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Tommy Lee: I'm still learning

Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee says he’s still learning about music and being a musician – but there’s one golden rule he’ll always stick with.

He admits it took him until the mid-90s to get a real grip on his own approach to playing. But since then he’s taken up guitar, singing and production, and no longer regards drumming as “his one thing.”

Lee tells MusicRadar: “I always say, ‘Be yourself – everyone else is taken.’ Maybe it’s part boredom, part thrill seeking, part, ‘Fuck, someone’s got to do something new!’ Sometimes you operate out of the fear of being the same as somebody else.

“I constantly remind myself, ‘Well, that’s really cool; so-and-so might like this, so-and-so would probably kind of like this – but I want to do it like this.’ Just to keep things moving and having everybody thinking about and creating new ideas.”

He wasn’t always so confident, he accepts: “On our first record I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just playing; I was over-playing. You’re as green as you can be with no experience in recording or knowing how sometimes a song can work; when it’s too much, when it’s not enough, when it’s not right. You’re still learning all of that stuff.

“By Shout At The Devil and further I was starting to hone my skills for the song. That became really important. You’re constantly learning. God, my views from the first and second albums on drumming are completely different now. I’m in a whole different place.”

Lee is currently touring with Crue on their ‘final tour’ and recently completed work on at least one of Billy Corgan’s upcoming Smashing Pumpkins albums.