More than six years sober, former Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx has long emerged from rock-star rock bottom. Still working the over-processed, jet-black hair, complete with black-on-black threads and requisite metal rocker accoutrement, he looks young and refreshed, unlike most of his over-50-and haggard contemporaries. He’s in control. In fact, his most recent tattoo barks directions to the dude at the morgue who will take over when he finally kicks the bucket: “Tag Here” is etched on his toe. But if Sixx can help it, he’s not kicking the bucket anytime soon. Though he is one lucky fuck, having escaped death by overdose twice. Sixx didn’t totally piss away his rocker hey day in a drugged stupor; he managed to chronicle his life and death(s) for his debut memoir, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star while deep in the throws of heroin, booze, coke, crack, pills, and loads of forgettable sex with nameless redheads. His latest band, Sixx A.M., has an album, The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, and he’s promoting clothing line Royal Underground—so yeah, he’s a full-on brand à la Britney Spears. And you thought that shit was just for pop stars. Sixx is a piece of fine art, with ink adorning nearly his entire body. His first was a black rose inked at 17, and he also has the names of his children and his ex-wife Donna D’Errico branded on his body. “Sixx” is spelled out across the knuckles of his left fist, and his birth year, 1958, is on the right. The slew of others, Sixx doesn’t have the patience to explain: “The rest are the story of my life.” Covert book promotion.
Twice divorced with a discography of ex-lovers, it’s no surprise that “women” are his regrettable tattoos. (This, from the man who wrote the song “New Tattoo” about getting his woman painted on his arm.) Any glimpse into his next tattoo was shot down with: “Can’t tell you, ’cuz I don’t plan that far in the future.” It’s unclear where Sixx isn’t tattooed. He confirms the nether region is unscathed with his, “What do you think?” response. And in 2003, he reportedly had a left leg and his ass still ink-free. But a lot can happen in four years. Today, Sixx is a single dad, and instead of shooting smack between his toes, he’s kick-starting his heart for youngest daughter Frankie-Jean Mary (named after Sixx, who was born Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna, Jr.). Apparently, sobriety sucked the Sikki out of Nikki.
Let’s get right into the debauchery. Since you personally know how vicious heroin addiction can be, how do you feel about people like Keith Richards, who seems to make it work and apparently lives well as a user?
I think there are people who have the ability to maintain, who don’t have problems and just live in excess. And there are people who have addictions and need to get treatment for that or they are going to either die from it or they are going to crash and burn and take a lot of people down with them. I’m in the latter category. I don’t know where Keith is at. He seems to be able to maintain quite well and I always say hats off to those people.
You have kids now, do they know about Sikki Nixx?
With my kids, we’re real open with each other. Obviously, with my youngest one, no. She’s six and a half. We don’t have that kind of ability yet to talk about anything too meaty. But as the kids get older and they ask, well, yeah.