When was Tommy first
shot in the nude? What was
Sixx's hair procedure? Who
were the Pookies 12? Why
did the Mafia try and run him out of town? How did Roxanne turn on the
red light in the Mötley house? Who was Tommy's first room-mate?
1988, Will Boyett wrote down memories of his experiences from the
period in his life during the late-70's and early-80's when he was good
friends with Tommy Lee, right through the earliest days of Mötley Crüe.
He knew his memory may not serve him well in the future, and should he
some day want to revive those memories or do something with his photos,
it may come in handy. It was from those 60-some-pages of writings that
he put together this 'sick love story' below during January 2005,
exclusively for Chronological Crue to now present to you as Mötley
kickstart their Red, White & Crüe...Better Live Than Dead tour.
photos for more information)
Will Boyett: My encounter with Mötley Crüe started a long time before
Mötley Crüe was even formed. The time was November of 1979, I had just
turned 22 and was the manager of a photo studio in West Covina. I did
mostly portraits of families, babies, and pets.
day while I was busy balancing the books I was interrupted by a
youthful voice. Glancing up from my paperwork I noticed a teenaged boy
clad in tight jeans and a T-shirt. The youth introduced himself as Jon
Kemp, bassist for a band called Suite 19. Jon was in need of photos of
his band but like most struggling young bands, they had no money. In
exchange for the photos he offered me free VIP tickets to the Hollywood
club his band was playing at. The tickets would also allow me free
access to the backstage to party with the band.
thought that would be pretty fun. At that time I had probably only been
to 2-3 concerts in my life and only been to a Hollywood club once. A
free show sounded like fun. I also had never done any photography under
stage lighting with fast movement so I figured it to be a challenge and
a chance to expand my photography skills. So I agreed.
night of the photo shoot arrived and I headed out to the club in
Hollywood. The band was playing at the now defunct Starwood. At maximum
capacity the club held about 1200 people. I looked the club over for
places to shoot and then went upstairs to find the band’s dressing
room. After finding Jon, he introduced me to the other band members,
Greg Leon (singer and guitarist) and Tom Bass (the drummer).
band soon went on stage and I was really impressed by Tom and his
drumming. Instantly I knew that here was a guy that was going places.
He was an awesome drummer. At the end of their 45 minute set, Greg
brought out Kevin Dubrow (singer of Quiet Riot) to sing the encore
song. The crowd went wild.
the set we all went backstage. The groupies were filling up the room
fast. Jon came up to me and asked me to accompany him to the club's
management office to get their pay. A bouncer answered Jon’s knock at
the door and allowed us to enter. When the manager noticed a stranger
accompanied Jon he became rather upset and asked me to leave the
office. Before I left, I noticed the reason why. On his desk were piles
of cocaine and amongst the people at the table enjoying the fine powder
was none other than David Lee Roth (I had met David before, back in
high school before he was famous. His band Van Halen was frequently
hired to play at backyard parties). I left the office and headed back
to the dressing room where I took up a conversation with Tom and a
couple of groupies that were on his arms. Tom was ecstatic about having
photos and made arrangements for me to come to his home to show him the
proofs. We exchanged phone numbers and I left.
few days later, with developed proofs in hand, I went over to Tom’s
house. Tom’s sister Athena answered the door and she escorted me into
the living room where I met Tom’s parents. Soon Tom came down and took
me up to his room where we listened to Scorpions on his stereo and
perused my photos. “Wow! These are f@ckin’ great, you are the best
f@ckin’ photographer I’ve ever seen,” Tom complemented. I must be the
only photographer Tom had ever seen because the photos weren’t that
great. It was my first attempt at rock photography under stage lighting
conditions. Anyhow, that’s how our friendship started.
started hanging out with Tom and Suite 19. The music scene was starting
to get in my blood. Soon Tom and Jon started showing me how to dress
the part of a rocker, tight jeans, woman’s T-shirt, and a leather
jacket completed the look. I basically transformed my look from
businessman in disco suits to a long-haired heavy metal rocker.
wasn’t long after that that Suite 19 started to feel a need for each
member to go their own separate ways. Greg went on to play in Dokken
and Quiet Riot but eventually ended up forming his own band the Greg
Leon Invasion. I understood he later sold the name Invasion to Vinnie
Vincent of Kiss for Vinnie’s solo project. Jon hooked up with Leif
Garrett’s manager and went on to try his hand at becoming a teen idol.
Tom on the other hand put out the word he was on the market for a new
then hooked up with Mike Cusik who had a band called Dealer. This band
has been left out of most all of history on Tom. In Mötley’s
autobiography The Dirt, Tom briefly mentions being in this band but
gives no mention of the band's name. In his own autobiography
Tommyland, Tom talks a little more about this band but incorrectly
states that he was in this band BEFORE Suite 19. In actuality, this
band came AFTER Suite 19. Tom does say in his book he remembers little
about what happened in the early ‘80’s. I guess all those drugs really
messed with his brain.
handled all of Dealer's photography needs. I even went on tour with
them. You see, Mike was very smart at advertising. At one time they did
some shows at a small club on the Colorado River in the state of
Arizona. Since they had now traveled to another state to perform, Mike
took full advantage of it when it came to advertising. Upon their
return to Los Angeles, he passed out flyers before their next show that
said, “Back from their recent intrastate tour.”
time passed and Tom’s friendship grew, Tom asked me one day if he could
move into my duplex with me. I agreed and soon I became Tom’s first
ever roommate. Tom didn’t have a job then, just his gigs in the
evenings that barely paid his bar tab. So I let Tom live with me for
free. I wasn’t very rich myself in those days but I managed to pay for
the drugs, the alcohol, and the food. Living with Tom wasn’t easy. He
loved to play his music loud, which caused problems with the neighbors
and the landlord. Tom also was obsessed with drumming. No matter where
he was, he had to drum. While we watched TV, he would drum on a nearby
chair. While walking down the hallway he would drum along the wall.
