Tommy Lee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Tommy Lee, see Tommy Lee (disambiguation).
For the American actor, see Tommy Lee Jones.
Tommy Lee
Tommy Lee 2012.jpg
Tommy Lee, Hollywood, CA, on March 20, 2012
Background information
Birth name Thomas Lee Bass
Born (1962-10-03) October 3, 1962 (age 53)
Athens, Greece
Origin Los Angeles, U.S.
Genres Heavy metal, hard rock, glam metal, alternative metal, rap metal, electro house, progressive house
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, drummer, DJ
Instruments Drums
Years active 1979–present
Labels Leathür, Elektra, MCA, mau5trap
Associated acts Mötley Crüe, Methods of Mayhem, Rock Star Supernova, Fuel, Deadmau5, Sum 41, Jack's Mannequin, Rob Zombie, DJ Aero, The Bloody Beetroots, The Smashing Pumpkins, Fall Out Boy
Notable instruments
Pearl Drums
Zildjian Cymbals
Ahead Sticks
Remo Drum Heads
Schecter Guitar Research
Randall Amplifiers

Thomas Lee Bass (born October 3, 1962),[1] 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.

Early life[edit]

Lee was born Thomas Lee Bass in 1962 Athens, Greece, 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.[1] 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.[2] 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.

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.[citation needed]

Mötley Crüe[edit]

Main article: Mötley Crüe
Mötley Crüe from left to right: Nikki Sixx, Lee, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil.

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.[citation needed]

Solo career[edit]

Lee at Digital Playground Party on September 22, 2004.

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.[3] 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[4] 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.[citation needed]

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

Lee with Criss Angel at the 2007 Scream Awards.

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.[citation needed]

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, 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.

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.[5] 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.

Personal life[edit]


Lee has been married three times. His first wife was Elaine Starchuk.[6] On May 10, 1986, Lee married actress Heather Locklear, divorcing in 1993.[7] On February 19, 1995, four days after they met, Lee married actress and Playboy Playmate Pamela Anderson.[8] 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.[9]

In 2008 it was announced that Lee and Anderson were back together and living with each other and their children.[10]

Lee announced on February 24, 2014, that he was engaged to singer Sofia Toufa.[6][11]

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, 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[12]) 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.[13]

Legal troubles[edit]

Lee served four months in prison after pleading no contest to kicking Pamela Anderson while she was holding their son Dylan.[citation needed][14] 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 pleaded 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.[15] Shortly after claiming that the introduction of the tattoo into the court record would produce prejudice, Lee denied its existence.[16] Lee's attorney reported the swastika was a "stupid tattoo obtained several years ago."[17]

In October 1999, 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.[18]

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.[19]

In September 2007, Lee was kicked out of the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony after engaging in a fight with Kid Rock.[20][21] Kid Rock was cited for assault on Lee and pled guilty.[22]


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.[23]

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.[24]

Album discography[edit]


Year Album details Peak chart positions
2002 Never a Dull Moment
  • 1st studio album
  • Released: May 21, 2002
  • Label: MCA
39 4 11 38 7 26
2005 Tommyland: The Ride
  • 2nd studio album
  • Released: August 9, 2005
  • Label: TL Education Services Inc.
62 6 8 42 15

Mötley Crüe[edit]

Methods of Mayhem[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
1999 Methods of Mayhem
  • Released: December 7, 1999
  • Label: MCA
71 32 93
2010 A Public Disservice Announcement 153

Rock Star Supernova[edit]

Guest performances[edit]


Year Title Chart positions Album
2002 "Hold Me Down" 57 64 Never a Dull Moment
"Sunday" 82
2003 "Ashamed" 72 59
"Higher" 66
2005 "Tryin to Be Me" Tommyland: The Ride
"Good Times" 95 173 25 20 34
"Hello, Again"
2006 "Make Believe" 63


  1. ^ a b Prato, Greg. [Tommy Lee at AllMusic "Tommy Lee Biography"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Cobb, Jared. "Tommy Lee: Double Bass Old Schooler". Retrieved 2014-05-12. 
  3. ^ "Electric Love Hogs in the Studio With Tommy Lee". YouTube. March 12, 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-06. 
  4. ^ "Tommy Lee Goes to College soundtrack". 2011
  5. ^ "Tommy Lee to Appear on Californication". 
  6. ^ a b Gicas, Peter (February 25, 2014). "Tommy Lee Gets Engaged to Girlfriend Sofia Toufa". E! News. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  7. ^ Kenny, Glenn (May 17, 1996). "The Seven-Year Hitch". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Pamela Anderson". Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  9. ^ Wells, Melody S. (2008-06-13). "Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee Back Together Again - Couples, Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee". Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  10. ^ Wells, Melody S. (June 13, 2008). "Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee Back Together Again, but mostly for the chlidren". People. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  11. ^ 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.... 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Pelline, Jeff (December 1, 1997). "Pamela Lee drops video case". CNET News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  14. ^ The Sun-Herald (June 24, 2002). "The trials of Tommy Lee". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  15. ^ "Swastika tattoo controversy". April 2, 1998. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  16. ^ "News – Lee denies tattoo of swastika". April 6, 1998. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  17. ^ "News Lite : Judge Backs Jury in Spelling Case". Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  18. ^ Sorelle Saidman (September 7, 1999). Tommy Lee Gets Naked, Nikki Sixx Gets Arrested... Again. Accessed 2011-04-04.
  19. ^ "Tommy Lee cleared in boy's drowning death". Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  20. ^ "E! Online". E! Online. September 10, 2007. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  21. ^ Rodriguez, Jayson (September 10, 2007). "MTV News". Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  22. ^ "Kid Rock Cited for Misdemeanor Assault". (UGO Networks). September 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  23. ^ "Tommy Lee Explodes Over Whale Sperm". Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  24. ^ Kaufmann, Bill. "Drummer Tommy Lee urges stop to Calgary Stampede's chuckwagon races". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  25. ^ "Methods of Mayhem – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved January 30, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Austrian Charts > Methods of Mayhem" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  27. ^ "Methods of Mayhem album chart positions in Germany". Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  28. ^ "American certifications – "Methods of Mayhem"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  29. ^ Pattison, Louis: "Q&A", Uncut, January 2015, p67
  30. ^ Tommy Lee awards at AllMusic. Retrieved July 16, 2014.

External links[edit]

Main sites[edit]

Interviews, and other material[edit]