BY THOMAS S. ORWAT, JR.
Please check out our YOUTUBE CHANNEL – Rock Interview Series – for many more interviews with rock music biggest stars here!
To say that 1994 was like a rollercoaster ride for
Motley Crue would be a vast understatement. In reality, it
was more like a bungee jump off of the Empire State
Building. The Crue experienced some career highs, with the
addition of a new vocalist, John Corabi, including a critically
acclaimed studio album. But, on the other hand, the album’s
sales were lackluster in comparison to their previous
releases, and their tour had a dismal turn out.
Keeping all of this in perspective is Crue
bassist/lyricist, Nikki Sixx. Sixx realizes that the music
industry has drastically changed since Crue’s last studio
album in 1991. Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, call it what you
want, has succumbed in popularity to the new alternative,
grunge industrial rock. Funny thing is, Sixx doesn’t care.
He’s never followed trends; he just creates them. If Crue can
no longer sell out 20,000 seat arenas, so be it. Nikki’s happy
creating the music that he hears in his head, and if it doesn’t
appeal to the masses, who cares? That’s Nikki’s attitude,
and it’s always been that way. Nikki’s excited about the
future, and if you’re still a Cruehead, you should be, too. The
best is yet to come.
The following is an interview that I conducted with
Nikki Sixx last July. As many of you know, Motley Crue has
been my favorite band for the past 13 years. It was such a
privilege to interview my favorite member of my favorite
It’s been four years since your last major tour. Have you
noticed a difference in the average age of your
A lot of our audience has been with us since the beginning,
or whenever it was that they discovered the band. So, we
have some older people, some 25, 26-year-and-up fans.
Part of that, I attribute to the fact that we haven’t released an
album for four years. Plus, we went through major changes
without the support of a medium that reaches a lot of people,
like MTV. There’s a lot of young kids out there that have
heard about Motley Crue, but they don’t know what we’re
about. But, they do know that we’re not the “trend of the
week” band. They don’t know what we look like or sound
like, so there are a lot of people who aren’t prepared to take
a chance. Let’s face it; too many bands have burnt too many
fans too many times with changes and shitty records. It’s
tough times now, and the artists can’t take it as something
The two acts that are currently on tour with you, King’s X
and Type O Negative, are ideologically on different ends
of the spectrum. Whose idea was it to book two bands
with such contrasting views?
It was our whole intention right away. We talked to everyone
from the Ramones to House Of Pain, about working the tour
with us. A lot of bands didn’t understand what we were trying
to do. We have the attitude that music is music. I listen to all
different types of music. I can’t understand why kids bicker
over stupid things, like if Metallica is better than Guns N’
Roses, or vice versa. That type of mentality is ludicrous. You
should be able to listen to all types of music. I grew up on
the Stones, who were influenced by blues and country and
rockabilly. That is the same for me, and I hope our fans are
influenced by everything from Motley Crue to fuckin’ Pearl
Jam. Whatever it takes to get your rocks off! Music is Music;
you shouldn’t have to categorize everything. That was the
whole concept behind this tour that we put together.
How have the Crue fans reacted to Type O?
They dig ‘em, they really do. Our fans know the way we
think. They know that is there’s a band on tour with Motley
Crue, it’s because we like them. The only tour that I ever did
where I didn’t like the support band was when Warrant
opened for us back in late ’89, early ’90. My manager came
to me and said, “You know Motley Crue and Warrant is the
package of the year. Warrant has a strong album, your
album is out of control.” And I was like, “Man, I don’t know.
I’d rather have Iggy.”
I got talked into something that I now look back on and go that wasn’t right.
Because, in a lot of ways, with “Dr. Feelgood”
being our most popular album, it might have set
a precedent for what some people who didn’t know about us,
thought we were about. A band like Warrant has really
nothing to do with us. It was really a financial thing. It was
about making sure that every arena was completely sold out.
That isn’t a bad thing. To have 20,000 kids a night, packed
to the ceiling having a great time, is a great thing. But, I’d
rather have 17,000, and not had the 3,000 that Warrant
brought in, and have Iggy open, or the Sisters of Mercy.
That’s one of my only regrets that I have, tour-wise.
When that tour started, I thought I read somewhere that
you, or maybe one of the other band members, loved
Warrant and wanted to tour with them forever. I was
mystified at the time after reading that.