Even when sitting on the toilet, he again, would be drumming on
something. You can see why he was successful as a drummer, he was
obsessed with a passion for drumming.
his stay, Tommy would teach me how to play the drums, we would go
clubbing together, and we smoked a lot of weed. But all good things
must come to an end and eventually after one month, Tom was ready to
move back home with his parents. Living on your own in LA with no car
and no income is not easy. I came home from work one day to find Tom
moved out and a note saying, “Will, thank you so much for letting me
stay with you (I owe you one). I had so much fun. Remember the
Scorpions” signed Tom. All I can say now is, “Hey Tommy, it’s been 24
years since then, when are you going to repay that debt? I’m ready to
come stay at your home for a month now.”
was also very crazy. He loved the women and loved to chase them. One
time at a McDonald’s while we were munching on some hamburgers, he
spotted a couple of fine young ladies headed for the restroom. He
jumped up from the table and ran into the ladies room to get their
phone numbers. The girls started screaming and the managers threw us
out of the place.
played in Dealer for at least six months. Eventually, they ended up
kicking Tom out. He would show up late for practice, punch holes in the
studio walls with his fist, and the last straw was when he stole the
keyboardist’s girlfriend (not the singer's girlfriend as stated in The
Dirt). Also the The Dirt incorrectly names this girl. Sure they mention
her nickname as 'Bullwinkle' but the book also says her first name was
Jessica, when in reality her real name was Lisa.
now my rock photography business was expanding. I was working with
Greg’s band, Tommy’s band and a couple of others. Most of the bands
didn’t make any money so I did most all my work for them for free or at
cost. They were my friends and that’s what friends do, they help each
other out. Fortunately I was able to save money from my pay-check as a
manager at the photo studio I was employed at and I soon opened up my
own studio in the city of San Gabriel. This location was about half-way
between Tom and Vince's homes in Covina and the clubs in Hollywood.
was around April of 1981 when I first found out that Tom was in a new
band called Mötley Crüe. I went to Tom’s home in Covina and as we sat
upstairs in his bedroom I remarked how his hair had changed from brown
to black. Tom quickly corrected me saying it was “blue-black.” He then
went on to explain, “I dyed it for this new band I’m in called Mötley
Crüe. Here, let me show you.” Tom pulled out some paper and a pen from
a nearby dresser and began to spell Mötley Crüe. “This is how we spell
it with these German marks called umlauts,” explained Tom. “The
guitarist, bass player, and I have blue-black hair and the singer has
bleached white hair to stand out in contrast with us, as he is the
front-man. We stick our hair straight up and we look like a real Mötley
bunch, so we named the band Mötley for our sleazy looks and Crüe ‘cause
the four of us are a group. We spelled it differently ‘cause we are
different. They even have a stage name for me, Tommy Lee!” Up until
then everyone had called him Tom, or by his nickname, T-Bone.
fact there was this one incident involving Tommy’s nickname that caused
a little trouble. Tommy’s parents went to most all of Tommy’s concerts
in those days. One evening when Mötley was performing, Tommy’s parents
headed to the backstage entrance. As they approached they put on their
laminated passes. Tommy’s Dad’s pass read “David Bass” and they let him
in, but when they read his mom’s pass it said “T-Bone’s Mother”. She
had asked Tommy earlier what to put on it and that is what Tommy
answered. She did what her son said but now they wouldn’t let her in.
The guy at the door said he didn’t know any T-Bone. She argued and
argued with the bouncer to no avail. Finally the manager had to come
down and set the record straight.
back to our story. I asked Tommy about doing their photography. He
informed me they were using Nikki’s photographer from his old band
London, but he promised to see what he could do. Tommy then invited me
to a party he was going to at Vince’s girlfriend’s house. I figured,
the more guys in the band I meet, the better my chance of working with
was at that party that I first met Vince. I also got to meet his son
Neil, who was three-years-old at the time, Neil’s mother, and Vince’s
girlfriend Leah. Leah was ten years older than Vince was and quite
unattractive. If the band is going to make fun of Tommy dating
Bullwinkle, then they really should make fun of Vince dating Leah.
However she was blonde, and Vince really loves blondes, and she was
from a wealthy family. She could support Vince with a nice lifestyle.
My observations of Vince were that he possessed an outgoing personality
when around friends but was very timid when around strangers.
