Just over a week
prior to Pamela Lee filing for divorce from husband Tommy Lee, his
sister Athena provided Chronological Crue with an entertaining insight into the
couple, along with memories of growing up with Tommy, his previous
marriages, paparazzi, and her exciting band KrunK. The conversation begins with Athena on the phone in Los Angeles at 2am
Perth time, on the 17th February 1998.
Chronological Crue: Wow. Its been a
long time trying to set this up.
Athena: I know. Weve been gone a lot
and you just caught us too because were on the way to Santa Barbara for the day.
CC: Have you got a few moments now?
A: Sure. Now this is for
your Mötley Crüe
CC: Yeh, Chronological
A: Ive never been there yet.
Ive gotta do that. Before we hang up give me the address so I can check it out.
CC: Actually, Ill give it to you now
if you like.
A: OK. Let me grab a pen. Go.
CC: [spells out members.ozemail.com.au/~cruekiss]
A: Tilde? Thats called a tilde?
Tilde. [~] Thats my new word for the day.
CC: [laughing] Some people say you should
learn something every day.
A: Yeh well you see, Im still pretty
new at this stuff. My brother is like Inspector Gadget but Im still trying to get
CC: [laughing] Inspector Gadget.
A: Oh my God. He can do anything.
CC: Yeh him and Nikki both seem to really
plug into the technology side of things. So youre not quite as advanced on the
Internet at this stage?
A: I love doing it but I have
three kids. So
its kind of like, when I get the time to do it. Sometimes thats in the middle
of the night.
CC: Sure. Now Matthew was your most recent
addition to the family, wasnt he?
Yeh. He was nine months old yesterday.
CC: Wow. Time flies doesnt it.
A: Hes goin crazy. Hes
trying to walk and everything.
CC: And how old are the other two kids?
A: Seven and five. Toby is
the girl and Miles is five. Hes a boy.
CC: Great name Miles.
A: Yeh I love that name. I know. Its
CC: Let’s just back pedal
a bit. Chronological Crue actually traces the whole history of the Crüe, right back to the birth
of its members. I believe that Tommy was obviously the first born, but your Mum had
a bit of a problem and Tommy was like the sixth attempt. She had a few miscarriages and
hes very lucky to be here.
A: Right. Exactly.
CC: And you were the second along. How old
was Tommy when you were born?
CC: So you werent living in L.A. when
you were born?
A: No, Covina. Its like 40 miles
east of L.A. Not too far.
CC: Whats your first memory of Tommy?
A: First memory?
CC: Yeh, as a kid.
A: Oh my God. Either him lighting my room
on fire, or umm
CC: [laughing] How old would he have been
A: No that wasnt that long ago.
[laughing] No, Im just joking. Let me see. [long pause] God you know what. I
dont know. Id have to really think about that.
CC: Its amazing isnt it. The
older you get the more the past fades, doesnt it?
A: Yeh, thats right. I remember I was
always laughing. Like, he was always just really funny. He got me into trouble a lot. You
know, like teaching me to stick bobby pins into light sockets, that kind of thing.
CC: Oh nasty!
A: Yeh! [laughing] So theres some
memories for ya.
CC: Do you remember him taking keyboard
lessons when he was young, and having to put up with all that noise in the house?
A: Oh yeh. Piano accordion.
CC: Did he really crank Smoke On The Water?
A: [laughing] Yeh. We both took accordion
lessons for like four years.
Tommy then did a fair bit of drumming at High School in the marching band.
A: Yeh my Dad bought him a snare drum for
Christmas. Then he started to learn and he took it up at school and just went from there.
CC: And you followed him into drums?
A: Not really. Hes never taught me or
anything. He would leave a lot and thered always be drums there in the studio. My
Dad kind of built him a studio in the garage. So when he would leave, I would go in there
without permission and start bangin on his stuff. So basically, I was sneaky.
CC: Was this like in days
before Mötley Crüe?
A: Oh, this was way before. I think he was
in a band called US101.
CC: Yep. Yep. And Suite 19 was
one of his other old bands.
A: Yeh. Thats right.
CC: Did you used to go and see them play?
A: Yeh, all the time. I used to run the
lights when he was in US101. They would play school dances and stuff like
that. They did all those gigs, and parties and stuff. You know when people used to have
like giant parties in their backyard?
