Machine Gun Kelly on Playing Mötley Crüe Bad Boy Tommy Lee In ‘The Dirt’

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Mötley Crüe’s 2001 group memoir, The Dirt, is aptly named in additional methods than one: a filter-free chronicle of the hair steel band’s debaucherous 1980s, the tales inside vary from the obscene-and-fun (tourmate Ozzy Osbourne snorts ants earlier than lapping Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx’s urine off the sidewalk!) to the obscene-and-disturbing (drummer Tommy Lee knocks out his then-girlfriend’s enamel, having found she bought sexually express images of them to a porn journal). The tonal whiplash of the guide appeared to render it unadaptable, till now: Netflix’s movie of the identical identify debuts March 22, with rapper Machine Gun Kelly -- going by his authorities identify, Colson Baker -- rocking an impressive shag as Lee. “I learn The Dirt after I was 13. It was my Bible,” says Baker, although he says his emotions on the Crüe’s unhealthy habits have developed since then. As Baker headed to the airport to get to his daughter’s violin recital, the 28-year-old opened up about shitty tattoos and what it appears like when followers need you to reside like a miscreant.

How did you get this half? 
Oh, my God, that was, I feel, a six-audition course of. The first two, I used to be auditioning for Nikki Sixx, after which the final 4 for Tommy Lee, over the course of two-and-a-half years.

Had you worn heels earlier than?
Nothing like what they had been carrying. But Tommy was massive into Chucks and stuff like that again within the day. He was at all times carrying some combo of excessive white tube socks with [Nike] Cortezes with full hair steel glam gear.

From the calves down, that’s nonetheless wearable!
It is!

When did you first meet Lee?
He and I had partied collectively in Atlanta -- we had been on the identical present collectively. And I've his “Mayhem” tattoo [for Lee’s band Methods of Mayhem].

Makeup artists needed to cowl up your personal full torso of tattoos to re-create Lee’s.
Many of my tattoos took much less time than these prosthetics took.

What is your favourite ink of Lee’s?
I like his shitty Mighty Mouse tattoo -- the primary one which he bought. It’s simply such a “first tattoo."

Was the approach to life described in The Dirt the one you needed?
Definitely. I had the unsuitable idols rising up, for certain.

What story in The Dirt made you suppose, “I need to be these individuals”?
Can we have now that query as a substitute be, “What was the gnarliest half?” Because the story that [made me] ask my associates, “Did you even know this was attainable?” was after they referred to as a woman’s mother on a cellphone that was up her vagina. It nonetheless is nearly unimaginable.

Lee is so childlike in his vitality and romanticism. It’s arduous to remain mad at him, even when, as he readily admits, his habits is reprehensible.
Tommy is just like the pet canine of the group. He makes errors, however you form of love him extra when he’s making errors.

You and Douglas Booth, who performs Sixx, turned shut. Did your exploits reside as much as Sixx and Lee’s?
Our first night time collectively in New Orleans, [director] Jeff Tremaine demanded that we exit and have beers and actually bond. Within the primary 30 minutes, Doug was like, “I’m Nikki Sixx, bitch!” and bit [Tremaine’s] shoulder so arduous he nonetheless has chunk marks and purple rings across the chunk marks. As quickly as Doug bit the director, we knew that it was going to be a experience.

Has your response to the darker moments in The Dirt modified because you learn it as a youngster?
When you’re 13, you don’t actually perceive issues an excessive amount of, so that you’re simply all of the issues that glitter. It wasn’t till we had been on set and doing these scenes that we had been like, “Whoa, that is darkish. What are individuals going to consider this?” But there’s one thing in regards to the fact in that guide -- the truth that you do fall in love with these individuals [who] then do that big nostril dive into this darkish place.

Do you're feeling stress to reside out what the general public thinks you're?
My first single that got here out was “Wild Boy.” What do you suppose everybody who got here as much as me -- whether or not it was at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m. -- anticipated me to be? [They were] anticipating me to be on high of a desk, breaking glass and out of my thoughts.

Did you play that function or resent it?
It was solely punk rock when it was towards what they had been anticipating. As quickly as they need that, you need to transfer on to one thing else and get them to fall in love with that. That’s the way you evolve. [The Dirt] is only a extra intensified model of what all of our lives actually are: making errors and rising from them. No one simply will get it proper.

This article initially appeared within the Jan. 12 challenge of Billboard.