TOMMY LEE

TOMMY LEE

 

Basic Background Info

 
Birth: October 3, 1962
Location: Athens, Greece
Band: Motley Crue, Methods of Madness, Rockstar: Supernova
Genres: Metal, Rock, Electronica
Instruments: Drums, Piano, Guitar
Occupation: Musician, Producer
Links:  
 
 

Biography

 
 

Tommy Lee is nearly as well known for haphazard celebrity, his bombshell wives, reality television performances, and general outrageous and often illegal, behavior as he is for his skill on the drum set. But not quite. Lee invented the backbeats for heavy metal icon Motley Crue and gave thousands of wildly fresh performances.

Tommy Lee's parents, a former Miss Greece and a U.S. Army soldier, moved the family from Athens, Greece, to Southern California before Thomas Lee Bass was one year old. As a toddler, Tommy Lee invented a drum set from discarded cardboard boxes until his parents bought four-year-old Tommy a real drum. Tommy used his elementary kit for years before upgrading to a real kit in high school.

As a teenager Tommy Lee listened to Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Deep Purple, and Judas Priest. Tommy Lee played with the Royal Oak High School marching band, but he eventually dropped out of school during his senior year of school, hoping to make a career out of drumming.

While Lee's first band, Suite 19, played all over the Sunset Strip in the late 1970s, Tommy Lee befriended Nikki Sixx, who was building an anthemic heavy metal band. After Lee and Sixx jammed together, Tommy Lee left Suite 19 to create Motley Crue with Sixx, Mick Mars, and Vince Neil.

Motley Crue released their debut album, Too Fast for Love, on their independent record label in 1981. After the independent release secured loyal following, they signed with Elektra Records and rereleased their debut. Throughout the 1980s, Motley Crue released hits like 'Shout at the Devil,' 'Girls, Girls, Girls,' 'Dr. Feelgood,' and 'Theatre of Pain.' Their unrivaled live performances dripped with excess; Tommy often played a revolving drum kit and regularly mooned the crowd.

The members of Motely Crue developed individual and collective reputations Motley Crue became as notorious for their on-stage antics as for their excessive drug use. After Sixx overdosed on heroin, the band penned the song 'Kickstart My Heart.' 

During a six-month stint in jail in 1998, Lee decided to leave Motley Crue, and after he completed work on the Crue's Greatest Hits tour in 1999, he left the band. Attuned to the popularity of rap metal, Lee created the Methods of Mayhem with rapper TiLo. Their self-titled debut album, featuring guest performances by Snoop Dogg, Fred Durst, Lil' Kim, Kid Rock, Mixmaster Mike, George Clinton, and Scott Kirkland, and produced by Rob Zombie, was quickly certified gold.

After briefly recording and performing with Methods of Mayhem, Tommy Lee worked with Stuart Hamm, Nine Inch Nails and Incubus. He also contributed 'Welcome to Planet Boom' for the film Barb Wire, starring Pamela Anderson, his wife at the time. In 2002, Tommy Lee released his first solo album, Never a Dull Moment, an electronica-rap synthesis. Lee and his backup band performed on the main stage at Ozzfest that year.

Tommy reunited with Motley Crue in 2004 for the double album, Red, White and Crue, and a monumental supporting tour, The Red, White and Crue Tour 2005: Better Live Than Dead. After the multi-million dollar tour of more than eighty performances, Tommy once again left Motley Crue.

In 2006, Tommy, Jason Newstead, and Gilby Clark created Rock Star Supernova and used reality television show Rock Star to recruit a lead singer. After Lukas Rossi won the contest, Rock Star Supernova released their self-titled debut album to lukewarm reception.

Tommy's long list of accomplishments exceeds those with Motley Crue and Methods of Mayhem. Tommy Lee starred in a reality television show that sent him college for a few weeks at the University of Nebraska, guest deejayed at WXRK in New York during the Fourth of July Monster Metal Meltdown in 2005, helped support animal rights with PETA (a cause strongly supported by Pamela Anderson),and launched a clothing line.

