The Tommy Lee Crüecifly Kit explained A breakdown of all the tech, gear and his flying kits history Tommy Lee and Mötley Crüe are saying farewell to touring on their global "All Bad Things Must Come to an End" - The Final Tour. They leave the arena's with a bang, and of course with Tommy's act with his insane Crüecifly kit, built onto a roller coaster track that spins in a loop and ascends about 60 feet in the air. We decided to collect all the info we could find on this drumset and its spectacular construction - just because we wanted to know.

So, why don't we see his drumsticks falling out of his stickbag? Or, what are those lights on the track? Or, what are those drumheads you see in all the videos available? Let's go through the whole Crüecifly info, from technical details and the gear used, to the almost overcomplete info and videos of the Crüecifly, closing with a history of Tommy Lee's flying kits.

On February 11, Mötley Crüe's Final Tour continued in Kobe, Japan. After that the band will play a few high-profile festivals in Europe before sweeping one final time through North America. Before they head back out, they debuted their final song as a touring band, All Bad Things, the band's first release since it posted Sex in 2012. To mark the end of their touring career, Mötley Crüe will play their final show and conclude their two-year long tour at the end of 2015 in the Staples Center in their hometown of Los Angeles on New Years Eve 2015. Fun fact: the 2014 leg of 'The Final Tour' was one of last year's top-grossing tours, selling close to a million tickets across 72 cities and grossing more than $45 million.

Mötley Crüe has been rocking world wide stages for over 30 years. During that time, they have accumulated worldwide album sales exceeding 80 million, seven platinum or multi-platinum albums, 22 Top 40 mainstream rock hits, six Top 20 pop singles, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, three Grammy nominations, four New York Times bestsellers, including the band's biography, The Dirt. The biopic of the book is going forward!

Mötley Crüe - All Bad Things

Pearl / E-Pro Live / Tru Trac Drumheads
The Pearl company took care of the assembly of Tommy's Crüecifly kit for this last tour. Tommy Lee uses Pearl drums and an E-Pro Live drum kit. Pearl drums have been put to the test for this drumset. The set went through a rigorous series of tests before finally hitting the stage. Neccessary of course, because the drums flips upside-down while suspending 50 feet above the ground, traveling the length of an arena floor. An exhausting series of tests and configurations were conducted in order to determine several necessary factors including width and length of the drums in proportion to the riser, weight distribution, playability and the reaction of the drums while upside down and traveling, and, Tommy's comfortably behind the kit.

Flying sticks
So why aren't we seeing any sticks falling off the rotating drums up in the air? Just like Ray Luzier from Korn, Tommy uses the Zero-G drumstick holders from Maxonix. You can mount these anywhere on the drums and they will stay there until you grab them, even when you're doing a mid-air flip. We don't recommend trying this at home, or anywhere else...

The Roller Coaster Runway Lights
Matt Mills, lighting director and programmer on The Final Tour who worked for bands like Daughtry, Staind, Three Doors Down, Nelly Furtado and Linkin Park, about the runway lights:
"The main look Tommy wanted was one similar to the runway lights you see at the airport. The Crüecifly has two runs of truss, each approximately 200' long, that support Tommy's drum kit as he flies from the stage to a landing platform behind FOH. I had the guys mount, actually tape, the Flex Tape to the top cord of the truss so it would be safe from all the machinery."

These are the Elation Flex LED highlights. The complete track is lined with Elation LED tape and Martin MAC 101s. Around the drum kit are LED rings called Bright Beats that Tommy Lee triggers from his drum pads. Matt uses a total of 400' of Flex Pixel Tape on the Crüecifly and has programmed a wide variety of effects besides the airport runway look.

The builders of the Crüecifly
The roller coaster itself was built by an overhead rigging company from Las Vegas named Show Group Production Services, Inc. This company has worked with Mötley Crüe for 30 years and created Tommy Lee's spectacular stage settings. SGP has worked for acts like Kiss, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, Beyonce and many tv and movie productions as well.

Plsn.com, a website for projection, lights and staging news, talked with Eric Pearce, owner of SGP, about the Crüecifly.
"The actual fabrication was done in a great rush, because it took a while for management to approve the finances and to get the thing really into a 'go' condition. Basically, the whole thing was designed and built in less than six weeks.

Everything is double- or triple- secured. The drum kit is welded to plates on the rotating deck, with secondary attachments for the individual parts. It's radio-controlled and miked, with a UPS unit supplying power.

The horizontal speed of the Crüecifly is limited. It's going through changing radius curves, from tracking on the inside of a curve to tracking on the outside of a curve. Every time it transitions, the program has to speed up and slow down the opposing drive wheels to get through that transition point, then accelerate and slow down and run them at different speeds as it hits the next changing curve.

Programming-wise, it's very complex to go around these multiple curves. Four drive units drive simultaneously. As their position changes as they move along the track, their speed relative to each other has to change. That alone took about 20 hours of programming to figure out."
Pearce also says on plsn.com that Tommy Lee didn't have 'more than a day or so of rehearsal before the first show.'

The full Crüecifly package takes four hours to erect and is designed for major arenas. In venues where the roof is not strong enough or there is no roof, a modified segment of the system takes Tommy Lee only a short distance out from the stage. And that is why you also have the shorter Crüecifly roller coaster.

Tommy Lee's gear
Tommy's main gear on stage are: Pearl drums, E-Pro Live, Tru Trac Drumheads, Zildjian cymbals, Remo Drum Heads, Ahead drumsticks, Elation Flex LED highlights, and the Maxonix Zero-G® drumstick holder. Tommy also uses Pintech Percussion triggers for his acoustic shells, and to trigger the Bright Beats lights.

He uses the following Zildjian cymbals in his set-up:
  • 21" Sweet ride
  • 21" Custom 20th Anniversay Ride
  • 21" K Crash/Ride
  • 18" A-Heavy Crash
  • 18" A China
  • 16" K series Hi-Hats
  • 9.5" Large Zil-bel
The Crüecifly videos
Tommy Lee wanted the sequence of his Crüecifly solos filmed from every angle. His Production Director, Bobby Hewitt, hired Unmanned Experts' (UMEX) lead SUAS pilot and safety team to get footage of the aerial display. This all resulted in the video below, as seen on Tommy Lees' YouTube channel.

Tommy Lee - Crüecifly Live

And here's a 10-minute video of Tommy Lee's solo in Denver on February 8, 2014. Dont't mind the audio, the footage is cool!

Tommy Lee Roller Coaster Drum Solo

Tommy Lee testing The Cruecifly kit's lighting system (phone quality)

Tommy Lee's Flying drum kits history
The Crüecifly-idea didn't just came overnight. It is the culminating result of two decades of flying, turning, rolling and spinning drumsets Tommy Lee has played on stage. It started in 1985 during the 'Welcome to the Theatre of Pain Tour'. Watch the drumset tilt 90 degrees here:

Welcome to the Theatre of Pain Tour (1985)

Girls Girls Girls Tour (1987)
During this tour, Tommy spins in the air above the audience. Here's a video from October 15, 1987 in Tacoma, Washington.

Dr. Feelgood World Tour (1990) - The flying and rotating drum solo
The drum set flies above the crowd, live in New York on November 4, 1990.

'The Loop' - the 360 drum roller coaster
This is where the term roller coaster first appears. During the drum solo the kit with Tommy behind it makes a 360 degree 'flight' on stage, with a new passenger every show. 'The Loop' is used on several tours from 2011 to 2013.

Final Tour with "Cruecify" drum set (2014-2015)
More great footage of Tommy Lee up in the air above arena crowds all over the world. When the roof is strong enough, that is!
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