As well as playing bass in Mötley Crüe and leading the charge in his Sixx:A.M. project, Nikki Sixx is also an acclaimed author. His written debut The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star was released ten years ago, and has recently been republished with an extra 100 pages to mark its 10th anniversary. The original book was made of Nikki’s diaries during the 80s and his forays with heroin, but now clean, he’s written new material from a different viewpoint and hopes the new edition will help a younger generation.
What made you decide to republish The Heroin Diaries ahead of its 10th anniversary?
“The people who were 10 or 15 when the book was first published weren’t dealing with the drug crisis we have now globally. We wanted to republish it to celebrate the book and also help it reach a new generation. The opiate crisis is a full-blown epidemic at this time and I think it’s time to get what recovery looks like as well. So that was the reason for writing 100 new pages.”
How did you feel reading it back?
“When I was doing the audio book it was interesting because the new pages I wrote were from May of this year, and it picks up now from where the book left off and me talking about my life and recovery, and then it goes into 2006 where my headspace was at, and then it goes back to me in 1987! So for me, as a narrator, I was really moved emotionally by being confronted by these three different eras of my life. It was the first time I had ever read the book from top to bottom, it realigns you with your gratitude. I was talking the other day about the relationship between creativity and sobriety. Some artists tell you that they need the drugs to be creative, but looking back I feel like in 1987 my role in Mötley Crüe was diminished. I really wasn’t at my best, I wasn’t focused, and you jump to 2017 and I’ve got the biggest dedicated rock radio show in the world and I’m an author, I’ve got Sixx:A.M., I’ve got a gallery show of photography that’s going to tour the world! I’m not a ‘Sobo-cop’ telling all the rock’n’rollers not to drink and do drugs, but it stopped working for me.”
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How would you like the book to be remembered?
“I’d like it to serve as a document to show that addiction can be conquered. I know that I’m a big juicy worm on a hook, ‘Oh Nikki Sixx, sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll and crazy heavy metal music.’ There will be people there for that, and that’s OK, but there is something far deeper to the story than just that side of things.”
Do you feel Sixx:A.M. are treated a bit more seriously now that Mötley Crüe have retired?
“We started Sixx:A.M. as a side-project; all of us had other things that were going on at the time, and so I think that attitude has served us very well. We have a Greatest Hits coming out and we’ve made some music that I’m very proud of, but we’re all busy. I don’t need to be living that intense touring musician lifestyle anymore, so we’re happy to do things on our terms when we feel them.”
So you don’t miss Mötley Crüe’s more, er, full-throttle days?
“I think being in my 50s and wishing for that would be like being the CEO of a successful company and still wishing you were in a fraternity in college. Listen, they were great, incredible days, but I have so much more going on in my life now that to look back and try to recreate that would be a little sad.”
Do you ever see the other Crüe guys now?
“Well, it’s been a while. It didn’t really end that amicably. I’ve always been the sort of person who wants to create art, and there are musicians who don’t want to make records anymore because they don’t make any money from them. I don’t understand that attitude at all, and I think some of the guys in Mötley just had a different idea to me in how we should be. But I’m very grateful. You know, ending our career playing Home Sweet Home at The Staples Center in our hometown. That’s an unbelievable way to go out.”
The Heroin Diaries: Ten Year Anniversary Edition is out now and available to order from Amazon (opens in new tab).