I left that evening, Tommy informed me that in two weeks Mötley Crüe
was performing their first show at the Starwood. If I came, he would be
happy to introduce me to the other two members of Mötley Crüe.
night of April 24 1981 was to mark the Crüe’s Hollywood debut. Using
Nikki’s contacts, the Crüe was booked for a weekend, appearing as the
opening band for the popular San Francisco-based band Y&T. The Crüe
wanted to make sure nobody left that show without remembering them, so
they put together a barrage of promotional items to pass out at the
show, including T-shirts and button badges.
was set for the big night. Their managers Allan and Barbara had flown
in from Grass Valley. Tommy remembered to put my name on the VIP list
and I got in with no problem. I had brought my camera, but I could tell
I was not alone as there were quite a number of photographers in
attendance, but they were there to photograph Y&T. The club was
filled to capacity and it was getting rather warm in there. I headed
backstage to find a more pleasant atmosphere and to wish the boys good
luck. I passed a video crew preparing their cameras to tape Y&T. I
also passed Tommy’s parents who sat at a nearby candle-lit table.
quickly found the dressing room and was pleased to find the temperature
was much cooler. The walls of the Starwood dressing rooms reminded me
of a ghetto street. They were red and completely covered with graffiti
by the bands that had previously been there. I found Tommy who took me
over to meet Nikki and Mick, who at the time, were busily tuning their
instruments. My impression of these two was the same as Tommy’s when he
first met them, these two looked real strange. At this point in time
most bands were punk, with short haircuts, or rock with long hippie
haircuts. These four with their hair sticking straight up were fairly
Once you get
past the looks, I found Nikki and Mick that evening to be just a couple
of normal guys pursuing their dreams. Excluding Tommy, it was Mick I
felt the most comfortable with. In Hollywood, the average musician is
between the ages of 16 and 23, and it seems the only thing they care to
talk about is music and girls. The conversations become quite limited.
That was the impression I got from Vince and Nikki. Mick on the other
hand, was a different sort. Mick possessed a much broader knowledge of
life, quite possible because he was much older than the others were.
Mick and I quickly became friends and even branded each other with
nicknames. Mick began to call me Shorty (I stand 6’ 4”) and because of
his short stature I gave him the reverse name of Giant.
was almost show time and I wanted to celebrate a bit with Tommy, so I
tracked him down and pulled him into the bathroom. I had brought some
excellent Peruvian Flake for the occasion and I wanted to share it with
him. Our bodies were flying from the cocaine when we returned to the
dressing room. Allan was upset as it was show time and he had been
searching for Tommy. Sorry guys, I didn’t mean to delay Mötley’s first
performance. Fortunately for us, he hadn’t looked in the bathroom yet,
as Allan was very much against drugs.
boys went on stage and I went out amongst the crowd to shoot my photos.
The show that night contained none of the antics the Crüe is famous
for, just old-fashioned head-banging and jumping about. The crowd at
first didn’t know what to make of this band. After experiencing the
onslaught of notes, the Y&T fans began to become receptive to this
young band's musical talent.
the show, there was mixed reaction amongst the crowd. The majority
liked them but there were those who felt Mötley looked like a bunch of
queers and therefore couldn’t get behind their music. If you take a
look at the accompanying photo you can see why. The crowd was very
conservative compared to the outlandish way the Crüe looked.
arrangements were made for Mötley’s victory party. Allan’s hotel room
at the Beverly Hilton was the selected site. Upon my arrival, I was
surprised to find the only ones there besides Allan and Barbara were
Tommy’s parents. The room was equipped with a large balcony that
overlooked the pool area, was quite spacious and very elegant. It was
evident this was no cheap hotel. Bowls of fresh fruit were placed
throughout the suite and upon a cart next to the entrance were half a
dozen bottles of expensive champagne. The champagne alone cost a lot
more than the band had earned that evening. Allan uncorked a bottle and
we toasted to the success of Mötley Crüe.
we could finish that first bottle, the band arrived followed in tow by
Nikki’s photographer, Don Adkins. A few minutes later several more
guests arrived, bringing with them their own alcohol. Nobody knew who
they were, but what the f@ck, this was a party and if they wanted to be
Mötley’s first groupies, they were more than welcome to join in the
that Mötley Crüe had shown Hollywood what they were capable of,
additional bookings were easier to come by. One of those bookings
occurred three weeks later at a place in Pasadena, California called
Pookies. I had planned to be there early, as unknown to the Crüe, I had
made arrangements with Pookies’ management to videotape Mötley Crüe’s
performance. Pookies was located seventeen miles east of the Hollywood
clubs and was designed primarily as a sandwich shop that catered to the
Pasadena lunch crowd. Management had other ideas in store for Pookies.
Management realised there was a growing number of rockers in Pasadena
(Van Halen started in Pasadena). At the time all the city had to offer
was Top 40 clubs, so Pookies decided to put their liquor license to
better use. Pookies would open at night and bring in extra revenue by
booking rock bands to perform. To accommodate the bands, Pookies built
a small stage in one corner with lights and a sound system. There was
no dressing room or backstage area. Pookies was 'generous' enough to
provide a six-by-ten foot storage closet for the bands to use as their
was soon time for the band to take the stage at Pookies. Since the club
was not equipped with a private hallway to the stage, it was customary
for bands to stroll through the middle of the audience and jump onto
the stage. Tonight however was an exception. When the boys came out of
the closet, there was no audience. Circus Magazine, when publishing an
article on the Crüe’s history, said all of 12 people were there (not
counting Pookies employees). That was the truth. In this Chronological
Crue exclusive, I’ll tell you exactly who was there. This has never
been published before. In attendance were the boys' girlfriends
(Tommy's Lisa, Vince's Leah, Nikki's Laurie, and Mick's Wendy), myself
and one of my employees, Tommy’s parents, his sister Athena, Vince’s
mother, Vince’s son Neil (who kept reminding everyone “That’s my daddy
up there!”) and the mother of Vince’s son. There you have it. That was
the whole audience. None of the people who had seen them in Hollywood
or any of the fans from any of the guy’s previous bands even bothered
to show up.
