Nobody in rock history has done more to expand the concept of what a drum solo can look and sound like than Motley Crue's Tommy Lee. Need proof? Check out the awesome videos below!
Over the course of the past four decades, Lee has proven himself to be one of the genre's most amazing showmen, performing physical feats during his solos that would have once been unimaginable. It's all the more impressive when you remember that he's an incredibly talented musician – one who clearly doesn't need these stunts to make a strong contribution to the band's shows.
Be sure to strap in tightly and keep your hands inside the cage, so you can safely enjoy the 30 years of insane stunts found in our Tommy Lee Drum Solo Video History:
'Shout At the Devil' Tour1983-84
Taken from the Shout At the Devil tour, our look at Tommy Lee's drum solos kicks off with what is arguably the least flashy of all the performances included here. Which means it's "only" three and a half minutes of runaway train-like madness, punctuated with a shockingly crude pyrotechnic blast. It's a wonder they survived those early days, huh?
'Theatre of Pain' Tour1985-86
Here's where Lee's drum solos first began getting innovative, theatrical and dangerous. As Tommy's six-minute long percussion showcase progresses, the back of the platform under his drum kit progressively elevates. By the end, he's at a 90-degree angle, offering the crowd a bird's eye view they'd normally only be able to see if they were stapled to the roof of the building.
'Girls, Girls, Girls' Tour1987-88
The Girls, Girls, Girls tour is where Lee really began blowing away people's preconceptions about drum solos. It would have been more than enough to see someone perform in an elevated cage that could tilt to both the left and the right on a 90 degree angle high above the crowd. But Tommy wasn't content to stop there. Turns out this contraption was also capable of doing a complete 360-degree turn, with Lee playing in his usual over-caffeinated style the whole time.
'Dr. Feelgood' Tour1989-1990
How do you top a drum solo that found you flipping from side to side and head over heels? Altitude, baby! Every night on this tour Lee traveled across the ceiling of the biggest venues in the world, playing drums along with crowd-pleasing hits by Led Zeppelin, Joe Walsh and AC/DC. As a bonus, the solo culminated with Lee bungee-jumping off his drum riser. At one show in Connecticut, this almost went horribly wrong: a miscommunication with his drum tech saw Lee bang heads with a concert goer before ultimately hitting the ground.
'Anywhere There's Electricity' Tour1994
The drum solo undertaken by Lee on Motley Crue's "back to basics" 1994 tour in support of their underrated, Vince Neil-less self-titled record was relatively normal – if that word even exists in the world of Motley Crue. Regardless, don't equate normalcy with a lack of flair, talent or energy. Lee clearly has all three in abundance: See it here!
'Motley Crue Vs. The Earth' Tour1997
With Neil back in the fold for the Generation Swine album, Motley Crue dialed up the showmanship a bit. Accordingly, Lee conjured up a drum solo that traded acrobatic stunts for gun-toting aliens and a bit of magical misdirection. See it here!
'Carnival of Sins' Tour 2005-2006
At first, it would seem Lee has once again stripped away the stunts and tricks for this tour in order to put the emphasis back on his impressive musical skills. Then, halfway through this solo he suddenly goes all Gene Simmons on us, flying up to a riser suspended from the ceiling and performing amidst electronic beats on a completely different set of drums.
The 'Drum Coaster' 2011-2013
For the band's 30th-anniversary tour, Lee revisited the 360-degree idea first seen on the Girls, Girls, Girls tour. The awe-inspiring re-invention and upgrade of that concept became known as the "Drum Coaster." "The coaster stems from when I started doing all that other shit years ago," Lee explained to us. "It’s become one of those things where everyone is always asking, 'What’s next? What’s next?' That kind of pressure gets you thinking." An even cooler thing about the "Drum Coaster?" Lee invited an audience member to come along for the ride each night.
'The Cruecifly' 2014-2015
Against all odds, Lee found a way to top even the jaw-dropping "Drum Coaster" for Motley Crue's farewell tour. In fact, it would seem that the new "Cruecifly" ride is his version of a drum solo "Greatest Hits" tour. It's on tracks like the coaster – but extends across the ceiling out over the crowd like the Dr. Feelgood kit. Oh, and of course it can also do everything the Theatre of Pain and Girls, Girls, Girls editions could do, as well. Short of setting himself on fire – and that is NOT a dare – we think Tommy Lee has reached the pinnacle of drum solo spectacle this time out.