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.
Crue: Wow. It’s been a long time trying to set this up.
know. We’ve been gone a lot and you just caught us too because we’re 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 web site?
never been there yet. I’ve gotta do that. Before we hang up give me the
address so I can check it out.
Actually, I’ll give it to you now if you like.
A: OK. Let
me grab a pen. Go.
That’s called a tilde? Tilde. [~] That’s my new word for the day.
[laughing] Some people say you should learn something every day.
A: Yeh well
you see, I’m still pretty new at this stuff. My brother is like
Inspector Gadget but I’m still trying to get it together.
[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 you’re not quite as advanced on the Internet at this stage?
A: I love
doing it but I have three kids. So it’s kind of like, when I get the
time to do it. Sometimes that’s in the middle of the night.
Now Matthew was your most recent addition to the family, wasn’t he?
Yeh. He was nine months old yesterday.
Time flies doesn’t it.
goin’ crazy. He’s trying to walk and everything.
CC: And how
old are the other two kids?
A: Seven and
five. Toby is seven. She’s the girl and Miles is five. He’s a boy.
A: Yeh I
love that name. I know. It’s cool.
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 he’s very lucky to be here.
CC: And you
were the second along. How old was Tommy when you were born?
CC: So you
weren’t living in L.A. when you were born?
Covina. It’s like 40 miles east of L.A. Not too far.
your first memory of Tommy?
CC: Yeh, as
A: Oh my
God. Either him lighting my room on fire, or umm…
[laughing] How old would he have been then?
A: No that
wasn’t that long ago. [laughing] No, I’m just joking. Let me see. [long
pause] God you know what. I don’t know. I’d have to really think about
amazing isn’t it. The older you get the more the past fades, doesn’t it?
that’s 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!
[laughing] So there’s 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.
CC: Did he
really crank Smoke On The Water?
[laughing] Yeh. We both took accordion lessons for like four years.
CC: 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?
really. He’s never taught me or anything. He would leave a lot and
there’d 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
CC: Was this
like in days before Mötley Crüe?
A: Oh, this
was way before. I think he was in a band called US101.
Yep. And Suite 19 was one of his other old bands.
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 your place.
A: Yeh and
Nikki too. Both of them were at our house.
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 .
believe that. In Mötley’s Theatre Of Pain album it’s got a credit that
says, "Thanks Athena & Perry Bower." Is that you?
A: Ahh. It
could’ve 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. You’re
talking about Theatre Of Pain?
CC: Yeh, yep.
A: Yeh, I
believe I did.
CC: Wow. I
just wanted to touch on Tommy’s first marriage. It’s 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?
She’s a chode!
[laughing] Is that Candice Starrek. Is she one and the same person?
that’s the same girl.
CC: How come
she’s got two names?
A: She’s got
like five names.
really. She’s got heaps on aliases?
because you know what, it’s because she was a stripper. She would like
dance under different names and stuff. I’ve seen her on Hard Copy
running her mouth and it’s like total junk. She talks about my brother,
like how he was violent towards her and stuff. I’ve personally seen her
put a cigarette out on somebody’s face and beat up another girl with a
hot curling iron.
A: And I
think even the night my brother met her, she beat somebody up at The
Roxy, or something like that. It’s one of those things. Now ten years
later [Note: actually fourteen years] it’s like, feel sorry for me.
bizarre isn’t it. Seems she’s trying to just get a bit of attention.
A: And cash,
I guess. I always wonder how much they’re paying her to be the victim.
I guess that’s the cool thing to do right now.
CC: Did you
actually go to their wedding back then?
So it was just a spare of the moment thing?
A: Yeh. I
don’t even know if my parents went or not. I know it was one of those
things where it wasn’t really a romantic thing. You know, it wasn’t
like, ‘oh we’re getting married and the family’s coming.’ You know what
A: It wasn’t
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 wedding.
A: Well, he
was actually in love with her.
