Maybe you know him only as cofounder and bassist of Mötley Crüe, a metal god, a man of magically spiky hair, someone who once frequented "Dr. Feelgood." But Sixx is also a father of four, a photographer since 1998, an internationally syndicated radio personality, and a clear-thinking, superbusy dude.
This rock star with skull tattoos and an oddly shaped goatee is also a New York Times best-selling author. His books — The Heroin Diaries, The Dirt (written with Crüe band members), and This Is Gonna Hurt: Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx — have all been hits.
Preparing for Crüe's visit to the Hard Rock, Sixx spoke with New Times about guys who bring crosses to shows, why he reads Newsweek, and blood, blood, blood.
New Times: In your new memoir, you're very candid about how none of the members of Mötley Crüe have been to each other's houses. Has that changed since you released the book? Are you better friends?
Nikki Sixx: No, no. You know, it's like we're home, and we live together on the road for months at a time, and we go home, and I'm very, very, very regimented. I do seven shows in four days, a radio show, always doing photography, working on another book, involved in Mötley on a million different levels — as are the other guys. [It's not] like, "Let's get together for a barbecue." Sunday comes and I'm hanging out with my kids. People think that rock bands hang out together all the time. But it's not unlike a lot of people — when you leave your job on Friday, do you go hang out at your boss's house on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday night after work? It's a little bit of folklore that you all hang together.
This is the band's 30th anniversary. Other than keeping Crüe going, what makes you proudest?
I'm proud we're a band that gives 100 percent. I really love that. We've only done five shows here in America [on this tour]. I guess there's not very many of us left that give over-the-top shows and have lived it, breathed it. We talked about it on the radio show all the time: It's not OK to be OK, ever.
If there's ever a time in history when we need rock 'n' roll bands to be real, we need it now. We need young bands that are hungry and going to give 100 percent visually, musically, lifestyle-wise. We've been doing this for 30 years. We won't last forever. The wheels will fall off the bus someday, [and] I hope to God someone's out there cultivating the danger. Because it's fucking like watching paint dry out there. It's really boring, I'm telling ya.
In the early days, Crüe had a satanic image; then you adopted more of a party-animal look. Did you have any weird run-ins with satanists that prompted the shift?
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My favorite is, and I'll still see it from time to time, there'll be like the guy outside the arena with the cross on his back and he's walking back and forth and he's like, "Jesus died for your sins. Don't go see Mötley Crüe." And I go: How do those two go together? Are you at the wrong place? Shouldn't you be at McDonald's?
There were a bunch of photos, released in the '80s, of you covered in blood. When was the last time you bled for your music?
Every night, it's a bloodbath onstage. If you've ever been to a Mötley Crüe show, you know that the first 15 rows get covered in, drenched in, blood.