Lee was born in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of David Lee Thomas Bass, an American army sergeant, and Vassiliki "Voula" Papadimitriou, Miss Greece (for the 1960 Miss World event). Her parents moved to Los Angeles the year before she was born. Lee took an interest in music around age 20; two years later, she joined the all-girl band Hardly Dangerous and the punk group Butt Trumpet. She then signed on and worked with KrunK. Aside from her musical career, she has also been a celebrity guest commentator on VH-1's Behind the Music and E! True Hollywood Story.
Lee's first husband was Scott Atkins, a former bandmate. Later, she was married to James Kottak, drummer for the heavy metal band Scorpions and fellow bandmember of Kottak. They had three children together: Tobi (a girl) born 1991, Miles born in 1992 and Matthew in 1997, but have since divorced. Athena was voted for Best Female Drummer and won at the "Rock City - Rockies".. In the 7th Annual L.A. Music Awards, Athena was nominated for "BEST DRUMMER" (Males and Females) category. She was the first female ever nominated in the history of the L.A. Music Awards.
As of 2011 she is still playing drums with various artists and is endorsed by Rockett Drumworks which is owned by longtime friend Rikki Rockett of the band Poison. Her first book, titled "Coming in Second", came out in October 2011. Since 2012, she has been a cast member of the Fuse reality TV series Ex-Wives of Rock.