Frank did it. Sammy did it. Dean did it. Mötley Crüe? Yes it’s true, Crue is invading Las Vegas with a three-week stint in February as the “house band,” if you will, at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino ( This first-eve
And then there’s the motion picture. The band is in negotiations to create a film based on the band’s book The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. And in the forefront of Mötley Crüe’s immediate plans include new music, which is great news in the face of most other bands whose careers have spanned 30+ years like Crue’s, who are resting, shall we say, on the musical laurels of their past.
I had the chance to catch up with the ever-creative, ever-moving, ever-present bassist and founding member, Nikki Sixx, who opened up to me about love, sex, music, and just about every topic you can think of in a talk full of candor and honest …shall we say, lust for life.
How would you describe today’s Mötley Crüe?
Nikki Sixx: I think you’ll get a different answer from everybody in the band, that’s what I love about our band; it’s like four different personalities. But in my opinion, I feel Mötley Crüe is built to insult you. We’re here to assault you. I’m not interested in snuggling and a kiss. I just want to get right to fuckin’.
And it’s, like, Sixx:AM is seductive, sexually charged, beautiful evening out under the moon that ends up making love. Fortunately in a grave yard.
Mötley Crüe, it’s just like fucking a nasty stripper that’s probably gonna give you a disease. And I’m proud of that. I don’t want us to be tame; I don’t ever want us to be rightable. The things that we do and say. And our lyrics, it amazes me to this day that they will play ‘Shout at the Devil’ on radio. It says ‘I’ll be the love in your eyes; I’ll be the blood between your thighs.’ I’m like, ‘Are you sure you’re listening to the lyrics?’ We’re not Bon Jovi. It’s a miracle; the whole thing’s a miracle.
What keeps you creatively stimulated after all these years?
Nikki Sixx: Well I have plateaus. You know, I push and push and push myself, and I a lot of times watch other people in shock and awe, and they take on the energy of Mötley Crüe or my radio show or clothing and they go ‘Oh, we’re all about that.’
When I work with pyrotechnic companies, they don’t ever come to me anymore and go ‘Oh this is our pyro.’ They come to me and go ‘We designed a new head that shoots fire 30 feet and it will end with an explosion that’s never been used before.’ Any time I’m involved in anything, everyone is always trying to find something new and exciting because we sort of pull that out of people.
I love your book, and I was particularly moved by chapter four, it really touched me. How would you compare your humility and success?
Nikki Sixx: Thank you. You know that’s the greatest compliment I can get. You know I struggle every day. And when I put it on paper it helps me work out what it is I’m doing with my life. And you realize that you’re not alone. You know when you write a book and people say ‘Man, you know that touched me and I related to that.’ I have so many young readers that are like ‘Dude, I totally know where you’re coming from.’ Or fathers that have said ‘I totally understand your struggle.’ And you know when you keep it to yourself you don’t realize. It’s kind of like these AA meetings. When you go to an AA meeting you go ‘Well, I’m not the only one that’s having a hard day.’ And I think that’s part of the beauty of writing is that you can just write it out, even if it’s only for yourself. You sort of start to get it out. And that’s what photography is for me, too. You know I see something like You Will Not Grow. And I remember I felt like I was being told by small-minded people that I could not be successful, I could not achieve my dream. And they were my dreams, not their dreams. And they were telling me what I can dream. And when I was doing the You Will Not Grow sessions I wanted to capture that by having a very small person in Selena and having a very large person in George the Giant capturing that. Now whether or not that relates to other people or not, but it like un-corks something in you. You know what I mean?
I don’t think we really have an end zone in life. I think a lot of times people think ‘I’m gonna work to get that car.’ ‘I’m gonna really get myself in shape to get that girl.’ And ‘I’m gonna work really hard to get that promotion.’ But that isn’t really, that’s never really enough. So I’m trying to figure all that out myself, just like everybody else is but if you live in the moment, in the click of the camera, or in just the downbeat of the song, and if you can actually stay in that exact moment, in the moment that you can just smell her perfume, that moment, and don’t worry about what’s after that. If I can do that, put that on paper, or capture that in a song, or capture that on my radio show, I know so many people relate and I feel so good. Because I don’t feel alone.
Speaking of your sobriety and AA, that’s inspirational to so many.