Like many a rock star, Tommy's romantic life has seen its share of roller coasters. After seven years of marriage to heart-throb Heather Locklear, they divorced in 1993. Tommy then married Baywatch star Pamela Anderson in 1995, after a three-day courtship. They had two sons, Brandon and Dylan, before the tumultuous relationship ended. Pamela filed for divorce several times but the divorce finally became official after Pamela had Tommy arrested for spousal abuse. He spent six months in jail on the charges. After the divorce in 1998, Tommy and Pamela reconciled in 1999 and again in 2008.

During the summer of 2008, Lee once again returned to Motley Crue to perform for their summer CrueFest tour.
 
 

Discography

 
 
Album Year Album Name Album Band
1981 Too Fast for Love Mötley Crüe
1983 Shout at the Devil Mötley Crüe
1985 Theatre of Pain Mötley Crüe
1987 Girls, Girls, Girls Mötley Crüe
1989 Dr. Feelgood Mötley Crüe
1991 Decade of Decadence Mötley Crüe
1994 Mˆtley Cr¸e Mötley Crüe
1994 Quaternary Mötley Crüe
1997 Generation Swine Mötley Crüe
1998 Greatest Hits Mötley Crüe
1999 Supersonic and Demonic Relics Mötley Crüe
1999 Live: Entertainment or Death Mötley Crüe
1999 Methods of Mayhem Methods of Mayhem
2002 Never a Dull Moment Tommy Lee
2003 Millennium Collection V
2003 Music To Crash Your Car To, Volume 1 Mötley Crüe
2004 Music To Crash Your Car To, Volume 2 Mötley Crüe
2005 Red, White & Cr¸e Mötley Crüe
2005 Tommyland: The Ride Tommy Lee
2005 Everything In Transit Jack's Mannequin
2006 Carnival of Sins Live, Vol. 1 Mötley Crüe
2006 Carnival of Sins Live, Vol. 2 Mötley Crüe
2006 Rockstar Supernova Rockstar Supernova
2007 Angels and Devils Fuel
2008 Saints of Los Angeles Mötley Crüe
2009 Mötley Crüe: Greatest Hits Mötley Crüe
2010 Public Disservice Announcement Methods of Mayhem
2014 Raw The Bloody Beetroots
2014 You Know My Name/Wedding Day Courtney Love
 

Noise

 
 
  • On his reality show Tommy Goes to College, Tommy tried out for the University of Nebraska's drum line. He recalled, 'I had two weeks to learn their half-time show and all the drum patterns. And when I made the cut, they told me I could perform the half-time show with them. I went out there and rocked the show -- it was killer. I've got a bunch of new friends now over there.'
  • "I have this crazy fascination with little people. Like, if I see one, I'll run up to him and be like, How's it going? To be really honest with you, I want to take them all home with me. And I know I can't do that, but for some reason I always try. They just remind me of fun and the circus."
  • After reconciling with Pamela Anderson again in 2008, Tommy said, "We’ve only given it a try 800 times — 801, here we go."
  • His younger sister, Athena Kottak, is the drummer for KrunK.
  • Tommy was briefly engaged to Mayte Garcia in 2001, who is Prince's ex-wife.
  • Tommy used his ultra tell-all autobiography, Tommyland, to answer any remaining questions about his life. "I'm like, 'OK, everybody knows absolutely everything about me -- is there anything left?' I'm so excited to just get it all fucking out in the open. Can God please turn the page with me! And maybe this will end all the stupid [expletive] questions I have to answer constantly. Like once it's out in the universe, you can never take it back, it's done. And maybe this will be an opportunity for people to get to know who Tommy is and go like, 'Wow, that dude's kind of an interesting guy. He's got a lot going on. He's not just what I've heard about.'"
 

Instruments of Choice

 
 

Drums

Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Zildjian
Hardware: Drum Workshop
Heads: Aquarian
Electronics:  
Percussion: Latin Percussion
Sticks: Ahead
 
 

Pics & Clips