A: They used to play those all the time.
CC: So he moved from there into the
Crüe. Do you remember having any thoughts when Tommy formed Mötley Crüe with Nikki. Was it just
another band, his next thing, or did he feel it was going to be quite big?
A: No. He knew it was going to be good.
CC: In the early days Vince was living at
A: Yeh and Nikki too. Both of them were at
CC: What kind of memories have you got from
those early days. Was that the first you came across those guys?
A: No. I had met them a whole bunch of
times before. I always thought they looked weird but they were real nice. As far as
memories go, Vince was always just hitting on every one of my girlfriends that came over .
CC: Id believe that. In
Theatre Of Pain album its got a credit that says, "Thanks Athena
& Perry Bower." Is that you?
A: Ahh. It couldve been. I mean, yeh.
If it says Athena. Yeh. You know, I think I did some singing... some back up singing
and stuff on there. Youre talking about Theatre Of Pain?
CC: Yeh, yep.
A: Yeh, I believe I did.
CC: Wow. I just wanted to touch on
Tommys first marriage. Its a bit of a subject on the Internet from time to
time. Some people say that his first marriage was to a girl called Elaine Bergen?
A: Yeh. Shes a chode!
CC: [laughing] Is that Candice Starrek. Is
she one and the same person?
A: Yeh, thats the same girl.
CC: How come shes got two names?
A: Shes got like five names.
CC: Wow, really. Shes got heaps on
A: Yeh, because you know what, its
because she was a stripper. She would like dance under different names and stuff.
Ive seen her on Hard Copy running her mouth and its like total
junk. She talks about my brother, like how he was violent towards her and stuff. Ive
personally seen her put a cigarette out on somebodys face and beat up another girl
with a hot curling iron.
CC: Oh, beautiful.
A: And I think even the night my brother
met her, she beat somebody up at The Roxy, or something like that. Its
one of those things. Now ten years later [Note: actually fourteen years] its like, feel sorry for me.
CC: Yeh, bizarre isnt it. Seems
shes trying to just get a bit of attention.
A: And cash, I guess. I always wonder how
much theyre paying her to be the victim. I guess thats the cool thing to do
CC: Did you actually go to their wedding
A: No. Nobody did.
CC: Right. So it was just a spare of the
A: Yeh. I dont even know if my
parents went or not. I know it was one of those things where it wasnt really a
romantic thing. You know, it wasnt like, oh were getting married and the
familys coming. You know what I mean?
CC: Yeh, definitely.
A: It wasnt like that at all.
CC: The next wedding was more like that,
when he married Heather [Locklear]. That was the full on, more traditional type of
A: Well, he was actually in love with her.
CC: Thats the difference I guess.
Were you there that day?
A: Yeh, it was really beautiful.
CC: What do you remember most about it?
A: The whole thing. The whole thing was
just really nice from start to finish.
CC: Did you get along well with Heather?
A: Yeh, I always did. I still do. You know,
if I see her now and then. I mean we dont hang out or anything. I see her sister a
lot. Shes got a couple of sisters and one of her sisters I see around all the time
and were completely friendly.
CC: Excellent. And now Toms of course
with Pam, so youve got another famous sister-in-law I guess.
A: Yeh, shes awesome.
Shes a lot different. Shes completely down to earth.
CC: She comes across that way.
A: Yeh, shes a really cool girl.
CC: So you were at their weddings as well?
Not the first one of course, in Cancun.
A: No, the one on
Christmas Eve  at their house.
The whole family was there.
CC: Who organised Tommys horse and
armour suit. Did Pam organise that or did Tommy?
A: [laughing] No he did.
CC: So it was all Tommys idea?
A: [still laughing] Yeh, it was cool. He
had the full suit of armour on and he had this scroll. He was reading her this really
romantic piece that he had written.
CC: Was everyone laughing, or did it come
across really serious?
A: At first we were laughing because it was
so out there. But then it was like how cool you know what I mean?
A: At first it was funny because we were
going "whats he doing?" because you can never really know what to expect.
Then it turned into something really, really nice.
CC: What was your first reaction when you
heard that hed got married to Pamela in Mexico?
A: I didnt really have one. I
remember just kind of going, I hope shes cool because it was so fast. I hope they
both know what theyre getting into. [laughing] But shes like perfect for him.
Its weird. Its hard to explain. He likes to have a good time
and so does she.
