Former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee earned his rock star status through the Crüe’s well-received albums, including Shout at the Devil (1983), Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) and Generation Swine (1997). Nonetheless, he did not fare as well while attempting his solo career, with his flopped soundtrack Barb Wire (1996, performed “Welcome to Planet Boom”) and his short-lived group Method of Mayhem (released only one album, in 1999).
His fortune changed after releasing the solo album Never a Dull Moment (2002), which was ensued by a reunion project with Mötley Crüe (2004) and the reality series “Tommy Lee Goes to College” (2005). His sophomore album, Tommyland: The Ride (2005), hit the charts with the single “Good Times.” Presently, the drummer is searching for a vocalist for his new band, Supernova, the upshot of the reality show “Rock Star: Supernova” (2006). However, the plan is still being averted by a lawsuit from an Orange County band named Supernova (contributed song “Chewbacca” for 1994’s movie Clerks). They recently filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the reality show-born band from working under the name “Supernova.”
Recently, Lee made headlines after hiring a helicopter to go to a Nine Inch Nails concert. Landing the chopper on a Hollywood street, its pilot received a legal fine, whereas the drummer was not penalized.
The ex-husband of Elaine Irwin Bergen (April-May 1984) was scrutinized by the media for his marriage to actress Heather Locklear (1986-1993), which ended up in divorce due to his affair with a porn star. He also created some hubbub following the release of his stolen private video with second wife Pamela Anderson (1995-1998, has two sons), as well as for his violence toward Anderson. The incident cost him 6 months in prison and the order to join an anger management group. Currently, Lee is engaged to singer/dancer Mayte Garcia, the ex-wife of Prince.
Childhood and Family:
Born on October 3, 1962, in Athens, Greece, Thomas Lee Bass is the son of David Lee Thomas Bass (Welsh Army sergeant) and Vassilikki Papadimitriou (Greek native, former Miss Greece 1957). He has a younger sister named Athena Kottak (drummer of rock band Krunk, wife of guitarist James Kottak). A year after his birth, Tommy and his family moved to the United States.
Tommy received his first drum set when he was 4. He attended the Royal Oak High School in Covina, where he drummed for the school’s marching band and met future band mate Vince Neil. In his senior year, Tommy left school to focus on his music career.
After a one-month marriage to stripper Elaine Irwin Bergen (April – May 1984), Tommy became the center of media hype for marrying actress Heather Locklear, on May 10, 1986. In 1993, the couple split and Tommy tied the knot with Pamela Anderson (February 19, 1995). Tommy and Pamela have two sons, Brandon Thomas (born on June 5, 1996) and Dylan Jagger (born on December 29, 1997). The marriage did not last long and Tommy spent time in jail for spousal abuse. The couple divorced in 1998.
Teenager Tommy Lee, who listened to Deep Purple, KISS, and Led Zeppelin, dropped out of high school and joined a band named Suite 19. His performance in the band amazed bassist Nikki Sixx, who asked him to leave Suite 19 and play with him. Lee agreed and together they formed the nucleus of the hard rock band Mötley Crüe. Soon, guitarist Mick Mars and vocalist Vince Neil (Lee’s schoolmate) joined the new band.
Mötley Crüe made an indie label, Leathür Records, and released the debut album Too Fast for Love, in 1981. The album was re-released the next year under the major label Elektra Records. The band established their name in the music scene through the hit album Shout at the Devil (1983), Theater of Pain (1985), Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) and Dr. Feelgood (1989). The Crüe also issued a self-titled recording in 1994, which was ensued with the EP Quaternary (1994) and the album Generation Swine (1997).
While working with the Crüe, Lee was also featured in other artists’ albums, such as in Stuart Hamm’s The Urge, Nine Inch Nails’ Downward Spiral, and Rob Zombie’s Hellbilly Deluxe. In 1996, he produced John Feldmann and Simon Williams’ album Electric Love Hogs, as well as performed the solo song “Welcome to Planet Boom” for the soundtrack of Barb Wire (1996, starring wife Pamela Anderson). However, the movie soundtrack was eventually nominated for a Razzie for Worst Original Song.
Lee, who in 1998 was given a Sour Apple award, also had a go on the screen with his guest performance in two episodes of Anderson’s TV series “V.I.P.” (1999). His fame in the 1990s was catapulted even higher for his scandalous marriage, which later sent him to jail. During his 6-month stay in prison, the drummer left Mötley Crüe, but still performed for the Crüe’s Greatest Hits tour in 1999.
Following his release from prison, Lee formed a band called Methods of Mayhem and released a self-titled album (1999). The recording fell short and became Methods of Mayhem’s first and last album. The musician, who made a cameo appearance in the romantic comedy Vanilla Sky (2001, as the frozen vintage car man), then worked with Incubus and the Deftones before finally launching his solo album, Never a Dull Moment (2002). On screen, he appeared as himself in two comedy movies, The New Guy (2002) and Pauly Shore Is Dead (2003), before guest starring as Murdoch Goucher in the action series “Fastlane” (2003)
Two years later, the drummer was reunited with the Crüe to release the double-disc hits collection Red, White and Crüe (2004), and for the reunion tour, The Red, White & Crüe Tour 2005: Better Live Than Dead. The reunion project resulted in the “Tommy Lee Goes to College” reality show (2005).
The same year, Lee fared better with Tommyland: The Ride (2005) and broke the charts with the single “Good Times.” Recently, the third single of Tommyland, “Hello, Again,” was dispatched and after appearing in Disaster (2005), Lee acquired the supporting role of Jimmy Tats in Robert Moresco’s crime drama 10th & Wolf (2006).
The guest DJ at New York’s radio station WXRK (“K-Rock”) is currently searching for a vocalist for his newly formed band called Supernova, the result of the reality show “Rock Star: Supernova” (2006). Other members of the band are bassist Jason Newsted (Voivod, ex-Metallica) and guitarist Gilby Clarke (ex-Guns N’ Roses).
- Golden Apple: Sour Apple, 1998