So, Nikki Sixx
of Mötley Crüe
and Sixx: A.M.
remains one of the greatest rock stars ever in terms of presence,
performance, and panache. The man can write a hell of song too, and he's
been doing it consistently for over three decades. What's Sixx's most
impressive talent though? He's an incredible multi-tasker.
Not only has he got the Crüe's next Las Vegas residency on the docket
for September, but he also has new Sixx: A.M. music on the way.
Moreover, he just partnered up with Leica to launch an exclusive photo blog
of his mind-blowing photography. Plus, he's an author and has his radio show "Sixx Sense".
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick
Florino, Nikki Sixx talks the Mötley Crüe residency, new Sixx: A.M.,
teaming up with Leica, and so much more.
How do little things change every night during the Las Vegas residency?
Being in a rock band, it's a living and breathing animal. So, even if we
play the exact same songs every night—which we don't always do—each
song internally has its own dynamics. It's about how we are gelling that
night, if we're on ten or we're on nine and if we're having the best
night of our life or maybe we're having some bumps in the road. I think
that's all part of being in a band. I've seen some of my favorite bands
on nights where they're like a garage band and, two nights later, I've
seen them and they're like the greatest band in the world. That's what's
great about rock 'n' roll bands versus a lot of our other genres music.
It's really a living, breathing thing.
As a unit, Mötley Crüe has become even more tighter and cohesive.
I appreciate that. We're out on tour right now. We've added a bunch of
songs that we haven't played in years to the set. It's very exciting for
us. We're seeing the energy coming off the fans. Once we're just maxed
out on how tight we are with all these songs, we flip the switch. We're
going to be doing stuff in Las Vegas that's different. We're going to be
doing different songs and variations of songs. There will be new
production. Again, you start at zero and you try to ramp up to ten as
fast as you can. That's exciting for us because we're a band. We're
playing together. This all comes together in rehearsal. How good do
these songs sound live verses what they're like in rehearsal? It's
always very exciting for me.
How far along are you on the next Sixx: A.M. record?
I could say, "The album is written". With that being said, I'll
contradict myself. Always, when an album is written, there's the last
one or two songs that come in, and they're surprises. We've got an
abundance of music. We're trying to wrap our heads around which songs we
want to have on the album. Yet, at the same time, we have a little more
recording to do. During that process with James Michael and DJ Ashba,
something always comes up, and we're like, "What's that?" We'll possibly
end up finishing that then. Our dream is to have our next single out by
late summer. We're really excited. It's the first album that doesn't
have anything to accompany it. The first album had the The Heroin Diaries
book, and it was the soundtrack to the book. The second album mirrored,
mimicked, and was influenced by the photography. This one simply stands
on its own. There's no outside connection. It's just the music. That's
allowed us and forced us to push into territories that we haven't in the
Sixx: A.M. has always been very evocative. Do you feel like you're still tapping into a lot of raw emotions?
Sixx: A.M. is a really special project because we haven't been a touring
band so everything is written in a circle with three of us. It's put
together in a way that's different from a live band recording or a
touring band going out and playing new songs then entering the studio.
We're constantly massaging out, growing it, and adding new layers. DJ
may call up and say, "I was listening to the rough of this, and I have a
counter guitar part". It takes a larger amount of time to put the
albums together because we do it as we're writing. We're able to
constantly approve upon it. James will say, "I changed the sonics with
an underlying pulse". Then, he'll send it. We never would've thought of
that if we just went into the studio, cut the record, and were done.
We're constantly updating it from the lyrics to the concepts of the
songs to the length of the songs. Sometimes, a song will be done, and
one band member will say, "How about this?" Then, we'll add a whole new
part to the song six months after it's been recorded. It's exciting. I
definitely don't do that in Mötley Crüe. It's a different animal.
There's a lot of satisfaction in doing it both ways.
What have you been into lately?
I've been listening to the new Black Sabbath
single. I really like it. It reminds me of early Black Sabbath. It's killer. I like Manchester Orchestra
. I've been listening to those guys a bit. Jason Newsted
's EP is really heavy and cool. I love Black Spiders
. The new Black Veil Brides
is really good. The new David Bowie
is mind-blowing. I actually got back into some Stormbringer
, old school Deep Purple
Is photography completely separate from music for you? It seems like
your photo series for Leica captures the subject matter you know better
For me, as an artist, everybody comes at creativity differently. It all
really boils down to trying to tell a story and explain something that's
maybe unexplainable, whether it's photography, lyrics, songwriting, or
even doing the radio show. I'm just trying to tell a story. I really
enjoy reading books and storytelling as well as the flow of NPR Radio.
Great writers like William S Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg have a tempo,
feeling, and essence of the story being told. For me, all of that is
bouncing around in my head at the same time whether I'm writing lyrics
or music. That's the only way I can really explain it.
You do that with the Leica photos.
Thank you. I try to not just be a voyeur. I try to capture who these
people are and what they're going through. Doing street photography is
different than doing studio photography. I do my best, and I'm having a
great time. It meant a lot to me that Leica did do a blog on my photography
. For me, being a Leica shooter, that was a proud moment. I was a little bit like a school girl wetting my panties [Laughs].—Rick Florino