She doesn't look or act like shes going to break in half if the wind blows too hard.
You know what Im trying to say? You know those girls that are, kind of like, scared
A: No, shes not like that. Maybe
because she has a brother. I dont know.
Well you actually played with Gerry [Anderson, Pam’s brother] in support
of Mötley Crüe as part of last year’s Mötley Crüe Vs The Earth Tour. Was
that the first time you’d ever supported Mötley Crüe in a band?
A: Yep. It was really weird. I remember
like when I was little, Id go some day, Im gonna be on the same stage
with you. You watch. And he [Tommy] was always laughing at me. Hed be like
yeh, right.' That kind of thing.
CC: And it happened.
A: Yeh, it was really cool.
CC: Awesome. There was also talk at one
time, about a year ago now, that Tommy might be producing the debut album from your band KrunK.
A: Yeh, but you know what happened? Your
see our singer for KrunK is also the drummer for The Scorpions.
CC: Thats right. Who is also your
husband [James Kottak].
A: Right. Right. What happened is
The Scorpions left to go on tour
while Tom was home and then when they came back and we were ready to do KrunK, Tom left
on tour. So it was a timing thing that it didnt work out at all. Now weve got
the guy thats producing the next KrunK CD is a guy called Geza X.
CC: The old punk guy?
A: [amazed and ecstatic] Yeh! You know
him? Hes awesome. You know Meredith Brooks... [sings] Im a bitch Im a lover?
Hes doing her next one. Were going in with him in like two or
three weeks I think.
CC: God. I used to listen to him years ago
when I had a big white Mohawk. [laughing]
A: Yeh? I met him in Covina over ten years
ago when I lived out there. We hung out just a little bit. I had no idea, like
later he be producing my CD, you know what I mean?
CC: Thats bizarre!
A: Pretty awesome huh?
CC: Excellent. So whens that due for
release at this stage?
A: I dont know. Were still
selling the Greatist Hits CD though.
CC: [laughing] Excellent.
A: Isnt that funny? The first record is called Greatist Hits.
CC: That’s classic!
A: I love it. Our little boy drew the cover
so its really cool.
CC: Yeh, Ive seen it on the
T-Shirts as well.
A: Yeh, he drew that. Everybody
has three eyes!
CC: I had a video on the other night and I
was watching your husband when he was in Kingdom Come. I think it was the clip for
Get It On.
A: Wow, really? Thats old.
CC: Yeh. We were having a good laugh and
enjoying it. His hair is a lot whiter and shorter these days. Is your hair short?
A: Well, Im completely bald right
A: Yeh. Well I have cancer, so Im
doing chemo and it fell out.
CC: [laughing, thinking shes joking]
A: No, totally serious. Im totally
serious. Its like, Ill be done in April and then Ill get some hair back.
CC: Wow. I’m sorry!
A: It looks weird because its not
completely smooth. Its like fuzzy or something. Its funny. We were at my
brothers house yesterday and he was like rubbing my head all day.
CC: Where abouts is your cancer?
A: Breast cancer.
CC: Thats really sad.
A: Yeh but... blah blah blah. Now its
like one out of every nine people, you know what I mean?
CC: Wow, thats a lot isnt it?
A: And in two or three years itll be
one out of every three. So you just gotta deal with it.
CC: Gee, thats frightening. You got
married at Tommy and Pams house. That must have been quite an event?
A: We just wanted it real small. Kind of a
family thing. What we saw happening was that theres certain people that you want to
invite, and then it just turns into like a ridiculous amount. Its like, all of a
sudden, 50 turns into 100.
CC: Yeh, it can get too crazy.
A: Yeh. So we decided just
two or three friends
and just our family. It was perfect. I wouldn't have changed a thing.
CC: Excellent. Did you go on afterwards as
well to the Viper Room?
A: That was the night before. I wasnt
there. I think I was asleep while all that was going on. [Henry Trappler
v Tommy Lee 29/9/96]
CC: Yeh, well thats all just come to
head now, with Tommy getting his sentence as such, and having to attend anger management
A: Oh, is that what ended up happening? I
didnt hear it. God, Im so sick of those people. If you look back and you
really look at tape, and you look at stuff like that, it looks like theyre asking to
get their ass kicked. Almost like, they know if they get them to hit them, theyll
get some money out of it. Just look next time. Look really close. Its like
somebody's purposely trying to piss you off so youll flip out, then they can sue
CC: Yeh. Thats ridiculous.
