When Tommy Lee invites you to his home, you kind of expect to walk in on some crazy stuff. And you aren't disappointed: Standing and stomping atop his kitchen island, with his head in the skylight, is the hard-drumming homeowner, dressed in all black. Turns out that on the day we met him, Tommy was filming his part in an all-star music video for a Johnny Cash song which explains why Cash was cranked to 11 on the stereo. After the shoot, Tommy spoke with us poolside about touring with Mötley Crüe, spinning records as a club DJ and, of course, CBS' Rock Star: Supernova, which picks its singer tonight (at 8 pm/ET).
TV Guide: So it was you who essentially put together Supernova, picking Jason [Newsted] and Gilby [Clarke]?
Tommy Lee: Yeah, I've known those guys forever, and [producer] Mark Burnett, whose kids and my kids all go to the same soccer games and school, asked me, "So what are you doing?" I had just gotten home after 16 months on tour with Mötley, and I was burned-out, crispy around the edges. I was like, "I don't know... maybe putting together some new supergroup." He was like, "Ah, mate, maybe we can do [something]!" We started throwing around some names of friends... Gilby was down, Jason was down, and it came together pretty quick.
TV Guide: How much interaction do you have with the contestants?
Lee: They keep us away intentionally, but I stopped by the mansion one day, and they were all sitting around the pool. I was like, "This is so not rock star. No one's naked." And the place erupted! CBS people were on walkie-talkies: "[They're] jumping off the roof!" I started the madness. I was that guy.
TV Guide: Would you pick a woman to front the band? [Going into tonight's finale, Dilana is one of the four finalists.]
Lee: I would do it in a second, just to be different! Ultimately, I would love to have one of each. I think picking a male and a female lead singer would be killer! Could you imagine, doing this kind of creepy, sexy...
TV Guide: Almost like the Evanescence sound?
Lee: Exactly! When the s--t gets heavy and the dude comes in and crushes... to me, that's the best of both worlds. You can't really f--k with that.
TV Guide: Supernova's record is done except for vocals. What's it like?
Lee: Wait until you f--king hear it! Butch Walker, who I did "Good Times" with, is producing, and it sounds very retro '70s, T. Rex meets Bowie. No one's doing that now.
TV Guide: And it will be supported with a tour?
Lee: Yep. We're doing our first gig at the Hard Rock in Vegas on New Year's Eve. Everyone is as serious as hell about this. We'll run it until we can't do it anymore.
TV Guide: You and Jason seem to butt heads over contestants sometimes. Does that bode poorly for the band's future?
Lee: Nah... you know, Jason is really f--king intense. He's very intelligent, a well-spoken cat, but he tends to go on a bit about stuff, and I'm like, "Jas', shut up, dude. Get to the point." [Laughs] He does that a lot, but that's his personality. I adore that. He's one intense motherf--ker.
TV Guide: Were you surprised the Mötley Crüe reunion tour went so well?
Lee: Dude, it was f--king incredible. I had no idea. I'm still blown away. Sometimes you have to step away from something to realize... the power of the four of us, whatever it is that we do together, people like.
TV Guide: And now Mötley is touring with Aerosmith this fall.
Lee: I'm tripping. It's one of the bands I grew up on. Aerosmith's Rocks is on the list of my top favorite albums of all time. Just to be on the same stage....
TV Guide: Are you guys planning a new record, too?
Lee: Oh, yeah. Nikki [Sixx] has been writing some stuff, I've been writing.... I write constantly: "This [would make] a killer Supernova track; that's perfect for Mötley; and this is good for my solo stuff." I'm always working on music.
TV Guide: Are you still DJing?
Lee: All the time, dude! I have so much fun doing that and making new beats. I love to watch people dance! It's something that I do that critics can't really criticize, 'cause we're either spinning someone else's music or something that me and DJ Aero remixed. It's for fun.
TV Guide: You have a jeans line coming out based on your tattoos.
Lee: I always felt that everybody and their grandma got a f--king clothing line. Then I thought, "You know, it'd be cool. I love jeans, so let's make some really cool stuff." But I think the reason I really did it was so I could see a bunch of hot-looking models wearing [them].
TV Guide: You genuinely hate cutting contestants on Rock Star. Who knew you were such a nice guy?
Lee: Unfortunately, everybody glamorizes the crazy s--t and people never get to see the real human being. We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time. And anytime I can help somebody or pass on some knowledge or do something nice for people, it's cool. People have been nice to me. I feel like giving back. I'm not that guy that everybody thinks [I am] 24/7. I wear many hats these days.
For an inside look at an American Idol marriage, pick up the Sept. 18 issue of TV Guide.
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