The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock

Notorious smack confessional given a 10-year update

Cover art for The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star....

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“There is something about spending Christmas alone, naked,sitting by the Christmas tree gripping a shotgun, that lets you know your life is spinning dangerously outta control.”

While certainly belonging to the no-shit-Sherlock school of self-analysis, Sixx’s quote is a decent example of the black humour that threads through this often bleak memoir. Though not exactly an underpopulated genre; the road to fame, drugged-up excess and back being an achingly familiar narrative to anyone who likesthe sound of a guitar or indeed music full stop, Sixx’s approach to the drug confessional succeeds where others fail (see Dave Navarro’s self-absorbed Don’t Try This At Home), largely due to his ability to step back and reflect relatively ego-free. Soberly-written commentaries on the original, less-lucid entries pepper the text, and inject respite from the grinding but entertaining accounts of a hopped-up lifestyle drowning in oceans of booze and silos of smack, crack and enablement.

Loosely presented in the Neil Strauss style, i.e. heavily illustrated text, fanzine typography, reds and blacks, ink splats, plus grainy photos of semi-naked women and white lines being manically caned in every conceivable location, the design compliments the subject matter in its chaos. Far more personal than The Dirt, this account of one calendar year, 1987, reveals a man adrift from reality, locked in a downward death-spiral from which he miraculously escaped, although not without technically dying on December 23 in one of rock’s more notorious ODs. There’s definitely a “sickening allure in his lifestyle” as Slash suggests, as dark and hollow as it is, and it’s this perverse voyeurism, topped with a sprinkling of prurience that keeps the pages turning.

Bookended (literally) with a new intro and closing chapter, it’s evident how important the book was in Sixx’s continued recovery and worthy of merit in those terms alone. And while it can’t hold a candle, or burnt spoon, to the work of Sixx’s beloved Burroughs, as an examination of the dangers of a life with no consequences, cocooned in the corporate rock machine, it delivers.

Tim Batcup

Tim Batcup is a writer for Classic Rock magazine and Prog magazine. He's also the owner of Cover To Cover, Swansea's only independent bookshop, and a director of Storyopolis, a free children’s literacy project based at the Volcano Theatre, Swansea. He likes music, books and Crass.