The eight-episode series, which premieres with three episodes on Feb. 2, chronicles Crue drummer Tommy Lee‘s whirlwind romance with Pamela Anderson and the leak of the honeymoon sex tape that the newlyweds made in 1995. But it also reveals the contemporaneous issues plaguing Motley Crue, who reunited with original singer Vince Neil in 1996 and fought to stay relevant amid the alt-rock storm of the mid-’90s.
One particularly ego-bruising scene in Pam & Tommy shows Lee entering a recording studio to work on the next Motley Crue album. He heads toward Studio A, only for the receptionist to awkwardly inform him that the Crue have been bumped to Studio B to make room for their Elektra labelmates Third Eye Blind, who are booked into the big room for the next six weeks. Lee and bassist Nikki Sixx then storm into Studio A to chew out the up-and-coming alt-rockers.
It’s not difficult to imagine the hotheaded duo flying off the handle at the news that a relatively unknown band had taken priority over Motley Crue, who sold millions of albums and became one of the biggest rock bands of the previous decade. And it would make sense, given both bands’ trajectories at the time.
In 1997, Motley Crue released Generation Swine, a puzzling hodgepodge of alt-metal and industrial rock that was eviscerated by critics and barely went gold. That same year, Third Eye Blind released their self-titled debut album, which spawned the smash hits “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper” and sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S.
Despite its believability, however, the Motley Crue-Third Eye Blind scuffle almost certainly did not take place.
For one, both bands recorded their respective albums in different locations. Motley Crue set up shop at myriad studios around Los Angeles for Generation Swine, including Music Grinder Studios and Conway Studios in Hollywood and the Enterprise in Burbank. Meanwhile, the liner notes for Third Eye Blind say the album was “recorded in and around San Francisco at Toast Studios, Skywalker Ranch and H.O.S.”
Cofounding Third Eye Blind guitarist Kevin Cadogan, who played on the band’s first two albums before leaving in 2000, also has no recollection of booting Crue from the studio. “I am not aware of any studio issues with Motley Crue,” he tells UCR. “We were rising fast back then, so wouldn’t surprise me if a studio bumped Crue for us. Certainly wouldn’t be the case now though!” (Third Eye Blind’s publicist said the band was “unavailable to comment.”)
Even if the Motley Crue-Third Eye Blind beef is a fabrication, Pam & Tommy has no shortage of sordid, real-life drama. As with all things Motley Crue, the truth is often more grotesque than fiction.
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee Photos
See dozens of photos of one of rock’s most famous couples.