Thomas Lee Bass (born October 3, 1962), best known as Tommy Lee, is an American musician and founding member of glam 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.
Lee was born on October 3, in Athens, Greece, as Thomas Lee Bass, the son of David Oliver Bass, a US Army serviceman of Welsh descent, and Vassiliki Papadimitriou, a former Miss Greece. His family moved to West Covina, California one year after his birth. He received his first drum when he was four and his first drum kit when he was a teenager. Lee has one younger sister, Athena Lee (Athena Michelle Bass, b. 1964), who was married to James Kottak, the drummer for the band Scorpions and she was also the drummer of his solo band KrunK.
As a teen he listened to Queen, Kiss, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest. After listening to Kiss, his main drum influence became Peter Criss. After transferring from South Hills High School (West Covina, California); he joined the marching band at Royal Oak High School (now Royal Oak Middle School) in Covina, California, but dropped out of school in his senior year to focus on his musical career.
His first successful band Suite 19 played the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles during the late 70s. 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. Mars recommended a singer Tommy had met while in high school, Vince Neil, who soon joined the group, and Mötley Crüe was formed.
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.
During this time, 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 also 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 hard drugs, such as cocaine, heroin and pills and drinking to excess.
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 also finished the year number 8 on the top concert money earners list. They played 81 shows and grossed $33 million US (Billboard Boxscore).
Lee at Digital Playground Party on September 22, 2004.
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.
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, Crüefest. 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 Crüfest 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.
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 until 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.
Born Thomas Lee Bass
October 3, 1962 (age 49)
Spouse Elaine Bergen
Partner Bobbie Brown
Lee was married to Elaine Bergen in 1984; they divorced after just one month.
In 1986, Lee married actress Heather Locklear. The couple divorced in 1993. Subsequent to his divorce, Lee dated and lived with model/actress Bobbie Brown.
In 1995, he married actress and Playboy Playmate Pamela Anderson (1995–98). They have two children. Anderson and Lee married only four days after meeting, after Lee pursued her while she was on vacation with a friend. They wed on a beach, Anderson wearing only a white bikini. The couple divorced in 1998. Although divorced, the couple reunited briefly upon his release from prison but eventually split again.
Lee dated Mayte Garcia, the ex-wife of Prince, and the two lived together and were briefly engaged in 2001.
In 2008 it was announced that he and Pamela Anderson were indeed back together and living with each other and their kids. They have since split and have both moved on to date other people.
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 says that he was having work done at his house, and a person (who, according to the book, was a former porn star) 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.
Lee served four months in prison after pleading no contest to kicking Pamela Anderson while she was holding their son Dylan.
Lee suffered a 1998 lawsuit when he exposed a swastika tattoo on his arm to public scrutiny (the tattoo was in fact a swastika facing backwards). 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, claiming that they should have been told that a swimming pool was involved — their son could not swim — and that, as the owner, he should have hired a lifeguard. 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.
Tommy Lee is a supporter of animal rights and PETA. He made a donation to support PETA's campaign against Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Year Album details Peak chart positions
US AUS CAN GER NZ SWI SWE UK JAP NOR FRA
2002 Never a Dull Moment
1st studio album
Released: May 21, 2002
9 2 4 11 — — 38 3 7 — 26
2005 Tommyland: The Ride
2nd studio album
Released: August 9, 2005
Label: TL Education Services Inc.
14 1 6 8 — 42 — 1 15 — —
Main article: Mötley Crüe discography
Too Fast for Love (1981) Platinum US US #40
Shout at the Devil (1983) 4x Platinum US US #10
Theatre of Pain (1985) 4x Platinum US US #6
Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) 4x Platinum US US #2
Dr. Feelgood (1989) 6x Platinum US US #1
Decade of Decadence compilation (1991) 2x Platinum US US #2
Mötley Crüe (1994) Gold US US #7
Quaternary EP (1994)
Generation Swine (1997) Gold US US #4
Greatest Hits (1998) compilation Gold US US #20
Supersonic and Demonic Relics compilation (1999)
Live: Entertainment or Death live album (1999) US #133
Millennium 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 #6
Carnival of Sins Live, Vol. 1 live album (2006)
Carnival of Sins Live, Vol. 2 live album (2006)
Saints of Los Angeles (2008) US #4
Mötley Crüe: Greatest Hits (2009)
TBA (Unknown) (2011)
Methods of Mayhem
Methods of Mayhem (1999) Gold US US #71
A Public Disservice Announcement (2010)
 Rock Star Supernova
Rock Star Supernova (2006) US #101
Rush Street (1991) - Richard Marx
The Urge (1991) - Stuart Hamm
The Downward Spiral (1994) - Nine Inch Nails
"Whore" Dalbello 1996 album (drums on "Revenge Of Sleeping Beauty" track (remark by Sergey Lavrov)
Hellbilly Deluxe (1998) - Rob Zombie
The Sinister Urge (2001) - Rob Zombie
Everything in Transit (2005) - Jack's Mannequin
Angels & Devils (2007) - Fuel
Year Title Chart positions Certifications Album
Hot 100 US
Top 40 AUS CAN GER
2002 "Hold Me Down" 61 2 12 39 — 57 64 Gold Never a Dull Moment
"Sunday" — — — — 82 — —
2003 "Ashamed" 95 13 11 — 72 59 —
"Higher" — 7 7 — — 66 —
2005 "Tryin to Be Me" — 8 — — — — — Tommyland: The Ride
"Good Times" 23 6 1 18 25 20 34 Gold
"Hello, Again" — — — — — — —
2006 "Make Believe" — 14 22 — — 63 —
^ "Miss Greece in 1957". Retrieved 2010-05-23.
^ "Biography for Tommy Lee (VI)". imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
^ "Electric Love Hogs In The Studio With Tommy Lee". Youtube. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
^ "Tommy Lee Goes to College soundtrack".2011
^ "Tommy Lee to Appear on Californication". TVGuide.com.
^ Michelle Green (May 26, 1986). Dynasty's Heather Locklear Takes a Motley Mate, the Hard-Rocking Tommy Lee. People. Accessed 2010-12-15.
^ Wells, Melody S. (2008-06-13). "Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee Back Together Again, but mostly for the chlidren". People. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
^ Pelline, Jeff (1 December 1997). "Pamela Lee drops video case". CNET News. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
^ The Sun-Herald (June 24, 2002). "The trials of Tommy Lee". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
^ "Swastika tattoo controversy". Mtv.com. 1998-04-02. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
^ "News - Lee denies tattoo of swastika". Mtv.com. 1998-04-06. 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. 2007-09-10. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
^ Rodriguez, Jayson (2007-09-10). "MTV News". Mtv.com. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
^ "Kid Rock Cited for Misdemeanor Assault". Moono.com (UGO Networks). September 11, 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2008.
^ "Tommy Lee: "Ink, Not Mink"". Retrieved 2011-10-21.
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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