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Confessions: Tommy Lee

Almost falling to his death on a skydive, meeting Mick Jagger and his onstage Spinal Tap moment, the life and times of Tommy Lee

This article originally appeared in Metal Hammer #278.

WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU WERE COMPLETELY STARSTRUCK?

“Fuck! I met Mick Jagger, in his hotel room in Las Vegas, in, like, ’95. And I couldn’t talk! I was that guy, the guy we hate. I was like, ‘Say something!’ It was fucking crazy. I’ve met tons of people that I look up to, like the guys from Queen, but nothing was like that. I didn’t know what the fuck to say. I was just like, ‘Whoa, that’s fucking Mick Jagger, dude.’”

WHAT’S THE WORST EXPERIENCE YOU’VE HAD WITH AN OBSESSIVE FAN?

“Two years ago in New York City, I was walking my dog at about 9am, and all of a sudden I see this dude running down the street with a lifesized cardboard cut-out of me. I’m like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me, dude?’ There’s traffic, the street’s loaded with people, this guy comes up and I’m like, ‘Dude, not now!’ and he got really mad… But all these people are looking at me and this guy with a giant cut-out of me. It was just embarrassing, really!”

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CELEBRITY CRUSH?

“Farrah Fawcett. I dunno if you remember the poster of her in a red bathing suit? I remember being super young when I had that up on my wall. Her nipples were ripping through her swimsuit and I was always just staring at it going, ‘God!’”

WHAT iS YOUR DRUG OF CHOICE THESE DAYS?

“Fuck, I like to smoke weed. But the right kind of weed – the sativa rather than the indica. Because I don’t like smoking weed and then walking into a room and wondering what the fuck I’m doing in there, like you’re just too stoned. I like being in control, and some of the weed these days is so strong, man. It’ll lay you out. I don’t like that.”

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR WORST EVER ONSTAGE DISASTER?

“It was one of those Spinal Tap moments! In Paris on the Girls Girls Girls tour, the drums were in this rotating cage. We had enough sound and light cables to rotate it six times. But this one time it kept going and sheared all the cables, so now I’m dangling upside down, my mic doesn’t work so I can’t explain or even tell jokes, and the guys come up on a ladder to unbolt me, 15 minutes later... Oh, man!”

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WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY?

“Fucking traffic. Fuck! And I get even angrier because it feels like the universe has lied to me. It’s now 2015 and where the fuck is my little one-man spacecraft? They said in the year 2000 it’d be Jetsons. And we’re not even fucking close, man! It’s brutal. Where’s my fucking spaceship?”

WHO IS THE FUNNIEST PERSON YOU HAVE EVER MET?

“[Late stand-up comedian and actor] Sam Kinison. He was just a fucking riot, bless him. We partied and hung out a lot, and I’d have to physically leave the room because my face hurt so much from laughing. Really the most brutally funny guy.”

WHAT’S THE MOST DANGEROUS SITUATION YOU’VE EVER BEEN IN?“This is something you don’t want to hear when you’re skydiving. I’m doing a tandem dive, I’m strapped to an instructor, he’s on my back with the parachute, and I hear ‘OH FUCK!’ I look up and the chute is tangled, he’s yanking and struggling with the ropes, and I think, ‘This is it, I’m fucked, it’s over.’ But I had this spiritual experience where I thought, ‘There’s nothing I can do, I’m just gonna enjoy this freefall until I hit the ground.’ And once I let go, the thing went up. Not cool.”

HAVE YOU GOT ANY WEIRD PHOBIAS?

"Bad music! And I’m not a fan of spiders and snakes. Those things freak me out. I mean the bigger snakes and the tarantulas. People have them crawling on their bodies, and I’m just... I’m pretty crazy and down with anything, but for some reason I just can’t do that!”


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