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n the late 1970s Lee’s band, Suite 19, was a regular on the Sunset Strip club ci
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n 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. He became acquainted with bassist Nikki Sixx, whose bands Sister and later London played the same circuit. Sixx was forming a theatrical band that borrowed heavily from Sister’s fusion of occult imagery with a theatrical heavy metal performance, and became a fan of Lee’s drumming. It was during this time period that Lee dropped his surname and earned the nickname “T-bone” due to his 6′ 2½″ height and his lean physique. When London finally broke up in 1981, Lee and Sixx decided to form a new group together. Shortly afterward, guitarist Mick Mars joined the band. Seeking a charismatic frontman, Lee mentioned to the others a singer, Vince Neil, whom he had known casually in high school; Neil soon joined the group, and Mötley Crüe was formed.Lee was born Thomas Lee Bass on October 3, 1962, in Athens, Greece, to father David Lee Thomas Bass, an American U.S. Army sergeant, and mother Vassiliki “Voula” Papadimitriou (Greek: Βασιλική Παπαδημητρίου), a contestant on the 1957 Miss Greece beauty contest. He has a younger sister, Athena, who is also a drummer. When Lee was approximately two years old, his father moved the family back to the United States, settling in California.
Lee received his first drum sticks when he was four years old, and his first proper drum kit when he was a teenager. He dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music, starting with the L.A. club band Suite 19. As a teenager, he listened to Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Kiss, AC/DC and Sweet. His main drumming influences are John Bonham, Tommy Aldridge, Alex Van Halen and Terry Bozzio.