Tommy Lee was born in Athens, Greece. His mother was a Greek beauty queen and his father was a Welsh American soldier. His family moved to California a year after his birth. Lee received his first drum set when he was four. However he received his first real drum kit when he was a teenager. At that time, he was listening to Deep Purple, KISS, and Led Zeppelin. He joined the marching band at his high school, but dropped out of school on his senior year to focus on his musical career.
His first real band was called Suite 19, With a fast playing guitarist named Bill Dora from Maryland, and played the Sunset Strip in LA during the early 80s. 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 playing. Sixx conviced Lee to leave Suite 19 and started playing together in what would end up being Mötley Crüe. At this time, he changed his name to Tommy Lee and earned the nickname "T-Bone" from Sixx. Shortly afterwards, guitarist Mick Mars joined the band. Lee recommended a singer he met at high-school, Vince Neil, and after several auditions he got the job.
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 Theater 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 worked several crowd-pleasing gimmicks during his drum solo at concerts, like having his entire kit revolving and spinning, or having the entire kit float above the crowd, while he continued to play.
As the popularity of the band rose, Lee also made the headlines with his numerous romantic involvements. He married Elaine Irwin Bergen in 1984, but they divorced after a month. She later went on to wed singer John Mellencamp. He married actress Heather Locklear in 1986, but divorced in 1993 after he had s-- with p--- star Debi Diamond on an adult film set following an invitation from friend Ron Jeremy.
Pam & Tommy Lee: Hardcore & UncensoredIn 1995, he married model Pamela Anderson but divorced again in 1998 after having two children (Brandon Thomas, born June 5, 1996 and Dylan Jagger, born December 29, 1997). It was with Anderson that one of Lee's most famous incidents arose when one of their private videos was stolen in 1997. This resulted in Lee becoming notorious for his large penis size and became well known on his jet black hair, which was widely publicized by Howard Stern, and was one of the first examples of n--- celebrities on the Internet. Lee later served four months in prison after pleading no contest to kicking Anderson in the crotch. While he was serving sentence, the couple officially divorced, although they returned briefly upon his release.
Tommy Lee also decided to leave Mötley Crüe during his stay in prison, and stuck to his promise after the completion of 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 for it.
Although Tommy 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 (Stuart Hamm -- The Urge, Nine Inch Nails -- Downward Spiral, Rob Zombie -- Hellbilly Deluxe). He also contributed a solo song, "Welcome to Planet Boom" 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.
Also in 2001, four-year-old Daniel Karven-Veres drowned at Lee's Malibu, California, home during a birthday party for Lee's son Brandon. On April 17, 2003, a Superior Court jury took less than three hours to reject a wrongful death claim made by Daniel's parents, German actress Ursula Karven and TV producer James (Jim) Veres. The suit accused Lee of negligence for failing to have a lifeguard or someone trained in CPR present during the birthday party.
He parted ways with Methods of Mayhem partner Tilo and began recording with members of Incubus and the Deftones. Shortly after, he started recording songs featuring himself almost exclusively, and he ended up releasing his first solo album. The album, 2002's Never a Dull Moment, had tones of rap metal and electronica, and featured little of the Mötley Crüe attitude he was famous for.
Tommy Lee in NBC's Tommy Lee Goes to College.In 2004, Lee reunited with the original Mötley Crüe line-up to release the double-disc album hits album entitled Red, White, and Crüe. They 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). This figure did not include a sell out tour of Australia in December 2005.
Lee released his autobiography Tommyland in 2004. That year 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 band (as a drummer), taking courses in horticulture, chemistry, and literature, and receiving constant support from a s--y but smart tutor. Lee was also one of the producers of the reality TV show. At the same time, he released his new solo album, Tommyland: The Ride in August 2005. The CD featured the hit single, Good Times. His new single, with video to be released soon, is "Hello, Again".
Tommy Lee was also a guest DJ at WXRK "K-Rock" in New York during the Fourth of July Monster Metal Meltdown in 2005.
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