Tommy Lee

At the risk of dating myself I'll lay out Tommy’s gear of the years.... and Steve can tell me if I'm incorrect anywhere.....

Too Fast For Love Years 1981-1983

Drums- (unknown) Looks to be a Tama Model Imperial Star. If you notice one tom is so old... it doesn’t have a lower head or lugs!

Cymbals- Paiste

Sticks- some "local" music store model

Hardware- various brands...

Heads- Remo

Notes-- This was just about the time Tommy got signed, so he didn’t have any endorsements.... YET

Shout at the Devil Years 1983-1984

Drums- Started off with the kit from Too Fast for Love
Then used Tama for a short period.
Finally switched to Sonor drums

Cymbals- Paiste

Sticks- Some "local" music store model

Hardware- various and Sonor.

Heads- Remo

Notes- This was the first time the Paiste "RUDE" series of cymbal was used by Tommy. It also was the time when Tommy began his relationship with the German drum maker Sonor. I don’t think Sonor did any advertising with Tommy's name... At the time, some bigger metal acts were using Sonor... like Iron Maiden.

Theatre of Pain Years 1985-1986

Drums- Started off Sonar Drums
About ½ way through the tour he switched to Pearl

Cymbals- Paiste

Sticks- Vic Firth “Tommy Lee” Model

Hardware- Sonor, Pearl and DW pedals.

Heads- Remo

Notes- This was the first time the Paiste Color Sound 5 series of cymbal was used by Tommy. It also was the time when Tommy began his relationship with Vic Firth Drumsticks. Tommy also began using Simmons electronic pads with this kit. The sounds used were a Gong, orchestra hit, and a gunshot. LP also made a spot for Tommy in the 1986 catalog… for the “Snake Bell” cowbell. At this time, DW was making the pedals that Tommy used. They introduced the DW5000. This would be Tommy staple pedal for many years.

Girls, Girls, Girls Years 1987-1988

Drums- Pearl

Cymbals- Paiste

Sticks- Vic Firth “Tommy Lee” Model

Hardware- Pearl and a custom Rack (the spinning one).

Heads- Remo

Notes- Tommy began to use D-Drum pads to trigger the sounds. Pearl also began to market their products using Tommy’s name.

Dr Feelgood /Decade of Decadence Years 1989-1992

Drums- DW

Cymbals- Paiste

Sticks- Vic Firth “Tommy Lee” Model

Hardware- DW

Heads- Remo

Notes- At this time, Vic Firth started selling the “Tommy” Stick into the market place. It featured red print and a red nylon tip. They still sell this stick under the name “Metal N (CMN)”.


The Motley Crue Years (when Vince was out)- 1994-1996

Drums- DW

Cymbals- Paiste

Sticks- Ahead “Tommy Lee” Model

Hardware- DW

Heads- Remo

Notes- Tommy was one of the first people to start using the new AHEAD stick. They even did marketing with Tommy seen in a pile of broken wooden sticks.


The Generation Swine/ Greatest Hits Years 1997-1999

Drums- DW

Cymbals- Paiste

Sticks- Ahead “Tommy Lee” Model

Hardware- DW

Heads- Aquarian

Notes- This tour feature a very cool drum set. Made to look like the mirror balls you would see at a disco-tec. This was also the time Tommy began endorsing the Aquarian line of drum heads. These heads were also sold to the public using Tommy’s name. This relationship was short lived.


The Red, White, and Crue Years 2004-???

Drums- DW

Cymbals- Zildjian

Sticks- Ahead “Tommy Lee” Model

Hardware- DW

Heads- Remo

Notes- Steve has filled us in on this kit. One highlight is that Tommy ended a VERY long history with Paiste Cymbals. It was one of the only items Tommy has been using since the begining.

Well that’s the basics of the history of Tommy’s Drums…. Sorry if I bored ya!
 
S

Stu_Strib

Guest
I should rephrase my comments about Tommy being a partier and not a drummer... I was having a bad day or something.

Obviously, he has talent and skill and has worked really hard to get where he is. I would just like to moderate my previous comment and say he is a great entertainer. What I was trying to get across is that my personal emphasis is on music and drumming, not the image and the sideshow. That's why my favorite drummers are Gadd, Smith, Colaiuta and not Barker, Tommy Lee and Joey Jordison.

