The writer and musician has just come off the tail end of a massive global tour, celebrating the final chapter of the Crue’s decades-long legacy. The band’s end hasn’t slowed Sixx down at all, as he’s currently touring the states with his three-piece, Sixx AM, and has recorded two full albums this year.
Sixx AM is set to release their most anticipated record yet, Prayers for the Blessed Vol. 2, in just a couple of days, a companion to their last record, Prayers for the Damned Vol . 1.
The album, which explores themes of good vs. evil, is filled with the heavy hitting tracks that you’d expect from Sixx, while played with a maturity and lyrical awareness that you otherwise might not associate with the creator of GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS and Smokin’ In The Boy’s Room. There’s no doubt that Sixx is happy with the results.
We caught up with him in his usual no-filter style to talk about Prayers for the Blessed and what sets it apart from Motley Crue. We discussed his controversial tweets, possible Aussie tours, unexpected side hobbies, and even got his opinion on the recent US election.
Music Feeds: You’re on tour right now?
Nikki Sixx : Yeah, we’ve been on tour since May and we’ve been pretty much everywhere. We haven’t been to Australia yet, of course.
MF: Yeah, we’ll talk about that!
NS: We’ve been to Japan, all through Europe, all across America, Canada. Of course, I was gone two years before this with Motley so it’s been great just being out there playing. Sixx AM recorded two albums in one year. It’s just been a great, great time.
MF: Yeah, it sounds incredible. So, let’s talk new music. The last album Prayers for the Damned had a lot of dark self-reflection and confrontation. Is the new album, Prayers for the Blessed a story of redemption? What’s the conversation between the two?
NS: Well it’s not as conceptual as that. Both albums were written at the same time. I think with Sixx AM there’s always some version throughout the album of Good vs. Evil. It’s just something that we feel comfortable with. Whether it’s finding yourself or whatever it is. We find the songs, like Life Is Beautiful, Stars, We Will Not Go Quietly, that really connect with people. That makes us feel good. We’re writing from the heart.
MF: Tell me about the album’s single, We Will Not Go Quietly. What made you choose it and how does it reflect the overall album?
NS: It was really fun making two records at the same time. Theoretically, it is a double record but we wanted to release them at different times on purpose. We wanted to give people time to absorb the first 11 [tracks] and the time to absorb the second 11. We Will Not Go Quietly was at one point on the Damned record and Rise was on the Blessed album and we were kind of moving songs around.
We thought Rise was a really good message for what was happening globally and also in America. We were feeling the heat from the media. And I think We Will Not Go Quietly was a little bit of an answer to that. You know, “We are going to stand up for ourselves,” “We’re not going to walk away.” It’s really an empowering song.
MF: So do you have a favourite track on the album?
NS: The last song that we recorded was something we just did. We liked the song; we were in Europe on tour and it had come up in a conversation. It was Without You, the Badfinger song that Harry Nilsson made famous. We went back to record it, it was a very simple version, and we didn’t know: we might make it a bonus track; we might not do anything with it. We ended up really loving it and put it on the record. It’s actually one of my favourite songs that we’ve done.
MF: So going back to the politically-themed songs, obviously I was going to ask you this: what were you doing when you heard the election results?
NS: I was in a hotel room and I was taken aback; I was very surprised. America’s split, divided right down the middle. He isn’t my choice. But, you know, the thing about democracy is that the people get to go out there and make a decision. And right now in America there’s rioting and protesting and people shouting, “Not my president”. As long as I can remember it’s one of the most volatile times. Some of our music was, I guess, inspired by this energy that’s going on here. But it doesn’t have to be American-centric at all.
MF: So where do you actually stand between Trump and Hilary? Your tweets didn’t exactly make that clear, but they did make people mad. [Laughs].
NS: Ninety-nine percent of the time my tweets are just sarcastic. I don’t really care if people like it or not. It’s Twitter, you know? It’s not the end of the world. But I sometimes think I say what a lot of people are thinking but they don’t want to. [Laughs].
I'm losing my erection over this election.
