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Methods Of Mayhem: A Public Disservice Announcement

A web-aided rock star vanity project that almost works.

Methods Of Mayhem’s debut album, released in 1999, was the very public sound of a man having a mid-life crisis. Some guys wear leather trousers and start shagging younger women. Denied that option by the fact that he’d already been doing it for two decades, Tommy Lee made an embarrassing hip-hop record instead.

A second release, coming as Lee approaches 50, had obvious car-crash potential, yet A Public Disservice Announcement is far from one. It has its faults: it is unfocused, stylistically random and it tries excruciatingly hard to be hip, but it also has energy, skill and an overwhelming, highly likeable, almost puppyish enthusiasm on its side.

Its messy nature is exacerbated by the circumstances around its creation. Lee, his enigmatic and not untalented vocalist/guitarist J3 and producer Scott Humphries put their demos online and invited all-comers to add whatever they wanted to them. From 10,000 submissions, some 57 contributions have been incorporated onto the finished record.

When the songs work – as Time Bomb, Fight Song and the anarchic techno Party Instructions do – it is an oddly powerful statement. That offbeat strength is diluted by the unspeakable opener, Drunk Uncle Pete, and some nu punk balladry from the Blink 182 directory of awfulness on Louder.