TOMMY LEE: Why It Was Important For MÖTLEY CRÜE To Record New Music With JOHN 5

May 26, 2024

In a new interview with Japanese music critic and radio personality Masa Ito of TVK's "Rock City", MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee explained why it was important for him and his bandmates to record new music, including the recently released single "Dogs Of War". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Going to record was, yes, it was really important to us because during that [early 2023] tour, we felt all this new energy. Having [new guitarist] John 5 in the band really, really inspired us to share with our fans what we're feeling. This new energy is like a rebirth in many ways, and so we started writing some music — myself, Nikki [Sixx, CRÜE bassist] and John — and we were, like, 'Well, let's get [CRÜE's longtime producer] Bob Rock. Let's go in and let's put this on tape and record it.' And so, yes, the whole tour and having John in the band, all of it was very inspirational in getting us to share some new music with our fans, because, also, we're really strong believers in you're only as good as your last effort, and we hadn't recorded anything new in a while. It was really important for us to show our fans and everybody where we're at right now. What is inspiring us? What are we feeling?"

Regarding how the new music came together, Tommy said: "During the tour, we talked about it and everybody kind of had their ideas, and we just put them aside. But when we got home is when we started [going], 'Okay, listen, what do you got? What do you got? What do you got?' And then we just put it all together and, boom, it happens quickly. Two of [the songs] came out of that sort of explosion, and the one song, we did a cover [of BEASTIE BOYS' '(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)'], that was just for fun. We were, like, 'Ah, let's just play, this is for fun.' And so, yes, 'Dogs Of War', and there's another song called 'Canceled' that sort of inspired the whole thing, really."

On the topic of Rock's involvement with the sessions, Lee said: "We've been in touch all the time, and we just called him and we were, like, 'We've got some new stuff we wanna record, and you're the guy.' So he came to Los Angeles right away and we just got at it."

As for what was different about the latest CRÜE sessions compared to how the band worked in the past, Tommy said: "I would say the only thing different would be John 5's energy. He has a very different energy that we've never experienced before. But also working with Bob Rock made it seem comfortable and familiar. So the process went really fast, like it usually does with Bob, because he sort of inserts himself as a fifth member of the band, kind of. He gets out in the studio with you with a guitar and a microphone and we'll make changes. And he gets very involved. He's not your typical producer who just sits back and goes, 'Hmmm, I don't know if I like it yet. Let's try this. Let's try [that].' He's in the trenches doing the work with us. So, some part of the experience was brand new and exciting and the other familiarity with Bob was as usual."

Asked to describe the musical direction of the new CRÜE material, Tommy said: "God, I really don't enjoy explaining music because it's so bizarre, because music is energy and sound and it's hard to describe. I think, if anything, it's a time stamp on what the energy that we're all feeling and we captured that on tape and then it's there forever. It's just a culmination of so many things that were happening with us, with having John 5 as our guitar player, all this new energy, and everybody was feeling all the stuff, going on 'The Stadium Tour' and around the world, and there was so much excitement that we felt, like, 'We have to record this. It would be silly not to.' And that's why we only did three songs, because if we recorded how we really felt, we'd still be in the studio probably."

"Dogs Of War" was made available on April 26 via MÖTLEY CRÜE's new deal with Nashville's Big Machine Records

The "Dogs Of War" music video, which can be seen below, is an animated, all-CGI affair directed by Nick DenBoer.

MÖTLEY CRÜE's deal with Big Machine sees the band and the label working together again after making the 2014 project "Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute To Mötley Crüe", which featured CRÜE tracks covered by country stars RASCAL FLATTS, FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE, Darius Rucker and more. Big Machine also partnered with John 5 for the release of his 2021 album "Sinner".

MÖTLEY CRÜE's last studio album was 2008's "Saints Of Los Angeles", which was followed by a 2009 "Greatest Hits" compilation.

In 2018, MÖTLEY CRÜE recorded four new songs for "The Dirt" movie, including the single "The Dirt (Est. 1981) (Feat. Machine Gun Kelly)", "Ride With The Devil", "Crash And Burn" and the band's own spin on Madonna's "Like A Virgin".

John 5 joined MÖTLEY CRÜE in the fall of 2022 as the replacement for the band's co-founding guitarist Mick Mars. Mick announced his retirement from touring with MÖTLEY CRÜE in October 2022 as a result of worsening health issues.

During an appearance on SiriusXM Fight Nation's "Busted Open" show, Sixx stated about "Dogs Of War": "A lot of people said it's a different sound, but I'll be honest with you, I don't necessarily agree with that. If you listen to the verses, they're very similar to a lot of stuff that we've done — that simple, grinding thing with those almost CHEAP TRICK melodies. And the riff, I mean, it could be off of 'Dr. Feelgood'. So I don't really feel like it's that different. I think what's different for people is that when we were working on the song, Tommy had the idea to just let the bottom fall out in the verses, which is not really what we do. We usually go for it, and [it's] really unique for Vince [Neil, CRÜE singer]."

Vince chimed in: "I don't ever sing like that. But it works in the song." He added that "Dogs Of War" "was very easy to sing."

Nikki elaborated on the CRÜE songwriting process, saying: "I think what we do together is we all kind of know each other so well, we know each other's strengths and weaknesses. And for me as a lyricist, I'm always thinking about Vince and his tempo as I write. So it's not like out of the wheelhouse, but it's nice to know each other so well, if that makes sense."

When "Dogs Of War" was first released, Neil described the track as "like old school meets new school. It's got that old-school vibe about it, but it's new music. Nikki came up with it and he sent me the music and I thought it was really cool. So I started singing it and we got in the studio and it turned into the song I think the fans are really gonna like it."

"John brings a lot," Neil told Billboard. "He's an amazing, creative guitar player. He hears stuff us normal people don't hear. He brings a lot to the song and a lot to the band, and we're just so happy to have him."

John 5, who previously collaborated with Sixx on various songs for SIXX:A.M. as well as other projects, and co-wrote the three new songs on "The Dirt" soundtrack, said about his addition to CRÜE: "I love MÖTLEY and I've known Mick, Tommy and Nikki for so long, it's just like playing with your friends, Their music is something I care about. I care about the history and I care about the future of this band, so I want to do things with the utmost respect and make sure everything is done right and execute it to the ability it deserves."

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