No, I didn’t. It was one of the only times where I went,
“Alright. I see where you guys are coming from, so let’s give
it a shot.” It’s funny, because Warrant was going down really
well with our audience. I just didn’t get it. They’re really nice
guys, it’s not a personal thing. But, the thing was, I wanted to
have Raging Slab open a few shows. So, we toured Florida
with them, and they went down like a fucking Zeppelin on
fire. The kids just stood there and looked at them like WHAT?
And I was bummed. I thought that they were so
cool, and they just weren’t going down. This was before they
started mixing packages up, before Lollapalooza. I
remember talking to people about doing weird packages in
1985 and 1986. They told me that the biggest Rock n’ Roll
disaster was when the Ramones toured with Black Sabbath.
The Ramones got pelted with coins, it was a complete
disaster. The last thing I want to do is a disaster. My
intention is not to do something wrong, it’s to do something
right. All I can do is think of things that move me emotionally.
I remember saying, “Let’s get this band and that band for the
‘Theater of Pain’ tour,” and everyone told me that I was on
glue. And now, I know I wasn’t on glue. But, whatever, life’s
a learning experience.
Well, throughout your career, Crue’s always been ahead
of the game. Sometimes it’s worked, sometimes it
Yeah, exactly! Well, it always works out because it’s part of
my career, not as a ladder, but as a rollercoaster. There’s
going to be peaks and valleys along the way. I’m always
prepared for the climb up and the sweep down and another
climb up. That’s life, that’s a career.
How has your audience reacted to John’s vocal
interpretation of the older music?
They freaked out! All I hear is that he fits like a glove. He
does the old music amazing justice, and that’s what was the
big skepticism amongst the real diehards.
How much of the new album do you perform live?
We do about 20 to 25 songs, depending on our mood. We
play way over two hours. We do three quarters of the new
album, and the rest is old stuff. Ten new songs, ten old
songs, and a couple of covers. We do “Revolution” by the
Beatles, and then some obscure shit.
Have there been any weird occurrences on the tour so
Yeah, we got escorted out of Myrtle Beach by 35 cops.
What led to that?
Well, the show was held in a football stadium at the outskirts
of town, and there was an eleven o’clock curfew. We were
one hour, forty-five minutes into our show. We felt like we
were going to play at least another forty-five minutes. But,
they turned the lights on. They came up to me and told me
that we have to go home, and that they’re going to turn the
power off. So, I went to the microphone and said, “Some
asshole just told me that I have to go home.” So then, I
started up a “Fuck the police” chant (laughs). Then, when we
got off the stage, 35 cops were waiting for us. They told us,
“You guys get on your tour busses and get out of Myrtle
Beach right now, or you’ll spend the 4th of July weekend in
jail.” I didn’t really care about going to jail, but we had three
shows scheduled over the weekend. So, I was thinking more
about the fans, but I really wanted to say “Fuck you, throw
me in jail.” But, then three shows would have been
cancelled, and there would have been a lot of disappointed
You really care for your fans so much that I heard you
invite them up on stage every night.
Yeah, during the acoustic set one night, John said we should
invite some people up on stage. So we did. It started off with
about ten people, but before you knew it, there were 50
people plus on stage. Security was freaking out. It was
completely out of control. It was one of the coolest things.
We try to do it every night, but our management tries to
discourage us because it just gets so crazy.
Yeah, it sucks with everyone being so lawsuit crazy.
Exactly! Just one lawsuit puts a damper on everyone’s fun.
What spectacular feat will Tommy attempt with his drum
set this tour?
It’s sort of geared to where our heads are at. Technology
meets raw playing style. He’s really into sampling and taking
things musically to a different level, by combining sounds
and creating his own sounds and working rhythmically with
lights. He said, “I could fly over the audience, but, I think I
could knock everyone’s dick in the dirt, audio-wise.” All I’ve
heard is that this is the best drum solo he’s ever done.
I heard a rumor that he performs his solo song from the
Yeah, he does perform “Planet Boom” and “It’s So Cool.”
The new album has a very dark, depressing, and pissed
off theme that weaves through it. Was this reflective of
the band’s frame of mind during the recording of it?
(Pauses) If you know Motley Crue, you know that there’s
always been that element in our music. I just chose to exploit
it more. I’m the guy in the band, that if I had my way, we
would sound like the Sisters of Mercy. It would be just a
death, destruction, and doom band.
That’s what makes Motley so special.
When we write and record, one person’s personality will shine through more than another.
It’s teamwork. I’m sure that if you asked a running back on a
football team how he would like his offense to play, he would
say, “Run it all the time.” It would be more of a one-man
show. Well, I’m not a solo artist. But, at times, I get to exploit
more of my fantasy. I think that this album is a little more
geared to where my head is. Most of the time, I think
everyone else has synched up with that; Tommy, Mick, and
especially John, who co-wrote most of the lyrics with me.