Crüe’s growing schedule saw them opening for many of the local heavies
of the day: Snow, Smile, Ratt, and DuBrow (who later became Quiet
Riot). While the Mötley Crüe name was making the rounds of club owners,
the boys were putting their personal lives together. The boys were
tired of having to depend on girlfriends to support them, so they
persuaded their manager Allan into financing an apartment for them in
Hollywood. This later became known as the infamous Clark Street
was here at this apartment where most of their debauchery occurred. The
front room had a couple of worn-out sofas that had seen better days, a
black and white television that was rarely used, a rack of shelves that
contained a cardboard cutout of Cheap Trick in their white Dream Police
suits. In fact, the walls were decorated with many promotional items;
thanks to the trio’s friends who stole them from the music stores they
items around the apartment included a cracked mirror hung next to a
photograph of Vince’s crotch (the same picture they used for the cover
of their soon-to-be-released first album). A Ratt bumper sticker was
stuck on the door of their puke-green colored refrigerator (which
rarely contained more than a carton of eggs and a six-pack of beer).
The dining room was enhanced with a sliding glass door that opened upon
a community patio. The only nice thing the boys had was Tommy’s stereo
in the front room, which the boys constantly played at full volume.
occupied one of the two bedrooms. Sparsely furnished, it merely
consisted of a mattress which laid flat on the floor, a dresser, and a
nightstand with a lamp. The walls were pretty bare, as was the closet
that had only a leather jacket and a couple pairs of pants. Scattered
all over the floor was an assortment of leather belts, chokers, rings,
buttons, scarves, and boots.
used the hallway bathroom while Vince and Tommy shared the main
bedroom’s bathroom. As always the boys kept an ample supply of VO5. At
one time while Nikki was fixing his hair in the bathroom, I asked him
how he achieved his look. Nikki instructed, “Wash your hair, then while
the strands are still wet, grab a blow dryer and bend at the waist.
While your hair hangs down, brush the hair straight down while
blow-drying. When dry, take a can of VO5 aerosol super-hold and spray
heavily. Stay in this position until the hair dries. If the top doesn’t
stand up real tall, take the palm of your hand and lay it flat against
the top of your head. Rub in a circular motion, fluff lightly, then
spray again. It may be necessary in uneven spots to hold strands
straight out while spraying and drying.”
usual schedule for Tommy, Vince, and Nikki meant rising from bed when
most people were enjoying their lunch-breaks at work. Things remained
fairly quiet until around 5pm when working friends would start to stop
by with cold cans of beer. The next three hours would be spent
socialising and drinking while the boys would take time out to shower
and dress for an evening in the clubs. Around 8pm (a relatively early
time to go to the clubs), the boys and anyone who cared to tag along,
would walk down the street to the Whisky A Go-Go or the Rainbow. Nikki
would dress the same offstage as he did on. Nikki claimed because of
his limited cash at the time he could only buy so much clothing. Since
his stage clothes were more important that’s where his money went and
therefore he had to wear his stage clothes both on and off the stage.
Wearing high heels, tight designer jeans, and feminine tank tops you
were apt to think it was a transvestite walking down the street. No one
in Hollywood at the time was doing what they were doing.
fact, an amusing incident occurred to me one time when I was visiting
my photo lab in San Diego. Earlier in the week, I had done a portrait
of Tommy for his mother. She wanted a 24”x 30” portrait of her son to
hang in her home. When I got to the lab to pick up the portrait, I was
summoned up to the Art Department. I was told that 30 or so employees
of the photo lab had placed a bet on whether Tommy’s portrait was a
portrait of a girl or that of a man. They wanted me to go up and settle
the bet for them. At that time, you just couldn’t tell. After that many
rock acts adopted the look in the early 80’s, Cinderella, Tina Turner,
Heart, and many others. Mötley’s hairstyle even invaded night-time
soaps when Joan Collins started sporting a Crüe-cut.
the guys would get to the clubs they would grab a stool at the bar.
Because of their local fame, they would have no problem finding a
friend, or a girl who wanted to be a friend, to buy them drinks.
Various people would stop to chat, then around closing time, the Mötley
trio would gather their friends and return to their apartment to
continue the celebration until the sun came up. Members of the band
Ratt would also hang around the clubs and sometimes the party would go
to Robbin Crosby’s place instead of the Crüe's. I would see David Lee
Roth there, on another night maybe Ronnie James Dio, on another night I
found Herman Rarebell (drummer for the Scorpions).
a person was to show up at the Crüe’s apartment before 5pm, before the
regulars showed up, you never know what you may find going on. Since I
owned my own business, my schedule was always very flexible. I would
join the boys about 3-4 times a week at their apartment for partying or
whatever. On one particular afternoon I found them lounging with a
guest. When they introduced me to their guest, my eyes about popped out
of my head. Her name was Roxanne and she was the most gorgeous brunette
(I love brunettes) I had ever had the pleasure of meeting - a perfect
10. In her mid-twenties, this vixen stood about 5' 6” with wavy brown
hair that hung mid-way down her back. Obviously Roxanne was bra-less as
her ample breasts filled her thin tank top revealing the outlines of
her perky nipples. Roxanne’s long shapely legs, equaling any of those
featured in Playboy, were covered only by a black mini-dress. Roxanne
later revealed to me she earned her pay-check working as a high-class
was drinking and just wandering about the apartment when I suddenly
realized I was the only one left in the front room; the entire party
had moved into the bedroom Vince and Tommy shared. Curious to see what
was transpiring, I sneaked down the hall and found the bedroom door
open. Inside, Tommy was telling some corny joke as he jumped up and
down on the bed with two cigarettes hanging from his nostrils. At one
point when Roxanne’s big brown eyes met mine, she bent over at the
waist, hiked her mini-dress above her hips, taking care not to let her
eyes drift from mine. She placed her now exposed bare ass in the
direction of Vince who wasted no time in picking up on her hints.
