Look out, because Tommy Lee is now part of the South Beach partyscape. He has officially kicked off his new club ROK Bar after months of waiting for construction to wrap up, and a previous unofficial opening that the rock star skipped out on because he supposedly couldn't find a baby sitter for his kid (though the grapevine says he was partying at Privé with pals Naomi Campbell and Lenny "Look What I've Done to My Hair" Kravitz).
Finally the ex-drummer for pop metal gods Motley Crüe appeared last Thursday, May 27, to christen a joint that promises to knock South Beach snooties in the hoohas. And it was a big deal. Television cameras were positioned behind a velvet rope, correspondents from national publications like People and Us Weekly lined a red carpet, and I was behind them all hopping and yelling, "Tommy, Tommy, I want to have your baby!"
I'm just kidding, I wasn't hopping at all. But I was confident that despite the presence of all those accomplished journalists, my prior experience as a headbanger and thorough knowledge of Tommy's history would make me his favorite scribe. Except, as I stood there, last in line for an interview, his manager and PR people gave me certain instructions. I must look like an asshole because no other reporter was confronted like this. Anyhoo, the guidelines were simple: No Pam Anderson questions, stay off of his big dick, and forget about harping on about how great Motley Crüe was. "Tommy is here to talk about ROK Bar," the manager told me. Okay, I nodded, secretly plotting to sneak in something like, "Were you just 'Smokin' in the Boys Room'?" In fact, last Wednesday at a Sagamore Hotel party, I saw Tommy and hollered, "Do you still 'Shout at the Devil'?" He pumped his fists in the air with the sign of the devil, his index and pinky fingers as erect as I am when in the presence of Tara Ink publicists.
But Tommy didn't look that comfortable when he dealt with the press. His hat was riding low over his eyes. His tall, lanky figure sat slouched. And the expression on his face said, "Enough already." So I put him at ease. "Yeeeah!" was how I introduced myself, waving the obligatory sign of the devil. He cracked his first smile of the night.
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Then it was on to a conversation about his reason for opening a "rock" bar in a place saturated with dance crap. "Hold on, don't say crap -- I like the techno, I love to mix the beats, but what South Beach needs is a rock bar. People are dancing to rock and roll again. It's time," Tommy said.
He talked about his latest musical endeavor -- mashing. "The next new thing is mixing old-school rock songs with funky house tracks. You bring in the boom, boom, boom," he told me. "Dudes like to rock and chicks like to dance, so why not mash it together? You're gonna see me do it tonight." Tommy eventually spun a quick late-night set that was surprisingly tight for a rocker turned DJ, and the crowd dug it. Ironically, for a place called ROK Bar, no rock bands are scheduled to play there anytime soon, but there are plans to bring some in the future. At least I got to be at a posh nightclub in South Beach with people who sang along to Twisted Sister songs.
The actual club is pretty neat. A rosy neon hue dominates the walls, which are splashed with titles of rock tunes. It's kind of Mynt small, which made it comfy enough for a crowd that was a mix between DesDis type hipsters and SoBe pretty people. Co-owners Sean Saladino and Nicola Siervo of Mynt fame and fortune took the same detailed approach to the club's décor as they did with its green neighbor, only with a few clever twists. The VIP section is elevated twenty feet in the air; you get to it by climbing a ladder. The urinals in the men's room are the smartest things a club has come up with since the teepees at Nikki Beach allowed you to blaze a blunt without getting busted. They have the traditional urinal shape but are set low, practically on the ground. The positioning serves a purpose, though: No more drunk dumbfucks pissing all over the floor.
As for the budding relationship between Tommy Lee and me? I think it will go somewhere. Before he left, I was finally able to ask him a Crüe question. Are you still "Too Fast for Love"? "Always, baby," he replied. Then I let him know that I'd be chasing him around, since he said he'd be coming to town a lot. I asked him if he'd remember me. With a tilt of his head and a grin, he kissed me on the cheek. As of press time, I still haven't washed it off.