Tommy Lee showed us one of rock history's oddest moments

It was 20 years ago today. ... No, this story has nothing to do with The Beatles. But on March 25, 1990, a concert at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center made rock history in the most unlikeliest of ways.


Even the national media in that pre-Internet era reported on the "incident" almost immediately.

What drew media attention was Mötley Crüe's drummer, Tommy Lee, who dropped his trou while taking a bow.

All of this in front of young, local impressionable guys and, of course, Girls, Girls Girls. Oh, the inhumanity!

Mötley Crüe had appeared in Augusta in 1985 on its Theatre of Pain tour. The group knew that Augusta audiences were not as jaded as crowds in larger markets and were ripe for the picking.

By 1990, Crüe was at its peak. The band was touring behind its fifth album, Dr. Feelgood, its first No. 1 disc.

Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx and our man Lee were also in the midst of charting three hit singles: Kickstart My Heart, Without You and Dr. Feelgood .

The band took the stage to an ear-splitting roar from the crowd. Hit after hit was received with deafening cheers, and after an hour or so it was time for drummer Tommy Lee to do his signature "act."

No, it wasn't that!

Lee was married to actress and former Victoria's Secret model Heather Locklear, and his reputation for being quite the man was carnal, er, common knowledge to his fans and the media.

Augustan (and major Crüe fan) Trey Simmons, who was at the concert, picks up the story:

"The band had been on stage for about an hour when Lee and his drums came out over the top of the crowd. The place was going crazy!

"At the end of his drum solo with the drums back on the stage floor, Tommy was acknowledging the cheers when he suddenly turned around, and to the shock of everyone, dropped his pants right before his spotlight went out.

"Lee then ran off the stage, wearing only a g-string!"

Augusta police were not amused.

Simmons continues: "The rest of the band seemed to act as if they didn't know what was going on. Vince Neil and Mick Mars came back to the stage, and Mick was still playing his guitar unaware that his drummer was gone!

"The floor lights came on right as Neil made some derogatory comments about Augusta's police department, which, of course, did not go over well with our men in blue."

The rest of the band rushed offstage as the cops took over the proceedings.

The Augusta police came onstage and "told everyone to leave the building" which, of course, did not go over well with the charged-up Augusta crowd.

Says Simmons: "The air was very heavy inside the building, and some of the fans began to boo and throw things onto the stage. Police were everywhere inside and outside the center."

Dave Bourbo, then working vice and narcotics for the old city police department and now a well-respected sergeant with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, was working the show that night.

"Crüe's manager came to me before the show and actually asked me what the ramifications would be if Lee 'mooned' the audience.

"I told them that Augusta had a new local ordinance that prohibited that behavior and if anyone did that it would result in a small fine.

"The manager smiled at me and left," said Bourbo.

I showed Bourbo (whose personal tastes in rock back then were more aligned towards Ted Nugent than Mötley Crüe) a copy of the original police department citation in his handwriting, and he laughed.

"See, we charged him with 'Indecent Exposure/Live Sexually Explicit Act' as it states on the report. But we didn't really arrest him. He followed us down to 401 (the jail), and he signed the citation and paid his fine.

"He could not have been a nicer guy, and the entire group was extremely cordial and even thanked us for doing our jobs!"

So, the Tommy Lee arrest in Augusta was apparently nothing more than a well-planned publicity stunt that certainly was worth a great deal more than his $1,647 fine.

The story made newspapers and even Rolling Stone magazine.

Just like Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, it was a brilliant stroke of theatrics from a band clever enough to pick just the right city and create a memory that will remain in rock history forever.



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