This is a dark time. For me, it’s been the best time it’s ever
been, because that’s where my head’s always been. Lyrics
like “Wildside” and “Dr. Feelgood” have a very dark element
to them. But, stuff like “Same Old Situation” was not so much
where my heart was at. It wasn’t written for Vince, but with
him being a member of the band, it was more of his feeling.
The “let’s party” stuff. I enjoy all that, too. I’m not saying that
we’re never going to do that type of thing again.
I’ve always been fascinated by your lyrics. I find them
very inspiring and profound. How difficult is lyric writing
for you? Is it a struggle, or does it just flow out?
It’s funny because the band laughs, especially John, when it
comes to how I write song lyrics. They’ve never seen anyone
write the way that I do. I sit down with about ten pieces of
paper, and if it takes me five minutes, I write solid without
stopping. That’s it, and it’s done. Then, I say it’s in there
somewhere, and I have to pick it out. I just write, I call it
“verbal vomiting.” It just goes, pen to paper.
It builds up to it. A gross analogy would be that if the
pimple’s not ripe, you can’t pop it. That’s got to be my
headspace. I couldn’t sit down at this very moment and write
anything, because I’m not in the mood to write. Maybe, at a
certain time after the show, I’ll sit down and it will just
explode out of me. I write all the time and just leave it
around. I leave it on the bus, I give it to the fans, I just write.
Writers write, singers sing. It’s just what I love to do.
Sometimes I just write silly shit and fax it to my friends.
Writing is very inspirational.
While we’re on the subject of writing, what ever
happened to your book that you’ve been working on for
the last ten years?
I was meeting with publishers when Vince walked out. I had
to ask myself: “Can I finish the book, which a lot of people
are looking forward to and give 100% to finding a new
singer?” We decided right away after Vince left, that we
wanted to continue on. Even though we said in the past that
the band would break up if any one of us left, the fact was
that Vince really wasn’t a part of the band for so long. It
didn’t feel any different after he split. We had nothing to lose
to at least go through the motions with someone else to feel
how it felt. I didn’t think I could go through those motions and
give my book 100%. I put the book on hold, and then my
wife got pregnant again. We needed extra time in the studio
because we recorded so many songs. It’s something I really
plan on doing, but I don’t plan on doing it until I can put
100% into it.
How much of the book currently is completed?
It’s just that, another year’s gone by, and I may want to add
to it. I keep diaries and stuff. It’s very exciting. A lot of people
I explain things like this to don’t understand. But, now that
the band is not as pop-oriented as masses-oriented, I hope I
don’t sound like a snob, but I don’t want yuppies buying my
fucking poetry. I want diehards to buy it. I want people who
are into what it is, is that I want to say. It’s going to be very
dark and dismal and realistic. I plan on putting parts of my
journal in there. I’ll release stuff that’s very private. I don’t
want fucking yuppies buying that. (In mock yuppie voice) “I’m
cook because I have Nikki Sixx’s poetry book!”- Fuck you! I’d
be very bummed out if I walked out in the hallway of the Ritz
Carlton, which I fucking despise more than you could
imagine, and was surrounded by a group of yuppies telling
me how much they dig my poetry. I’d say, “Fuck!!!!!!!!!”
Nikki, if you could change one aspect of your career,
what would it be?
Well, there came this thing recently, where people started
calling us a “glam band,” and that is so wrong. We are more
about anarchy. What we were about was, “what was not
popular.” Anybody that knows the history of Motley Crue
knows that, as soon as what we were doing was emulated,
we abandoned it. But, in retrospect, some guy in a grunge
band goes, “Motley Crue, they were a glam band.” The only
reason he said that was because he just looked at a picture
of us. What we were trying to do back then was to say, “Fuck
you, up your ass.” We didn’t dress like that to show how
pretty we were. It was to piss people off. I was telling the
guys in Type-O the other day, that it was so frustrating,
being a pop star. We were in all these magazines, and girls
would be going, “Oh, Nikki, oh, Nikki!” I didn’t want that.
During that time, I was mainlining cocaine into the vein of my
penis (ED.- OUCH!). I was trying to kill myself. Because,
back then, 1985, when I was 24, that’s what rock n’ roll was
about. Not being some pinup teen star. Fuck that! I wanted
to be Iggy; I wanted to be Johnny Thunder (New York Dolls).
I wanted to be really underground, and somehow, the whole
thing got too big. That’s not what I wanted.
