TOM 'BUBBA' LEE
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Tom Lee began his musical career early with piano lessons at age 3. By age 4, he wowed his audience at his first recital by not tripping as he strode to the piano to perform his matching color coded sheet music and keyboard chart. In grade school Tom picked up the violin. His parents somehow put up with 8 years of private lessons. Started with the guitar in 6th grade.
1963-First band- "The Sh_tkickers 3", with Kim Breech & Brad Mitzelfeld.
1964-"The Bloomfield Fortunes" with Gary Griffin, Gordon Smith, Chris Binkley, John Bingham
1965- 1969 The combo changed their name to "The Odds & Ends". Played sockhops, proms & private parties through high school.
1971- Formed first original band called "Springport Bouquet" with Gary Griffin (guitar, bass & piano) & Robert ("Bob") Byrne (deceased), with Dave Morse, drums.
1972- With manager Glen Richter, the band moved out to Malibu, California to write and record. It was there they met soundman & recording engineer Mike Denecke, engineer, and inventor & manufacturer of The Denecke Time Code Slate, who took the band under his wing. Springport Bouquet lasted for just about 2 years, and the band had a chance to develop writing skills & performed original music at The Troubador, Ye Little Club, and local bars in Malibu & Los Angeles area. Their highpoint was to audition for Elmer Bernstein, who called them band back for a second audition to be in the sequel to "Billy Jack". (No, they didn't make it, but it was close...)
Tom went back to Michigan to finish an English degree, and returned to California to record with Mike Denecke at least once or twice a year. Mike produced Toms LP "Take Off The Day".
In 1980, Tom formed "The Citizens" with Gary Griffin, Rick Yardley, & Michael Parrentoni. Sort of a new wave band. Their big moment was opening for the Doobie Brothers at Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan. (Their first time playing in front of 8,000 people!)
In 1981, Tom went back to California to settle in Van Nuys. Joann Kurman got Tom lined up with a gig at Sterns On The Hill in Playa del Rey. Soon joined by Don Raymond, they played the gig as a duo for a year. Don introduced Tom to Marty Kaniger and Bob Wayne at a recording session for Marty's "It's So Hard Top Say I Love You" song. Everyone got along just fine. Soon after the recording session, Bob & Marty wanted to put "Big Daddy" together to play a Holiday Inn gig. We were all game. The lineup was Bob, Marty, David Starns, Gary Hoffman & Tom. Well, the gig never happened, and it's probably a good thing, because the first two rehearsals were pretty dreadful.
OK, shifting to first person here...Bob had mentioned the possability of doing a project for Rhino Records, and asked if I would be interested. I said "Sure!", not even daring to dream that this would take place. After we decided that the Holiday Inn wasn't going to happen, Bob called me up & said "Hey, do you remember the recording project we talked about? Well, it's going to happen!" I immediately started laughing. Bob said laughingly ..."You think I'm kidding, don't you?" I said "Sure I do! All my life I've been wanting to record on a legit label, and here it is placed in my lap?" Bob said "Well, I'm serious. This is going to happen!..." and the rest, as they say, is history. (back to second person ...)
While recording & performing with Big Daddy, Tom worked at Universal Studios as a member of a doo-wop group called "Double Date", as well as playing the roll of Jake in The Blues Brothers Show. Tom also sidelined for several Irish bands in Los Angeles, where he soaked up a love for Irish music...along with adequate "drops of the pure". A few of the bands he performed with are The Vagabonds, Des Regan and Men Of Worth.
In 1986, Tom started an Irish Duo "The Shenanigans" with guitar virtuoso Zavier (John Walch) another dear friend who has since departed. This duo continues today with Don Raymond in LA, and Gary Griffin with Rick Yardley in Detroit. (yep...that would be a trio!) He produced 2 collections of Irish & ethnic songs on cassette...The Shenanigans "Songs Of Ireland with Zavier", and "These Lands Of Ours" with Benny McInally.
Another high point in Toms' career is voiceover work. Tom sang on two Garfield Episodes, "Garfield The Musical" and "The Ocean Blue". Tom enjoyed every minute of Big Daddy. However, in 1993, he decided to return with his family to Michigan. It would be tough raising infants in the area his new family lived in.
Since his return to the Motor City, Tom played a weekend gig at The Clarkston Cafe with The Shenanigans...for 12 years! (Not a bad run!) He also sang on dozens of radio & television commercials created at Yessian Music.
As a solo performer, he appeared in Hawiai for the Winners Circle for GTE. Tom currently is still singing at The Bloomfield Open Hunt Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
And now, Big Daddy is planning to record a new album! It's about time.