Tells ChaunCE Hayden the REAL dirt!
“If you drink and you’re happy, God bless you. If you do drugs and it works for you, God bless you. For me, they don’t work.”
A true rock ‘n’ roll legend, renowned Mötley Crüe bass player, Nikki Sixx, 60, is the last of a dying breed. Despite two decades of self-destructive behavior that included large quantities of sex, drugs, and booze, Sixx has survived to tell his story in the bestselling book, “The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star.” The compelling
memoir based on his 1986-87 journals chronicles the year he spiraled out of control in a drug-fueled haze.
Sixx has also released a chilling solo CD (Sixx: A.M.) of the same title – to coincide with the release of the book. The CD, by his band Sixx A.M., includes the single “Life Is Beautiful.” Mötley Crüe, made up of Tommy Lee (drums), Vince Neil (vocals), Mick Mars (guitar), and Nikki Sixx, played their first show together January 17, 1981. That same year saw them record a debut album, “Too Fast for Love,” on their own Leathür Records label. Twenty-five years and some 40 million albums sold later, the up and down Crüe rollercoaster ride seems to be in jeopardy these days. It was reported early this week that Tommy Lee was kicked out of the band. However, details at press time are still sketchy. But as a solo artist Sixx seems to be doing just fine, as demonstrated in “58” and “Brides of Destruction.” Both albums show different sides of his powerful songwriting abilities.
Sixx also helped co-write the New York Times bestseller “Dirt,” the history of the Crüe, which has become a bible for rockers all over the world and is now. Netflix movie…. too mixed reviews. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Nikki Sixx about his book, including the good, the bad, and the ugly of his remarkable life, Tommy Lee and Pam, and that little blue pill no legitimate rock star should be caught dead without.
Chauncé Hayden: After reading “The Heroin Diaries” the first question that comes to mind is, why are you still alive?
Nikki Sixx: I’m amazed I’m still alive. But at the same time, I feel like I’m telling the story of somebody else’s life. I feel reincarnated. Looking back on my life, it’s as if it’s somebody else’s crazy life. There were some great years—lots of great years. It’s funny, but I forget that I’m this guy named Nikki Sixx, because to me, I’m just Nikki. But then, I’ll walk down the street, and someone will yell, “Nikki Sixx!” and I’ll go, “Oh yeah.”
After so many years of addiction and walking on the fringes of death, how do you still maintain your passion for living?
I still have piss and vinegar inside my veins. I’m still driven. On the outside, I look and dress the same way I did when I was 18. I still eat and breathe rock ‘n’ roll. But my inside is more focused now. That’s what makes me feel complete these days. The addictions in my life made me feel bad, and I don’t want to feel bad anymore. I want people to know that you can be rock ‘n’ roll and outrageous and opinionated and do whatever you want to do, but still be a good person. You don’t have to feel like you have a hole in your stomach.
I admire your honesty in the book. To describe it as compelling would be an understatement.
Thank you very much. I really laid it out there in the sense that I didn’t want to sugar-coat stuff.
Not to give too much away, but I was surprised the book has a happy ending.
It was really important to me that the book has a successful ending, but you can’t have a successful ending, if you don’t really show what happens during addiction. So for me, it’s really exciting that people are getting through the whole book. People are telling me there are points in the book where they could barely stand reading it, but they couldn’t put it down. And at the end of the book, they feel great. That’s an amazing thing to hear, since it’s the first time I ever penned something 100 percent by myself. It makes me feel good that the message got through correctly.
Allow me to play the devil’s advocate for a moment. Some might say that, in a way, you’ve glorified addiction and a decadent lifestyle. The message can be seen as: It’s OK to shoot heroin, have unsafe sex, and destroy your liver, because at the end of the day, you’ll be OK.
I hope people don’t see it as glamorous. It was important to me to strip away the glamour. However, at the same
time, it was important for me to let people know it wasn’t all bad times. Because it wasn’t. I’m not the type of guy to
stand on a soapbox and say don’t do drugs and alcohol. I’m just trying to share my story and my experience. 1986 and ‘87 are important times, because that’s when I wrote my journals. But it’s also important to understand how I got there.
