Richard Marx Says He Wasn’t Sure What To Expect From Tommy Lee

Musical collaborations are a way for musicians to celebrate each other’s talent. Even if sometimes it might lead to creative differences between artists, it is often fun to compose and work together. An exemplary collaboration has been the one between Richard Marx and Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee. While chatting with Ultimate Classic Rock, the musician recalled the time he collaborated with the drummer and revealed their first meeting.

The duo had worked on Marx’s track ‘Street of Pain’ as Tommy Lee was featured in the song with his drum rhythms. Since then, they have maintained a close relationship, and upon being asked how Richard came to know Lee, the singer recollected their first encounter. Marx said they met in 1990 and noted that he didn’t know Tommy before their collaboration.

The musician exclaimed that he was off touring for the first time in three years. At the time, he and his ex-partner were invited to a Sacramento Kings basketball game. The couple’s seats were reserved in the VIP section, and then Marx and Lee met for the first time.

Tommy Lee was at the game with his then-wife, actress Heather Locklear. Since Marx and Locklear were acquaintances, they started to chat. During the period, Mötley Crüe was enjoying the height of their fame, and Richard revealed that he didn’t know what to expect from Lee. Yet, he turned out to be really nice and friendly, which was quite surprising for him considering Mötley Crüe’s worldwide fame at the time.

The musician recalled his first encounter with Lee:

We didn’t really know each other until working together. This was in 1990. I toured 30 months out of three years, and I was finally home. My ex and I got invited to a Sacramento Kings game. They put us in one of those celebrity VIP boxes. Sitting next to us were Heather Locklear and Tommy Lee.

Heather and I had met years before, even before I had a record deal, briefly. So we were saying, ‘Hi, how’s it going!’ Tommy was so charming and so nice. You never know because Mötley Crüe were huge at the time, and I was really doing well. Sometimes, people can just be a d*ck. I wasn’t sure what to expect.”

Marx expressed that Tommy praised his songwriting and asked the musician about his then-current projects. Richard disclosed that he was working on and mapping out his third studio album. Upon hearing this, Lee offered to help if Marx ever needed a drummer. The musician initially questioned Lee’s offer but said he would love to play with him. Two weeks later, the drummer walked into the studios for a collaboration.

Richard Marx recalled Lee offering to work with him:

“He was so nice and charming and really complimentary and said, ‘Man, I really love your songwriting. What are you doing?’ He was genuine. I said, ‘Well, I’m just starting my third album. It’s kind of all over the map. I’ve written a bunch of songs.’ He said, ‘Well if you need a drummer or something.’ I said, ‘Dude, don’t say that without meaning it because I’d love to have you play on it.’ Two weeks later, he walked into A&M Studios, which is now Henson Studios.”

Even if Richard Marx was a bit hesitant toward Tommy Lee at first glance, the duo quickly connected. Their collaboration led to the birth of ‘Street of Pain,’ a song that Toto’s Steve Lukather and Randy Jackson also played on.

You can listen to the track below.