Dropping to his knees, Vince proceeded to eat her pussy while Nikki,
Tommy and I watched with enthusiasm. Things were becoming increasingly
warm in the bedroom so I went to the kitchen to grab a beer and cool
off. On my way back I noticed that now everyone was back in the living
room listening to the stereo. Before I had a chance to sit down,
Roxanne strolled over and threw her arms around me. She looked over at
Vince and said, “Why didn’t you tell me you had such handsome friends?”
all the while she was rubbing my cock through my pants. Nevertheless,
as soon as she turned on to me she turned herself off. Roxanne knew she
was pretty, and was using her looks to wrap men around her finger. That
is a game I don’t play with women and I eventually excused myself and
left the boys with their new play-mate.
days later, I paid the boys another visit and was surprised to find
Roxanne was still there. I was beginning to think she had moved in with
them. Vince was not home at this time, just Tommy and Nikki. We all sat
down at the dining room table. I sat at one side with Nikki and Tommy
at the other. Roxanne sat between the two boys. All of a sudden an urge
came over Roxanne to remove her top. The loveliest breasts God has ever
created soon were exposed to my eyes. Apparently Tommy and Nikki
thought so too as Nikki started sucking on the right breast while Tommy
enjoyed the left. Tommy soon began slobbering all over Roxanne's neck
and earlobe. Roxie was evidently enjoying this, as moans of ecstasy
began escaping from her sensuous lips. Nikki stood up and went into the
other room for some reason. In his absence I felt obligated to keep her
now vacant breast company. Reaching across, I was about to fondle her
soft breast when she pulled it away and in sort of a dominating voice;
she claimed I wasn’t allowed to touch her. Roxanne and Tommy then
proceeded into the bedroom where Nikki was waiting nude. Tommy and
Roxanne jumped into Tommy’s bed with Nikki and the two cherry busters
proceeded to screw Roxanne in every position imaginable. I watched for
a while, then I slipped out the front door and left them to their fun.
the average reader might be thinking... are you crazy? You should have
joined in! But you see, back then in Hollywood, sex was abundant for
good-looking guys like me... especially a photographer who hung around
rock bands all the time. And it wasn’t just me; pretty much anyone who
was thin, had long hair, wore tight jeans in the early 80’s could get
laid easily. Just walk into any rock club. No need to buy a girl a
drink or dinner, you just walk up to a girl and ask her if she wants to
f@ck and 90% of the time the answer was yes. My record for f@cking
within a 24-hour time period was eight girls, six of which were at the
same time. I knew Roxanne was playing games with me and I also knew it
wasn’t the last time I would see her. So I played my own games and
eventually she invited me to spend the night with her at her apartment
and we f@cked all night long.
their trips from Hollywood to their parents' homes in Covina, Tommy and
Vince would occasionally stop by my photo studio. Lisa usually
accompanied Tommy, while Vince preferred various jailbaits since his
break-up with Leah. On one particular visit, Tommy and I came up with a
unique way of testing their first 7" single on the buying public. Next
door to my studio was an ice cream parlor. I persuaded the owner to
include Mötley’s single into his jukebox. Our idea was to test the
songs on the kids who frequented the parlor. We were quite surprised by
the results we achieved. Everyday the kids would stop by the ice cream
parlor on their way home from school, and everyday the most-played song
on the jukebox was Mötley’s Stick To Your Guns. Tommy and I would sit
in my studio, and because of the thin walls between stores, we were
easily able to hear the songs played on the jukebox. We would count how
many times in an hour the single would play.
the success in the parlor, we decided to try it on a totally different
audience. I hastily persuaded another mall tenant, an Italian
restaurant of all places, to include the single in his jukebox. Once
again the results were positive. The owner was so thrilled he wanted to
meet Tommy the next time Tommy stopped by to visit. I took Tommy over
one day, and after their introduction, the owner threw Tommy out for
entering his establishment barefooted. Well business is business and
you need shoes in a restaurant.
another day at my studio, I had Tommy and Lisa over so I could shoot
some photos of Tommy for his mom. As the photo shoot wore on and Tommy
drank more and more Jack Daniels he really began to loosen up. When I
was done with his photos, he insisted I take some of him and Lisa.
While I clicked off some extra shots, Tommy began pulling his crazy
stunts. While the lovers posed together, Tommy kept pulling up Lisa’s
top to expose her breasts for the camera. Lisa protested at first but
eventually gave in to Tommy’s pleading, on one condition: Tommy would
also have to pose nude. Tommy agreed and even suggested that Playgirl
magazine might be interested in his photos. Tommy quickly disrobed and
started hamming it up for the camera. These were the first nude photos
he had ever done and probably the only images of Tommy nude without any
tattoos. Tommy soon wanted me to take nude photos of his cock at
attention. To get it in that state he had Lisa give him a blowjob while
I snapped photos of her sucking on his large cock (this was many, many
years before his infamous videotape with Pamela of course).