I never did see the rest of the Tommy goes to School episodes. Did he eventually make the drum line or not?
 
S

Stu_Strib

Guest
Vibra-Slap'd said:
Well that’s the basics of the history of Tommy’s Drums…. Sorry if I bored ya!
Not boring at all! A discography including the gear used. Now if you could just get us the cymbal sizes and makes, heh.
 

El Steevo

PRO Drum Tech
Stu_Strib said:
I never did see the rest of the Tommy goes to School episodes. Did he eventually make the drum line or not?
He did up making the line and marched in the halftime show during the UNL vs. Baylor football game.
 

tambian89

Senior Member
Everyone who hates on Tommy Lee should stop trying to bring him down. He is a pretty good drummer, and one of the best I've seen to come out of the 80's hair metal and glam rock scene. Regardless of how well he can read music, or how well he played the drums in high school, he is a pretty good drummer.
- Marc
 

tambian89

Senior Member
Vibra-slap'd:
Thanks for your post! I found it very interesting! I still wonder why Tommy would change from Paiste to Zildjian after being with Paiste for such a long time. I know Zildjian is the main cymbal supplier to many drummers, but the time with Paiste......
-Marc
 
tambian89 said:
Vibra-slap'd:
Thanks for your post! I found it very interesting! I still wonder why Tommy would change from Paiste to Zildjian after being with Paiste for such a long time. I know Zildjian is the main cymbal supplier to many drummers, but the time with Paiste......
-Marc
Glad you liked my "history". I don't know why he switched, but I would bet it was not b/c of sound quality.... I bet Zildjian just made him a better offer.... God knows they market him more since 2004 than Paiste did for years.......

I also think that Zildjians hold up better and can take more abuse.... and those Ahead sticks are hard as hell on the cymbals!!!
 

micsmi52003

Junior Member
What blow's my mind is how many people on this forum is bashing Tommy Lee. True he is not the most technical drummer, but when it comes to showmanship you can't name someone better. Tommy Lee is the reason I started playing drums 17+ years ago and I still look up to him to this day. When you mention technical drummers, most people, or more so, most drummers can't mention many technical drummers... but one thing's for sure everyone knows who in the hell Tommy Lee is. That's because he's a better showman than the "technical guys" you keep raving about. While I do love technical drummers... the average person at a show or club could care less. But a good showman such as Tommy Lee they will remember and talk about... not his technical chops. Don't be so jealous about what Mr. Lee has accomplished. Most of you would look silly playing a kit next to his while he was rocking out.
 

Latin Groover

Pioneer Member
micsmi52003 said:
What blow's my mind is how many people on this forum is bashing Tommy Lee. True he is not the most technical drummer, but when it comes to showmanship you can't name someone better. Tommy Lee is the reason I started playing drums 17+ years ago and I still look up to him to this day. When you mention technical drummers, most people, or more so, most drummers can't mention many technical drummers... but one thing's for sure everyone knows who in the hell Tommy Lee is. That's because he's a better showman than the "technical guys" you keep raving about. While I do love technical drummers... the average person at a show or club could care less. But a good showman such as Tommy Lee they will remember and talk about... not his technical chops. Don't be so jealous about what Mr. Lee has accomplished. Most of you would look silly playing a kit next to his while he was rocking out.
Wat u say about averege people in a club not caring about technical drummers, i very doubt is true.
If you go to a club a band does a song then half way they brake down and the drummer does a technical solo with great chops and speed (most normal people/non drummers love speed) the crowd will love it.

but when it comes to showmanship you can't name someone better.
First one that came to my head was Thomas Lang. No doubt he's better than tommy technically and in all other concepts of drumming, but i believe he has better showmanship as well. But if Tommy Lee is the reason you started to play drums then you clearly like him alot, it may cloud your vision of him a bit (this doesn't really seem to be the case with you though, u have admitted he has flaws, but there are sum people out there that just won't hear a bad word about him, that hes the greatest drummer to ever live and other crap) but nothing we can say will change ur mind about him. So well done Tommy you've managed to recruit a few drummers.
 

