Nikki Sixx: 'The Secret To My Success Is That I Just Won't Die'

Nikki Sixx to discuss the Heroin Diaries, the soundtrack, Mtley Cre and cheating death.

Nikki Sixx: 'The Secret To My Success Is That I Just Won't Die'
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Mtley Cre founding member and song-writer Nikki Sixx has taken a different stroke with the pen via his first book Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star which will be released come September. Co-written by Ian Gittins (Guardian, Q Magazine) Heroin Diaries is based on Sixx's journal entries beginning Christmas 1986 where he documented the tumultuous relationship he had with heroin and his mega-selling band, Mtley Cre. Chronicling the highs and lows of being in one of the world's biggest rock bands while being one of the most notorious junkies to survive the excess of the 80s, Heroin Diaries also includes commentary from those closest to Sixx - then and now - who had an all-access pass to his struggle and recovery from his addictions. Accompanying the book will be a dynamic sonic diary that was written and produced by Sixx, James Michael and DJ Ashba under the moniker of Sixx: A.M. that retraces Sixx's path from destruction to salvation. On the eve of the release of both projects, Joe Matera spoke to Nikki Sixx to discuss the Heroin Diaries, the soundtrack, Mtley Cre and cheating death. Ultimate-Guitar: Your upcoming book is a riveting read, a no holds bar account of your descent into drug addiction and overdose. But rather than be a first person account it works on many levels for the reader. Not only do we get an intimate account of your experience, the thoughts and feelings you were going though but we also get perspectives from those around you at the time, your friends, family, musicians all of which gives a balanced view of everything. If I had released these diaries as they were and just wrote my overview story or tried to show how clever I was with my writing, I would have given the message to the readers that would have been something along the lines of 'well woe me, a multi-millionaire rock star selling out arenas and who can have anything and everything he wantsoh and he has a drug problem and now he's going to say oh it was bad'that's what it would have sounded like to them. So it needed to have a little more of a fly on the wall perspective of having been there. Though having a relationship with the pen and paper was wonderful and very important to the core of the story, I wanted to also have other people's interpretation of this story. That way you can see what happens in the extended world. You can see the perspective of the family of the person who is going through the crisis as well as with band members and musicians that I've associated with and ex-managers, ex-girlfriends, publicists and people that were living day by day with me. We also brought in my mother, my sister and my grandfather. What all this allowed me to see was that if I looked back as far I could see, there was a dysfunction for me that kind of started off on the wrong foot. And that is telling as afar as psychologically looking at the story. To do the imprint across the top of it as a writer today and actually be able to write my story from my teenage years until now, really allowed me to close the chapter on it all. And show I think, a very true and rounded story instead of it being just from one person solely. Didn't you start the early writing sessions for the book with Neil Strauss (The Dirt)? No, Neil and I had talked about it but what I needed was somebody - and though Neil is one of my favourite writers - I needed somebody that was going to go in there and really pull the information out of the other people. It was very difficult to try and sit down with a band member and say 'tell me about my darkest days?' Because they're going to say, 'well you weren't that bad' or 'yeah you were an asshole but you hey want go out for a burger?' So I needed somebody to go in there and disarm them and turn them around and get them to really open up to what really bothered them or didn't bother them. And Ian Gittins was phenomenal at doing just that and at filtering the information back to me as I was writing the overview of the story. The core of the thing is the diaries but there is all this other stuff that fills out the story too. There's a line in Van Nuys, the second track on the Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, which I found quite profound. The line goes, 'I just want my father to know that I finally made it'. Since you did change your name originally to Nikki Sixx as an act of rebellion against your father, do you think that has been the impetus behind everything you've done in your life and career where it has been about the need to prove to your father who and what you are? You know that's a part of where I was at the time. I had to go back and revisit those feelings when James Michael first brought that song in and said, 'this really feels like where you were at'. We all wrote together and independently for this project, three producers, songwriters a lot of people. I had to be able to talk with James and open up to him about was those lyrics brought up in me. There's two parts to that song the first part is 'I don't want my mom to know I've sold my soul' and 'I want my father to know that I finally made it'. Those are very adolescent feelings that I think anybody whose in that downward spiral would definitely feel and would be saying, 'God I just wish they knew'.
"In my case, drugs and alcohol don't make me more creative, they make me less creative."
