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Tommy, could there be more?

January 22, 2006|Chris Lee | Special to The Times

ALREADY a rock star memoirist, reality-TV personality and sex tape sensation, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee is no stranger to the media gantlet.

Now, after more than a decade of tabloid scrutiny as the on-again, off-again squire of Pamela Anderson (and father of her two sons), he's going to add a new title to his resume: documentary subject.

This spring, the bad boy rocker plans to go before the lens of award-winning filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky, director of the warts-and-all documentary "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster."

"I had to do this," Lee said just days before leaving for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where he is scheduled to perform as a guest DJ while doing advance promotion for the as-yet-untitled film. "Everybody wants to be liked or admired. And when people only know you from tabloid snippets that have piled up over the years, you want to set everyone straight."

Unlike with his appearance on NBC's unscripted series "Tommy Lee Goes to College," or publishing his bestselling 2004 autobiography, "Tommyland," Lee views the documentary as the best way to put the real Tommy Lee on display.

"Doing the show, to me, that's not real -- it's a little slice of who you are," Lee said. "There's so much more that's going on in my life that isn't suitable for prime-time network TV."

The director and his subject have yet to decide upon a narrative arc, but, Lee said, "Bruce has got some dark, really cool, bizarre ideas -- it seems like a nice match."

And if the film presents a less-than-flattering portrait of him?

"That's cool," he said. "People's lives aren't always bright and sunny. That's not reality."

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Kinda sorta Andre 3000

Their outlandish professional aliases aside, OutKast's Andre 3000; Tom Kenny, a.k.a. the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants; and hip-hop chanteuse Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins from TLC would seem to have little in common.

But all three are lending their voices to Cartoon Network's "Untitled Andre Benjamin Project," a prime-time cartoon series set to begin airing in the fall.

Flamboyant hip-hop wordsmith Andre 3000 (real surname: Benjamin), the project's executive producer, is keeping schtum on the details, saying little more than that the show is "kinda sorta" based on his life: "It's about music, kids, funk and sophistication," Benjamin said.

Meanwhile, Cartoon Network adds only that the plot centers on "a group of musically gifted kids and an unlikely visitor that brings sunshine into their lives."

Four of a planned 12 half-hour episodes have already been produced. But for Benjamin, the novelty of shepherding his 2-D candy-colored alter ego to the small screen hasn't worn off.

"The network is excited about it and giving us the freedom to do what I feel will be really pushing it," he exclaimed. "It's amazing to go through the script with 10 voice actors. It's madness!"

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Punk goes to the country

Recording his third album, "Straight to Hell" (due in late February on BRUC Records), country music's resident hellion Hank Williams III channeled the same outlaw spirit that made Hank Sr. and Jr. iconoclast legends.

This time out, Hank III added some of punk rock's do-it-yourself ethos, which has long been evident in his live shows but to date hasn't surfaced on his recordings.

"We did this whole double CD on a $500 Korg D-1600 recorder," Hank III said, barely suppressing a yee-ha. "There's trippy sounds and psychedelic things going on. It's like if you've taken acid and you need something to come down, this is what you listen to."

Hank III, whose "Hellbilly" sound hybridizes heavy metal and alterna-country, also covers grandfather Hank I's song "I Could Never Be Ashamed of You" -- the first such cover to appear on one of Hank III's albums.

"You always get those people that's trying to [mess] with you for riding coattails," he said. "It's not like I'm proving anything. I'm just trying to slowly let 'em know.... " It's a family tradition.

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Absolut-ly sincere

Lenny Kravitz has recorded an original song called "Breathe," based on his "interpretation" of the Absolut vodka brand, according to a recent announcement from the company.

"Kravitz said that he was inspired by the brand's core values of clarity, simplicity and perfection," the press release trumpets.

It goes on to quote the rocker as saying, "There's nothing more simple, clear or perfect than the essence of true love.... Once I'd felt that, the track just came."

No word yet on whether, say, Neil Young might whip up a track for Lay's potato chips after becoming similarly inspired by their "betcha can't eat just one" appeal.

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