How much of your selfdestructive behavior do you blame on your father and mother abandoning you at such an early age?
To be honest, I didn’t realize until years later how pissed I was at them. I mean, I knew I was pissed, but I didn’t know how pissed. I didn’t know how much damage was actually done. Information is so important. I’ve been through two divorces, and the information that my kids get through me and from their mother is so important. Because if your mother is a fucking lunatic, and she never came around again, you’re going to go through life thinking she’s a bad person and feeling abandoned. But in a divorce where both parents love and are there for their kid, that kid will think, “OK, this is not what I wanted, but this is what I have. I can see everyone is happy.” In my case, my dad left, but I never knew why. I never saw him. All I ever heard was that he just ran off. It makes a person think, “What did I do?” or “If I’m half him and he’s a bad person, then I’m already starting off life half bad.” Then, my mom was going through her stuff, and I had to travel back and forth to my grandparents. So, if she’s lost and I’m half her, I’m also lost. I’m just a kid and I’m already bad and lost.
Allow me to be an amateur psychiatrist for a moment. Would you agree that you have a certain degree of selfhatred?
Well, you get into that way of thinking. You don’t know who you are or how you got there. Then you mix in teenage
hormones, and you find yourself heading down a road at 100 miles an hour with no steering wheel and no brakes. Everyone around me is telling me I’m going to crash, but I can’t stop. I can’t fix the car, because I don’t have the tools. All I can do is crash.
You’ve been clean and sober for several years now. What would you say to those people who still indulge in the joys of drinking and doing drugs?
If you drink and you’re happy, God bless you. If you do drugs and it works for you, God bless you. For me, they don’t work. I look at the face of Keith Richards and can clearly see what years of addiction can do to a person. But when I look at your face, I don’t see those same physical battle scars, as it were.
How do you explain that?
Well Keith has been at it a lot longer than I have. Also, some of that is genetic. I have Italian descent and he’s English. Italians tend to age better. If you have to break it down, I’ve only been off the wagon about five times in the past 20 years. So if you do the math, I’ve been mostly clean and sober since 1989. I’ve been completely clean and sober for six years solid. I hope I can achieve that for the rest of my life. But like the saying goes, I take one day at a time. I used to loathe those kinds of sayings. But now I embrace them. Today is today, and I can’t promise what will happen tomorrow. I can’t fix yesterday, and I can’t control tomorrow, so all I have is today.
What is today going to be like for you?
Am I going to take one of the most amazing photographs I’ve ever taken? Am I going to write one of the best songs I’ve ever written? I really don’t know. Am I going to help someone else or go 130 miles an hour down the thruway with the windows down going, “Fucking amazing! Life is beautiful!” For me it’s all about being present and that’s allowed me to be more rock ‘n’ roll than I’ve ever been.
Do you still go to AA meetings?
Oh yeah. I love them. They keep me grounded. Anything that keeps me grounded is wonderful. Life at times is like a heavyweight championship fight. You don’t fight every single day, but if you’re a fighter, you train for that one fight. Then, when the fight comes, you’re ready. For me it’s always about training for being grounded and focused. I make music. And when it’s time to get into the ring and take on life, I’m hopefully ready for the fight. You mentioned Keith Richards. He always seems ready to fight. He always seems like he’s in the zone. That’s why some artists continue to create and others just fade away.
On the night of December 23, 1987, you were declared dead after an overdose, only to be revived by paramedics with two adrenaline shots to the heart (This incident was the inspiration for the song “Kickstart my Heart”). What was it like on the other side? Did you see God? Did you see Satan? Describe the experience.
I didn’t see God or Satan. I also didn’t see a bright light. For years I thought I saw something. I thought I felt like I was out of my body. I’ve since read books about it. I’ll tell you my experience was not unlike the experience of others who went though that.
Is it awkward being around fellow musicians who aren’t clean and sober?
