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Sixx, Nikki

Category: Musician or composer

with his dog Leica

Nikki Sixx (born Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna, Jr.; December 11, 1958) is an American musician, songwriter, radio host, and photographer, best known as the co-founder, bassist, and primary songwriter of the band Mötley Crüe

Prior to forming Mötley Crüe, Sixx was a member of Sister before going on to form London with his Sister bandmate Lizzie Grey.

Sixx founded Mötley Crüe in 1981 with drummer Tommy Lee. They were later joined by guitarist Mick Mars through an ad in the local newspaper, and singer Vince Neil, with whom Lee had attended high school.  The band officially retired in 2015.  During his time with Mötley Crüe, Sixx became addicted to heroin. He is quoted in The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star as saying: "Alcohol, acid, cocaine... they were just affairs. When I met heroin it was true love." He estimates he overdosed "about half a dozen times".

Sixx and his first wife, Playboy Playmate Brandi Brandt

The reason he is on the site, is that on December 23, 1987, after a night of “drug-fueled partying” Sixx was injected with heroin by his dealer -- and promptly passed out cold. Unfortunately, this overdose wasn’t ‘like the others’; he had turned blue, and couldn’t be roused.   Some call this a near death experience, but it actually resulted in an OBE.

The out of body experience

In Sixx’s book, The Heroin Diaries:, Sally McLaughlin recalls frantically giving the rocker mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The paramedics arrived and gave Sixx adrenaline, although not before he had the out-of-body experience.   The observation we have used is taken from the book written with his fellow Motley Crue band members called The Dirt:  Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. As he recounts:

 I tried to sit up to figure out what was going on. I thought it would be hard to lift my body. But to my surprise, I shot upright, as if I weighed nothing. Then it felt as if something very gentle was grabbing my head and pulling me upward. Above me, everything was bright white. I looked down and realized I had left my body.

 

Rather interestingly, Nicki also refers to the body that he saw below him as “the filthy, tattooed container that had once held him”.

Sixx is of Italian ancestry on his father's side and was partially raised by his single mother, Deana Richards, and by his grandparents after his father left the family. 

Nikki later moved in with his grandparents after his mother abandoned him.  

While living in Jerome, Idaho, he became a teenage vandal, breaking into neighbours' homes, shoplifting, and being expelled from school for selling drugs. His grandparents sent him to live with his mother, who had moved to Seattle. He lived there for a short time, and learned how to play the bass guitar having bought his first instrument with money gained from selling a guitar he had stolen.

Sixx’s consequent attitude to women before his OBE was not entirely pleasant.  In his book The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, he describes his relationship with one Denise "Vanity" Matthews:

Vanity came and went during different periods of my addiction. She was a wild black chick who had sung with Prince: she’d also been his lover for a while. At the time I thought of Vanity as a disposable human being, like a used needle [sic]. Once its purpose was fulfilled it was ready for the trash, only to be dug up if you were really desperate…We became drug buddies: sometimes, you could even just about call us boyfriend and girlfriend. Vanity also taught me how to really freebase: the first time I based was with Tommy when Mötley just started and only a few times after that. So up until then, I’d been mostly snorting or injecting. But as soon as she showed me the real ins and outs of cooking up a good rock…it was love. Not her. The drug.

 The aftermath

Sixx with his second wife, another Playboy Playmate, actress
Donna D'Errico

Sixx’s life had been too traumatic before the OBE for it to have any overwhelming effects; being abandoned by one’s mother, for example, can often leave lasting wounds that never heal – after all if your mother doesn’t love you enough to want to care for you, who else is left? 

The Guardian - Nikki Sixx: My family values Interview by Nick McGrath

My mom was extremely beautiful and my father was a tall and handsome big Italian. From the outside, you’d think, wow, these amazing-looking people are my mom and dad! But my dad left when I was three and my mom left when I was six. I remember seeing my dad just once. Later I was, like, maybe my mom was fucking crazy and he just couldn’t take it – because that was my experience with her later in life.
My most heartbreaking memory was when my mom called my grandparents and said, “Come pick him up.” I was six and she said, “I’m going to lock the door and I’ll just leave you in the porch. She couldn’t wait until my grandparents got there. She left with this guy in a truck. That broke me.….. I don’t know if I ever 100% reconnected with society – I don’t believe that there are any rules that exist for me.
My dad died in the 1970s, my grandmother in the 80s, my grandfather a couple of years ago, and my mom died recently, alone. My sister went to her bedside but I wouldn’t go. I said to myself, “I should probably go,” but I could never connect the string. I called my sister and she said she totally understood if I don’t come, and I said, “I just don’t feel that she deserves it.” I could never connect the umbilical cord again. But it’s OK. I’m at peace with it.