Mötley Crüe became more and more successful in Hollywood I began to
notice a change in attitudes and lifestyles of the band's three most
prominent members in Nikki, Tommy, and Vince. This trio began to live a
fantasy they had always envisioned. As for Mick, he was faithfully tied
to his girlfriend Wendy. After every show, he would always leave with
her and never stayed for the after-party. He just loved being a
homebody. Tommy, Nikki, and Vince soon learned they could have any
woman they desired. The idols they admired now wanted to be their
friends. People would recognise them on the street and ask for their
autographs. They enjoyed this so much it began to affect their
personalities. Nikki and Vince split up with Lori and Leah, the girls
who for so long had supported them (instead of breaking up, Tommy
preferred to cheat on Lisa).
The trio’s main goal with
women became a game. They had a rating system
and would give each other points for the type of girl they slept with.
According to Vince, ten points were awarded if they slept with a
centerfold-type chick, one point for a good looking chick and they
would take away five points for an ugly girl. The last time they
informed me of their standings back then, Vince was in the lead. Each
wanted to earn more points than the other does by scoring with
well-known celebrities and centerfold type 'sluts' (as they called
them). Any other 'sluts' they could find, f@ck, and forget was extra
icing on the cake. On page 62 of The Dirt, Vince talks about Nikki and
him spending the night with two actresses who did the Wrigley’s gum
further attempts to promote themselves and gain needed contacts, Tommy,
Nikki, and Vince began to associate with only those people who could
improve their image, or who could fulfill their basic needs of sex,
drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Anyone else was no longer worth it. These
attitudes began to create quite a stir amongst the Hollywood crowd.
Friends of the Crüe slowly began to feel left out and in resentment
began to call them “the Mütley’s”, or would shout during their live
shows in Hollywood, “Mötley WHO?”. At the same time, Mötley’s peers who
had performed in the same clubs with them began to grow envious of that
raggedy bunch that was getting the best of everything. Words between
the Crüe and other bands was common; the most famous at the time was
the beef with Kevin Dubrow (singer of Quiet Riot). On one dark evening,
members of Lizzy Borden band stole through the night and spray-painted
their band's name on the side of Tommy’s van. Fortunately for Tommy,
his father, ever the resourceful person that he was, was able to remove
the paint without ruining the mural on the side of the van.
the unkind words spoken by the Crüe’s friends, most were by those who
were unable to understand the price a band must pay for fame and
fortune. With Mötley’s popularity came a demand for their time. The
time they would normally spend socializing with friends was now spent
in recording sessions, touring, public appearances, and interviews.
When Mötley Crüe was playing the local clubs they were able to hand out
to their many friends backstage passes to their shows. But after
Elektra came to own them, and since they hadn’t yet made it as a world
famous band, Tommy said they didn’t have the clout to do what they
wanted. Mötley Crüe must play by the record company rules, which meant
each member was only given five passes each. In Tommy’s case, that
meant he could only invite his mother, father, sister, and girlfriend,
leaving him only one extra.
their record contract, the doors of their rehearsal studio were left
open for their friends and the curious. After the record contract, a
guard was posted at those doors and no longer were the Crüe’s friends
able to drop in and watch them practice. Even I was turned away by
those guards one time when I was in the area and wanted to stop in and
say hi. I had to wait out in the hallway until the band went on break
and came out to chat.
who should have felt joy for the Crüe’s success were instead feeling
the bitter taste of resentment for being left out of Mötley’s dream; a
dream they had encouraged and supported. Even the Crüe was feeling the
tension that was growing in their hometown, so they made a small
attempt at solving the problem. After a sold-out show at the Santa
Monica Civic Auditorium, in a show of gratitude for L.A., they opened
the backstage doors for all their fans and friends. The response was
more than anticipated. The backstage area soon was swarming with
pubescent fans seeking autographs from their favorite rock stars. For
nearly an hour, each member of the Crüe remained trapped, each in a
separate corner of the room, until the roadies were able to escort them
away to the after-party at a nearby hotel. As I stood there and
surveyed the crowd, I noticed fewer than four of the Crüe’s friends
from their earlier Hollywood days.
in every career in life, to be a success you must surround yourself
with successful people. And that is what the Crüe did. Some may call it
heartless to replace those who where there for you, but if they can no
longer help you achieve your dreams it is something that has to be done
to rise to the top. Allan Coffman was one of those casualties.
a taped interview on radio station KLOS in January 1982, before Mötley
dumped the man who brought us such a great band, here is what the band
had to say about Allan:
Nikki: “Things really came
together so fast because of Allan. Allan has done so much for us.”
Nikki: “We worked on an eight week basis (referring to their contract
with Allan), now we are on a forever basis.”
Allan: “I consider myself a member of the group. I’ve done everything
from, well anything, any kind of involvement with the group from photo
sessions, press kits, to getting them to McDonalds, to driving Vince to
his voice lessons, to taking care of overdue phone bills…”
Nikki: “We’re family!”
Allan: “… everything, it’s just... just like family.”
Vince: “There are five members of Mötley Crüe!”
