Tommy Lee Declares He’s ‘Back’ to Playing Full Shows After Breaking Ribs

by Alex Falls

It’s been a rough month for Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. Two weeks before the band was set to head off on their long-delayed North American stadium trek on June 16, alongside Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Lee sustained a major injury in Nashville where Crüe rehearsed. The incident resulted in four broken ribs.

Desperate to not pull out of the tour, Lee has been striving to play as much of each set as possible. Once he can’t continue, he hands the drum sticks to his stand-in, Tommy Clufetos. But at the quartet’s recent show on June 28 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Lee finally made it through an entire performance. 

“I’m back kids!!! Can’t even tell ya how fucking pumped I am to smash drums for the whole show,” Lee wrote in celebration on Twitter. “It’s been really frustrating playing a few songs here n there…let’s go!!!!”

How Did Tommy Lee Sustain the Injury?

Lee has been reluctant to tell the story of how sustained the injuries himself. He would only describe the incident as not “cool” or “bada**” in any way. However, his wife, Brittany Furlan, detailed the story recently in a Snapchat reported by Louder Sound.

According to Furlan, the 59-year-old musician broke four ribs on his right side after falling down the stairs of a rental home. She said he took the tumble while carrying too many bags up the stairs.

“So, the day that we were leaving Nashville, our driver came and we had all this luggage and he wasn’t helping us; he just stayed in the car,” Furlan said. “And so Tommy was trying to carry all of our luggage for us. And he fell down these crazy stairs and broke — broke — four ribs. Not fractured, not bruised — broke. And it was crazy, ’cause I came out and he couldn’t breathe. It was really scary. He was on the ground [and] he was gasping for air.”

Once Lee learned the gravity of his injury, his doctors tried to keep him off the road entirely. But Lee wouldn’t have any of that as he played as much as he could while the injury healed. Furlan detailed just how much fortitude her husband showed to get on stage in front of the band’s fans.

“And he got on a plane that day still and went and did the rest of rehearsals [for the tour] in Pennsylvania. He went to the hospital in Pennsylvania when we landed and they were, like, ‘You have four broken ribs.’ And they wanted to keep him there, but he did not wanna stay,” Furlan said. “He’s just a fighter. He’s the toughest guy I know. I mean, look at all his tattoos; he just really fights through the pain.”