POISON's Bret Michaels has confirmed that he also had no idea prior to the start of "The Stadium Tour" that MÖTLEY CRÜE's Tommy Lee would only sit behind the drums for the first few songs of his band's set.
At the first six shows of "The Stadium Tour", Lee defied doctor's orders — despite sustaining four broken ribs — to take part in the CRÜE's long-awaited return to the stage with DEF LEPPARD, POISON and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS.
At each of the gigs, Lee was present for the beginning of the CRÜE's set before telling the crowd that he had broken four ribs, and his doctor told him he couldn't perform. Lee was replaced for the remainder of the set by Tommy Clufetos, who plays drums in Ozzy Osbourne's live band and who sat behind the kit for BLACK SABBATH on the legendary heavy metal act's final tour. Lee briefly returned later in the night to play piano on "Home Sweet Home".
Michaels, whose band is providing support for CRÜE and DEF LEPPARD, discussed Tommy's diminished participation in "The Stadium Tour" during an interview with Rob Rush Radio. Asked if he was made aware prior to the launch of "The Stadium Tour" that Tommy would unable to play a full set with the CRÜE, Bret said: "Honestly, until that night when he stepped off the stage on the opening night, I, honest to God, didn't know. I had no idea. I wish I could give you more info, but the truth of the matter is it sort of hit me in Atlanta. But you know what? They rocked.
"I'm a big fan of LEPPARD and MÖTLEY and Joan. And CLASSLESS ACT, another great, brand new band out there with us.
"But again, I go back to this… I said this with [CRÜE bassist] Nikki Sixx; we were doing interviews together. And I said, if I wasn't on this bill, I would be at the show. It would just be a good night of music for me."
Less than a week ago, POISON's Rikki Rockett also said that he had no clue about Lee's broken ribs before the Atlanta concert on June 16. "I didn't know anything about it," he told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". "I swear I didn't. I went out and he wasn't playing. And I'm, like, 'What the heck is going on, guys?' So I went back and got the lowdown."
Rikki went on to say that Lee is being unfairly criticized by some fans for only playing a few songs with MÖTLEY CRÜE. "He's taking a lot of heat, and I don't think he should," he said. "Because I think what's cool about what he's doing is he's coming out there and he's going, 'This is painful to do it, but I want the audience to know that I'm here. I'm here for the duration. I'm not wussing out on this.' Instead of running home and sitting six weeks out while he recovers, he's [out on the road and] he's part of the team. I think that's badass."
On June 17, MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx praised Tommy for "beasting" through the first five songs of the band's set a day earlier in Atlanta, writing on Twitter: "The fact that Tommy was told by the doctor to not play with 4 broken ribs & he beasted half our show is a miracle. We are a band and are proud of his strength. He is doing the whole tour and day by day adding more songs. What a fucking animal. Anybody out there ever break ur ribs?"
CRÜE's long-delayed North American trek with DEF LEPPARD, POISON and JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS was originally planned for 2020 and later moved to 2021 and then to 2022. "The Stadium Tour" will conclude on September 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The next show on the trek is scheduled to take place Tuesday night (June 28) at Bank Of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Clufetos is Sixx's bandmate in a project called L.A. RATS. The quartet, which also features Rob Zombie and John 5 (ROB ZOMBIE, MARILYN MANSON),came together last year expressly to record a cover of "I've Been Everywhere" for the soundtrack to the movie "The Ice Road".
"The Stadium Tour" marks the CRÜE's first live dates since wrapping its 2014/2015 farewell tour. CRÜE toured with POISON back in 2011 and DEF LEPPARD teamed up with POISON for a string of road dates in 2017, but this jaunt marks the first time all four acts have hit the road together for an extended tour.
CRÜE fans who shelled out for the band's 2014/2015 "farewell" tour were led to believe that the group would never return after playing its final show on December 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The band touted the signing of a pre-tour "cessation of touring" agreement as cementing the fact it truly was the end of CRÜE's life on the road.