When you overdosed in December of 1987 and were declared dead but remarkably were revived by paramedics, do you remember anything of the experience of having come close to the other side? I'd done a VH1 Behind The Music a few years ago which first brought up what has always sort of been in my head. You see I sort of remember things like I remember sort of seeing the event even though I was actually lying on the ground with a sheet over my head. There was a part of me that thought, 'God did I really die? Is it real or is it fake?' It was very confusing and I kind of blurted it out those feelings on Behind The Music. Then later I was like, 'God I wish I hadn't said that', because I just didn't want people to think I was fuckin' nuts. But then when I found the diaries and read that part of it, I was fuckin' blown away. I was like 'fuck that was exactly what was in my head'. And it was scary. Having come close to death, did it give you a new spiritual outlook on life? Not so much from that experience but in general. I think I'm a very spiritual person. I believe there is a power greater than myself and I believe that there is something else out there. It would be pretty narcissistic to think it's all about us? Even though we have this great terminology of rock god, I mean it's a bit of a farce though isn't it? That whole period in the 80s with the success of Mtley Cre and all your underlining drug addictions, looking back now, do you think that if you hadn't gone through all that debauchery and whatnot we may not have the songs you wrote that came out from all of that? You know one will never know. I look at an album like Dr. Feelgood and I see it as one of our best albums and that was done at a time when the band all had their act together. And then I look at the other albums where we were really smashed and out of it and they were what they were. No one will ever know. In my case, drugs and alcohol don't make me more creative, they make me less creative. So I can only imagine. I mean I look at the soundtrack for the Heroin Diaries and the creativity that is happening on that record where it was all done with clear heads, it tells me right there that I'm probably a better artist when my I'm clearer. How important do you think was your producer Tom Werman to the overall band's success during that whole '80s period? You know I don't want to apologize for anything that we've done like that. I think that was all part of the process. I still have a very good time when I tour and the only difference is I don't snort anything. I just probably have to remove more pairs of panties to get laid. Getting back to the Heroin Diaries Soundtrack it sounds very cohesive on a whole yet all the songs are capable of also standing on their own too? Our goal for the Heroin Diaries Soundtrack was just to create what ever was right for the song and sort of follow the inspiration of the book and the writing. When we put the album together it was very important for us to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Which basically are the tracks; X-mas In Hell, Intermission and Life After Death and then we filled in what was right for the album in there. We actually had written a double album's worth of music. And it was difficult but very important to hone it down to the thirteen songs. The soundtrack provided the impetus for the formation of your new band Sixx AM? Well up to about a month ago we weren't even a rock band! Me, DJ and James were just making a soundtrack to the book. But people kept saying this is really, really spectacular and radio was really interested in playing it. And people were then saying 'it's got to be by somebody'. So begrudgingly for me, we kind of agreed well James and DJ agreed to call the band Sixx AM. And so we just became a band. And as far as what's next, do they make a movie out of this do we do a tour? I just don't know as it's all speculative. At the moment, it is all coming at us one day at a time and we're really excited.
"Probably the secret to my success is simply that I just won't die!"
You've played Gibson Thunderbird basses for most of your career? Yeah I first started out playing a 1976 Thunderbird and then when that fell apart, I ended up playing B. C. Rich and played that for awhile. Then I went to the Kramer Thunderbird and from there I went to Gibson and have been with them for the past 20 odd years playing the Thunderbird. And I also have my own signature model bass called the Blackbird which is kind of a customized Thunderbird. What gear did you use for the Heroin Diaries Soundtrack? Most of the record was played with a '59 Fender P-Bass which is kind of my favourite studio bass. And for most of the stuff I just recorded through a '64 Fender Bassman. I used no effects and no nothing. I was just one microphone in the middle of the room and that was it. What are your views on the whole music downloading issue? I think anything we can do to spread music around is good. I like the way that you can fire away, you know, infect a whole community so to speak. So I think that it's all good. I do believe that you can't control it and you shouldn't try to control it. It will spread beyond what it is where people will actually purchase all their music via it. Will it affect some things? Probably. Does it increase sales at the same time? Probably soyes. I would agree with all of those arguments. And it's an argument that I've watched artists take both sides on but I tend to stand on the side of letting it all get out there. So when can we expect another Mtley Cre album to surface? Well we just got done touring for quite a few years recently. Now I'm home working on the Heroin Diaries project, the soundtrack and getting the message out there. As well there is the clothing line that I'm doing with Kelly Gray called Royal Underground which is really doing well. I'm just really enjoying this creative time at home and am not so really inclined to get up and go do a Mtley Cre at this point in time. I mean at some point, sure but right now it's like I've never done Mtley Cre and my projects at the same time anyway so right now it's my time to do whatever I want to do. And I'm also working on a novel which I'd like to eventually finish too. Finally what do you think is the secret to your success and longevity? Probably the secret to my success is simply that I just won't die! (laughs) 2007 Joe Matera

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    Laiwinsh
    scarfacesuit wrote: jmh886 wrote: no because keith richards was the keith richards of the 70s hahaha so who would be the keith richards of the 90's?