Nikki: “I don’t know if that’s unusual in the music business, that’s
the way we want it to be always!”
Allan: “I know I can depend on them, and they know they could depend on
truth was, Allan was not a music industry person and had taken them as
far as he could. You can’t blame the Crüe for getting a more
experienced management team. However, I really think they should have
paid him off for all the money and time he had invested in them. It’s
not like the band is poor.
too was another of the casualties. When they got their record contract,
they informed me that the record company had their own photographer and
I never worked with them again. I can’t blame them. I’m sure the record
company's photographer was much more experienced than I and knew
exactly what they wanted. After the Crüe left L.A. to go touring, I
eventually used my knowledge and skill to work with other top bands who
were visiting L.A. at the time; bands such as the Rolling Stones, The
Tubes, and Tom Petty.
for my friendship with Tommy and the rest of Mötley Crüe, that ended
not much longer after they left to go touring. It’s a bit of a long
story, but here’s what happened…
space for my photo studio was leased in a mall that was owned by an
Italian man. This man’s son (who I will call Joe) was managing the
business next door and we became well-acquainted. Joe bragged to me on
one occasion that his father was part of the Mafia. I never knew if
that was true but I did come to believe it later as I will explain
here. My landlord had just built that mall just previous to me moving
in. Six months later he wanted to sell the mall for five times what it
cost him. Millions of dollars was at stake. The landlord felt that my
business, with all these 'longhaired weirdos' (as he called the
musicians who frequented my studio) and young girls (aspiring models)
was bringing the value of his mall down and he wanted me out so he
could make the big bucks. Unfortunately for him I had a lease and he
couldn’t get me out unless I violated that lease. He had asked me to
leave on a couple of occasions but I too had a lot of money invested in
my business, so I refused to leave. The landlord then hatched a plan to
get me out.
landlord’s son, Joe, had been to my studio on many occasions and knew
that I had done nude photos of Tommy. Joe told his father that I used
drugs and was taking nude photos in my studio. The landlord used that
information to plot his plan against me. The landlord sent his son Joe
to my studio with a young lady. Joe hired me to videotape him and the
girl having sex. I wasn’t the richest guy and I needed money anyway I
could get it (as long as it was legal). The girl had told me she was
divorced and looked to be about 20 years old. I was 23 and naïve and I
didn’t photocopy her driver’s license. Anyhow, after the video was
done, Joe asked to watch it back. As we did so, he asked that I delete
everything except the close-up scene showing the girl’s face sucking a
cock. He’s the client, so I did what he wanted. Joe and the young lady
then left but he left without the videotape. I began to think that was
odd since he just paid me $500 to shoot it. I didn’t worry long as I
knew I would see him around the mall.
next day, the San Gabriel Police Department showed up at my studio. It
turns out the landlord called the police and told them of the video. I
later found out that the Mafia landlord had bribed the police
department and other city officials into doing whatever he asked. The
police show up and say they are there looking for drugs. I ask to see a
search warrant and they don’t have one, but since I have no drugs on
the premises I agree to let them search. The first thing the police do
is head straight to the video machine and promptly begin to playback
the videotape from the day before (which was still in the machine). If
you are looking for drugs you are NOT going to look at a videotape. It
was then that I knew I was set up. The police claim that it is I in the
tape, and that the girl is a minor so they haul me off to jail. They
also find the nude photos of Tommy and Lisa and they claim Tommy is a
prostitute and they file pandering charges against me for procuring him
to appear in the photos. They also confiscated many other things
including my videotape of Mötley Crüe’s performance at Pookies!
Please note that Tommy was not arrested for prostitution nor were any
charges filed against him for said activity. Tommy has not prostituted
himself and this is something the police just made up to make their
case against Will look stronger.)
was in jail for two days before I raised bail. I know exactly how Tommy
was to later feel when he was incarcerated. I too wanted to hang myself
(as he explained in Tommyland). After my release on bail I went back to
work at my studio. My landlord was pissed. His plan didn’t seem to be
working. He decided to take it a step further and have the police
harass me. One day the police waited outside my studio. When I exited
my studio they pulled up, put cuffs on me, and said they had a warrant
for my arrest. I asked to see the warrant. They replied they had forgot
it at the station. The police then searched my vehicle. Finding nothing
and without a valid warrant they had to release me. Other store owners
came out of their businesses and were soon yelling at the officers to
quit their harassment.
that his plan to run me out of town wasn’t working, the landlord
decided to step it up a notch. One day he sent two thugs to my studio
who threw me up against the wall and put a knife to my neck. They
claimed that if I didn’t leave they would slash my neck the next time
they came. After they left I called the San Gabriel Police Department
to file a report but they wouldn’t listen to me. I was the long-haired
young criminal and the landlord was the upstanding citizen in the
community. I eventually started working with a neighboring police
department who informed me that, yes, the San Gabriel Police Department
the prelims of my court case, the District Attorney put the girl’s
grandmother on the stand. Under oath, she flat out lied and said that
she had met me and told me that her granddaughter was only 17. I’m sure
that lady is now rotting in hell for lying under oath. The only person
who could prove my innocence was the girl herself. The prosecutor
wouldn’t allow her to testify during the prelims. My attorney said not
to worry, she would have to show up on the day of the trial and we
would get her to say she had told me she was of age and that it was not
me in the videotape. The day of the trial came and my attorney informed
me that the girl was found dead the day before the trial while in the
police’s protective custody. Either the police or the Mafia had killed
my star witness.
