From Christmas Day 1986 through January 17, 1987, Mötley Crüe founder and songwriter Nikki Sixx kept a daily diary that chronicled his exploits as an unraveling cocaine and heroin addict. He's not the first, and won't be the last, to do this, but goddamn if this isn't one of the most riveting rock and roll reads to hit the streets in a long time. Walking readers through his daily routine, drug by drug, Sixx details his massive tolerance for substance abuse and the psychotic thoughts that accompanied it. Some of it is funny, most of it is sad, but it's all brutally honest from the inside out.
His new book, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, is a vivid journey into Sixx's miniature world during the height of Mötley Crüe's success. Much of his writing takes place while he's sitting inside his closet (the only place he claims to have felt safe), and the pace at which he writes is noticeably altered depending on which drug, or mixture thereof, he's doing at the time. Sometimes he's doing blow by the ounce, with pictures to prove it, and other times he's junk sick and begging for his dealer, Jason, to show up and give him another fix.
Other pages are poems and sketches. One reads, "One could say that I've been having a 10cc love affair." It's paired with a picture of a syringe plunged deep into his heart.
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In some entries he trashes his friends, one-night stands, and bandmates; other times he gets personal and discusses his family with an almost cathartic intensity. Things get good when he goes into detail about his relationship with Prince's former lover, Vanity. Although the stories he tells about their sex life, and the freebase cocaine habit to which he claims she introduced him, seem true, it helps that her voice is present as well. In fact what keeps this book balanced are the quotes from almost everyone Sixx writes about, which he and co-author, Ian Gittins, were able to secure. This includes all of his bandmates, friends, drug counselors, and Vanity herself, who is now an evangelical minister. What stands out about these memoirs is how deeply addicted, yet creatively brilliant, Sixx was during this period. The lasting message: Even one of the wildest rock stars was still able to work his way toward redemption.