Russell Hall of IndependentMail.com recently conducted an interview with MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
IndependentMail.com: MÖTLEY CRÜE was formed around the same time that MTV began its rise. In retrospect, do you feel that was crucial to the band's success?
Nikki: Yes. Before then you might pick up a rock magazine and see AEROSMITH's Steven Tyler sitting on a road case, and that might be as close as you got to seeing a concert. Or a concert might be coming to your hometown in six months, and meanwhile you were just going crazy with anticipation. With MTV, it became like, "Oh my God. I can see them doing their thing, and see interviews, and get updates." It was addictive. Of course it's changed with the new generation. I feel blessed to have been there at the beginning. It was like Don Kirschner's "Rock Concert", all the time.
IndependentMail.com: How did heroin addiction affect your songwriting?
Nikki: I'll never know. I do know I write better music when I'm sober. A lot of my friends have told me they don't know how to write when they're sober. For me, the addiction had to do with running from my past, and not living in the present. When you're writing music, you need to live in the present. The music wasn't getting the attention it should have gotten, during that period.
IndependentMail.com: You wrote the songs for MÖTLEY CRÜE's "Dr. Feelgood" album when you were coming out of addiction. What was that like?
Nikki: It was a wonderful time. It was like being reborn, emotionally. The music flowed easily, much like it did with "The Heroin Diaries" CD. Even though I've been sober for years, writing the songs for "The Heroin Diaries" was cathartic. I had two amazing songwriting partners. DJ Ashba's way of taking ideas to the left on guitar, while I took them to the right, was magical. And having James Michael come in and tie it all together was magical as well. We've all played in rock bands, and written songs for other artists, but it's very freeing when you're in a situation where there are no rules.
IndependentMail.com: Are you saying there are rules in MÖTLEY CRÜE?
Nikki: We say there aren't rules, but let's face it: if MÖTLEY CRÜE came out with, say, an R&B record, everybody would scratch their heads. That doesn't mean we can't do that. It just means that at some point you have a demographic of people who are excited about a MÖTLEY CRÜE record, and they want to immerse themselves in the lifestyle and have a great time. We enjoy writing music that's fun. But could I be as expressive in MÖTLEY CRÜE as I was on "The Heroin Diaries"? Probably not. That's why this project was an important exercise.
IndependentMail.com: What was the vibe like on the most recent MÖTLEY CRÜE tour, in 2005?
Nikki: We probably laughed more than we have in years. But that said, I can't say we spent every waking moment together. We each have our own tour bus, and our own dressing room. We hang out, and we sometimes ride on each other's bus, but we have very different lifestyles. Tommy [Lee] listens to loud house-music and hip-hop, twenty-four hours a day. It's very fatiguing. He's high-energy, God bless him. Whereas I listen to a wider variety of music, and not at the same volume as he does. I read a lot, I write a lot, I do a lot of photography, and I do a lot of business. As much as we love each other, it's best that we're not in a tour bus together.
IndependentMail.com: And Vince [Neil] and Mick [Mars]?
Nikki: Vince is a movie buff. He's a much more "chill," California-type guy. And Mick listens to the blues and plays his Stratocaster all day long. We would begin to rub against one another if we were on the same tour bus. I mean, I don't live in Vince's guestroom, and he doesn't live in Tommy's guestroom. It's more or less the same thing, when you're touring. We've been doing this for 27 years, and I think that's a perk you get when you started in a station wagon, sleeping in the same room, flipping a coin to determine who gets to sleep on a bed and who has to sleep on the floor. It's because we love each other that things are arranged the way they are.
IndependentMail.com: What's the status of MÖTLEY CRÜE?
Nikki: We're going to go into the studio and start working on songs this fall, and hopefully cut a record sooner rather than later.
IndependentMail.com: Is SIXX A.M. a one-off project?
Nikki: I don't know. The concept of writing books, doing soundtracks, and furthering conceptual ideas that can be attached to those things is very exciting to me. I'm working on my first novel. I'm sure it will take me years to complete, because it's the first time I've ever written one. Whether I'm good at it or not is an open question, but I love writing. I'm definitely of the philosophy you should enjoy all the opportunities you get in life.
Read the entire interview at IndependentMail.com.