the jury would feel sympathy for the dead girl, my attorney suggested a
plea bargain the DA had offered. I plead guilty to a lesser charge and
there is no jail time, I walk and they get a conviction. If I continue
with the trial and am found guilty, it’s 22 years in the slammer. I
sure would love to have fought it but I knew I was up against a corrupt
system. I took the plea bargain, found a buyer for my studio and I got
the hell out of there. I knew if I hung around that mall anymore I
would end up dead like the girl. I went into hiding for over a year
after that until I felt the landlord was no longer after me. I made no
contact with Mötley Crüe or any of my other friends or clients. I just
had to lay low. I’ll have to add to what Tommy said on page 23 of
Tommyland, don’t EVER videotape yourself, OR ANYONE ELSE, bumpin’ fuzz.
the trial, the nude photos of Tommy were returned to me, but the police
kept all my videotapes including Mötley Crüe’s performance at Pookies.
word of what had happened spread throughout the photography community.
I was blackballed and couldn’t find work. The only one who seemed to
want to work with me was Playgirl magazine. They wanted to publish the
nude photos of Tommy. I agreed to go ahead with the project, since
Tommy himself said he wanted the photos to appear in the magazine. The
photos would not tarnish his image, there had already been previous
news reports of him running naked through hotel hallways and such. The
photos were newsworthy and thus I had the legal right to sell them and
Playgirl had the right to publish them.
wrote to Tommy at his management office, since I didn’t know where else
to find him. I wanted to find out if he had any objection to Playgirl
publishing the photos. A couple of months went by and I heard no
objection from him so I told Playgirl I would go ahead with the
project. That was when Tommy’s attorney sent both Playgirl and I a
letter threatening to sue if the magazine published the nude photos of
Tommy. If you have read Tommy’s book Tommyland, you would know that he
bitches many times throughout the book about those who want to sue him
for his actions. Yet here he is the first to file suit against others.
As Tommy has said, “what comes around goes around” and it has come back
to him many times over since then.
only wanted to publish those shots of him nude and semi-nude, not the
ones with Lisa and the sex. I desperately needed the money to help
cover all the legal costs I had recently incurred. I was praying Tommy
wouldn’t object. Maybe as a way to repay me for the many times I helped
him out, giving him a place to stay, selling him photos at cost or on
many occasions, for free. He did say he owed me one. Still, out of
respect for Tommy, if he didn’t want them published, I wouldn’t have
them published in the magazine. No matter how others treat me (or
mistreat me), I still try to do them right (remember, what comes around
goes around). That’s what friendship is all about. I told Playgirl
magazine to forget it and I dropped the project.
’84 (?) after I came out of hiding, I went back to Hollywood a few
times after Mötley and most all of the other LA bands got signed and
had moved on to touring. Without them the scene was dead. I did run
into Tommy one time at the Troubadour when he was married to Candice.
Tommy and Candice came in and sat at my table and we shot the bull for
a bit. On another trip to the Troubadour, I ran into Nikki and Lita
Ford and we caught up on old times as we stood on Santa Monica
Boulevard in front of the club.
even tracked down Tommy’s parents one time after Tommy had married
Heather. They had moved from Tommy’s childhood home into a new place
where Tommy’s Dad worked. I really liked Tommy’s parents. I had always
wished my parents were more like his. We caught up on old times and
then I asked them to do the Mötley Crüe fans a favor. I wanted to take
all the photos I had of Tommy in all of his bands and put together an
autobiography of Tommy’s life. After Mötley Crüe became big there was
all these people writing books on them, people who were never even
there during Mötley’s rise to fame. One book was even written by a
bouncer in a New York nightclub. Needless to say, most of these books
had the wrong information in them. I felt the Crüe fans needed to hear
the true story from Tommy with my pictures. Tommy’s mom told me a few
days later she had talked to Tommy and he refused to do it.
I left the photography field, I eventually went back to school and
earned a degree in Computer Science. I loved writing gaming software
and I eventually developed several programs for playing online games.
My software became very popular and soon was selling all over the
world. A couple of years later a big software company came along and
bought all the rights to my software. I made a ton of money on that so
I decided to just retire. That’s when I discovered the ponies and poker.
used my new-found wealth to play the horses by day and cards by night.
I eventually met a dealer in this casino who became my wife of ten
years (we divorced in ’97). She talked me into joining the casino and I
now work for the world’s largest card club. I work with the tournaments
and two times a year we do taping for the World Poker Tour, and once a
year we do an episode for the Professional Poker Tour. My job is to get
people into the tournaments and onto the TV shows and hopefully turn
them into millionaires. During the course of my duties I get to work
with all the biggest names in poker.
my spare time, I own and operate two online ventures. One capitalizes
on the growing popularity of poker, and the other is used by myself and
a few select investors to achieve our financial objectives through
my personal life, I have a 14 year-old daughter I am raising on my own
and a 22 year-old son who is making it on his own. I’m currently
engaged to a fantastic 34 year-old woman, who a few years back, was a
local beauty queen. She won the title of Miss Vietnamese Los Angeles.
you have it!
Now you've learnt some more about this period in Tommy Lee's life,
you can learn a lot more about him in his autobiography Tommyland.
it Now >>
text and photos Copyright 2005 by Will Boyett
and must not be used in any way without permission.
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