A: Its like a really easy way to get
a whole bunch of cash I guess.
CC: Itd be such a horrible position
to be in, in the public eye so much.
A: Well, especially after being out all
night and youre being nice and having pictures taken for the guy. There comes a
time, when youre there to actually hang out and have a good time, and you say thanks
but can we be alone now.
A: Well you think hed say,
thanks for the pictures" but instead some of those guys, they dont give up. So
that just makes you think they do it on purpose.
CC: Looking back over all
the Mötley Crüe
music over the years, do you personally have a favourite Crüe era, as
such? What do you consider to be the best Mötley Crüe record?
A: A lot of the people I know like the very
first stuff. I like the slightly older stuff, as it got a little bit dirtier. Thats
the kind of stuff I like. I was never real big when it was just the heavy stuff. I like
the music when you could tell they started growing up a little bit.
CC: So, youre talking like
Girls, Girls, Girls sort of time?
A: Yeh, exactly. I like that the most.
Its all good, but personally I prefer that.
CC: When Dr. Feelgood was
making great waves around the world, you were in a band called Hardly
Dangerous. Ive got a demo tape of two songs Bed of Roses and
Take Me To The Mountain.
A: [laughing] You do?
CC: Yep. I do indeed.
A: Wow! I was in the band for like
and they went through about five different drummers.
CC: What bands have you been in since then?
Fill us in on the Hardly Dangerous to KrunK gap.
A: Hardly Dangerous just fell apart.
Ill never again play with all girls. Its a disaster.
CC: Is it egos?
A: I dont know. I really dont
know what it is. I think its just the person really. Either theyre just psycho
or theyre not! There was some drug problems that constantly interfered and just made
me sick after a while. We had lost three record deals because of just, stupidness. After a
while you go, "For how many years am I going to let you destroy my life?"
CC: Yeh, sure.
A: I mean, really stupid stuff. Like just
being hung over and not showing up to something thats important, for some reason. It
was like, the day before something important, somebody would go out and get destroyed and
wreck it. Instead of three days before its be the day before. You know, that kind of
thing. That went on constantly. Then I played with this guy Tom Bones. Actually
Butt Trumpet. Its a punk thing but that was just too much for me. At
the time, James was on tour and he wanted me there like seven days a week. It was just
turning into a ridiculous amount of money for me. I was not being paid for it. I was
paying to do it.
CC: So is KrunK a full time thing now,
along with motherhood, as such?
A: Yeh but see, it works out because the
singer knows exactly what goes on. [laughing] But see, KrunK doesnt practice.
Its like a whole different thing. The players are like, incredible. What can be done
in two hours gets done in two hours, instead of all day.
CC: Cool. I think that’s
pretty much all I wanted to cover, except for Tommy’s birthday circus Tommyland,
where Pam organised the big circus.
A: [laughing] Yeh, you know what, I was out
CC: Oh damn!
A: Yeh and you know, I watched a video of
it and I was like, "Oh my God. I wish I was there." There was like midgets and
the Circus guys, all that stuff. Awesome. Me and James were going,
"Wow! We wish we were there." Everybody was dressed up.
CC: Yeh well, maybe next time.
A: Hey, you can chat with
James if you want to. He and Tom hang out and they talk about guy
CC: OK, well have a quick chat then.
A: OK. Bye Paul. Heres James.
James Kottak: Hey man!
CC: Hi James. How ya doing?
JK: Great. And you?
CC: Not bad. Its after 2:30am here in
Perth, Western Australia.
JK: Wow. Australia is like the one
continent Ive never been to.
CC: You didnt come here with
JK: When I did The Cult, I worked in the
studio with them and pre-production and everything for Ceremony. I did a whole
bunch of stuff on Ceremony that I didnt get credit for. Theyre a weird bunch
of guys. They toured but I didnt have anything to do with that. They were kind of
on their way down then.
CC: Yeh, sure. Sonic Temple and
Electric were their best. I was just saying to Athena earlier we were watching
you in a Kingdom Come video.
JK: Oh yeh. Which one?
CC: Get It On.
JK: Yeh, that was the first one. Many more
to follow, but then it was like Kingdom Come Kingdom Gone.
