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Tommy Lee

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  • Born: Athens, Greece
  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

When he was still a member of Mötley Crüe, drummer Tommy Lee undoubtedly garnered the most headlines of all four bandmembers -- due in part to two separate marriages to Hollywood actresses. Tommy Lee was born in Athens, Greece, as Thomas Lee Bass on October 3, 1962, and his family moved to California a year after his birth. Lee received his first drum set at the ripe old age of four, but didn't receive his first real kit until reaching his teenage years, upon his discovery of hard rock and heavy metal (Deep Purple, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, etc.). After drumming for his high-school marching band, Lee quit high school in his senior year, as he focused entirely on following his dream of joining a rock band. His first real band was called Suite 19, and played the Sunset Strip in L.A. during the early '80s. It was at a Suite 19 show that Lee bumped into his future bandmate, Nikki Sixx.

Sixx was a bassist looking to form a theatrical band that would specialize in anthemic heavy metal, and when he saw Lee play, he knew he had found his drummer. Sixx successfully convinced Lee to leave Suite 19 and form the nucleus of what would become Mötley Crüe. The drummer changed his name to Tommy Lee (also earning the nickname "T-Bone" from Sixx), and guitarist Mick Mars joined the fledgling band shortly afterwards. Lee recommended a singer from his high-school days, Vince Neil, and after several attempts to get him to try out for the band, Neil landed the gig during the first jam session. Mötley Crüe quickly built a fanatical local following, issuing their debut album, Too Fast for Love, on their own independent Leathur label. Elektra Records decided to sign the band shortly thereafter, reissuing their debut, as the band began a string of hit releases throughout the decade -- 1983's "Shout at the Devil," 1985's "Theater of Pain," 1987's "Girls, Girls, Girls," and 1989's "Dr. Feelgood" -- establishing the quartet as one of the biggest hard rock/metal bands of the '80s. The band took rock theater to a whole new level, especially Lee, whose drum solo centered around such crowd-pleasing gimmicks as his entire kit revolving and spinning, while he continuing to bash on the skins.

Although his achievements with Mötley Crüe are extremely impressive, it was his celebrity marriages to Heather Locklear in the '80s and Pamela Anderson in the '90s that made Tommy Lee a household name. One of his most famous incidents occurred during his torrid relationship with Anderson, when they were both involved the highly publicized "sex tape scandal" (a videotape that was stolen from their house was eventually made available to the public). Lee also spent several months behind bars in 1998 after Anderson accused Lee of hitting her in front of their children. The pair divorced while the Crüe drummer was serving his prison sentence, but reconciled and then broke up again after his release. Lee also decided to leave Mötley Crüe during his stay in prison, and stuck to his promise after the completion of the Crüe's Greatest Hits tour in 1999.

With rap metal being all the rage, Lee formed a similarly styled outfit, Methods of Mayhem, issuing a self-titled album the same year and touring behind it. Although Lee had little to do with Mötley Crüe after splitting, he agreed to take part in their 2001 tell-all autobiography, The Dirt. In addition to his musical output with the Crüe and MOM, Lee has made guest appearances on albums by other artists (Stuart Hamm -- The Urge, Nine Inch Nails -- Downward Spiral, Rob Zombie -- Hellbilly Deluxe), contributed a solo song, "Welcome to Planet Boom," to the soundtrack of then-wife Pamela Anderson's 1996 movie, Barb Wire, and produced an album for the pre-Goldfinger project from John Feldmann and Simon Williams, the Electric Love Hogs. He parted ways with MOM partner Tilo and began recording with members of Incubus and the Deftones.

Through time, he eventually started recording songs featuring himself almost exclusively, and by the time it came to release the results, it was released as his first solo album. The CD, 2002's Never a Dull Moment, reflected his love of rap metal and electronica and featured little of the Mötley Crüe swagger he was famous for. Three years later, he and Mötley Crüe reconvened for the greatest-hits package Red, White & Crüe. A monumental reunion tour, The Red, White & Crüe Tour 2005: Better Live Than Dead, the band's first in six years, coincided with its release. In the midst of the band's resurgence, Lee also prepped himself for his turn in the reality TV spotlight and a new solo album. Tommy Lee Goes to College, which featured Lee taking classes and playing in the marching band at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, was slated to premiere in August 2005. The accompanying Tommyland was also scheduled to be released that month.