After the OBE, in May 1989, Sixx married his first wife, Playboy Playmate Brandi Brandt; they have three children: Gunner Nicholas Sixx (born January 25, 1991), Storm Brieann Sixx (born April 14, 1994), and Decker Nilsson Sixx (born May 23, 1995).  The marriage lasted until to November 1996.

One month after the divorce from Brandt, Sixx married his second wife, another Playboy Playmate, actress Donna D'Errico. Sixx and D'Errico have one daughter, Frankie-Jean Mary Sixx (born January 2, 2001). D'Errico has a son, Rhyan Jacob (born 1993), from a previous relationship. They separated shortly after their daughter's birth, and reconciled months later when Sixx completed rehab. They separated again on April 27, 2006 and divorced in June 2007.

The OBE seems to have helped him forgive women - perhaps a little too much, as if he was making up for lost time!  And his children are now his life “I have four amazing children and it’s been the greatest thing that’s ever happened in my life.

Near-Death Experiences of the Hollywood Rich and Famous - Jean Ritchie [Death’s Door]

Sixx celebrated the 25th anniversary of his NDE in December 2012 in a very public manner, posting on Facebook: "25 years ago today I had two almost-fatal drug overdoses that changed my life forever. I can’t even see myself these days as that kid who was running head strong into the abyss, but I know he taught me how to live when he finally decided to do it for himself."
Sixx told CNN that during this 1987 close call, he went out of body and "saw things I shouldn’t have been able to see. I saw the hotel hallway, the ambulance, the limo that was there. I couldn’t have seen that because there was a sheet over me." In fact, the two adrenalin shots that restarted his heart also inspired the song, Kickstart My Heart. Five years later, Nikki Sixx says he kicked the habit for good -- and is now said to be two decades sober.


Sixx formed the group Sixx:A.M. in 2006, initially to record an audio accompaniment to his autobiography The Heroin Diaries:, with friends producer/songwriter James Michael and guitarist DJ Ashba (Guns N' Roses,). They recorded and released The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack in August 2007. The single "Life Is Beautiful" received strong radio and video play peaking at number 2 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks.

 
You can't quit until you try
You can't live until you die
You can't learn to tell the truth until you learn to lie

Can't breathe until you choke
You gotta laugh when you're the joke
There's nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes and see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

I know some things that you don't
I've done things that you won't
There's nothing like a trail of blood to find your way back home

I was waiting for my hearse
What came next was so much worse
It took a funeral to make me feel alive

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes and see that life is beautiful.

In April 2009, both Sixx and Michael confirmed that the band were in the studio, recording new material. Sixx added that the new material is "inspiring. it feels like we may have topped ourselves on this album coming up, and can't wait for you to hear what it sounds like." 
"Prayers for the Damned" and "Prayers for the Blessed" were released in 2016.

marriage to Courtney Bingham

With the formation of Sixx:A.M. and the release of The Heroin Diaries, Nikki teamed up with an already existing charity known as the Covenant House.  Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas providing shelter, food, immediate crisis care, and an array of other services to homeless and runaway youth.  In addition to partially funding the services the Covenant House provides on its own, Sixx also has a branch that provides a creative arts and music program.  Sixx has negotiated with people in his industry to provide the program with musical instruments and software.  A Portion of the profits from Sixx:A.M.’s album The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack and his autobiography, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star is donated to help the Covenant House.

On November 26, 2012, Nikki revealed to the public that he proposed to Courtney Bingham while vacationing in St. Barts. They were married on March 15, 2014.   

The Guardian - Nikki Sixx: My family values Interview by Nick McGrath

Telling my children not to take drugs was hard to do with a straight face. I said, “I’m going to be honest with you and tell you that I’ve done a lot of drugs and a lot of alcohol and I’ve never found it worked out.” I’m not the guy that’s going to say, “Don’t you ever drink again,” but I told them: “You’re going to make your own decisions and I’m going to be here to support you because I didn’t have that.” No matter what happens in my kids’ lives, I’ll be there for them. My family means everything to me and I will do anything for them. If somebody offered me a lethal injection right now, that would guarantee my kids will live for ever, I would take it. With my wife, they’re the most important thing in my life. Apart from my dog Leica, who runs the house.

 

References

 

The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star - In September 2007, Sixx released this book - a collection of his journal entries from 1986 and 1987 when his heroin addiction was at its most dangerous.

Written with British journalist Ian Gittins, it presents the present-day viewpoints of his bandmates, friends, ex-lovers, caretakers, business associates and family as they respond to specific passages.

 

 

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