If you thought Tommy Lee posting a photo of his junk on social media was a shockingly out of character action, you probably haven’t paid much attention to the career of Tommy Lee.
The fact is, the Mötley Crüe drummer has rarely been shy in, um, expressing himself, and rarely more so than when he emerged with one of the most unhinged and explicit entries into the nu metal canon at the tail end of the 90s.
As it goes, the 1990s were a funny old time for metal. While the likes of Korn, Pantera and Sepultura were pushing the genre in exciting new directions, heavy metal in its truest form was on the decline commercially, especially with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest both changing singers and struggling to maintain the successes of the decade prior. Glam metal, too, had taken a pounding, not least courtesy of grunge’s dressed-down, no-bullshit take on rock music suddenly making the lipstick and latex of Poison et al look a little out of fashion.
Few major metal bands struggled more in that time than Mötley Crüe. While it’s generally accepted that their self-titled 1994 album featuring John Corabi is underrated, it didn’t do enough to maintain the band’s relevance during a decade of immense upheaval in the scene. Three years later, original singer Vince Neil was back, and Crüe’s attempts to venture further into new styles with Generation Swine were roundly derided.
By the end of the decade, Tommy Lee had decided he’d had enough. A cocktail of creative frustration, tensions within the band and his own legal issues (Lee served four months in jail following allegations he kicked partner Pamela Anderson while she was holding their child) meant that the drummer decided he needed some kind of career reset. Lee quit Mötley Crüe in 1999. His next project? Methods Of Mayhem.
“This whole motivation for starting another project came to me when I sat in jail for four months,” Lee told MTV. “I had so much time [in jail] to think about what I wanted to do with my life musically and creatively.”
What he wanted to do creatively, it seemed, was a braggadocios rap metal album featuring the likes of Snoop Dogg, Kid Rock, The Crystal Method and F.I.L.T.H.E.E. Immigrants. Released on December 7, 1999, the Methods Of Mayhem album attracted mockery from the metal scene, though it was by no means as universally critically panned as some may have you believe.
The talking point of the record, though, was undoubtedly Get Naked, a lead single featuring contributions from Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, rapper Lil Kim, Beastie Boys collaborator Mix Master Mike and funk legend George Clinton.
A scratch-heavy, riffed-up clash of obnoxious nu metal and 90s hip hop, it boasted lyrics so eye-wateringly explicit that it made Lee’s previous band sound like they were writing lullabies for kids.
‘Seventy seven million dollars made / From watchin’ me cum under the sun,” raps Lee, referencing his infamous sex tape with Pamela Anderson that was recently the subject of Disney+’s Pam & Tommy series. “On my vacation (after hours on Spectravision) shootin’ / My jizzy jizzum the woody / Has rizzy risen.” Crumbs.
Featuring other such gems as “Clitorises are fearin’ me / It’s bigger than Ron Jeremy”, “Ride the cock til you hit the spot” and “Fuck the cunt games you girls can’t complain /
And I ain’t leavin’ til you’re sleepin on the cum stains”, the track was only matched by its accompanying video, which included a naked Tommy Lee watching his own, aforementioned sex tape, Fred Durst rapping in front of nude dancers and Lil Kim dressed as a cowgirl riding a giant cockerel (gettit?).
The video received a fair bit of airplay upon its arrival, but it wasn’t long until it snuck out of view, confined to the draw in the great cabinet of music history marked: Did That Actually Happen?
“I took so much flak for that record,” Lee later told Loudwire. :‘What the fuck? Tommy Lee’s a rapper now?’ No, you fucking morons, it has nothing to do with that…I never claimed to be a rapper.”
“You’re gonna take flak any time you push like that from your fans, because they’re used to seeing you do one thing,” he added. “Anytime you go outside that thing, they’re like, ‘What the fuck is this bullshit?’ I listen to that record now and that record was way ahead of its time.”
We’re not sure if we’d go quite that far: Methods Of Mayhem was hardly the most offensive thing to emerge during nu metal’s original heyday, but we’re not sure many of the genre-mashing artists populating alternative music today would point to Get Naked as their first point of inspiration. Still, we’ll give Lee credit: it was certainly different from Mötley Crüe.
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