It's been 10 years since we first ran this article on 5/28/01. It was a weekend of firsts for me.
My first time to Las Vegas, my first time running out of gas (on the way to Vegas), my first
time blowing out a tire (on the way home from Vegas), my first time watching Randall (Randy
back then) Harris wakeboard in person and my first time meeting Tommy Lee. (It kind
of looks like the first time I ever used a camera too, but I assure you it was not.)
As you can imagine, it was a fantastic weekend and I thank Tommy Lee for putting us
up in the MGM Grand and hooking us up big time for the weekend. It was definitely
one of the highlights of my years working at WakeWorld.
When I got the opportunity to head to Lake Mead and do some wakeboarding with Tommy Lee I could hardly believe it. Here was a guy that I had grown up with, yet I had never met. No band has spent as much time in my CD player as Motley Crue, and Tommy's new band, Methods of Mayhem, has gotten its fair share of CD time as well. I think my attic still holds the life size poster of Allister Fiend that made my mom cringe every time she entered my bedroom. I even went out this week and picked up the new Motley Crue autobiography, The Dirt, on the day it hit the stores. I'll admit it. I was and still am a Crue fanatic.
But now I would have the opportunity to meet this guy that I had idolized. What would he be like? What would I do? What would I say? I remember meeting Eddie Van Halen once when I was a teenager and it was pretty nerve-racking. Although I'm twice as old now, would I still act like a frightened school girl? We found out while we were waiting on the dock at Callville Bay.
We were joined by Randy Harris, Brannon Meek and Trey Tomsik in another boat as we waiting for Tommy to arrive. The bimini was up, the sacks were full and we were ready to roll when a group of guys came walking down the dock towards us. Tommy stood out with his tattoo sleeves and generous facial jewelry. The others were Tommy's producer, engineer, project coordinator and bodyguard. Introductions were made and we chatted a bit before loading up the boats and heading out to find some decent water.
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was amazed at how cool and laid back these guys were. If you took the whole "rock star" quotient out of the day, it was simply a great time hanging with some super cool wakeboarders that we had just met on the dock. I was psyched about how much these guys were into wakeboarding. They had just started last fall, but their addiction was in full swing. They fought over who would get to go next rather than sitting around waiting for someone else to suit up. It's always great to see the enthusiasm of someone who has recently caught the wakeboarding bug.
Everyone was switching between the two boats all day trying to get in a set of their own or a glimpse of Randy or Brannon riding. I haven't watched a lot of pro riders when they're freeriding away from a tournament, but Randy Harris was going bigger than I've ever seen anyone go on a wakeboard. The pictures in the photo gallery below don't even do him justice. I kept having to pull back the zoom on my camera just to get Randy and the water in the same shot! How his knees put up with the pounding they must get is a mystery to me.
Add to the above the fact that I finally landed my first 360 since pulling my shoulder out on an attempt-gone-awry last summer, and this quite possibly could have been my best day of wakeboarding ever. Even the perfect storm-like weather that turned our 20-minute cruise back to the dock into an hour-long nightmare couldn't put a damper on the good times. Although I knew it would be fun, I had no idea the day would turn out this great. Of course, the night in Vegas with Tommy and the boys is a story for another time...
I spent some time with Tommy talking about what he's up to both on and off the water. Here's what he had to say.
WW: How did you get into wakeboarding and how long have you been doing it?
TL: My producer, Scott Humphrey, yanked me on the lake one day. I think he and Frank [Tommy's engineer] showed me some videos of some pros and I flipped!
WW: What do you like most about wakeboarding?
TL: Pulling out really wide and chargin' the wake. Also, being outdoors in the water and sun.
WW: How often do you get to ride?
TL: One or two times a week, but that sh*t's gonna change. We're recording my new record on a lake this summer, so we're gonna go several times a day!
WW: Who do you usually ride with?
TL: Scott, Frank, Steve and assorted pro buds.
WW: You were popping some pretty decent airs out at Lake Mead. Are you working on anything in particular?
TL: Yeah, not crashing (laughs)! I wanna do a Raley and get upside down eventually.
WW: The last time I saw you in person you were getting tons of air and killing it with stylish spins and rolls. Of course, you were also strapped to a drum kit providing beats for Motley Crue at the L.A. Forum following up an opening set by Faster Pussycat. Are any of those crazy things you do on stage helping you out on the water?
TL: Yeah, I guess! Attitude! Just fu&*in' go for it. I always say, "If yer gonna do it, over do it!!"
WW: Does wakeboarding influence your music or vice versa?
TL: We're putting speakers on the boat so we can jam while we board! Music intensifies everything!
WW: The latest wakeboard DVD to hit the market, The Faction, opens with "Crash" off the first Methods of Mayhem album. Were you aware of that? What do you think about having your tunes on these vids?
TL: I wasn't aware, but my music has been in a lot of X-Game type of sports. I fu&*in' love that!!
WW: Can we expect to see some wakeboarding in videos for the new Methods album?
TL: Hell yeah!!
WW: What can we expect from the new album and when can we expect to see it in stores?
TL: Some next level sh*t!! Hard, heavy beats with loud ass guitars and tons of melody! Hopefully it will drop this year. If not, in the new year!
WW: You seem to be having a great time with Methods of Mayhem. Do you ever see yourself playing with Motley Crue again?
TL: Not really. I'm doing exactly what I want musically right now.
WW: What's this new book (The Dirt) all about? What role did you have in writing it?
TL: I didn't write it, Neil Strauss did. It's about all the crazy years of touring with Motley Crue and dirt you can't imagine!!
WW: What other hobbies do you have besides wakeboarding?
TL: I ride dirt bikes, a CR-250. I have a two-acre track here at Tommyland!!
WW: Your oldest son turns five next month, will we see him out on the water with Daddy anytime soon?
TL: Hell yeah!! We want a little 50cc dirt bike, but both my boys dig the water, so it's only a matter of time
WW: Is there anything else you want to say to WakeWorld visitors?
TL: Yeah…I need some lessons!!