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Nikki Sixx Interview

A Conversation With The Musician and Author


Nikki Sixx
Tenth Street Entertainment
Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx has looked death in the eyes and lived to tell about it. He’s written The Heroin Diaries, a book which tells the story of a year where he was living the life of a millionaire rock star, but was also dealing with a crippling heroin addiction that nearly killed him. In addition to the actual diaries from that era, there are interviews with Sixx’s family, friends and bandmates about how Sixx’s lifestyle back then affected them.

In addition to the book, Sixx put together a band called Sixx A.M. and wrote a soundtrack that corresponds with the chapters of the book. The band includes vocalist James Michael and guitarist D.J. Ashba along with Sixx. It’s an eclectic album that showcases a lot of different styles and genres.

Chad Bowar: How did the idea of turning your diaries into a book come about?
Nikki Sixx: It was a long process because the original feeling was to publish those diaries based on my belief that I could raise awareness of this global epidemic and what it’s like, whether you’re down in the streets or in a private jet. It’s an epidemic and a problem. I wanted to share my experience, and by getting through that experience share a little hope, a little faith that people can get out of it. That’s where it started.

What was next was that I was thinking to give a clearer picture, we should really have other people’s opinions, because otherwise it’s going to be very one-sided, and I didn’t want it to come off as a multi-millionaire rock star selling out concerts around the world, can have anything he wants, and woe is me, I have a drug problem. I think that exploring the immediate and extended family of somebody that’s going through a crisis is an important part of the story. That’s when we started interviewing the different people, really getting an honest tale from their opinion as well.

Were you surprised by the level of honesty of your family and friends that were interviewed for the book?
It was very important to me that they were honest, because it’s not who I am today, it’s who I was then. In their honesty we can get a clearer picture. It would be useless if it were a fluff piece.

Was it more difficult emotionally for you to go back and relive your experiences, or read about how those experiences affected those near to you?
Neither. For me, I don’t want to close the door on the past, I want to see as far down the hallway as I can, so to speak. It’s only through being able to look back and see clearly that there is story back there that I can move forward. And I think that’s true with all people, no matter what you’re dealing with, if it’s heartbreak or an addiction or other crosses you have to bear in your life. You can look back and say that’s where I was then, look how far I’ve come now. A lot of times people say something happened and I don’t ever want to talk about it again. To me, there’s always a fear it may rear its head again, because we don’t want to expose the truth, we don’t want to expose that raw nerve, we don’t want to feel uncomfortable. It’s through feeling uncomfortable that I’ve actually become more comfortable in my skin.

What kind of advice do you give your kids about drugs, and will they read the book?
It’s difficult. We’ve obviously had these conversations on a surface level. I’ve never dived into the details that are in the book, and I don’t think that would be age appropriate at this time in their lives. I’m no different than any other parent. I’m sure that my kids are really no different than any other teenagers and soon to be teenagers. It’s out there. There’s peer pressure. It’s in front of them. Their friends do it, their friends are going to have an influence on them. I can lead by example, but obviously I worry about it. I can’t control it, you can’t control anything. Control is a huge farce that human beings believe in. They believe they can control anything. You can lead by example and say this is my story, and people will then make their own decisions. A lot of people like myself said, well I see the red flags, but I’m going to do it. People make their own decisions.

Part of the proceeds of the book are going to Covenant House. Tell me about that organization and how you got involved with them.
Covenant House is an organization that has been dealing with at-risk youth for a long time. They have an infrastructure set up that is so phenomenal. They have an outreach program where they go get kids off the street. They can give them any help they need, whether it’s therapy or physical help. They get them into a program that helps clean up their head and clean up their body. Then they can help them get education, financial planning, and eventually they get them into apartments and get them to work. They eventually get back into the system. One thing for me was, I didn’t know a place like this existed when I was young. My time as a runaway was limited compared to these kids. I spent a tenth of the time that a lot of these kids spend on the street. Music is what got me out from spiraling into someplace that I could have. By setting up a music program called Running Wild In The Night and driving awareness to Covenant House, we can generate money to help put in another piece of the puzzle to help these kids. That will just increase the possibility of getting them back out there.

Are you planning on putting together any more books using some of your other diaries you’ve saved over the years or doing some other type of literary project?
Literary, yes. Diaries, no. This was a one time thing. I think there’s a benefit to this. I know that the stuff from ’81 and ’82 and forming the band and going on tour for the first time is all wonderful stuff, but it’s personal and I write for personal reasons. Something you never expect to do is publish something like this. There’s a benefit to publishing this because I’m exposing myself and exposing an issue. I want to do some good. It inspired a wonderful soundtrack and accidentally formed a band out of it.

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