It’s been a tough couple of months for Tommy Lee and his pride. After breaking a few ribs prior to the launch of the new Mötley Crüe stadium tour, along with the likes of Def Leppard, Poison, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Lee had to sit on the sidelines as another drummer filled in for most of the band’s early performances. Lee managed to push through a couple of songs each night but regularly ceded his throne to another rhythm player.
Now, Lee seems to be back at full strength, but a new twist to the tale has come to the fore. That’s because, at the tour’s stop in Kansas City earlier this month, the band kicked into ‘Looks That Kill’ with a fierce four-beat count-in on the hi-hat. The only problem? Lee wasn’t quite situated at the drums just yet, meaning that the beats came from a backing track.
Using backing tracks is much less of a taboo in the modern musical landscape than it might have been a decade or two ago. Most of the top musical acts, especially those that are playing stadiums, use some sounds that aren’t being played live by the band members themselves. Mötley Crüe just happens to be of a generation where non-live tracks come across in a less positive light.
It’s not clear to what extent Lee’s drums are live and what is being mimed at shows. There’s a debate amongst fans that you can read in the video’s comment section, with some proclaiming that almost all of Lee’s beats are courtesy of the backing track while others believe that only a few key triggers are used to keep the band in sync with the pyrotechnics around them.
In all fairness to Lee, it can’t be easy trying to play full shows while only just having recovered from broken ribs. If I had to venture a guess, there’s probably a healthy mix of live and pre-recorded drumming going on during Mötley Crüe shows these days, which is perfectly fine. If you’re upset that a band isn’t playing complete live these days, then most stadium shows aren’t for you.
Check out Lee quickly jumping onto the drum kit to catch up with ‘Looks That Kill’, already in progress, down below.