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
don’t hang out or anything. I see her sister a lot. She’s got a couple
of sisters and one of her sisters I see around all the time and we’re
Excellent. And now Tom’s of course with Pam, so you’ve got another
famous sister-in-law I guess.
she’s awesome. She’s a lot different. She’s completely down to earth.
comes across that way.
she’s 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.
organised Tommy’s horse and armour suit. Did Pam organise that or did
[laughing] No he did.
CC: So it
was all Tommy’s idea?
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
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 "what’s he doing?" because you can
never really know what to expect. Then it turned into something really,
CC: What was
your first reaction when you heard that he’d got married to Pamela in
A: I didn’t
really have one. I remember just kind of going, I hope she’s cool
because it was so fast. I hope they both know what they’re getting
into. [laughing] But she’s like perfect for him. It’s weird. It’s hard
to explain. He likes to have a good time and so does she. She doesn't
look or act like she’s going to break in half if the wind blows too
hard. You know what I’m trying to say? You know those girls that are,
kind of like, scared of everything?
A: No, she’s
not like that. Maybe because she has a brother. I don’t 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
A: Yep. It
was really weird. I remember like when I was little, I’d go ‘some day,
I’m gonna be on the same stage with you. You watch.’ And he [Tommy] was
always laughing at me. He’d be like ‘yeh, right.' That kind of thing.
CC: And it
A: Yeh, it
was really cool.
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.
right. Who is also your husband [James Kottak].
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 didn’t work
out at all. Now we’ve got the guy that’s producing the next KrunK CD is
a guy called Geza X.
CC: The old
and ecstatic] Yeh! You know him? He’s awesome. You know Meredith
Brooks... [sings] I’m a bitch I’m a lover? He’s doing her next one.
We’re 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.
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 twelve years later he be
producing my CD, you know what I mean?
Excellent. So when’s that due for release at this stage?
A: I don’t
know. We’re still selling the Greatist Hits CD though.
Isn’t that funny? The first record is called Greatist Hits.
A: I love
it. Our little boy drew the cover so it’s really cool.
I’ve 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.
really? That’s 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, I’m
completely bald right now.
A: Yeh. Well
I have cancer, so I’m doing chemo and it fell out.
[laughing, thinking she’s joking] Serious?
totally serious. I’m totally serious. It’s like, I’ll be done in April
and then I’ll get some hair back.
CC: Wow. I’m
A: It looks
weird because it’s not completely smooth. It’s like fuzzy or something.
It’s funny. We were at my brother’s house yesterday and he was like
rubbing my head all day.
abouts is your cancer?
but... blah blah blah. Now it’s like one out of every nine people, you
know what I mean?
that’s a lot isn’t it?
A: And in
two or three years it’ll be one out of every three. So you just gotta
deal with it.
that’s frightening. You got married at Tommy and Pam’s 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 there’s certain people that you want to invite, and then it just
turns into like a ridiculous amount. It’s 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.
Excellent. Did you go on afterwards as well to the Viper Room?
A: That was
the night before. I wasn’t there. I think I was asleep while all that
was going on. [Henry Trappler v Tommy Lee 29/9/96]
well that’s all just come to head now, with Tommy getting his sentence
as such, and having to attend anger management classes.
A: Oh, is
that what ended up happening? I didn’t hear it. God, I’m 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 they’re asking to get their ass
kicked. Almost like, they know if they get them to hit them, they’ll
get some money out of it. Just look next time. Look really close. It’s
like somebody's purposely trying to piss you off so you’ll flip out,
then they can sue you.
A: It’s like
a really easy way to get a whole bunch of cash I guess.
CC: It’d be
such a horrible position to be in, in the public eye so much.
especially after being out all night and you’re being nice and having
pictures taken for the guy. There comes a time, when you’re there to
actually hang out and have a good time, and you say thanks but can we
be alone now.
A: Well you
think he’d say, "Yeh, thanks for the pictures" but instead some of
those guys, they don’t give up. So that just makes you think they do it
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. That’s 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.
you’re talking like Girls, Girls, Girls sort of time?
exactly. I like that the most. It’s all good, but personally I prefer
CC: When Dr.
