the breaks, bro.
Now you have a song named after you that Post Malone and Tyla Yaweh did. How surreal is that?
Dude, that might be the craziest s - - t ever. I’ve known Post for a couple of years — I played on his “Beerbongs & Bentleys” album. But to get that phone call: “Yo, dude, we wrote this song, and it’s called ‘Tommy Lee.’ ” And then to hear it . . . They’re talking about that lifestyle and what Tommy Lee means to them. And then they asked me to remix it, and I was like, “Hell yes!” It was a full-circle, weird, cool honor. F - - king nuts.
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