Here’s the deal. My friends who are in this industry and other industries still interact with me. Some drink. Some drink outrageously, and some just have a glass of wine. Some of them have experimented with drugs. But almost always I’m the phone call where they’ll say, “I’m spinning out of control, I better call Nikki.”
Because they know I won’t preach to them. They know I understand what they’re going through. I can tell them how I handled it, but I won’t tell them what to do. I’m not like the guys who stand on a soapbox. I call them soapbocops. They’ll preach, “Don’t do this and you got to do that!” But you know what? Those are the people I ran from.
On a lighter note, is there a better invention than Viagra?
(Laughs) You know, Viagra is interesting. It seems that the people who use it don’t need it. It should be called, The
Punisher. It should say on the bottle, “Take this when you want to punish your lover, in a good way!” I think it’s so
interesting. Many of my friends will say, “Me and my girl went away for the week, and I took Viagra.” And the guy is like 30 years old! You know he doesn’t need it. I don’t know anyone who needs it who takes it.
You’ve admitted to taking it. Do you need it?
No. But I consider it a vacation. You take it once or twice a year and walk around like the cock-of-the-walk afterwards. Meanwhile, your girl lies there and just goes, “Wow!”
After so many sexual conquests, has sex ever become boring for you?
I look at women so differently from how I used to. I’m single now, and I don’t really date, because my focus is on being a single father. I don’t want to be a single rock star. That means a lot of responsibility lies on my shoulders, and I take it very seriously, because nobody took it seriously during my childhood. The most important priorities in my life are: First, my sobriety, because if I’m not sober everything falls apart; next, my kids; then, my career. Last is my personal life. I have everything I want in life, as long as I’m sober. I don’t care if I have a career or a personal life. They don’t matter to me. The first two things are all that really matter to me.
You married two Playboy playmates. Neither one worked out. Most recently, you spilt with former Playmate and“Baywatch” star Donna D’Errico. What were those years with Donna like, and why did the relationship end?
I really don’t like to talk about that aspect of my life, because I would be talking about her life, too. I don’t feel it’s appropriate anymore for me to talk about what our relationship was like, because we would both have to be here to have an honest, clear snapshot of what those years were like. The bottom line is that it didn’t work out for whatever reasons. Her fault, my fault, it doesn’t really matter. One thing I will tell you is that I’m 60-years-old. I don’t plan on meeting someone and not having it work out again. This time around, I’ll take the bimbo list and burn it. Let’s take the strippers and get rid of that list, too. I’ll never make those mistakes again.
Are woman the kiss of death for a band?
Musicians tend to pick the type of women who can be bad for them. If you’re in a band, and your woman is bad for you, then she’s bad for your family, your extended family, and your fans, friends, and band. If you’re in a poisonous
relationship, it poisons the well in general, and everyone is drinking from the same well. You really need to think hard and fast before you let a person poison that well. You have to be very careful. When you’re younger, you’re not careful. All you think of is, “Oh my God, she’s so fucking hot! She’s perfect! I’ll take it.” I bought a Ferrari once, just like that. I went in and saw a red Ferrari and said, “I’ll take it!” But the fucking cost of the upkeep on a car that cost $250,000 is $2,500 per tune-up! A flat tire costs $500, and that’s just to get the rim fixed. Sometimes in life, you have to say, “I don’t want anymore Ferrari’s. I just want a nice, dependable car.” I just can’t stand the drama anymore.
By drama, are you referring to Tommy Lee and Pam Anderson?
I never really paid attention to all that. I have to tell you that as the years go by, I’m less and less interested. If people are drama queens, I just cut them out. I’m just done. I don’t return their calls or associate with them. It’s a complete waste of time. People have a one-strike rule with me. There’s no twostrike rule. Just one time you’re a fucking asshole, and it’s delete and block. I don’t have time for it. I don’t have time to deal with people’s bullshit.
How did you feel about Vince Neil and Tommy Lee signing on to do reality TV shows?
