Back in 2002, I conducted an interview with on/off Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee for Guitar One magazine (he was promoting his self-titled solo album at the time). In a portion of the interview that didn't make my story, because it seemed like such a far-fetched sidebar, Tommy discussed a dream he had for his ultimate onstage spectacle.
"I WILL do it. A couple years from now, we'll be sitting here and I'll say, 'See? I TOLD you I'd do it!'" he insisted. "I've always wanted to do this: Imagine a fan walking into an arena and seeing a rollercoaster track, INSIDE the arena, with a drum set that's on a flat riser. Your drums are bolted down, you're strapped in, and you've got a jumper sear for a fan--a fan in the audience would win a ride on the back on this thing. And they're be cameras mounted on it, going to the big screen, so that the people in the audience who were watching it would feel like they were on it, watching the camera shake [he got up and started to act this out]. OK, so starting way up here on the right side of the stage, then straight down to build up enough speed to get down to the floor, do a loop or a corkscrew over the people, then go up around to the back-loge section, up around there and do another loop, go up to the top--chug chug chug--then stop--people are like screaming, "Aaaaaaaaaaah!"--and then start going again, BACKWARDS! It'd be the COOLEST thing ever! Imagine mounting lights on the track, so that every time you got to that portion, the lights went on, like "Vrrrrrroooommmmmm!" It'd be AWESOME! I gotta do it!!! I HAVE to do it!"
The idea seemed ridiculous, even by Tommy Lee standards, but nine years later, as the latest Motley Crue reunion tour kicked off in Dallas this week, his dream came true. Sure, his new real-life concert rollercoaster isn't quite on scale he once imagined--he told me back in '02 that he'd have to pay a company in Germany a million dollars to create his dream rock 'n' rollercoaster--but his new contraption, "The 360," is still mighty impressive.
Tommy's new "360" vertical drum rollercoaster features the bad-boy skin-basher being launched into multiple vertical loops banging away on his kit...and then, true to his original dream, each night he will select a fan from the Motley audience join him for the rock 'n' roll thrill ride of a lifetime.
Watch Tommy's first go-'round on "The 360" in the video below, shot at the Crue's opening night in Dallas (the rollercoaster loop begins at 1:00, and the lucky fan joins in around 3:00). And congrats, Tommy, on never giving up on your crazy, crazy dream.
[photo credit: Joe Dowling]