For other people named Tommy Lee, see Tommy Lee (disambiguation).Not to be confused with Tommy Lee Jones.

Thomas Lee Bass (born October 3, 1962), best known as Tommy Lee, is a Greek-American musician and founding member of heavy metal band Mötley Crüe. As well as being the band's long-term drummer, Lee founded rap-metal band Methods of Mayhem, and has pursued solo musical projects. He has been married to model Elaine Starchuk and actresses Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson.

^ Prato, Greg. [Tommy Lee at AllMusic "Tommy Lee Biography"]. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 

Early life[edit]

Lee was born in Athens, Greece, as Thomas Lee Bass to father David Oliver Bass, an American Army serviceman, and mother Vassiliki Papadimitriou (Greek: Βασιλική Παπαδημητρίου), a 1957 Miss Greece contestant. His family moved to California a year after his birth. He received his first drum when he was four and his first drum kit when he was a teenager.

As a teen, Lee listened to Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Kiss, AC/DC and Sweet. His main drum influences were John Bonham, Tommy Aldridge, Alex Van Halen and Terry Bozzio. After transferring from South Hills High School; he joined the marching band at Royal Oak High School (now Royal Oak Middle School) in Covina, California.

^ Cite error: The named reference Tommy_Lee_AMG was invoked but never defined (see the help page).^ Cobb, Jared. "Tommy Lee: Double Bass Old Schooler". Drummagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-05-12. 

Music career[edit]

His first successful band Suite 19 played the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles during the late 1970s. At this time he met future bandmate, Nikki Sixx. Casually, Sixx was forming a theatrical band that would specialize in anthemic heavy metal, and was impressed by Lee's drumming. At this time, he changed his name to Tommy Lee and earned the nickname "T-bone" due to his 6′ 2½″ height and his skinny physique. Shortly afterward, guitarist Mick Mars joined the band. Tommy recommended a singer he had met while in high school, Vince Neil, who soon joined the group, and Mötley Crüe was formed.

Mötley Crüe[edit]
Main article: Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe quickly built a strong fan base and they released their debut album Too Fast for Love in 1981, on their own independent label (Leathür Records). Elektra Records decided to sign the band shortly thereafter, reissuing their debut in 1982. The band then began a string of hit releases throughout the decade—1983's Shout at the Devil, 1985's Theatre of Pain, 1987's Girls, Girls, Girls, and 1989's Dr. Feelgood—establishing the quartet as one of the biggest hard rock/metal bands of the '80s.

Lee used several memorable gimmicks during his drum solos at concerts, such as having his entire kit revolving and spinning, or having the entire kit float above the crowd while he continued to play. He was legendary for mooning the crowd at nearly every show. The band was known for their decadent behavior both on and offstage, often consuming excessive amounts of drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, pills and alcohol.

In 2004, Lee reunited with the original Mötley Crüe line-up to release the double-disc album of hits entitled Red, White & Crüe, which went quad platinum and launched a monumental reunion tour to support it, The Red, White & Crüe Tour 2005: Better Live Than Dead, the band's first in six years. They finished the year number 8 on the top concert money earners list. They played 81 shows and grossed US$33 million according to Billboard Boxscore.

Solo career[edit]

Tommy Lee came back once with Motley Crüe to go on the Crüe's Greatest Hits tour in 1999. With the popularity of rap metal, Lee formed a band called Methods of Mayhem. The band released a self-titled album the same year and toured in support of it. Although Lee distanced himself from Mötley Crüe after splitting, he agreed to take part in their 2001 autobiography, The Dirt. In addition to Mötley Crüe and Methods of Mayhem, Lee has made guest appearances on albums by other artists, such as Stuart Hamm, Nine Inch Nails and Rob Zombie. He also contributed a song, "Planet Boom" (originally on Mötley Crüe's Quaternary EP) to the soundtrack of then-wife Pamela Anderson's 1996 movie, Barb Wire, and produced an album for the pre-Goldfinger project from John Feldmann and Simon Williams, the Electric Love Hogs. Lee parted ways with Methods of Mayhem partner TiLo and began recording with members of Incubus. He then released his first solo album. The album, 2002's Never a Dull Moment, has tones of rap metal and electronica. The song "Blue" features guest vocalist Rodleen Getsic (the credits read: "Rolleen"). In August 2002, Tommy Lee and his solo band joined Ozzfest, mainstage. In 2006, he formed a new band called Rock Star Supernova with Jason Newsted (Voivod, ex-Metallica) and Gilby Clarke (ex-Guns N' Roses).