Nikki Sixx: I’ll tell you; one thing I find about AA is that they’re very much like a lot of things that are inspiring to me. It’s really about just the moment. Like everybody goes ‘they’re struggling with the moment.’ It’s like one day at a time, one minute at a time. And I guess it’s all like one thing at a time, like one click of the camera at a time. You know one breath at a time. Like, I’m trying to slow down; I’m trying to capture it all. I know I’m on a clock, you know, I want to maximize my happiness and I want to minimize my drama.
When you write about going to a drug ‘shooting gallery’ with the harshest of addicts to capture those dark moments, what did you think when they asked you to come back and visit? That to me, was very deep.
Nikki Sixx: It’s just such an amazing moment, because it took so much just to get in. First it took a long time to find the place, then to get into the place. And then once I was in, I was not accepted — nor should I be. And then after hours and hours I was let into sort of a sacred society. And then that came in. And it was like, wow, everyone just wants to be loved.
I know, I was telling my friend. ‘You know I scare people for a living.’ Whether they’re little kids in a supermarket or fathers in the front row. That’s what I get to do. Every day to me is like seeing what trouble I can get into or what limits I can push. Including speed limits. Whether I’m doing photography or the radio show or designing clothes, that’s who I plug into every day. Dude, don’t get fuckin’ old. It’s all in your head.
Speaking of age, the Mötley Crüe summer tour was a huge success, celebrating the band’s 30 years in music. How did you pick the bands to go out with after all these years?
Nikki Sixx: We took Poison because that’s what the fans wanted, we didn’t want ‘em. I didn’t want them; we never said we wanted to tour with any ’80s bands. You know we came from 1981, by ’84 or ’83 we were gone. And we never looked back. And then there kind of came this movement after us and we got rolled into it. We’re about Black Sabbath and The Ramones and AC/DC. To me, it was like we were like NY Dolls juiced up on, you know, Van Halen.
So we never understood the correlation, and have been very vocal about it. It’s not that we have anything against a lot of these bands personally; it was just, you know, we didn’t want to be associated with it. I don’t think that U2 wants to be associated with Flock of Seagulls. They’re from the same fucking time. You know, U2, the Go-Go’s, Fleetwood Mac, but they said ‘No. We are our own band.’ And that’s what we said, but when we were going out and doing this ‘Let’s see what the fans want for a tour.’
And you speak of photography as getting you out of the norm. How is that?
Nikki Sixx: I will build you up to tear you down, whatever I need to do to capture what I’m looking for. And it’s not always safe, and it’s not always sane, and it’s not always nice, and it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be real and raw. And when I capture it I’m done, you’re gone. I’ve got what I wanted; I’ve got what I needed. It’s finished something inside of me.
I think its part of me trying to finish out my issues. I was talking to a photographer friend of mine the other day and he said ‘What are you working on?, — you know we talk ‘What project are you working on?’ And songwriters are like ‘Hey man, whatcha been writing?’ And photographers are like ‘What project?’ We look at bodies of work in like paragraphs in a story. And I said what I’m working on, something I’m not going to disclose, but something that I’m working on right now which may not be available for quite a few years. But it’s nothing that I’ve shot before. It is nothing like anything I’ve shot before. And he raised his eyebrow and looked at me and said ‘People aren’t going to expect that.’ And I said, ‘Perfect.’
So it’s always about trying to get that little bit of fear, feeling something.
What is it you hoped to accomplish with your photography and getting it out to the people?
Nikki Sixx: That people are looking at my photography as if it’s real. I’ve already been accepted as this musician or not excepted, I accept that. This is the layer of something that I never really thought would be exposed.
It’s so interesting because I’m so guilty of what I don’t want. I, a lot of times, get inundated with so much stuff and I get so entrepreneurial in my head. And the problem with entrepreneurs is that they start a lot of stuff and don’t finish a lot of stuff. I get so into a movie that I never finish the movie because I have to check my email. I never finish my email because I want to go read the manual on my new camera. And I never learn the camera because I want to finish the chorus of that song I started. And I have to stop myself and just capture these beautiful moments.
Nikki Sixx: Thank you, I always love doing an interview with you!
More Motley: View Powerline photo gallery of recent Vince Neil live on his solo tour, by clicking here.