Tommy Lee
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Tommy Lee

Tommy Lee
Tommy Lee 2012.jpg
Lee in March 2012
Thomas Lee Bass

(1962-10-03) October 3, 1962 (age 57)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • drummer
  • DJ
Years active1979-present
Home townLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Elaine Starchuk
(m. 1984; div. 1985)

Heather Locklear
(m. 1986; div. 1993)

Pamela Anderson
(m. 1995; div. 1998)

Brittany Furlan
(m. 2019)
Musical career
  • Drums

Thomas Lee Bass (born October 3, 1962)[1] is an American musician and founding member of 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.

Early life

Lee was born Thomas Lee Bass on October 3, 1962 in Athens, Greece, to father David Lee Thomas Bass, an American U.S. Army sergeant, and mother Vassilikki "Voula" Papadimitriou (Greek:  ?), a Miss Greece contestant for the 1960 Miss World event.[2] He has a younger sister, Athena, who is also a drummer. When Lee was approximately one year old, his father moved the family back to the United States, settling in California.[1]

Lee received his first drum sticks when he was four years old, and his first proper drum kit when he was a teenager. Lee dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music, starting with the L.A. club band Suite 19.[3] As a teenager, he listened to Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Kiss, AC/DC and Sweet. His main drumming influences were John Bonham, Tommy Aldridge, Alex Van Halen and Terry Bozzio.[4]

Music career

In the late-1970s Lee's band, Suite 19, were regulars on the Sunset Strip club circuit in Los Angeles along with other up-and-coming acts such as Van Halen and Quiet Riot. He became acquainted with bassist Nikki Sixx, whose bands Sister and later London played the same circuit. Sixx was forming a theatrical band that borrowed heavily from Sister's fusion of occult imagery with a theatrical heavy metal performance, and became a fan of Lee's drumming. It was during this time period that Lee dropped his surname and earned the nickname "T-bone" due to his 6? 2½? height and his lean physique. When London finally broke up in 1981, Lee and Sixx decided to form a new group together. Shortly afterwards, guitarist Mick Mars joined the band. Seeking a charismatic frontman, Lee mentioned a singer he had known casually in high school named Vince Neil, who soon joined the group, and Mötley Crüe was formed.[]

Mötley Crüe

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

Mötley Crüe quickly built a strong fanbase 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 1980s.

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 noted 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 anthology album entitled Red, White & Crüe, which went quadruple-platinum and launched a monumental reunion tour to support it, The Red, White & Crüe Tour 2005: Better Live Than Dead, the band's first tour in six years. They finished the year at #8 on the Top Concert Money Earners list. They played 81 shows and grossed US$33 million according to Billboard Boxscore.[]

Solo career

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.[5] 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[6] 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.

Lee (right) with illusionist 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 tour dates in 2006. Lee already quit once in September 2007 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 new 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.

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-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. He played keyboards too with Deftones at a benefit show for defunct bassist Chi Cheng in 2009.[7]

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.

In 2014, Tommy Lee joined the Smashing Pumpkins to perform drums for their Monuments to an Elegy album.[8] That same year Tommy Lee joined the rest of his Mötley Crüe bandmates in a farewell tour. As part of the tour each member signed a legal document preventing them from ever touring under the Mötley Crüe moniker again.[8]

Television career

In 2004, he starred in a reality show for NBC called Tommy Lee Goes to College. 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.

Personal life


Lee has been married four times; his first wife was Elaine Starchuk. They were married in 1984 and divorced in 1985.[9]

On May 10, 1986, Lee married his second wife, actress Heather Locklear. The couple divorced in 1993.[10]

Before meeting actress and Playboy Playmate Pamela Anderson, Lee was engaged to model Bobbie Brown.[11] On February 19, 1995, just four days after meeting her, Lee married Anderson.[12] They have two sons together: Brandon Thomas (born June 5, 1996)[13] and Dylan Jagger (born December 29, 1997).[14] The couple divorced in 1998.[15] Although divorced, the couple reunited briefly upon Lee's release from jail but eventually split again in 2001. In 2008, it was announced that Lee and Anderson were back together and living with each other and their children, but they split for good soon afterward.[16]

From 2014 until 2017, Lee was engaged to Greek-German singer Sofia Toufa.[17][18]

Lee announced on February 14, 2018 that he had proposed to his girlfriend, social media celebrity Brittany Furlan.[19] They were married a year later on February 14, 2019.[20]

Sex tape

Lee and Anderson had videotaped their sexual activities while on vacation. The video was stolen in 1995, released on the Internet, and became 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[21]) 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 websites again, resulting in triple the normal traffic on the site.[22]

Legal troubles and spousal abuse

In 1998, Lee served six months in county jail after pleading no contest to kicking Pamela Anderson while she was holding their son Dylan.[23] During an altercation over Anderson's refusal to call and ask her parents not to come over to the family's house, Lee assaulted his wife, leaving her with "bruises, a torn fingernail and fear for the safety of her two sons, Dylan and Brandon."[24]

Lee faced a 1998 lawsuit when he allegedly exposed a right-facing Nazi swastika tattoo on his arm to public scrutiny (the tattoo was actually 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.[25] Shortly after claiming that the introduction of the tattoo into the court record would produce prejudice, Lee denied its existence.[26] Lee's attorney reported the swastika was a "stupid tattoo obtained several years ago."[27]

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.[28]

On June 16, 2001, 4-year-old Daniel Karven-Veres drowned in Lee's swimming pool while attending a birthday party for Lee's 5-year-old son, Brandon. Daniel's parents, James Veres and Ursula Karven, sued Lee for negligence. Lee was cleared by a jury in April 2003.[29]