The 2006 season of Rock Star selected Lukas Rossi as the lead singer for Supernova. Dilana, Magni Ásgeirsson, and Toby Rand with his own band Juke Kartel were the three runners up and accepted an offer to go on tour with Supernova. The self-titled debut album Rock Star Supernova was released on November 21, 2006.

Lee released his autobiography, Tommyland and his second solo album, Tommyland: The Ride in 2005. The CD featured as a soundtrack to the book and includes the singles, "Tryin to be Me", "Good Times" which was the theme song to his reality TV series Tommy Lee Goes to College and "Hello, Again" which features Andrew McMahon from Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin. Tommy Lee was also a guest DJ at WXRK "K-Rock" in New York during the Fourth of July Monster Metal Meltdown in 2005.

Lee also recorded drum tracks for the alternative rock band Jack's Mannequin, which has released the album Everything in Transit.

In November 2007, it was announced by Nikki Sixx that Tommy Lee was no longer a member of Mötley Crüe. Lee reportedly quit after the rest of the band sued his manager, Carl Stubner, for forcing Tommy to take part in reality TV shows, thus forcing the cancellation of a lengthy leg of Crüe tourdates in 2006. Lee already quit once in 2007 in September before returning to the band. Vince Neil refuted the claims that Tommy Lee resigned from the band and that the band would be going into the studio in January to start recording their newest studio album. In the end, Tommy Lee did end up recording the new album, Saints of Los Angeles, and toured with Crüe in 2008 in their tour, Crüe Fest. Mötley Crüe is now on their Saints of Los Angeles Tour, which started on February 2, which includes Lee. This tour will be followed by Crüe Fest 2.

Tommy Lee's current artistic endeavors include touring as an electronic dance music DJ with his Methods of Mayhem DJ/production partner, DJ Aero (birth name: Chester Deitz). As DJs, they are also known as Electro Mayhem and have clocked over 60 club dates as DJs throughout North America (with stops in the Bahamas and Central America) in 2007 alone, with more international dates planned for 2008 (including a stop in Iceland). Lee and Aero debuted as DJs on the mainstage at Ultra Music Festival during Winter Music Conference (WMC) in 2004. Lee and Aero have been DJing together since 2000, and they will again have a major presence at Miami's WMC in 2008. In 2009, Lee appeared in select cities with Sharam, one half of Grammy Award nominated and Grammy Award winning Deep Dish, accompanying Sharam live on the piano during his house DJ sets. Lee and DJ Aero also accompanied deadmau5 in his 2011 Meowington Hax tour.

In an interview held backstage at the 2009 Download Festival, Tommy Lee confirmed that he is currently working on his yet-to-be-named third solo album. It is expected to be released sometime in 2010. On June 27, 2010 Tommy played drums for Ludacris at the BET Awards 2010. On March 25, 2010, he co-presented the International Dance Music Awards (IDMA) along with Roger Sanchez and DJ Rap.

^ "Electric Love Hogs in the Studio With Tommy Lee". YouTube. March 12, 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-06. ^ "Tommy Lee Goes to College soundtrack". 2011

Television career[edit]

In 2004, Lee briefly attended, but did not enroll in, the University of Nebraska for a few weeks in the fall of 2004, while filming a reality television show for NBC called Tommy Lee Goes to College. The show featured a "fish-out-of-water" premise as it followed Lee's effort to fit into the collegiate experience, including trying out for the marching band (as a drummer), taking courses in horticulture, chemistry, and literature, and receiving constant support from a sexy and smart tutor.

Lee was also one of the producers of the show. In spring 2008, Lee commenced filming another reality TV show with rapper Ludacris for Planet Green (Discovery Channel's 24-hour eco-friendly network) titled Battleground Earth. The show focuses on environmental challenges between Lee and Ludacris to raise awareness for green causes. The Planet Green shows aired through September 2008.

In June 2010, it was announced that Lee would guest-star in an episode of Californication as a singer. Also in 2010, Lee appeared on an episode of the Comedy Central show, Tosh.0.

In 2014, Lee appeared in the music video, Show Me What You're Made Of, by rapper Hoodie Allen.

^ "Tommy Lee to Appear on Californication". TVGuide.com. 