I don’t want to comment on their choices. People make their own decisions whether I agree or disagree with them. I don’t really think it’s important for fans to read about how I feel. A better question for me is, “Nikki, would you do a reality show?”
No. Would I do a Geico commercial like Little Richard? No. It’s just not my way.
The word in Hollywood has long been that there’s a movie in the works based on the history of Mötley Crüe. Any update?
The update is that the last director who was working on the rewrite was let go from Paramount and MTV films.
Why is it taking so long?
Why would we hurry to make a bad film? The story covers 25 years of this band. It’s not going away. It’s going to get made. The question is, is it going to get made right? Is it going to be the equivalent of a cheesy rock movie, or is it going to be a really well-planned story that has a beginning, middle, and end?
It seems like a hard thing to put together when four band members all have a say on how they’re portrayed. How
do you keep everyone happy and yet tell the true story of Mötley Crüe?
I think we all want the same thing. That’s a movie with an honest message.
What’s the message, specifically?
The message is: Four guys from completely different backgrounds, who have nothing in common except for rock n’ roll, become a gang then fall apart through all the success, but in the end, they’re still standing. It’s a survival story. It’s a human story.
You’re 60 years old. Any fear?
I feel I have two choices: Die or live. That’s it. If my choice is not to die, then my only other choice is to live. The question is, do I stay honorable and classy and age gracefully? Age comes. It’s a reality. Do you want to be Mick Jagger, Elton John, or Roger Waters? Or do you want to be like other artists who you just look at and go, “Fuck, that’s embarrassing.” Rock stars need to become royalty like Eric Clapton. They’re an important part of our pop culture. Some, we’ll see in later years and think, “Wow, that’s so cool, he’s still doing it.” And others will make us think, “That’s so cheap and tired.” I look at AC/DC, and they’re older than us and still doing great. That’s very honorable to me. That’s rock royalty to me. It’s the music and the way it’s presented that’s everything. You don’t want to chase trends. You want to set trends. Whether it’s in or out, you have to say to yourself, “This is what I do.”
Is your style and look in or out these days?
I snicker because I’ve had the same basic haircut for 30 years. I walk down the street now, and I see all these kids
with some version of my haircut. By the way, I stole the look from Johnny Thunders and Keith Richards. A few years ago, all the rap rockers had shaved heads with baseball caps on sidewise. I’m sure in a couple of years all the kids will be doing something else. But I’ll be doing the same thing. I’m me and this is who I am. Whether I’m 50, 60, or 70. B.B. King has looked the same since he was 20.
You’ve had a lot of terrible things said about you during your career, but is there one criticism that still puts a lump in your throat?
Whatever people think of me is none of my business. I really just don’t care. You can say whatever the fuck you want
about me. It’s none of my business. You’re entitled to your opinion, but this is my life, and I’m going to do whatever I want. I hope you like it. But some of you will probably hate it.
Are you worried your legacy in rock ‘n’ roll will be “the drug addict who got better” rather than “Nikki Sixx the rock
The only reason I will continue to talk about the addiction at this point and the heroin and the cocaine is to raise awareness for Covenant House. For me personally, I don’t want to be known as “The drug addict guy.” The book and the CD were put out to raise awareness for Covenant House and to inspire people to give money and help these kids who are on the street. I was on the street too, but it was nothing compared to what these kids have had to go through. Nothing compares to it. I suffered through just one percent of what these kids go through.
Finally, you write in “Heroin Diaries,” “If you want to live life on your own terms, you have to be willing to crash and burn.” Are you saying it’s better to burn out than fade away?
I’m not saying that at all. If you want to live life on your own terms, if you want to be who you are, then you got to be
willing to take the lumps that come along with it. You asked what I think of criticism. There you go. I’ve been willing to live life on my own terms. Mötley Crüe has been willing to live life on their own terms, and we’ve been willing to crash and burn for it. We’re willing to die for it. We’re willing to fade away for it. We’re willing to climb the mountain and put the fucking flag on the peak of that mountain and say, “Look. We made it.” Nobody may be cheering, but we made it on our own terms.
And no regrets?