— Nikki Sixx (@NikkiSixx) November 9, 2016
Can I build a wall around myself? #WritingLyrics
— Nikki Sixx (@NikkiSixx) November 9, 2016
MF: Going back to the music then, your music with Sixx AM has a maturity that Motley Crue never really had. Do you think that came as a result of age, your sobriety, or this current social climate?
NS: Well, to be honest with you, I think that any time you get different people together to create, you’re going to get a different recipe. I don’t think that if you put James and DJ and another bass player together it would sound like Sixx AM. Or if we had a different singer or there were different members of Motley Crue.
Motley Crue is a raw, fantastic animal. It was fun to try to harness that energy and get it out live and on tape and out to the universe musically. Sixx AM has got its own version of itself. That’s what’s great about bands. The only time it’s frustrating is when you go, “That band sounds just like that other band.”
That’s kind of where the industry gets involved. They’re like, “Well this band over here has a bunch of hits; we should all sound like this.” That’s when the industry is chasing money and not chasing creativity. Sixx AM doesn’t chase money. We really want to be creative. We want to be able to be free to do what we want to do. Obviously, we want people to like us, but it’s not just about being popular. It’s about being unique.
MF: So in that vein, what do you think of the parody band Steel Panther? Because they’re kind of riding the satirical back of Motley Crue and they’re doing pretty well.
NS: You know, it’s not my thing. That’s just me personally. I don’t know. It doesn’t feel… I guess a lot of people think it’s funny and they’re kind of a joke band and that’s cool. But that’s not my cup of tea. I kind of take my music a little more seriously.
MF: After Crue, is it a big adjustment having to go from selling out stadiums to now being a support act?
NS: No, it’s great. I’ve never really thought about that. I like to perform. I enjoy playing my instrument and being in a band and trying to push myself, watching my singer grow as a front man, watching us grow as a band every night. So whether I’m at the bottom of the bill or the top of the bill I never really look around and go, “Oh look at me.” It’s more about what I’m doing when I’m on stage. All of the work, all of the songwriting and the lyrics and melody, the guitar parts and the mixing and the artwork… you step on stage and that’s kind of what it’s really about.
I know some people get into this whole “I’m the headliner…”
MF: Yeah, the ego thing. So you’re okay with it, to sum it up?
NS: Put me on stage, man. I’ll play anywhere.
MF: The Heroin Diaries is being made into a Broadway play. Can you tell me about that?
NS: Yeah we started a couple of years ago. We’ve been working with some partners on that to get it scripted out and get the idea of how to take a book and turn it into a live event. It’s been very exciting. We’re a lot closer than we’ve ever been. A lot of people have asked me, “When, when, when?” and I always say, listen, it doesn’t really serve anyone to put it out until everything is worked out and it’s really good.
I’ve seen some really good table reads. I haven’t been able to actually be at any of them in person because I’ve been on the road, so I look forward to getting home after the holidays and just getting some more time directly in front of everybody for that. It’s going to be really great.
MF: So you’re doing Broadway, I’ve seen that you do photography, obviously you write. And I used to listen to your radio show on 97.7 back when I lived in Canada. So you’re a bit of a jack-of-all-trades.
NS: I enjoy being creative. I was just out doing some photography and I got to spend the day processing some stuff. Sometimes as a kid that’s all I really knew, just being creative. For me, I’m always trying to reconcile my past. I didn’t have the most stable childhood so, [it’s about] becoming a father, giving my family security, and being able to balance that between creativity. Obviously, there were times in my life where I was pretty unstable but I feel pretty grateful. I enjoy the challenge of taking something, an idea, and pulling it out of thin air and turning it into something. It’s fantastic, it really is.
MF: What are your plans for the future then? Are you coming to Australia?
NS: We’re looking at opportunities. It’s definitely a place we want to come. There are a lot of fans. It’s not close to where we live and that means it’s not easy. I can’t just get in a bus and drive to Australia. So it’s expensive, and it’s hard to get there. I love Australia.
MF: I think Prayers for the Damned reached number ten nationally here.
NS: Yeah, that’s fantastic, I’ve always loved going to Australia with Motley Crue and it would definitely be a dream to go with Sixx AM.