The eight-part Hulu series Pam & Tommy came to an end this week with a final episode that, much like the others, took place in a slightly different universe than our own. In this one, Mötley Crüe’s Generation Swine came out in June 1996 instead of June 1997, they promoted it with a show in the Tower Records parking lot featuring a song nowhere to be found in the band’s actual catalog, and they were bumped from a live MTV event to make room for Beck.
What the series did get right is that Generation Swine was a commercial dud that wound up in cutout bins, and that the Pam-Tommy sex tape overshadowed everything that either tried to do during this time. Movie Tommy was initially furious with strangers who congratulated him on the sex tape, but he receives some wisdom from movie Nikki Sixx that changes his mind. “I don’t know,” he tells him after Tommy nearly punches out a guy at a bar who brings up the tape. “There’s worse things than the whole world knowing you got a monster hog.”
By the end, Tommy is in Vegas yucking it up with random knuckleheads at a bar about his “monster hog,” enjoying his newfound notoriety as a sex god. “Vivid Video presents Tommy Lee, Kickstart My Hard On,” he jokes. “You thought he pounded the skins on the drums, but then just fuckin’ …”
The movie doesn’t hint at Lee’s unhappiness with Mötley Crüe, but he was thinking about quitting the group before Generation Swine even came out. “Ever since Vince had returned to the band, I was unhappy with the direction we were going, which was backward,” Lee wrote in band memoir The Dirt. “And losing support from our record label only made the situation more miserable. I have so much passion for music, dude, but when I went onstage I just didn’t feel it anymore. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t excited about what we were doing.”
He started experimenting with hip-hop beats during downtime on Mötley Crüe’s Greatest Hits tour, and then formed the-rap rock group Methods of Mayhem. Their self-titled debut LP arrived in December 1999. The lead single was entitled “Get Naked,” and it featured guest appearances by Fred Durst, Lil’ Kim, Mix Master Mike, and George Clinton.
The video is a somewhat stunning artifact of its era that features actual footage from the sex tape, a naked Tommy Lee holding a giant television remote over his crotch, Lil’ Kim riding an enormous, um, rooster, and a shirtless John Connelly from MTV News kicking the whole thing off. The lyrics are so graphic they make “Girls, Girls, Girls” seem like the theme song to Sesame Street. “Seventy-seven million dollars made from watching me cum,” Lee raps. “Under the sun on my vacation/After hours on SpectraVision/Shootin’ my jizzy-jizzum.”
The album peaked at Number 71 and the “Get Naked” video quickly fell out of rotation on MTV. “Some people just weren’t ready,” Lee wrote in his 2005 book Tommyland. “To them, I was an Eighties rock drummer. I didn’t grow up in the ‘hood, I wasn’t in a gang, I didn’t sling rocks on the block. Never said I did. Why does singing with rhythm and loving hip-hop mean I’m trying to be all gangsta? Fuck off, y’all.”
He quit Mötley Crüe that same year. They carried on with replacement drummers Randy Castillo and Samantha Maloney, but their 2000 LP New Tattoo was a bigger bomb than Generation Swine. They went on hiatus in 2001 and barely spoke for a few years, but hair-metal nostalgia started becoming a lucrative business and the original quartet came back together in 2005 to cash in. But Tommy Lee never quite gave up on Methods of Mayhem and in 2010 they released A Public Disservice Announcement. It peaked at Number 153 and truly seemed like the end of the project, but in 2019 they started making noise about a third album. It has yet to surface.
The Crüe broke up again in 2015 following a long farewell tour, but they’re heading back out on the road this summer to play stadiums with Poison, Def Leppard, and Joan Jett. Just don’t expect to hear “Get Naked” at any of the gigs. Tommy Lee is a truly great drummer, and he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for that, but the world still isn’t ready to hear him rap about his “jizzy-jizzum.”