Heard Any Good Rock-Star Stories Lately?
This set-up for an article out of Spin magazine on how today’s rock stars are pansies compared to the rockers of old was so good we took the time to key it in. Enjoy.
Heard any good rock-star stories lately? Any outrageous anecdotes of living-large lunacy that only someone with platinum albums and a penchant for twisted kicks could inspire? Butch Walker has. As either a producer or a songwriter, he has put his prints all over records by Fall Out Boy, Pink, Avril Lavigne, the Donnas, the Academy Is, as well as the upcoming Von Bondies and Hot Hot Heat albums. And according to him, no one can top Tommy Lee when it comes to tales of rock ‘n’ roll excess. Just listen:
“We’re in the studio last year, working on a record, and Tommy comes in and he’s pouring drinks. And he’s like, ‘Dude, Nine Inch Nails are playing at fuckin’ Irvine Meadows! We gotta go! It’ll be rad!’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, we’re in Silver Lake. It’s five o’clock traffic on a Friday–we’ll be there by midnight if we leave now.’
He’s like, ‘I’m gonna call my friend who has a helicopter!’ So we get on our bikes and ride through the Hollywood Hills. We get to his house and there’s all these cop helicopters circling in the distance, about a mile away. We get in Tommy’s car and he’s like, ‘We gotta hurry! The cops are trying to get my guy because he parked in Slash’s driveway!’ And I’m like, ‘You can’t park a helicopter in the Hollywood Hills, in a driveway!’
Tommy is completely unfazed by this. So we take off up the hill. We get to Slash’s, and there are, like, eight cop cars, and they want to write the pilot a ticket. So of course Tommy gets out, turns on the charm, and seconds later, the cops are getting their pictures taken with him. We get in the helicopter, take off out of the Hills, and we go right through downtown L.A., skimming over all the buildings and the traffic. We get to Irvine in 20 minutes and park in the field right next to the concert. We walk in–of course Tommy knows everybody. After the concert, we take our drinks and get back in the helicopter and cruise back through downtown L.A., and the pilot starts bobbing and weaving through all the buildings, doing figure eights. We’re like ten feet away from the buildings–it’s crazy. Tommy’s like ‘Woo-hoo!’
We finally end up in the Hills, and the pilot’s going, ‘Okay, you’re going to have to help me find Slash’s house–all the lights are out.’ So we’re sitting there hovering above the Hollywood Hills, brushing the tops of trees of these mansions, debris flying everywhere, looking for Slash’s driveway. Everything looks the same; everything’s got a pool and a driveway. Tommy is drinking and high-fiving. But we find Slash’s house, and we land in the driveway and get in Tommy’s truck and go to his bar down the street and get the pilot fucked up until six in the morning. We come back and it’s daylight. Slash’s wife doesn’t know why there’s a helicopter in the driveway, so the whole helicopter was toilet papered.”
As Walker relays it, the story is absurd, hilarious, and exactly what one would expect from the most extroverted member of Motley Crue. (And in case you were wondering, the pilot did get arrested and was fined for, among other things, landing a helicopter on a public road.) “Tommy’s the consummate example of a rock star,” Walker says. “That’s not my version of one, but I’ll be damned if it’s not the most fun thing in the world to witness.”