Personal life1.1 Relationships1.2 Sex tape1.3 Legal troubles1.4 Activism

Personal life[edit]


Lee has been married three times. His first wife was Elaine Starchuk. On May 19, 1986, Lee married actress Heather Locklear, divorcing in 1993.

On February 19, 1995, four days after they met, Lee married actress and Playboy Playmate Pamela Anderson. Together they have two sons, Brandon (born June 5, 1996) and Dylan (born December 29, 1997). They wed on a beach, with Anderson in a bikini. The couple divorced in 1998. Although divorced, the couple reunited briefly upon Lee's release from prison but eventually split again in 2001. They reconciled and split again in 2008.

In 2008 it was announced that Lee and Anderson were back together and living with each other and their children.

Lee announced on February 24, 2014, that he was engaged to singer Sofia Toufa.

Sex tape[edit]

Lee and Anderson had videotaped their sexual activities while on vacation. The video was stolen in 1995 and released on the Internet, becoming a prime example of viral pornography. According to The Dirt, Tommy Lee claims that he was having work done at his house, and a person (who, according to the book, was a former porn star by the name of Rand Gauthier) working at the house found the tape and sold it. Anderson sued the video distribution company, Internet Entertainment Group. Ultimately, the Lees entered into a confidential settlement agreement with IEG. Thereafter, the company began making the tape available to subscribers to its Web sites again, resulting in triple the normal traffic on the site.

Legal troubles[edit]

Lee served four months in prison after pleading no contest to kicking Pamela Anderson while she was holding their son Dylan.

Lee faced a 1998 lawsuit when he allegedly exposed a right-facing Nazi swastika tattoo on his arm to public scrutiny (the tattoo was in fact a left-facing swastika). In 1996, Lee had pled no contest to criminal charges of battery against a Jewish photographer after Lee attacked the man outside the famous Viper Room, in L.A. When the photographer sued Lee, the swastika tattoo (which has since been removed) was said to be visible and Lee's lawyer argued it would inflame the jury and create unfair prejudice against Lee. Shortly after claiming that the introduction of the tattoo into the court record would produce prejudice, Lee denied its existence. Lee's attorney reported the swastika was a "stupid tattoo obtained several years ago."

In October 1999, Tommy Lee was arrested in North Carolina after instigating a riot during the 1997 concert at Greensboro Coliseum. Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx allegedly made racist comments to a black security guard, suggesting that the crowd attack him. Sixx and Lee were said to have poured beer over the guard's head.

On June 16, 2001, four-year-old Daniel Karven-Veres drowned in Lee's swimming pool while attending a birthday party for Lee's 5-year-old son, Brandon. His parents, James Veres and Ursula Karven, sued Lee for negligence. Lee was cleared by a jury in April 2003.

In September 2007, Lee was kicked out of the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony after engaging in a fight with Kid Rock. Kid Rock was cited for assault on Lee and pled guilty.


Lee is a supporter of animal rights and PETA. In 2010, Lee sent a letter to Terry Prather, the president of SeaWorld, protesting the treatment of Tilikum the killer whale. Lee believed that the animal should be set free and claimed that SeaWorld would not comply as Tilikum is their primary sperm donor. Lee wrote that he was appalled by SeaWorld's "sick and twisted" methods for obtaining Tilikum's sperm. Lee concluded that he wished to avoid further tragedies of trainers being killed, as these tragedies had resulted from the whales' aversion to captivity.

In 2013, Lee sent a letter to Alberta premier Alison Redford requesting that she end the Calgary Stampede's chuckwagon races that have resulted in the death of 50 horses, since 1986, being euthanized from injuries. Lee, in his capacity as a member of PETA, wrote, "There was a time when cowboys respected their horses instead of riding them to death just to show off for a crowd," to which the ministry responded that Lee's letter was worthwhile.