In September 2007, Lee was kicked out of the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony after engaging in a fight with Kid Rock.[30][31] Kid Rock was cited for assault on Lee and pleaded guilty.[32]


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 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.[33]

In 2013, Lee sent a letter to the Alberta Premier Alison Redford requesting that she end the Calgary Stampede's chuckwagon races that have resulted in the deaths of 50 horses since 1986 (the horses were euthanized after suffering 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"; the ministry responded that Lee's letter was worthwhile.[34]


Lee currently uses Pearl drums, Pearl and Remo drum heads, Zildjian cymbals, and Ahead drumsticks. He has, in the past, also used drum sets by various other companies including Tama drums in Mötley Crüe's early days, Sonor, and DW drums. He has since returned to Pearl in the late 2000s. In the past Lee also used Paiste cymbals and signature Vic Firth and later Vater drumsticks before signing on with Ahead. He also briefly used Aquarian drumheads in the late 1990s.


Studio albums

with Mötley Crüe

with Methods of Mayhem

with Rock Star Supernova

Guest appearances


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


  1. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Tommy Lee Biography". Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ Archos, Iirene (March 29, 2014). "Athena Kottak: Tommy Lee's Little Sister Drummin' to a Greek Beat". Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Tommy Lee Biography".
  4. ^ Cobb, Jared. "Tommy Lee: Double Bass Old Schooler". Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ "Electric Love Hogs in the Studio With Tommy Lee". YouTube. March 12, 2008. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "Tommy Lee Goes to College soundtrack".2011
  7. ^ "DEFTONES - Anniversary Of An Uninteresting Event - w/ Tommy Lee and Mike Shinoda". December 11, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Grow, Kory. "Motley Crue's Tommy Lee to Drum on Smashing Pumpkins Record". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Gicas, Peter (February 25, 2014). "Tommy Lee Gets Engaged to Girlfriend Sofia Toufa". E! News. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ Kenny, Glenn (May 17, 1996). "The Seven-Year Hitch". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009.
  11. ^ "In Dirty Rocker Boys, video vixen Bobbie Brown dishes the dirt". The A.V. Club.
  12. ^ "Pamela Anderson". People. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Benza, A.J. (June 6, 1996). "Bay(by) Watch Ends Happily". New York Daily News. New York City. Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ Brozan, Nadine (December 31, 1997). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Lynch, Joe (February 19, 2015). "Tommy Lee & Pam Anderson Married 20 Years Ago Today". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 16, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ Wells, Melody S. (June 13, 2008). "Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee Back Together Again, but mostly for the children". People. Retrieved 2008.
  17. ^ "Rocker Tommy Lee engaged to Sofia Toufa; marriage will be his 4th". Los Angeles Times. There comes a time in a mans life when you just know your partner is for LIFE!!" the 51-year-old wrote. "Say hello to my fiancé and soon to be wife @SOFIofficial
  18. ^ "Tommy Lee Engaged to Sofia Toufa". People.
  19. ^ "Tommy Lee Is Engaged to Vine Star Brittany Furlan". E! Online. Retrieved 2018.
  20. ^ "Tommy Lee Marries Social Media Star Brittany Furlan: 'We Did It!'". PEOPLE. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ "Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World's Most Infamous Sex Tape". Rolling Stone.
  22. ^ Pelline, Jeff (December 1, 1997). "Pamela Lee drops video case". CNET News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2010.
  23. ^ The Sun-Herald (June 24, 2002). "The trials of Tommy Lee". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011.
  24. ^ McAllister, Sue. "Tommy Lee Gets 6 Months in Jail for Beating His Wife". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ "Swastika tattoo controversy". April 2, 1998. Retrieved 2011.
  26. ^ "News - Lee denies tattoo of swastika". April 6, 1998. Retrieved 2011.
  27. ^ "News Lite : Judge Backs Jury in Spelling Case". Retrieved 2011.
  28. ^ Saidman, Sorelle (September 7, 1999). "Tommy Lee Gets Naked, Nikki Sixx Gets Arrested... Again". Retrieved 2011.
  29. ^ "Tommy Lee cleared in boy's drowning death". Archived from the original on August 30, 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  30. ^ "Kid_Rock_Tommy_Lee_Rock_n_Brawl_at_VMAs". E! Online. September 10, 2007. Retrieved 2011.
  31. ^ Rodriguez, Jayson (September 10, 2007). "MTV News: Tommy Lee". Retrieved 2011.
  32. ^ "Kid Rock Cited for Misdemeanor Assault". Moono. UGO Networks. September 11, 2007. Archived from the original on September 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  33. ^ "Tommy Lee Explodes Over Whale Sperm". Retrieved 2013.
  34. ^ Kaufmann, Bill. "Drummer Tommy Lee urges stop to Calgary Stampede's chuckwagon races". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2013.
  35. ^ "TOMMY LEE's New Solo Album Will Include 'Literally Every Single Different Genre That You Could Imagine'". September 20, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  36. ^ Pattison, Louis: "Q&A", Uncut, January 2015, p67, ""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."
  37. ^ "Tommy Lee - Chart history (Billboard Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 2016.
  38. ^ "Australian Charts - Tommy Lee".
  39. ^ "Tommy Lee - Good Times - Offizielle Deutsche Charts". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2016.
  40. ^ "Chart Log UK (1994-2010): DJ Steve L. - LZ Love". Retrieved 2016.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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