    Layne Staley.
    ThunderThor
    turboneal : Nikki Six is not the Kieth richards of the 80s, and Joe perry is not the K. R. of the 70s. Kieth Richards is Kieth Richards through all of those decades. Thats why he is Keith Richards. In in the 2020s if Nikki Six has motley crue still selling out stadiums, you WOULD be able to compare him to Kieth Richards IF the Rolling stones weren't still around touring...
    Actually it'd be the 2010's which is only about 2 and a half years away. So it'll probably happen.
    turboneal
    Nikki Six is not the Kieth richards of the 80s, and Joe perry is not the K. R. of the 70s. Kieth Richards is Kieth Richards through all of those decades. Thats why he is Keith Richards. In in the 2020s if Nikki Six has motley crue still selling out stadiums, you WOULD be able to compare him to Kieth Richards IF the Rolling stones weren't still around touring...
    Burpin'Worm
    ncgunn wrote: Is Keith Richards the singer in MCR?
    He's the guitarist in the Rolling Stones. Keep it on topic people, ie. not winging about MCR.
    Ghost bass
    Rhythm__Guitar wrote: Keith Richards of the.... 70's - Keith Richards 80's - Nikki Sixx 90's - Scott Weiland or Courtney Love 00's - Pete Doherty
    Dunno about Doherty. He hasn't survived the whole of 00's yet. I doubt he will aswell
    sjguitargiant
    if the style of music is different than the party is going to be different, so kieth go smoke your poor daddys ashes then like a REAl rock star apologize about being wylde, the CRUe rules!!!
    ReeseKillsHIV
    GNRkixass wrote: who the **** is kieth richards???
    Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha... Ahem, Sir...He is an important figure in rock and roll history. Think...The Rolling Stones.
    DANZIG767
    rokknrollldude wrote: mister bass guy : verona_bassist wrote: i used to think he was ok but..then in an interview he said curly-haired people cant rock, and thats just bull what about ray toro? ok ray toro plays for MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE...one of the saddest excuses for rock and roll that exists today. by the any one who was dead and then came back after OD ing is oficially the BOMB
    ODing on heroin is NOT cool
    motleycrew92
    success? I dont see what hes doing now as success. btw he looks ****ed up in the picture
    Clarkie107
    The track 'Life Is Beautiful' frm that soundtrack is absolutely stunning I know Im gonna get it wen its out
    pucci6d6
    Logan_B wrote: pucci6d6 wrote: mister bass guy wrote: verona_bassist wrote: i used to think he was ok but..then in an interview he said curly-haired people cant rock, and thats just bullwhat about ray toro? he obviously doesnt know slash, because slash is way out of his league slash could out rock him any day imo Uh noo lol i have to disagree....Slash isnt THAT great...Toro puts the pwnage on him
    HAHAHA, thats the funniest thing i read all day sure slash isnt that great, but niether is toro sure i love both bands, but slash pwns the shit out of toro nobody these days writes solos like slash
    DANZIG767
    scarfacesuit wrote: jmh886 wrote: no because keith richards was the keith richards of the 70s hahaha so who would be the keith richards of the 90's?
    Scott Weiland
    pucci6d6
    GNRkixass wrote: who the **** is kieth richards???
    put up your flame shield now wikipedia him
    Tele Echoes
    I love how Nikki Sixx has managed to stay well known and keep you all interested in his work, despite the fact he still has learned how to play the bass well. He's like the Sid Vicous that got lucky, despite sucking.
    Gakusey
    Totally vote for John Frusciante as the KR of the 90-ies. Seriously, people, if you're not aware of his biography, check it out on Wikipedia. Or better yet - watch his (in)famous 1994 interview on YouTube. Not to mention that I think he did OD and then come back... Regardless of whether it's true or not, he was still a MEGA junkie.
    joud
    haha they blocked it!!the keith of the 90's is cobain
    mister bass guy
    Infamou$17 wrote: And if I may ask, where the f***ing h**l did Ray Toro come from
    UG blocks out the word hell?
