undoubtedly garnered the most headlines of all four bandmembers -- due in part to two separate marriages to Hollywood actresses.
was born in Athens, Greece, as Thomas Lee Bass on October 3, 1962, and his family moved to California a year after his birth.
received his first drum set at the ripe old age of four, but didn't receive his first real kit until reaching his teenage years, upon his discovery of hard rock and heavy metal (
, etc.). After drumming for his high-school marching band,
quit high school in his senior year, as he focused entirely on following his dream of joining a rock band. His first real band was called
, and played the Sunset Strip in L.A. during the early '80s. It was at a
was a bassist looking to form a theatrical band that would specialize in anthemic heavy metal, and when he saw Lee
play, he knew he had found his drummer. Sixx
successfully convinced Lee
to leave Suite 19
and form the nucleus of what would become Mötley Crüe
. The drummer changed his name to Tommy Lee
(also earning the nickname "T-Bone" from Sixx
), and guitarist Mick Mars
joined the fledgling band shortly afterwards. Lee
recommended a singer from his high-school days, Vince Neil
, and after several attempts to get him to try out for the band, Neil
landed the gig during the first jam session. Mötley Crüe
quickly built a fanatical local following, issuing their debut album, Too Fast for Love
, on their own independent Leathur label. Elektra Records decided to sign the band shortly thereafter, reissuing their debut, as the band 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. The band took rock theater to a whole new level, especially Lee
, whose drum solo centered around such crowd-pleasing gimmicks as his entire kit revolving and spinning, while he continuing to bash on the skins.
Although his achievements with Mötley Crüe
are extremely impressive, it was his celebrity marriages to Heather Locklear in the '80s and Pamela Anderson in the '90s that made Tommy Lee
a household name. One of his most famous incidents occurred during his torrid relationship with Anderson, when they were both involved the highly publicized "sex tape scandal" (a videotape that was stolen from their house was eventually made available to the public). Lee
also spent several months behind bars in 1998 after Anderson accused Lee
of hitting her in front of their children. The pair divorced while the Crüe
drummer was serving his prison sentence, but reconciled and then broke up again after his release. 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 rap metal being all the rage, Lee
formed a similarly styled outfit, Methods of Mayhem
, issuing a self-titled album the same year and touring behind it. Although Lee
had little to do with Mötley Crüe
after splitting, he agreed to take part in their 2001 tell-all autobiography, The Dirt
. In addition to his musical output with the Crüe
and MOM, Lee
has made guest appearances on albums by other artists (Stuart Hamm
-- The Urge, Nine Inch Nails
-- Downward Spiral, Rob Zombie
-- Hellbilly Deluxe
), 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. He parted ways with MOM partner Tilo and began recording with members of Incubus and the Deftones.
Through time, he eventually started recording songs featuring himself almost exclusively, and by the time it came to release the results, it was released as his first solo album. The CD, 2002's Never a Dull Moment, reflected his love of rap metal and electronica and featured little of the Mötley Crüe
swagger he was famous for. Three years later, he and Mötley Crüe
reconvened for the greatest-hits package Red, White & Crüe. A monumental reunion tour, The Red, White & Crüe Tour 2005: Better Live Than Dead, the band's first in six years, coincided with its release. In the midst of the band's resurgence, Lee
also prepped himself for his turn in the reality TV spotlight and a new solo album. Tommy Lee Goes to College
, which featured Lee
taking classes and playing in the marching band at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, was slated to premiere in August 2005. The accompanying Tommyland was also scheduled to be released that month.