Motley Crue Icon Details Joining Smashing Pumpkins


Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee discussed joining The Smashing Pumpkins to record Monuments to an Elegy after the firing of Mike Byrne in 2014. Lee did not tour the album, with Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk playing on late 2014 and spring 2015 tours before Jimmy Chamberlin rejoined for a summer tour with Marilyn Manson.

Lee told Stereogum, “Man, talk about a challenge. Billy [Corgan, frontman] came to this studio and brought me some demos to listen to, and I loved the music.

But it was a big challenge for me because in the prog-rock drum world the time signatures are constantly changing, and the feel of songs changes sporadically. It’s not your straight-ahead four-on-the-floor thing. I love a challenge, though.

Billy doesn’t really believe in editing with Pro Tools, or taking the best of two takes to make one great take. He wanted a top-to-bottom uncut take that encapsulated the energy and feel of everything.

‘That’s magical, that’s it!’ He was adamant about that stuff, so we were on the hunt for the magical take, which took some time.

Especially as the drummer – you’ll think you have the perfect take, but those last few bars at the end you ran out of energy, or you space out and play the wrong part. ‘Fuck, we gotta do it all over again.’ But it was a great learning experience for me.”

Tommy Lee reunited with Motley Crue in 2019 after a 2015 ‘retirement’ tour, though a 2020 reunion tour was postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic.