Tommy's Gun

How the tattooed Motley Crue sleaze won my heart

The world is full of inexplicable events. The 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey victory, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Rob Schneider's film career--you know, things you never thought you'd see. Here's another, and it's pretty personal: I kind of enjoy Tommy Lee. It's perplexing, because everything Mr. Lee has done throughout his thumbheaded career I've either loathed or ignored, but with this opportunity to give him both barrels in print, I'm feeling gun-shy. Lee has somehow stumbled and banged his way into the role of America's Favorite Douchebag, and after examining his rise to pseudo-celebrity status, I can only ask, why not?

Lee is best known as a member of Mötley Crüe, the hair metal band that ruled the 1980s and has recently been resurrected in a swirl of ironic nostalgia and beer-breath bad taste. As a Crüe-ist, Lee was just a cog, though admittedly one that played the drums both well and upside down.

His best-known member, however, was on public display during the Pamela Anderson sex tape scandal. In the famed tape, both stars are slurring and stupid but seem to actually be in love. This many years later, in the wake of filmed celeb crapsacks like Paris Hilton and Tom Sizemore, their romp comes off like a Bernardo Bertolucci project.

His visibility shot back up this year when reality show Tommy Lee Goes to College followed the rocker as he tried out for marching band, lusted after a tutor and played video games. Stupid, maybe, but contrast that with Crüe bandmate Vince Neil getting liposuction and a facelift with the world watching. Advantage, Lee.

Sure, hate his little hats. Roll eyes at his choice of human Petri dishes for mates. Bemoan the "off-the-chain" persona he celebrates despite being three decades its elder, and even rage against his current album, Tommyland: The Ride, that features members of Good Charlotte and Backstreet Boys. Ultimately, the joke's on you and me, because Tommy Lee seems pretty damn affable, accepting and fun. He's just a dude, bro.

 
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