Was Nikki Sixx's bass playing secretly replaced on the early Motley Crue albums?

Nikki Sixx in 1985
(Image credit: Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music)

Producer Bob Rock, who's been working with the new Mötley Crüe lineup on fresh material, has revealed that Nikki Sixx once harboured doubts as to whether he actually played on band's the first four albums.    

Speaking with wrestling superstar and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho on his This Is Jericho podcast (full broadcast below), Rock revealed that Sixx explained his theory while Rock was working with Mötley Crüe and their 1989 album Dr. Feelgood.

Rock recalled the moment: "He goes, 'I don't think I ever played on any of the Mötley Crüe records. I think somebody came in at night and replaced all my parts.' He says, 'So I don't really know how to play bass.' And I said, 'Too bad. You're playing bass on it.' So I worked with him through Dr. Feelgood, did a lot of edits and made him play every note. 

"But when we did The Dirt, I went to see him and we started working on the demos. He picked up the bass and started playing, and I said, 'Woah, woah, woah. What's going on here?' He had been taking bass lessons for five years. All of a sudden he's an amazing bass player. And I think that's so cool, in that point of his career, he wanted to be better. You know what I mean? I admire that."

Last month, Sixx confirmed that Mötley Crüe were working with Rock, and that John 5 would be playing on the new songs. 

"This new set feels more personal since we haven’t recorded anything new in a while," Sixx posted on Instagram. "The studio is a highly creative space and with us recording I thought I’d try to get a creative head start on some of these for Vince.

"I got one done and gonna try to wrap up the next one and show it to the guys. Bob Rock is pushing us hard and bringing out the best in us. Tommy is playing his ass off. Jesus, these drums sound huge."

Earlier this week, Mötley Crüe kicked off the European leg of their Stadium Tour with Def Leppard. The next show is at the Koenigsplatz in Munich, Germany, on Saturday. Full dates below. 

Mötley Crüe/Def Leppard Stadium Tour 2023

May 27: Munich Koenigsplatz, Germany
May 29: Budapest MVM Dome, Hungary
May 31: Krakow Tauron Arena Kraków, Poland
Jun 02: Prague Rocks, Czech Republic
Jun 03: Hannover Expo Plaza, Germany
Jun 07: Solvesborg, Sweden Rock Festival, Sweden
Jun 09: Helsinki RockFest, Finland
Jun 11: Trondheim Rocks, Norway
Jun 14: Copenhagen Copenhell, Denmark
Jun 18: Dessel Graspop Metal Meeting, Belgium
Jun 20: Milan Ippodromo SNAI San Siro, Italy
Jun 23: Lisbon Passeio Maritimo de Alges, Portugal
Jun 24: Rivas-Vaciamadrid Auditorio Miguel Ríos, Spain
Jun 27: Thun Stockhorn Arena, Switzerland
Jul 01: London Wembley Stadium, UK
Jul 02: Lytham Festival, UK
Jul 04: Dublin Marlay Park, Ireland
Jul 06: Glasgow Hampden Park, UK

Aug 05: Syracuse JMA Wireless Dome, NY
Aug 08: Columbus Ohio Stadium, OH
Aug 11: Fargo Fargodome, ND
Aug 13: Omaha Charles Schwab Field Omaha, NE
Aug 16: Tulsa H.A. Chapman Stadium, OK
Aug 18: El Paso Sun Bowl Stadium, TX

Tickets are on sale now.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.