Feelgood was making great waves around the world, you were in a band
called Hardly Dangerous. I’ve got a demo tape of two songs Bed of Roses
and Take Me To The Mountain.
[laughing] You do?
CC: Yep. I
A: Wow! I
was in the band for like four years and they went through about five
bands have you been in since then? Fill us in on the Hardly Dangerous
to KrunK gap.
Dangerous just fell apart. I’ll never again play with all girls. It’s a
CC: Is it
A: I don’t
know. I really don’t know what it is. I think it’s just the person
really. Either they’re just psycho or they’re 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?" so you just leave.
A: I mean,
really stupid stuff. Like just being hung over and not showing up to
something that’s 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 it’s 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. It’s 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
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 doesn’t practice. It’s 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.
[laughing] Yeh, you know what, I was out of town.
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.
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 things. [laughing]
we’ll have a quick chat then.
A: OK. Bye
Paul. Here’s James.
Kottak: Hey man!
James. How ya doing?
CC: Not bad.
It’s after 2:30am here in Perth, Western Australia.
Australia is like the one continent I’ve never been to.
didn’t come here with The Cult?
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 didn’t get credit for. They’re a weird bunch of guys. They toured but
I didn’t have anything to do with that. They were kind of on their way
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.
CC: Get It
that was the first one. Many more to follow, but then it was like
Kingdom Come Kingdom Gone.
talks to him] Oh, you know Geza?
CC: I don’t
know him. I know of him. I’m an old punk from way back.
he’s a really good guy.
he have an old song called Isotope Soap?
CC: KrunK is
JK: Yeh. We
have our Greatist Hits CD that we recorded last year. We haven’t really
found any labels that were like really, really excited about it.
about the Mötley Records label?
JK: I don’t
know what’s up with that. It’s kind of like, I don’t like to mix
business with family much. I like the way things are right now.
But me and Tommy get together and screw around a little bit every now
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 Tommy’s?
JK: Oh yeh.
They have a blast and goof off and stuff.
CC: How long
has KrunK been going now?
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!
We’ve been together a year and a half and nothing’s happening." It
takes years. If it’s three years before we’re actually like, cruising,
having fun with it. We’re confident. Every month something new happens.
In May, we’re going to put a record out nationwide and maybe in Japan
which is looking pretty good right now.
And possibly tour behind it?
hopefully we’ll be going out in May / June in the US. That’s looking
pretty good. It takes a lot of organisation and obviously money is a
factor. It’s like, if you’re gonna go out, you don’t want to go out and
make it really that bad.
don’t want to have to resort to staying in all the backpackers, that’s
Yeh. I mean, things are going pretty cool. Athena’s an awesome drummer
too. I don’t 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.
Tommy’s always been known as a hard hitter. What’s 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 days?
JK: Oh yeh.
I saw them on the Girls, Girls, Girls tour actually, and Dr. Feelgood.
It was pretty cool.
never played with them?
JK: You mean
like open up for them, or be on the same bill as them?
JK: No, it
until last year.
that was great.
they’re doing some more shows in the middle of the year I believe.
that’s what we hear. Maybe we can talk them into letting us do
something with them.
CC: Have you
heard any of the newer tunes they’re working on at the moment?
heard a little bit of Tommy’s stuff that he’s working on and it sounds
cool. He’s really got the groove thing going right now.
Excellent. Is it going back to more of their rock roots, or..?
well, I don’t know [not wanting to spill any beans].
hey man. Good talking to you finally. Stay in touch and we’ll stay in
great. Thanks very much. We’ll catch up soon.
JK: Bye Paul.
JK: Thanks a
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.
Get your hands on some cool
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
or Money Orders payable to "KrunK" and forward to:
PO Box 900639,
Palmdale, CA 93590-0639
$2.00 for shipping on all items within USA.
Please add $4.00 for airmail shipping on all items elsewhere.
Allow 4 to 8 weeks for delivery.
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