I would like to dispel a myth about writers: we don’t write EVERYTHING down. Some of us don’t keep journals or diaries, we don’t constantly write down our thoughts on scraps of paper (though we should – some are brilliant) and we don’t carry notebooks or personal tape recorders with us wherever we go. Like I said, we should. It’s certainly better than trying to remember something when you’re driving in the car, repeating something over and over again hoping by the time you make it home you can still recall it all to write it down. Admittedly, we’re not always prepared. That being said, I had a diary when I was a kid. I wrote in it for a week and forgot about it. It was boring stuff anyway. The same thing over and over again. Wake up, school, home, chores, etc. blah, blah, blah. Not very interesting is it? The book I’m about to turn you on to is nothing like what I described above. I wasn’t sure what to expect myself with Nikki Sixx’s book, “The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star.” Sure, an autobiography along the same lines as Motley Crue’s book “The Dirt.” I had no idea when I picked it up it was an actual one year diary of Nikki’s starting December 25, 1986, one of the darkest if not the darkest of his heroin and cocaine addiction. Not to mention alcohol, pills, sex and whatever else Sixx could find. He is a rock star after all. Nothing like excess to the max and beyond. That was pretty much what Motley Crue was known and stood for back then and to some degree still does. Ah, God bless rock ‘n’ roll.
You will find some amazing revelations in this book, not only from Nikki himself but his band mates from the Crue (Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil – Nikki was the co-founder of the band with Lee) and other music notaries. Alice Cooper, Slash, Rick Nielsen, Doc McGhee (Motley’s manager back in the 1980’s) Evangelist Denise Matthews (you may know her better as Vanity – Prince’s one time girlfriend as well as Nikki’s during 1986) and many others. Not only is it actual diary entries but after many are up to date commentary from the above mentioned as they look back on those days today. Nikki is incredibly honest and forthright with his approach in telling his story. He pulls no punches here and makes no excuses. He may have then as you’ll read but no more. There was a lot of blaming by Sixx back then, for everything. His miserable childhood, has adolescence, his troubled relationships with his parents, women, the band, etc. You name it, Sixx blamed it. All that mess and chaos was made worse by his addictions. Instead of escaping the real world, Nikki found himself on many occasions in his own private hell hold up in his mansions’ bedroom closet shooting heroin, freebasing cocaine, hearing voices and shooting his guns at imaginary people trying to break in. There was actually no one there, though he swore people were spying on him and breaking in. Of course there were some fun times with groupies, going to strip clubs, touring with the band. They sound like fun times anyway, until you read Nikki’s account. Most of the time he was so doped up or drunk he’d blackout and would have to rely on other people to tell him what had really transpired. Hence the reason for the diary. He got it all down himself on paper. I suppose even when you’re strung out a writer’s instinct kicks in and the pen becomes your best friend. In Nikki’s case this is certainly true especially since in his own words he had no other friends left.
Although this book consists of diary entries it is by no means an easy read. From my point of view, I’ve never taken an illegal substance so his addiction to heroin was rather foreign. However, I do have friends that are addicts: heroin, cannabis, and prescription drugs, though many don’t consider those to be in the same league. Bottom line is – addiction is addiction. Whether it’s heroin, cocaine, pot, food, gambling, sex, shopping, nicotine, or some other vice, it’s a disease, not just a mere harmless habit. Every addict has their own level which is why one can relate to this book somewhere within their own scope. It may not be a personal journey of your own but I’m sure everyone knows someone who’s addicted to something, maybe just not as severe as this trip. It’s truly amazing Sixx is actually still standing. He writes in dramatic detail of his overdoses and his actual clinical death. The surprising thing or possibly not, upon leaving the hospital on his own accord, he basically ran out with only his leather pants on, he returned home only to ‘shoot up’ immediately again. I suppose even death itself is not a deterrent to an addict.
The book also has some interesting yet disturbing illustrations and pictures that ominously fit in well with its text. Nikki’s band, Sixx: A.M. (Nikki Sixx, James Michael, DJ Ashba) has released a CD to accompany the book as the soundtrack. It’s a brilliant CD on its own. You should check it out. In my estimation, the best work Sixx has done musically. It is titled, “The Heroin Diaries: The Soundtrack.” There are some scattered lyrics also in the book which makes the entries even more poignant. One of my personal favorites is titled “Courtesy Call.” It’s also a tune on the cd. “This is just a courtesy call / This is just a matter of policy / This is just an act of kindness / To let you know that your time is up.” The book was co-written with Ian Gittins, a music and pop culture journalist for fifteen years whom has been published in Melody Maker, Q, The New York Times, Time Out, and The Guardian.
If you’re a Motley Crue fan, or even if you’re not, if you’re into rock music, even if you’re not, “Nikki Sixx: The Heroin Diaries – A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star,” is well worth your sitting down reading time. Sixx has come full circle in his sobriety and emerged a better man for it. This book is not about getting your sympathy for a rich spoiled rock star. If it were, I don’t think it ever would have come to pass. When asked in an interview why Nikki put this book together in the first place, his response was, “Maybe one person will read it and it will help them.” It just might Nikki, it just might.