Tommy Lee, the Greek-American musician and founding member of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, is turning sixty today on October 3rd.
Lee was born in Athens to father David Lee Thomas Bass, an American Army serviceman, and mother Vassiliki Papadimitriou, a 1957 Miss Greece contestant. He has a younger sister, Athena.
His family moved to California a year after his birth. Lee received his first drum when he was four and his first drum kit when he was a teenager.
In the late 1970s, Lee’s band, Suite 19, was a regular on the Sunset Strip club circuit in Los Angeles along with other up-and-coming acts, such as Van Halen and Quiet Riot.
Mötley Crüe was formed in 1981. The founding members were bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, lead guitarist Mick Mars, and lead singer Vince Neil. Mötley Crüe has sold over one hundred million albums worldwide.
In 2014, the four members publicly signed a deal agreeing that they’d never hit the road together again following one final trek. However, that changed when the Stadium Tour concept was suggested.
They confirmed their intention to return in 2019 and recently completed a run of thirty-six large-scale shows with Def Leppard, Poison, and Joan Jett. More will take place in 2023.
“How can you say no to stadiums?” he recently asked, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. “It’s some pretty crazy stuff, man.”
Referring to Crue’s 41-year history, he added: “[N]ame a band who’s got the same original members that have been doing it this long—good luck.”
Outspoken on politics and proud of his Greek heritage
In a 2020 interview, the legendary rocker took issue with the politics of former US President Donald Trump, saying that if Trump had won the last Presidential election, he’ll “go back to [his] motherland, go back to Greece and get a house on one of the islands.”
Lee has been critical of Trump before and explained how he feels the US is being judged right now in the eyes of the world because of the President’s embarrassing antics. He also slammed the fact that US celebrity culture has taken over politics.
The drummer has always been proud of his Greek heritage. “I’m honored to have been born in Athens, and wherever I tour with Mötley Crüe, I proudly proclaim my Greek heritage,” he once said.
In 2012, he wrote the following poem about Greece and posted on it on his public social media pages.
Because we are a small, poor country full of people with big hearts
Because we never visit anyone empty-handed
Because there is no way to tell foreigners the word “Kapsoura” properly (burning desire for someone)
Because there is still something valuable in Greek families
Because we always do, even if at the last moment
Because we were slaves for 400 years, but never take this as an excuse for our current state
Because we are scattered all over the Planet
Because we have the word “filotimo” (Honor for his friend?)
Because foreigners, if they can not find a word, use one of ours
Because we share our problems and bad times with our friends and family and not with psychiatrists
Because Socrates, Plato, Aristotle were Greeks
Because we invented theater
Because we gave birth to democracy
Because we discovered logic
Because we made a start in…science
Because we are proud of our culture, not our war[s]
Because when we started to make the Parthenon, the others still slept in trees
Because we have all these lights, which have made efforts to create peace through war
Because we see a difference between “eros” (in love) and “Agapi” (Love), while we feel both passionately
Because Eros was a Greek God
Because we gave the curse “Freedom or Death”
Because we already woven leash than any other are still attracted to wolf skin
Because “Greeks do not fight like heroes, but heroes fight like Greeks” (Winston Churchill, 1941)
Because we gave our ancient alphabet to the Romans and our Medieval alphabet to the Slavs
Because we are not ashamed to cry
Because we dance when we are sad
Because we work to live, not live to work
Because 97% of the star names are Greek
Because if we brother or cousin on the road every scream turns
Because our churches are not dark inside full of special lighting
Because our parents do not forget that we exist when we are already 18
Because if we want to get a sun tan, we go to the beach
Because we confront every difficulty with humor
Because the Olympics were born in Greece. As we unite with our Olympic light the world and send the message of peace
Because our sky is blue white
Because 40% of the Oxford dictionary consists of Greek words
Because we know what “Kefi” (joy in the fun?) means and how to live it
Tommy Lee career in film and television
Tommy Lee also has a successful career in film and television. In 2004, he starred in a reality show on NBC titled Tommy Lee Goes to College. Lee was also one of the producers of the show.
In spring 2008, Lee began filming another reality TV show with rapper Ludacris for Planet Green (Discovery Channel’s 24-hour eco-friendly network) titled Battleground Earth. In 2019, Lee guest-starred on Season 7, Episode 14 of The Goldbergs as Professor Lee.
Throughout October 2020, Lee played the Devil in four episodes of Halloween in Hell, a fictionalized musical horror podcast. The series also starred Iann Dior, 24kGoldn, Dana Dentata, Phem, and Machine Gun Kelly.
Lee has been married four times. Among his previous wives was Playboy Playmate Pamela Anderson whom he married in 1995. Lee’s last marriage in 2019 was with social media celebrity Brittany Furlan.