You’re such an intelligent person. It’s hard to accept the
fact that you abused your body with so many drugs,
back then. Was living the “Rock n’ Roll” lifestyle so
stressful, that you had no choice but the turn to drugs to
No, not at all. It was mainly because I had such a fucked up
childhood. I grew up with no father figure at all. And, by the
time I was 17, I was completely out of control. No one ever
helped me see what the rights and wrongs in life were about.
I was so shattered about things in life, such as my father
abandoning me, that I just thrusted myself into my pain. It’s
like pouring salt into a wound. In retrospect, I don’t know why
I did it. I can give you all the terminology about my addiction
and what it’s about, but I was a dumbass. I found the guys in
life that were miserable, and tried to emulate them.
How did Kurt Cobain’s suicide affect you?
(Long pause)… I was really sad, and then I got really mad.
The guy that put me in rehab for heroin addiction also put
Kurt in rehab. Kurt had a wife, I had a wife. He had a
daughter, I have a son and a daughter. I’m the happiest I’ve
ever been, and I fought for it. Beating heroin was the most
difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life. Kurt cheesed out. It
pissed me off. It also makes me sad. He wouldn’t be where I
am now. Emotionally, it takes time, but he missed the magic
because he was scared. I understand fear, but he took the
easy way out. For a guy who talked so much about how his
parents fucked him over by divorcing when he was at a
young age, it’s amazing that he would do that to his own
child. That’s my thought on it. He had fear, and I understand
why he pulled the trigger, but I’m sad for him, because he
missed a wonderful thing with his child.
There was an incident a few months ago on MTV, when
you walked out during an interview. What led to that?
Yeah, they came down and they asked, “So, what’s going on
with Vince?” And we said, “Look, we really don’t want to talk
about it.” He’s suing the band for 10 million dollars, and
there’s some hard feelings between us. So, he said “Okay.”
They could show you that on tape, but they wouldn’t. Then,
he asked me, “So, you guys have been a cheesy rock band.”
Tommy looked at him and said, “Excuse me!” and was ready
to clock the motherfucker. I said, “Fuck you.” So then, he
said, “Okay, I’m sorry.” Then he asked if we heard that Vince
broke his ribs.
At this point, we were pissed. He was poking
a stick at a rattlesnake. But, we were trying to be cool, and
get through the interview. Then, he asked another question
about Vince, and that was it. They ran that on MTV to make
us look like we were dodging Vince for no reason. But, in
reality, anytime we’ve said anything about Vince, it was in
response to what he said about us. So then, he said, “You
guys are just about chicks, hairspray, and fire.” That’s when I
snapped. I go, “Fuck you, who writes these questions?!” So,
what they do, is go back 7 or 9 years, and find this footage of
us, and they ran it over and over. What was funny was, that I
got about 2000 fan letters saying that it was cool of the band
to leave MTV. So, they thought they screwed us, but in
reality, we fucked them. After they received all this hate mail,
they said that I was an asshole on air because I was
shooting smack again, which is ludicrous. They couldn’t
even apologize. They had to make up some fucking stupid
story to cover their ass. So, we’re against MTV 100%. MTV
is going down.
The last question: Are you a little disappointed in the
way your label, Elektra, has promoted the new Crue?
Well, they’ve turned tail and ran. We’re very disappointed
with them. In the past, all they ever had to do was put out
one of our albums, and it would sell 4 million copies. But
now, it’s time to go out and show people what this band is
about in 1984. They’re saying, “Well, you guys didn’t have
any hit singles in the last few years.” Well, how could we?
We didn’t write any, asshole. You think writing hit singles is
hard. That’s fuckin’ easy. I could write hits in my sleep. I
mean, songwriting Is the easiest thing to do. Living is the
Dealing with those assholes is the really hard
thing. They don’t get the concept of rebuilding a band on the
band’s terms. Playing smaller places, doing different things,
like different types of press, just taking the band to a different
level, deflating the big fucking machine. The happiest
moment of my life is when I get off this fucking label.
But, aren’t you under contract for another four releases?
If they want to give me my money, I’ll go away (Laughs).
We could get signed to Sub-pop and be fucking happy. You
don’t even know where we’re going. We’re going straight to
hell with this band. We’re not compromising. We don’t want
to be a big pop-stellar-arena band. We’re going to do what
we want to do. If it’s popular, great. But if it’s not, that’s also
alright. I just want to appreciate myself and the diehard Crue
fans. No one knows how happy we are now. This is the best
time for me, and the best time for the band.
Leave a Reply