In the finale of Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy,” based on the vastly different experiences of Pamela Anderson Lee and Tommy Lee during their sex tape scandal, Lee’s group Mötley Crüe performs a promotional gig in a Tower Records parking lot, pinned to their “Generation Swine” album. The song they perform is “Crüe-by-numbers,” even if you can’t quite place it. A Shazam tap reveals the song is actually “She Says Yeah Yeah,” and the singers are Sebastian Stan (who plays Lee), Sam Meader and Zack Gold, not Mötley Crüe.
In fact, there aren’t any Mötley Crüe songs in the series, partly due to financial constraints, according to Amanda Krieg Thomas, the show’s music supervisor. Mainly, however, she notes that it never felt like there was a need for one — with the exception of the one scene.
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“The team wanted to wait until production was done before going down any Mötley Crüe roads,” says Krieg Thomas. “The financial component pointed us to the idea of, ‘What if we did something original in the style of the music they were making in that era?’”
Stan’s drum coach, Isaac Carpenter wrote, recorded and produced “She Says Yeah Yeah,” as well as played all the instruments on the song, barring the shredding lead guitar. Says Krieg Thomas, “[Carpenter] said, ‘I know this era. I know that music. I can nail it.’ And he did.”
Musician and producer Devin Bronson (Avril Lavigne, Krewella) recorded the lead guitar parts, as well as played hand double for the close shots. Chris Mann, who plays Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars, learned the instrument just for the medium and wide shots.
Krieg Thomas reached out to Adam Anders, executive music producer for “Glee” to see if he knew someone who sounded like the band’s Vince Neil. Anders then pointed her to Scottish-born vocalist Storm Gardner, the Crüe singer’s vocal doppelgänger. “We also had Sofia Toufa who toured with Mötley Crüe, helping them with stage movement and choreography,” says Krieg Thomas. “She coached the guys on how the band performs, what Vince would do, what Nikki Sixx would do, how he holds his bass and how he looks when he’s doing it. It was cool to watch her. It added that level of authenticity to the performance.”
Krieg Thomas was given free reign on the needle drops of Craig Gillespie’s show. There were no restrictions on genre or period — or how many songs Krieg Thomas sent over.
“When I read the script, it felt very stylized,” she says. “There were a few scripted songs, but not tons of them. Some of them were ’90s songs, like La Bouche’s ‘Be My Lover,’ and some of them were older, like Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You.’ I pulled 20 songs for [Gillespie] and said, ‘This is what eclectic means to me.’ He said, ‘This is great. Send me more.’ I sent 400 songs in the first week. Those hundreds of songs went in the bank for the editors. We started seeing the cuts, and I did not anticipate 20 songs in each episode. It’s such a specific way to use songs to tell a story.
There were some selections pinned to Pam, that Krieg Thomas was insistent on including. Among these are Captain & Tennille’s “Feel Like a Man,” used when she is descending into a hotel lobby full of “schlumpy” men, and Roxy Music’s “More Than This,” which plays during Pam’s first Playboy photoshoot. The idea was to subvert the type of music the viewer might associate with her.
“These are moments where it’s important to showcase Pam and who she is, as well as who she has to put on display for the world,” says Krieg Thomas. “It’s not necessarily always from her perspective, but to communicate with the world, and how we, the audience, are supposed to feel about her and be with her in these moments, using music.”
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