A Glimpse into Hell

music musings, beaverdamusa.comVacation time is typically a time where I will read two or three books.  My book selection can range from fiction (Coban, Baldacci, Grisham, etc.) to history books and everything in between.  Over the last few years, I have enjoyed reading autobiographies by some of my favorite musicians such as Sammy Hagar, Jimmy Buffett, Heart, and all of the KISS members’ take on their rise to fame.

nikkiOf all the music books I’ve read, Peter Criss’s Make-up to Break-up – My Life in and out of KISS has been by far the most graphic depiction of the hedonistic “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” lifestyle we all imagine.  Until now.  Meet the new champion – Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue with his 2007 Heroin Diaries.  

I never have been a huge Motley Crue (don’t know how to get those dots above the u) fan.  It’s not that I didn’t like them, I just wasn’t that big of a fan.  I knew their radio hits, but didn’t see them live until 2011 on one of their reunion tours (see Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad from a previous blog life).  The show was loud, foul, and full of every rock and roll cliché’ possible.  I remember seeing a Motley Crue Behind the Music which documented their rock and roll lifestyle.  The one thing I recall most vividly from that show was Ozzy recounting the story of how they were touring with him and basically had a contest to see who could snort what.  Ozzy threw in the towel when they stopped the bus and the Crue snorted a line of ants in the parking lot.

Enough background and on to the book.  Sixx describes himself as one who is constantly scribbling notes, journals, tapes, etc. regardless of his state of mind.  The Heroin Diaries is a one year journal of Sixx’s writing from Christmas 1986 through Christmas 1987.  Alongside each entry, SIxx or others mentioned in the entry, would document their reflections on the entry.   This allows the reader an additional perspective on the entry.  

Not only do you get a glimpse into Sixx’s mind, but you get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of a big time rock & roll machine.  You see how when a band or artist can be used by the record label.  Regardless of what is going on, the label puts the cash cow out there and uses it until it is used up.  

Several things stood out while reading this book – Tommy Lee (Crue’s drummer) and Sixx are dangerous together.  Put Slash from Guns N Roses on the tour with them – hold on to your women and children.  It was exactly what you would expect from a sex, drugs, and rock & roll fantasy on steroids.  Throughout the year there were people that had to see what Sixx was doing to himself, but they apparently turned a blind eye to him.  There were times in his writings that Sixx would acknowledge his addiction and confess to trying to hide it.  He admitted how hard it was to find a vein to shoot up, so he even went as far as shooting up in places (starts with a “p”, ends with an “s” – 5 letters) that make you cringe.

The yearlong diary ends with Sixx resolving to quit cold turkey after he literally died and woke up in the hospital.  Word had gotten around and he actually walked out and saw a candlelight vigil outside the hospital.  Over the last few pages he covers several years and hits the high points of being sober, getting married, having kids and the low points of divorce and falling off the wagon.  

Currently, Sixx can be heard on his syndicated radio show and his new group Sixx A.M.  He is also working on a photography project and who knows what else he has up his sleeve.  The book is truly a glimpse into hell and how someone came out on the other end.  It is a story of reaching out for help and then someone finally pulling themselves out of hell.  All I can say is that I have a new admiration for Nikki Sixx after reading the Heroin Diaries.  I suggest you do the same.

Musing in Music City


About Zach Clayton

Zach Clayton started Music Musings in 2013, but isn’t a stranger to music. While he may be a mild mannered accountant by day, he always has tunes going and forces his staff at work to play music trivia when they enter his office. He is a self-proclaimed lover of all music genres with over 3,500 songs in his iPod. Zach’s first concert was Eddie Money in Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym in 1979 and claims to have seen Van Halen (all three incarnations) over 25 times. There have only been one or two years since 1979 that Zach hasn’t been to a concert. He also has the uncanny knack of getting to know several folks in the music scene – both out front and behind the scenes. Zach is in the process of indoctrinating his two boys into the rock and roll way by exposing them to concerts and various music while holding them hostage in his truck screaming the mantra – “rap is crap!”

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