Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee was a recent guest on the Club Random With Bill Maher podcast, and while the conversation started with Lee discussing the recent celebration of one year of sobriety, it turned to discussing a bit of Lee’s prior excesses with drugs and alcohol. At one point, the drummer told Maher that he used to drink two gallons of vodka a day.
“I just celebrated a year of sobriety,” said Lee, with Maher joking, “What’s there to celebrate?” Lee countered, “That’s the problem. I make it a year and then I’m so stoked that I made it a year that I celebrate.”
After discussing some of the things he did in his youth, like Motley Crue challenging Guns N’ Roses to see who could outdrink the other, Lee spoke specifically about his alcohol intake during those early days.
“Alcohol’s such a fuckin weird one, because… Fuck! It’s just — it’s easy to fall in love with, the way it makes you feel, the way it makes you relax, and then all of a sudden you’re, like, ‘Fuck! I’m drinking two gallons of vodka a day?’ This is not… You’re trying to kill yourself now,” said Lee.
When Maher expressed his surprise at the amount Lee offered, the drummer reiterated, “Yeah. Two gallons of shit. I swear to you — dude, I swear to God.” He went on to add that this was his drinking habit for “a long time,” noting, “Your liver is on crutches at that point; it’s just barely functioning.”
Luckily for Lee, the band as a whole became self aware of their various bouts with excess and decided to make a move toward something healthier as the ’80s came to an end. “In ’89, ’90 is when, as a band, we decided, we were, like, ‘Okay dude, so someone’s gonna not wake up one morning. This is getting fucking ridiculous,'” recalled the drummer, adding, “You know what Halcions were? We would take a handful of those and fucking pound a bottle of Jack and then go out for the evening. You take those to go to sleep for a long time. So it was that kind of shit where someone was gonna fucking not wake up.”
Over the course of the discussion, Lee admitted to going through periods of sobriety (one time reaching four years) only to return to past habits. “I go through these phases where I want to live a different life and fuck all the dumb shit,” he said. “Then I decide, ‘You know what? I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to have fun and play and be fucked up and stupid.'”
That said, the 61-year-old musician, reveals that with all the excess, he still has come through it mostly healthy. “I just did the full body scan, where they do, head to toe everything, and I can’t believe — smoking, drinking, all the fucking dumb shit, or the fun shit that I’ve done. Dude, the doctor was, like, ‘You’re good.’ And I was, like, ‘Are you sure you have the…? Let me see. Is that my name on there, or is there some Japanese guy in here that you have his results that you’re reading from? Because I find that fucking impossible. This is impossible,'” he laughingly explained.
“I must have a horse shoe stuck in my butt. I’m really lucky. I’m grateful,” he said. “I was doing some pretty serious damage that probably would’ve hurt anybody else pretty badly.”
Lee’s full discussion with Maher, which details further moments of excess, can be viewed below.
Tommy Lee Speaks With Bill Maher on the Club Random Podcast
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug and/or alcohol dependence, help is available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. To speak to someone on the phone, dial 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357) or send a text message to 1-800-487-4889.
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