lee1003

Junior Member
i think tommy is like a fine wine he keeps getting better with age. i do agree that vince can not sing anymore though.
 

mikeybbdrummin

Senior Member
Tommy is definately a good drummer. One of my favorites that got me into drums. He is not a guy that puts fills everywhere he can. His drumming is mainly about grooves. Dr Feelgood album is a good example. His beat for Dr Feelgood w/the open hi-hats in the two different spots is very recognizable in my opinion. Just as the the beat Joey Kramer did for Walk this way. Motleys first album was not just basic beats and fills. He had some pretty cool stuff on that album. By todays standards he is not up to par. But I think as the people that dont find him impressive (mostly younger drummers) get older will realize that there is more to drums than speed and extreme technical ability. With that being said go to Keith Carlocks page(who I just discovered) and tell me he is not a good drummer. SINGLE pedal, totally cool grooves and feel and very little as far as fills go. No extreme crazy drumming just very, very cool stuff.
 
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MAX ZNAEVSKY

Senior Member
Totally agree! I think, the most important thing about Tommy's drumming is that he is playing MUSIC first, but not drums as a separate instrument. He is a pro-musician first, then a pro-drummer. He knows what the audience's waiting, and he's doing it.

There's a proverb in Russia: "Be easier, and people will pay attention to you." I think, that Tommy follows this words.... But it is only my opinion... :)
 
If it wasen't for Tommy Lee I would have Never picked up a pair of sticks, I think tommy is one of THE BEST drummers out there, not only is he a great drummer, he is a great entertainer, with a Huge amount of differnt ideas, not just sitting behind a kit and doing a solo. Tommy Lee has more energy in his little pinky than any professional drummer of his age. Most drummers of his age, can play and play great but thats it, you don't get a kick ass show like you do when you see Tommy play. Most of these guy when they do there solo, they do an "acoustic solo' which is filled with alot of speed and longevity, with Tommy's solo, he intergrates Video along with alot of electronic triggered items into his solo ( alot of people dont like him puting the "club music" in with his solo) but I think that shows of how much talent this guy really has. I dare anyone to go to one of Motley's shows and leave saying they were not impressed by Tommy Lee!
 

ryan

Member
I seen Tommy and the boys live recently and being a drum enthusiast I spent the entire show watching Tommy (well, maybe the strippers a little bit). I grew up as a Crue fan and know alot of the drumtracks (to hear, not to play). Tommy played what was originally recorded on the albums Plus added even more color to these already neat tracks. You can't help but watch him play. The man loves to play drums and does a good job of it. I hate to say it but I have to assume most of the bashers are young guys who stick by their opinions rather passionately even though to their surprise those opinions may change as they progress as drummers. Bashing someone with the anonymity of the internet as backup is a joke you guys.

Jeez, I'm starting to sound like an old man.
 

chris--byrne

Senior Member
SheekLucci said:
and zildjian designed the thrasher series for tommy lee??
I thought Tommy had just been addeed to the List of drummers that use Meinl??
Sorry if If i've slightly gone off topic but I'm just tryin to work out if my sources are incorrect...
 
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chris--byrne said:
I thought Tommy had just been addeed to the List of drummers that use Meinl??
Sorry if If i've slightly gone off topic but I'm just tryin to work out if my sources are incorrect...

Tommy just uses Meinel's cowbells.... thats it....
 
yes! tommy lee;s solo was amazing.
i went when they came here to atlanta..im pretty sure it was march 12 or something..he is amazing..he doesnt just play eighter he puts on a great show as well
have fun!
 
L

LiveGoat

Guest
rendezvous_drummer said:
Hahaha did any of you know he was born in athens greece? Just found that out today.
Yep. His mother was Miss Athens, I believe.

---LG
 

rendezvous_drummer

Pioneer Member
LiveGoat said:
Yep. His mother was Miss Athens, I believe.

---LG
haha yea in 1957. It's wierd, i saw a card of his in DRUM magazine. I think he's a good rock/metal drummer, not the best, but defintiely not the worst. I think his solo stuff is terrible though and i was disappointed in him when he did that stupid reality show, tommy goes to college.
 
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