    Sh*tPump
    keith richards is keith in 60's, 70's, 80's 90's and now. Keith will live 4ever man, stoned 4ever...
    MXFNCK
    you cant compare Keith to dead people. You cant compare keith to anyone at all. Keith is the master and he'll always be. Ever wondered why they call him the human riff? fck yeah, he rules all
    canadian-vr-fan
    the keith of 90's i would definitly have to say is scott weiland, without a doubt, thats first name that popped in my mind when every body was talking about the whole situation.
    Infamou$17
    However for the 90's you could argue for Weiland or Frusciante. However I would go with Frusciante because he owns Weiland as a musician, especially post-comeback. Also because of his work with The Mars Volta
    i suck
    better lucky than good any day, also there is no one like keith richards and in 20 years he will still be kickin ass
    Flesh N' Blood
    Nikki Sixx is one of my biggest inspirations and heroes. He created one of the GREATEST bands of all time and was the reason they were so successful. He is an ingenious songwriter and great storyteller. READ THE DIRT! You cant go wrong with it. Anyways awesome for the heroin diaries, it will be sweet to read peoples stories like Slash and fellow Crue members. Coolest thing to hit September!
    \^SG-NMB^/
    The saddest part of all this is he is doing the EXACT same thing Keith Richards did in the 70's, and thats glorifying ****in heroin. And im sure someones gonna flame me and disagree, but the truth is some kid is gonna read this and think "Oh Hey cool ill shoot up, die then live just like Nikki Sixx!!" Fuckin sad. The secret to your success is youre a lucky Schmuck.
    \^SG-NMB^/
    Greatest Bands? Mars is Mediocre, Sixx is a legend in his own mind, Vince neil is the white OJ of the 20th century, he should be in ****in prison right now. The ONLY talent in that band is Tommy Lee, and if he hadnt banged Pamela, he wouldnt even be a household name. Oh and i have read the Dirt.
    Danos2529
    70's - Kieth richards or Ozzy 80's - Nikki sixx 90's - Phil Anselmo P.s - Phil Anselmo is the best vocalist ever. he also OWNS live seen him live 2 weeks ago it was the best thing ever, His Band DOWN is insane, might not have the skill of Pantera, but they are still ****ing rad my new favourite band!
    Infamou$17
    Thoughtless Ise wrote: KEITH RICHARDS is THE KEITH RICHARDS of the 60's the 70's the 80's the 90's and TODAY
    Well he did consume what was left of his father back in '02 or something, so yeah, best answer yet.
    Stoffia
    Thoughtless Ise wrote: KEITH RICHARDS is THE KEITH RICHARDS of the 60's the 70's the 80's the 90's and TODAY
    Yeah !!
    verona_bassist
    i used to think he was ok but..then in an interview he said curly-haired people cant rock, and thats just bull
    break-me-in
    scarfacesuit wrote: jmh886 wrote: no because keith richards was the keith richards of the 70s hahaha so who would be the keith richards of the 90's?
    Probably Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley.
    Stop Messin'
    .willy. wrote: Nikki Sixx: 'The Secret To My Success Is That I Just Won't Die' Unfortunately.....
    And how many books did YOU write? Nikki is an amazing songwriter. I met him 2 years ago and he was awesome and very nice.
    ThunderThor
    break-me-in : scarfacesuit wrote: jmh886 wrote: no because keith richards was the keith richards of the 70s hahaha so who would be the keith richards of the 90's? Probably Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley.
    No Kurt and Layne both died it would be Scott Weiland
    mister bass guy
    verona_bassist wrote: i used to think he was ok but..then in an interview he said curly-haired people cant rock, and thats just bull
    what about ray toro?
    pucci6d6
    mister bass guy wrote: verona_bassist wrote: i used to think he was ok but..then in an interview he said curly-haired people cant rock, and thats just bullwhat about ray toro?
    he obviously doesnt know slash, because slash is way out of his league slash could out rock him any day imo
    aquevedo831
    I think Brian Warner....aka...Marilyn Manson could be the Keith Richards of the 90's. That guy was ****ed up all the time, he had horrible drug problems and addictions...more than he does now.
    scarfacesuit
    jmh886 wrote: no because keith richards was the keith richards of the 70s
    hahaha so who would be the keith richards of the 90's?