The gospel according to Nikki Sixx
Ex-Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx on his dark days of drug addiction, rock'n'roll and the future
Nikki Sixx might not have written the Guide To Rock’N’Roll Debauchery, but he’s lived several of its chapters. As the bassist, songwriter and leader of Mötley Crüe, he spent a large chunk of the 1980s in a haze of heroin and booze. That the band managed to sell millions of albums despite the abuse they inflicted on themselves is remarkable, though not as remarkable as the fact that they all survived the decade relatively unscathed.
Sixx’s unstinting excess and subsequent recovery have been documented in the iconic Crüe biography The Dirt, as well as his own memoirs, The Heroin Diaries, based on journals he kept through the 80s and 90s and recently updated for a tenth anniversary edition. Today, he’s clean, sober and happily married to wife number three, model Courtney Sixx. And while he’s emphatic that Mötley Crüe are part of his past, the 58-year-old isn’t hanging up his biker boots just yet – his next project is a stage musical version of The Heroin Diaries.
You can create your own destiny
In the late 70s, me and a guy named Lizzie Grey started a band called London. I wanted us to be less like Mott The Hoople and T.Rex, more like the Pistols and Sabbath – I wanted it to have some teeth. But at some point I decided to leave the band. I told Lizzie, and we were both really bummed because we were best friends. I remember going home and thinking, ‘What have I done?’ I had a plan – Mötley Crüe – but I didn’t know it was going to happen. So we did the only thing we could. We made it happen.
All the great rock’n’roll bands are a gang
Mötley Crüe were a gang, one hundred per cent. And gangs can turn on themselves. Power struggles, misunderstandings, built-up youthful anger, angst. All that great stuff that we love. That was rock’n’roll.
Never take ‘no’ for an answer
In Mötley Crüe, everybody said ‘no’ to us about everything. The way we looked, the way we sounded, our ideas, what we did live. It was: ‘No, no, no.’ That just made us more determined. If Tommy had a crazy idea, I’d be, like, ‘Let’s fucking go for it!’ That’s something I love about being in a dysfunctional fucking heavy metal band.