It was a cold evening in the arse end of Birmingham in early December 2019. Back when live gigs were still a thing!
I was early , as usual, for a gig. So early that I didn’t even know where to queue!. After a couple of hours of solitude a couple came up to me and asked if this was the right place for the Mike Monroe gig. I said yes and we got chatting. They turned out to be Tommy and Lisa. I ended up hooking up with them for a lot of the remaining dates and we have been friends ever since.
Little did I know at the time that Tommy was a Motley Crue Mega fan and Crew author. This does not do justice to the guy and his story/ collection/ gig history. The short interview that follows probably doesn’t either but hopefully gives a bit of an insight into how much music can mean.
What is your earliest memory of music?
Elvis Presley. I remember my mother just putting me in front of the TV and seeing this guy. I did not know who he was but his voice – everything about him was captivating. I still listen to Elvis now, especially in times when I am not feeling at my best. He lifts me up.
When did Rock music start to become your passion?
1976. I saw what looked like four masked superheroes called Kiss. They looked like comic book characters and I was hooked. I bought a music magazine that included an article on Kiss and that was it – they were my first rock obsession. I built up a huge collection of Kiss memorabilia and ended up selling the entire collection in the early 2000s for a LOT of cash and all of that cash got “re-invested” in Motley Crue.
I vowed to myself very early on in the 80s that I would go to any millennium gig that they would do – which was about 20 years away. It ended up being Vancouver and – with a lot of trials and tribulations I got to the show.
Was it worth it?
No! There were technical faults and all sorts of issues but it was a massive disappointment and proved to be a VERY long way home. Motley Crue were already in my life then, but the big gap left by the KISS disappointment was about to be filled in the most amazing way.
How did you initially discover Motley Crue?
I worked in a record store in 1983 when Shout at the Devil came out – the same year that Kiss dropped their make up. The album had huge shiny black pentagram on the front and a gatefold cover . Inside was the most incredible splash of colour and make up . I put the record on in the shop and after two songs I just said to myself “ this is it” . This is what I have been looking for.
What has it ended up being ?
I have seen the band 166 times, toured the world at least 3 times over to see them in so many different places and have ended up, apparently , with the biggest Motley Crue memorabilia collection in Europe. I have written a book and created a Motley Crue exhibition that was held in a museum in Ornskoldsvik in the Autumn of 2016. I have stage outfits, props, microphones, drums, guitars, picks, shoes, boots, caps- just so much. I never managed to get the mighty mouse off of Tommy’s drum kit from the Theatre of Pain tour however!
Can you remember the first time you met the band?
Copenhagen 1986 on the Theatre of Pain tour. Me and my friend Dan managed to get hold of a backstage pass and I just walked in the stage door and ended up in the dressing room. It was like a dream sequence that I still cannot believe actually happened. People do not get to do that kind of thing – then or now- But somehow I did.
I came out in a daze with drumsticks, towels and all sorts of stuff so at least I know it really did happen!
Was it easy to get backstage?
Yes very! I was a very shy kid but I put the pass on my jacket and just walked in. There was no fencing or security or anything so I just went in and sat down. Some of the band was already there so I just sat there and listened and chatted- unbelievable! I still have everything from that night.
How do you describe your relationship with the band and their music?
I have given up everything for this . I said to myself that if I was going to do it, then I am going to put everything into it. My purpose of life became the band- no car, no house, no kids, no anything except touring and collecting. I would describe it as an addiction.
Do you think a dedication or a commitment is a better way of describing it ?
Maybe. I do get so many positives from it. The people I have met, the interaction with the band, the mental wellbeing and peace that it gives me and the array of experience that I have had. I suppose addiction makes it sound less positive than it actually is.
What do you think of fan groups / fan sites etc?
They are not for me anymore. I completely understand that they work for some people but there tends to be a lot of competition and bitchiness in a lot of cases. I also began to get recognition / popularity etc and that was not for me. I am a shy ordinary guy with an extraordinary story I guess but I know why I did this and it was for me- not for anyone else………..
This interview only scratches the surface of an incredible story of an amazing guy. Tommy has truly – as his book title suggests- lived a life!
He is also one of the most lovely open, friendly guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I now consider him to be a very good friend and a kindred spirit.
The book is called Motley Crue. An exhibition- a life lived by Tommy Foldrup. It is hard to get hold of but well worth it if you do. Also there are loads of internet articles on him and the exhibition.