^ Gicas, Peter (February 25, 2014). "Tommy Lee Gets Engaged to Girlfriend Sofia Toufa". E! News. Retrieved 2014-02-25. ^ Kenny, Glenn (May 17, 1996). "The Seven-Year Hitch". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 14, 2009. ^ "Pamela Anderson". People.com. Retrieved 2014-02-25. ^ Wells, Melody S. (2008-06-13). "Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee Back Together Again - Couples, Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee". People.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. ^ Wells, Melody S. (June 13, 2008). "Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee Back Together Again, but mostly for the chlidren". People. Retrieved 2008-06-16. ^ Saad, Nardine (February 25, 2014). "Rocker Tommy Lee engaged to Sofia Toufa; marriage will be his 4th". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 6, 2014. Toufa, 30, who goes by the stage name SOFI.... ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/pam-and-tommy-the-untold-story-of-the-worlds-most-infamous-sex-tape-20141222^ Pelline, Jeff (December 1, 1997). "Pamela Lee drops video case". CNET News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-08-02. ^ The Sun-Herald (June 24, 2002). "The trials of Tommy Lee". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011-05-29. ^ "Swastika tattoo controversy". Mtv.com. April 2, 1998. Retrieved 2011-10-21. ^ "News – Lee denies tattoo of swastika". Mtv.com. April 6, 1998. Retrieved 2011-10-21. ^ "News Lite : Judge Backs Jury in Spelling Case". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. ^ Sorelle Saidman (September 7, 1999). Tommy Lee Gets Naked, Nikki Sixx Gets Arrested... Again. mtv.com. Accessed 2011-04-04.^ "Tommy Lee cleared in boy's drowning death". Courttv.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. ^ "E! Online". E! Online. September 10, 2007. Retrieved 2011-10-21. ^ Rodriguez, Jayson (September 10, 2007). "MTV News". Mtv.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21. ^ "Kid Rock Cited for Misdemeanor Assault". Moono.com (UGO Networks). September 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-22. ^ "Tommy Lee Explodes Over Whale Sperm". tmz.org. Retrieved 2013-10-11. ^ Kaufmann, Bill. "Drummer Tommy Lee urges stop to Calgary Stampede's chuckwagon races". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 


Album discography1.1 Solo1.2 Mötley Crüe1.3 Methods of Mayhem1.4 Rock Star Supernova1.5 Guest performances

Album discography[edit]

Mötley Crüe[edit]
Main article: Mötley Crüe discographyToo Fast for Love (1981) Platinum US US #40Shout at the Devil (1983) 4x Platinum US US #10Theatre of Pain (1985) 4x Platinum US US #6Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) 4x Platinum US US #2Dr. Feelgood (1989) 6x Platinum US US #1Decade of Decadence compilation (1991) 2x Platinum US US #2Mötley Crüe (1994) Gold US US #7Quaternary EP (1994)Generation Swine (1997) Gold US US #4Greatest Hits (1998) compilation Gold US US #20Supersonic and Demonic Relics compilation (1999)Live: Entertainment or Death live album (1999) US #133Millennium Collection (2003)Music To Crash Your Car To, Volume 1 box set (2003)Music To Crash Your Car To, Volume 2 box set (2004)Red, White & Crüe compilation (2005) Platinum US US #6Carnival of Sins Live, Vol. 1 live album (2006)Carnival of Sins Live, Vol. 2 live album (2006)Saints of Los Angeles (2008) Gold US US #4Mötley Crüe: Greatest Hits (2009)
Methods of Mayhem[edit]
Rock Star Supernova[edit]
Rock Star Supernova (2006) US #101
Guest performances[edit]
Rush Street (1991) – Richard MarxThe Urge (1991) – Stuart HammWhore (1996) – Dalbello (drums on "Revenge of Sleeping Beauty" track; remark by Sergey Lavrov)Hellbilly Deluxe (1998) – Rob ZombieThe Sinister Urge (2001) – Rob ZombieEverything in Transit (2005) – Jack's MannequinAngels & Devils (2007) – FuelRaw (Single) (2014) – The Bloody BeetrootsYou Know My Name/Wedding Day (2014) – Courtney LoveMonuments to an Elegy (2014) - The Smashing Pumpkins (drums on all tracks) ("I've known Tommy since 1992," explained Billy Corgan. "Didn't know him real well, but enough to call him up. He was like, 'The Pumpkins drumming style is a lot busier than I play.' But he heard it in demo form and said, 'I wanna play on all of them.' You can hear on tracks like 'Run To Me', where he did a lot of drum programming – he took real investment in the material.")^ "Methods of Mayhem – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved January 30, 2014. ^ "Austrian Charts > Methods of Mayhem" (in German). austriancharts.at Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-01-30. ^ "Methods of Mayhem album chart positions in Germany". Retrieved 2014-01-30. ^ "American certifications – "Methods of Mayhem"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2014-01-30. ^ Pattison, Louis: "Q&A", Uncut, January 2015, p67


^ Tommy Lee awards at AllMusic. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
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