Thomas Lee Bass (also known as Tommy Lee) is an American musician born in Athens, Greece, in 1962. Tommy Lee’s father - David Lee Bass, was an Army Sergeant, and his mom was a contestant in the 1957 Miss Greece contest. Tommy Lee has a younger sister (Athena), who, like her brother, is also a musician/drummer. When Tommy was still a toddler, his family relocated to California.
Tommy Lee is recognized to be one of the founding members of Mötley Crüe – a wildly popular heavy metal band for much of the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond. As noted by the website known as Celebrity Net Worth, in 2022, Tommy Lee net worth is approximately $70 million.
Tommy Lee certainly enjoys the things his success can buy. Some of this wealth is evidenced by his impressive firearm collection and a jaw-dropping Malibu mansion, which was bought in 2021. This 4,200+-square-foot house in Los Angeles was purchased while simultaneously trying to sell his Calabasas home for somewhere around $4.5 million.
Lee, like many musicians, has a penchant for fancy cars. In fact, he is known for having a variety of cutting-edge vehicles and sports cars. In 2020, Tommy Lee bought a black Ferrari F8 Tributo for $280,000 to tool around southern California.
This impressive fortune has been built based on Lee’s incredible musical talent and savvy musical instrument endorsements. In fact, Tommy Lee has personally promoted various drum companies and has spread his wings to include deals for books, movies, and other entrepreneurial endeavors. Other musical pursuits include solo projects and the founding of the rap metal band - Methods of Mayhem – which he developed on the eve of his Pam Anderson divorce.
The Early Years of Tommy Lee
Tommy Lee received his first pair of drumsticks at around four years old. He was a teenager before he received his first drum kit. With strong musical aspirations and a bit of impatience, Lee dropped out of high school to create a music career. Lee’s musical influences can be traced to what he listened to as a teenager – AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Van Halen, and Cheap Trick, among others. His musical or drummer influences include Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, Alex Van Halen (Van Halen), Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa Band), and Tommy Aldridge, to name a few.
He began playing in Los Angeles with a club band known as Suite 19. In 1981, Lee and Vince Neil, Mick Mars, and Nikki Sixx founded Mötley Crüe. It was during this time that Tommy Lee earned his nickname T-Bone – a reference to Lee’s lean and tall physique.
The Mötley Crüe Years
Mötley Crüe quickly built a strong fanbase after the release of Too Fast for Love in 1981, which was released on the band’s independent musical label. Soon after, Electra Records signed Mötley Crüe, reissuing the debut album the following year. The band garners a string of hits, with an impressive record of seven platinum/multiplatinum certifications and nine top-ten albums over the years.
Tommy Lee was an MTV regular for much of the '80s and into the '90s due to the rising success of Mötley Crüe – including a number of flashy music videos. 1989's Dr. Feelgood reached #1 on Billboard’s chart—establishing the band among the most popular hard rock/metal bands of the 1980s.
Lee is a showman and often employed unique yet memorable gimmicks for his drum solos during live concerts. Other antics include his drum kit set on a spinning, elevated stage. Lee was also known for mooning crowds during many live shows. Another over-the-top concert move by Lee was when he performed an upside–down drum solo while suspended and strapped into a roller coaster track.
Mötley Crüe was infamous for the members’ hedonistic and often decadent behavior on and offstage. He has taken a breather from Mötley Crüe, although he reunited to release a quadruple-platinum album called Red, White & Crue. The band’s tour of that album in 2005 grossed more than $33 million. It also landed the band among the top ten concert money earners for that year.
Tommy Lee’s Solo Musical Career
Lee has made musical guest appearances on a variety of other albums for artists and friends. These guest performances included Rob Zombie and Nine Inch Nails, among others. Tommy Lee’s first solo album – Never a Dull Moment, was released in 2002. His autobiography (Tommyland) and second solo musical endeavor (Tommyland - The Ride) happened in 2005.
Since, Tommy Lee has contributed to an album by Smashing Pumpkins known as Monuments to an Elegy.
Tommy Lee – The Entrepreneur & Businessman
Mötley Crüe's music generated great fame and fortune for Tommy Lee and all band members. Mötley Crüe always took a serious perspective when it came to the business of music. For example, Mötley Crüe bought back its catalog of music in 2019 in what turned out to be a sweetheart financial/business deal.
However, the band also made some wise business decisions over the years. This included an amazingly honest autobiography – The Dirt, and a biopic produced by Netflix in 2019.
Hulu featured Tommy Lee’s romance with his now ex-wife – actress Pam Anderson on the fictionalized mini-series known as Pam and Tommy. [This series also include their now scandalous sex tape.]
Tommy Lee From a Personal Perspective
Lee has been married four times. His first marriage to Elaine Starchuk ended in divorce after one year. A few years later, Tommy Lee married actress Heather Locklear. Lee’s relationship was chronicled in the autobiographical flick produced by Netflix – The Dirt.
Tommy Lee was engaged to model Bobbie Brown before he met Playboy Playmate Pamela Anderson. Lee married Pamela Anderson four days after meeting her. He and Anderson have two sons, Brandon and Dylan. Lee married Brittany Furlan in 2019 – an internet influencer on The Vine.
Tommy Lee’s Film And Television Career
Tommy Lee has enjoyed dabbling in the entertainment field beyond music. In 2004, he starred in (and produced) an NBC reality show – Tommy Lee Goes to College. Lee, along with rapper Ludacris, began filming a Planet Green (A Discovery-based ecologically-friendly network channel) reality television show. This was entitled Battleground Earth.
Lee tried his hand at sitcom acting when he made an appearance as Professor Lee on Season 7 of the hit TV series, The Goldbergs. He also played the devil in a fictionalized horror/musical podcast known as Halloween in Hell. Other costars included Machine Gun Kelly and Iann Dior, among others.
Tommy Lee’s Activism
Tommy Lee is an animal rights and PETA supporter. He sent a letter to SeaWorld’s president claiming the orca in captivity should be released into the ocean.
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Written by Allen Lee
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