In the pantheon of rock stars, there are very few that come close to embodying the rock and roll lifestyle quite like Motley Crue‘s Nikki Sixx. He taught Tommy Lee to party, became the stuff of legend in terms of his tolerance for chemicals and came back from the dead, all while writing the hair metal soundtrack to the ’80s. In addition to those Motley albums, Sixx wrote near-daily entries in his journals, documenting his decadent and depraved lifestyle, which he only recently discovered packed away in storage. In an effort to raise money for Convenant House, a halfway house for at-risk kids and teens, Sixx has released The Heroin Diaries, jottings from journal from that debauched era (he reads from it at a series of Borders Books dates. We sat down with Sixx to find out more about his new project. Check the interview and excerpt and pics from the book below.
H1: How did the idea to release your diaries happen?
NS: What prompted the book was actually finding the original diaries. I’ve been keeping diaries for over twenty years and I found them in a storage unit in the Valley. I had gone down there to do something, and I started running across stuff from ?89 and ?81, and I got this moment where I was reflecting on my life. I remember it was brutally hot that day and I was just sweating, and when the ones from ?86 to ?87, all kinds of feelings came up. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me question things.
VH1: What was the next step after finding the diaries in terms of putting the book together?
NS: I felt like something was missing, so we interviewed my mother and my grandfather — they had contradicting stories. That was really interesting. We [then] got the band to participate. I felt that really completed the story. Then I went to ex-girlfriends, managers, record company people. Then I was able to go in behind it and go, ?You know what? I see what they’re saying,? or ?I disagree with what they’re saying.?
VH1: Was it difficult to read what people had to say about you during that period of your life?
NS: I sat down with everybody, and I said, ?I need you to be so honest. Don’t worry about my feelings. Don’t worry about my image. You can say ?I hate his fucking guts,? and it’s going to be ok.? Giving people that safety net was such an important part of the book. I think we get to a place that needs to be gotten to. The first thing I said was, ?I can’t go talk to the band or my mother, or Doc McGhee and Slash.? If I’m going to say ?Hey, was I an asshole?? Very few people will say yes. [Because] I’m a great guy now.
VH1: What were you most struck by while reading these diary entries?
NS: Just the overall unconcern for life. There was no [thought that] ?I might die from this.? You think that you’re invincible. I remember the pain being so huge at times, because pain bubbles. It’s not always there poking you. I have a vivid memory, it was during the Theater of Pain tour, and I believe we were shooting the ?Home Sweet Home? video. I was walking to stage, and [drummer] Tommy [Lee] looks at me and goes, ?Why you so bummed out all the time?? I looked at him and said, ?You would never understand.? That’s it in a nutshell — I didn’t think anyone else would understand, so I kept it to myself.
VH1: Was there an incident that you rediscovered through your diaries that you had forgotten about?
NS: There were so many incidents that I’d forgotten. One of the most moving parts for me was [reading about how] I had actually died from a drug overdose, was brought back by the paramedics, then went back to my house to do [drugs] again. I’ve been able to revisit that in memory [but] to see what I wrote about it, I didn’t even remember writing that. It was difficult and healing.
VH1: Talk a little bit about where the proceeds from the book will be going.
NS: We were looking for something that would be a destination for awareness and money we could raise. I want everybody to buy this book because I want the money to go to Covenant House. We have a music program inside there. I want to bring awareness. I?ll put people in a headlock to get money from them. And Covenant House is phenomenal. The way they’ve set it up where they actually have an outreach program. They pull kids off the street and they get them into detox if they’re on drugs, if they need therapy or protection, they have a place to eat and sleep.
VH1: In addition to the book, there?s a soundtrack that accompanies the diaries. When was that put together, and why?
NS: We recorded over the past nine months — it’s such a musical journey. It takes us from a needle to a pen to a musical note, all with no expectation except for maybe changing one kid’s life. It follows the book. It was a musical purge. It just exploded out of [the band]. DJ Ashba and James Michael are really talented. We all just really felt passionately about making music inspired by the book. We actually didn’t mean to, but we’re now a band.
Excerpts from the Heroin Diaries
Nikki Talks About New Book
Motley Crue Shout at the Managers
Dirt, Heroin & Spandex: Still Motley After All These Years
Motley Crue Videos