Too Live Crue

Nikki Sixx sounds off on booze, dope and Kiss

"I mean, guys in Hanoi Rocks would be at my house, and we're shootin' up and we're havin' fun," Sixx admits. "Everyone's fuckin' on 10 and it's nudity and orgies. When we'd go to the drug dealer, we never said, 'How much?' We just said, 'How much do you got?' It was always like Burger King for us." Then Sixx adds pensively, "When Razzle died, it was like, 'Whoa, we're not invincible.' At the time, I was so desensitized that I didn't really have the opportunity to feel for Vince, to feel for Razzle. It was more like, 'Fuck, man, what the fuck's with Vince,' ya know? I didn't even know that I was supposed to say [to Vince], 'Are you okay?' I still to this day feel bad, ya know? Me and Vince are closer now.

"And we didn't know how to stop because we were addicts," he adds. "I was a kid who was broken, my family had abandoned me, I was fucked up. I was a drunk, I was a drug addict, I was a mess, I was a rock star, I was filthy fuckin' rich. I was full of myself. The fun stopped that day Razzle died."

So after lessons hastily learned, the early '90s saw the Crue sittin' pretty: The group had five hugely successful records under its collective belt (Shout at the Devil, Theater of Pain, Girls, Girls, Girls, Dr. Feelgood, and Decade of Decadence), it packed arenas around the world, and in 1991 it signed one of the most lucrative record deals in pop history with Elektra Records. A prophetic January 1992 Musician magazine cover story headline read: "What Kind of Nut Would Pay $25 Million for Motley Crue?" Above that headline, in smaller text, read: "Nirvana Conquers the Universe." The old order was changing, but the Crue didn't know it yet.

"The thing is, I had gone on MTV then and I was saying, 'There's this new band, they've got one record out. I heard their new record, it's gonna be out next month, they're called Nirvana. I think it's amazing, you guys gotta go check it out,'" recalls Sixx with nary a trace of bitterness in his voice.

"See, I've never been into that boundary thing. It's like I was listening to Television, Jim Carroll and then Aerosmith and Nugent. So when somebody later goes, 'Nirvana is it and you're not,' I was like, 'Wait a minute, who said it's on or off? Who is all of a sudden deciding the on-and-off switch?'

"I'm not gonna sit here and tell you I thought alternative was bad. I think alternative in a lot of cases was necessary, but I also believe that a lot of the alternative was watered-down versions of what I called original alternative from the '70s. You know Blondie wasn't fucking safe. They were very poppy, but Debbie Harry had her fuckin' nipples poking out and doin' all that kooky dancin' and stuff. There was an edge there. There isn't that kind of an edge with some of these girl groups that have come out."

One band Motley Crue openly acknowledged as an influence has emerged as a sore subject for Sixx: Kiss. A few years back, Sixx made national news when he called Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons "money-grubbing Jews," a comment Sixx says was taken out of context and one that was only in defense of his friend, ex-Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick (also Jewish). Sixx explains that Kulick had gotten the shaft when Simmons and Stanley put the original Kiss lineup back together, leaving Kulick high and dry. "Well, you know, I'm supposed to be some nasty-mouth racist," retorts Sixx. "I'm not, I just speak the truth."

Sixx also thinks the fact that Ace Frehley and Peter Criss played very little on Kiss' new record Psycho Circus is a sham. "I feel sad," he says. "That's not rock 'n' roll. You know, there is a Kiss fan that could be reading this and going, 'Oh, man, what a prick.' That is not my intention. I'm not talking about Kiss, I'm talking about fucking rock 'n' roll here. Kiss was a great band, they've done great stuff. And I'm very proud to say that Kiss was one of my first concerts. But it's about rock 'n' roll."

The Crue's upcoming Phoenix show is Sixx's first return to the Valley since spending a night in Madison Street Jail last year with drummer Tommy Lee after they were charged with inciting a riot during the band's performance at America West Arena. According to Sixx, some overeager bouncers were the cause of the fracas, not the band.

"The security was abusing the fans, and that is not acceptable behavior," he says. "And the deal is, steroids and a bright yellow shirt doesn't give somebody a right to abuse the fans. They are there to protect the fans."

After this tour, the band is looking forward to starting its next record and has plans to rerelease its entire catalogue on its own label, a move Sixx believes is a commercially viable one.

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