Sixx, highs and videotape
From page 99 of Classic Rock Magazine March 2004
Mötley Crüe’s occasionally dead bassist Nikki Sixx looks back on his good old daze of ‘puking blood and acting unruly’. Dr Feelgood: Jon Hotten
NIKKI SIXX IS MOMENTARILY CONFUSED. “Which project are we meant to be talking about, man?” he asks, his voice oozing down the phone line from a sunny West Coast morning. “The Crüe stuff? Right, cool. I got so much shit going on. But it’s all good.”
Sixx is surrounded by the spin-offs of the renaissance of fortune begun by the success of The Dirt . The film of that band biog has reached the script-editing stage. Sixx’s low literary followup, The Heroin Diaries , is with his publisher and awaiting a suitable gap in his hectic schedule. The bassist’s side-band, Brides Of Destruction, release their first album (reviewed on page 92) in the spring and have begun writing for a second. Sixx says he is also in “weekly contact” with the other members of Mötley Crüe, who plan to reunite for a tour when the movie of The Dirt is released, most likely in late 2005.
No surprise then, that he’s struggling to work out exactly which endeavour Classic Rock is seeking the dope on. Hearing that it’s the entertaining new video and DVD Greatest Video Hits , Sixx is instantaneously enthused. He is, after all, Mötley Crüe’s curator as well as its chief architect.
A nice addition to the recent rash of reissues, Greatest Video Hits collates some 26 clips – some uncensored, a couple more hidden – along with a commentary from Sixx and Crüe drummer Tommy Lee. Looking back through the footage gave Sixx the chance to reflect on the role that videos played in the breaking of the band. “We had a medium that people had never had before,” he recalls. “MTV was just starting up. You had the odd clip shown on Showtime or on local networks but, really, the only way that you could push the envelope was in live performance or in photo shoots. So we had this medium, and we tried just to capture what we were all about, good and bad. It was that fast-food generation, live for the moment, instant gratification, inyour-face type thing.”
Such immediacy, though, did have its drawbacks. Even Sixx is alarmed at the tottering glam queen that stared back at him from the earliest clips, like ‘Livewire’ and ‘Looks That Kill’. “It’s like taking a picture of a beautiful tree. You go back ten years later to compare and it’s like, fuck, I thought it was so big, but it’s changed so much. Even the new wave bands got that. I mean, Bono – what was with that fucking mullet, man?” America in the Reagan years wasn’t exactly conducive to Sixx’s subversive desires to “just puke blood and generally act unruly”. Nonetheless, the Crüe did manage to film one of the definitive clips of the era to accompany their anthem for LA’s strippers, ‘Girls Girls Girls’.
“We knew MTV would say no to whatever we sent first, so we sent a version with naked girls grinding their pussies. We had a second edit, one we really liked, that we sent next, and we got that one through. We’ve always liked underdogs, and strippers are some of the hugest underdogs in the country. We always loved them. It was the ultimate place to go and hang out with beautiful women, drink and do drugs. That was the perfect evening. We’d start off at Tommy’s, have a couple of shots of Jack and off we’d go. It was a free time, and the video represents that sense of freedom and youthfulness.”
Sixx is not the kind of character to spend too much time looking back, although he will admit that this trawl through the band’s archives left him wanting to revise his past to a degree. “It did take me back a lot more than I thought it would do,” he says. “I live and breathe Mötley Crüe, but I don’t really look or listen too much. Through all of that time, I was in forward motion. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think: ‘I wish I had written a better part there’, or ‘we should have had the bass up on that bit’.” And despite their much publicised fall-outs, Mötley Crüe are headed forward again. Sixx has re-established contact with singer Vince Neil, and the band plan to support the movie release of The Dirt with a tour.
“It’s a huge project,” Sixx says, “but we all have input into these things, and so long as we all want to do it when the time comes, then we’ll be out there.” ■
‘Greatest Video Hits’
HAVING READ THE DIRT , YOU
should never make the mistake of thinking that any of that drug-addled, groupie-groping irresponsibility and insanity would find its way into Mötley Crüe’s music. They may have looked like a crack-crazed transvestite biker gang from Hell, but ultimately they were just another wet-wad of tired LA big-hair metal.
This Greatest Video Hits DVD compilation brings together all of their carefully calculated slices of MTV-pleasing ‘outrage’ – those videos with all that soft (very soft) porn stuff; that terrible soft rock; those falsetto voices – along with a lengthy interview with Mötleys Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee. If you like the band, this package, with nice Dolby 5.1 rendering, got has got everything you want for your money. And all the hits – ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, ‘Dr Feelgood’, ‘Smokin’ In The Boys Room’... – that helped make the 80s (Crüe’s decade of decadence) such a helluva of a time to be alive.