JK: [Athena talks to him] Oh, you know Geza?
CC: I dont know him. I know of him.
Im an old punk from way back.
JK: Yeh, hes a really good guy.
CC: Didnt he have an old song called
JK: Who knows?
CC: KrunK is going well?
JK: Yeh. We have our Greatist
Hits CD that we recorded last year. We havent really found any labels that
were like really, really excited about it.
CC: What about the Mötley Records label?
JK: I dont know whats up with
that. Its kind of like, I dont like to mix business with family much. I like
the way things are right now.
me and Tommy get together and screw around a little bit every now and then.
CC: Being brothers-in-law, I guess you
would. So, what, do you jam a bit together?
JK: Yeh, we went over there just a couple
of days ago and watched movies all day together and hung out with the kids.
CC: Do your kids get on well with
JK: Oh yeh. They have a blast and goof off
CC: How long has KrunK been going now?
JK: We started about two years ago, just
playing around, doing this and that. Then last year things just got better, then this
happened and that happened. Most bands get too in a rush. They get like,
"Oh my God! Weve been together a year and a half and nothings happening." It takes
years. If its three years before were actually like, cruising, so what?
JK: Were having fun with it.
Were confident. Every month something new happens. In May, were going to put a
record out nationwide and maybe in Japan which is looking pretty good right now.
CC: Awesome. And possibly tour behind it?
JK: Yeh, hopefully well be going out
in May / June in the US. Thats looking pretty good. It takes a lot of organisation
and obviously money is a factor. Its like, if youre gonna go out, you
dont want to go out and make it really that bad.
CC: You dont want to have to resort
to staying in all the backpackers, thats for sure.
Yeh. I mean, things are going pretty cool. Athenas an awesome drummer too. I
dont know how much you know about drumming, but she actually hits harder than most
guys I know. Her and Tommy play a lot a like.
CC: Yeh, Tommys always been known as
a hard hitter. Whats your favourite Crüe era or album?
JK: Um. I think I like all that Girls,
Girls, Girls stuff. I like the Shout At The Devil album too.
CC: Did you see them live back in those
JK: Oh yeh. I saw them on the Girls,
Girls, Girls tour actually, and Dr. Feelgood. It was pretty cool.
CC: You never played with them?
JK: You mean like open up for them, or be
on the same bill as them?
JK: No, it never happened.
CC: Not until last year.
JK: Yeh, that was great.
CC: Well theyre doing some more shows
in the middle of the year I believe.
JK: Yeh, thats what we hear. Maybe we
can talk them into letting us do something with them.
CC: Have you heard any of the newer tunes
theyre working on at the moment?
JK: Ive heard a little bit of
Tommys stuff that hes working on and it sounds cool. Hes really got the
groove thing going right now.
CC: Excellent. Is it going back to more of
their rock roots, or..?
JK: Yeh, well, I dont know
wanting to spill any beans].
CC: Sure. Thats OK.
JK: Well, hey man. Good talking to you
finally. Stay in touch and well stay in touch.
CC: Sounds great. Thanks very much.
Well catch up soon.
JK: Bye Paul.
CC: Thanks. Cheers.
JK: Thanks a lot man.
In early November 1997, KrunK walked away
with two awards in the 2nd Annual Rock City News Awards for bands in Los Angeles. The band
was named BEST PUNK BAND, and Athena won BEST FEMALE DRUMMER. In the 7th Annual L.A. Music
Awards, Athena was nominated for BEST DRUMMER (Males & Females). She was the first
female ever nominated in the history of the L.A. Music Awards.
Get your hands on some cool KrunK gear!!!
KrunK CD . . . Greatist Hits . . . $12
(a special autographed CD featuring a dozen KrunK songs)
KrunK T-shirt - Band Photo . . . $15
KrunK T-shirt - Stick People . . . $15
Autographed 8 x 10 band photo . . . $8
"KrunK SuckS" sticker . . . $5
KrunK Mega-Deal . . . Everything for only $49.95
Make Checks or Money Orders payable to
"KrunK" and forward to:
PO Box 900639,
Palmdale, CA 93590-0639
Please add $2.00 for shipping on all items
Please add $4.00 for airmail shipping on all items elsewhere.
Allow 4 to 8 weeks for delivery.
...and tell them Chronological Crue sent ya!!!
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