Modern Drummer had a chat with Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee discussed his crazy drum solos and all the props he uses.
The drummer said:
“I created this Frankenstein, this crazy monster… But I guess it all started – the reason why I started doing this was because I remember going to see…
“I want to say it was Pat Travers or something, and [current Whitesnake drummer] Tommy Aldridge was playing [Aldridge was a member of the Pat Travers Band in the late ’70s and early ’80s], and he was doing a drum solo.
“And I’m like, ‘Dude, this guy is just ripping right now!’ And I’m watching people go buy a t-shirt, go get a beer or go to the bathroom. I was like, ‘Where are you guys going? What are you doing? He’s ripping!’
“And it dawned on me. One of the reasons was that people couldn’t see what he was doing. There’s a camera here behind the drums, you can see what your feet and your hands and everything’s doing.
“What inspired me was the very first… I was like, I need to change the perspective on how the audience sees the drummer. So the very first drum thing, the drum riser that I built was the one that went up, vertically, which gave the audience basically a bird’s eye view down.
“They could see – it would be like having an overhead camera, but I would tilt it up towards them, and they’re like, ‘Oh, you can see his feet, you can see his hands, you can see everything that he’s doing.’ That was the whole beginning, that started the whole thing.
“It’s all Tommy Aldridge’s fault.
“I believe the spinning cage came where it rotated forward and reverse, sideways, and out over the audience, and once you start doing that kind of stuff – now it’s on. It’s like, ‘OK, I want to fly from one kit to another.’
“That was on the ‘Carnival of Sins’ tour. I wanted, again, I always think about the fans, what would they want to see.