Nikki Sixx says that he is happy MÖTLEY CRÜE disbanded because he no longer has to deal with the “drama” of being in a group with three other guys with completely “different ideas.”
In 2015, MÖTLEY CRÜE completed “The Final Tour”, closing the book on the band’s iconic career after performing a total of 164 shows in 72 markets, grossing over $100 million.
To cement the sense of finality, the four members of MÖTLEY CRÜE in 2014 publicly signed a “cessation of touring” contract that prevents any of them from performing under the CRÜE name in the future.
During an appearance on episode 369 of the “Let There Be Talk” podcast with rock and roll comedian Dean Delray, Sixx was asked if he has been in contact with any of his bandmates since the end of “The Final Tour”. “I talked to Vince [Neil, vocals],” he said. “Me and Vince talk and text back and forth. He’s a texter, like me. And I’ve reached out to Tommy [Lee, drums] and Mick [Mars, guitar] a couple of times, [but] I haven’t gotten anything back.
“When it ended, man, it didn’t end in a good way,” Nikki admitted. “We’re all in different ways. But as time went on, I was, like, ‘I’m just gonna reach out,’ because we were there together in the beginning. I don’t wanna reach out and put the band back together; I was just, like, ‘Hey, man…,’ just reaching out.”
According to Nikki, one of the main reasons CRÜE called it quits was the dysfunction that led them to be one of the defining acts of the 1980s and early 1990s.
“When these four guys got together, we agreed on a common idea, and everybody put their skin in the game,” Sixx explained. “I don’t think Mick Mars was a punk rock fan. I’m a punk rocker at heart — always have been. My attitude is, I love heavy metal, but I was never a super-musician, muso fan. I’d be, like, ‘I love what Eddie Van Halen‘s doing right there,’ but I didn’t think about it technically. There’s other guys in the band that are technical. So they put their skin in the game, I put my anarchy in the game. I’m a huge lyricist fan; that’s, like, my driver for everything. And nobody in the band wrote lyrics; I wrote all the lyrics for the band. That was all the messaging. And Vince had this voice; no one else sounded like that. He had a spitfire, Gatling-gun lead-vocal style. He put his skin in the game. No one played like Tommy. Tommy was seventeen, eighteen years old when I met him. He was a monster, and he was hyper — he’s a hyper human being. He played hyper and I played simple, and that worked. If I played super busy and he played super busy, it wouldn’t have sounded right. So I feel like Tommy‘s energy was a big driver of the band.
“As the years went, Tommy wanted to be a different guy,” Nikki continued. “He fell in love with hip-hop. I have no problem with it, but it was weird for us. We were, like, ‘Whoa! Where’s Tommy?’ And then he went through kind of a… I don’t know what that other phase was… [He became] an EDM guy. Anyway, he [was] young and he [was] exploring. But Tommy‘s thing was, ‘Well, wouldn’t it be great if MÖTLEY CRÜE did this?’ And my thing was, ‘I want MÖTLEY CRÜE to be MÖTLEY CRÜE.’ So if I’m Angus Young and I’m, like, ‘Here’s a song called ‘Highway To Hell’,’ and then Tommy is Malcolm Young and comes in and goes, ‘Hey, man, wouldn’t it be cool if we sound like these other bands?’ Angus is gonna say, ‘What are you, crazy?’ And then there became resentment. And he felt like, ‘Oh, Nikki‘s holding the band back.’ I wanted the band to be MÖTLEY CRÜE. And Mick is passive. We did some albums with this producer named Scott Humphrey who made Mick feel horrible about his guitar playing; it was about all sampling and all this and all that. So Mick started to kind of pull out, Vince is in and out of the band. At times, it would be really wonderful with us.”
In the end, however, Sixx says that internal conflicts were just too much to bear, with every CRÜE member having his own vision of where the band should go. “It became four men with different ideas,” he said. “Sometimes you have a band and you go, ‘There’s four guys with the same idea: METALLICA.’ They were, like, ‘This is what we are. We are metal. It’s even in our name.’ Even though they had some crazy albums here and there, they figured it out. And towards the end, I think our version of figuring it out was, ‘Let’s just leave our legacy for what it was.'”
Despite all the disagreements, Sixx says that he looks back on MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s career with pride and he insists that he has nothing bad to say about anybody else in the band. “We all wanted something in the beginning, and later, we all wanted something different,” he said. “And just because I wanted it to be the same thing and somebody else might have wanted it to be a different version of that doesn’t make them a bad person. It just means it was time for us not to be a band anymore.
“Music changes, people change,” he continued. “It’s okay to change, it’s okay to be dysfunctional, it’s okay to let it go. And I haven’t gone in the press or anywhere and talked bad about anybody in the band. I don’t think that I need to do that. I think that my frustrations in MÖTLEY CRÜE probably equal other guys’ frustrations in MÖTLEY CRÜE. But when you boil it all down… You ask me if I’ve talked to anybody in the band… I’ve reached out, because it’s, like, ‘Hey, man. How’re you guys doing?’ That’s it. Like back to that first day in rehearsal.”
Sixx added: “I don’t really care if Mick Mars wants to fly from the Eiffel Tower with a fucking flametorch, playing fucking Steve Ray Vaughan licks in a fucking push-up bra. It’s, like, ‘Great! That’s not why I’m calling. I don’t need anything. I’m not calling you because I’m gonna try to incentivize you to do something.’ I just was reaching out. But when it first ended, I wasn’t reaching out. I’m just softening a little bit.”
Sixx says that he decided to reconnect with his CRÜE bandmates because he remembered a piece of advice he received years ago while he was going through a particularly difficult time in his life. “My AA sponsor told me once, he said, ‘When you’ve really got the program, it’s when you learn to let things that are hard soften you,'” Nikki recalled. “I was going through a divorce and I was, like, ‘Man, brake lines over a cliff, I’d be so happy. I’d be done with this divorce and she’d be dead.’ And he’s, like, ‘Whoa! You’ve just gotta let what went wrong actually be a life lesson and soften you a little bit.'”
He continued: “See, a lot of guys would sit here and go, ‘Those guys, man, I wanted to do this, and those guys were stupid. That guy was ugly, that guy was drunk and that guy was fat and that guy was dumb. That guy wanted to be [in an] electronic [band]. ‘Nikki‘s a stick in the mud, man. He didn’t wanna change.’ Like, you know what? Why don’t you just let it be cool? It was what it was.”
After Delray brought up SKID ROW as an example of another band that has had its share of dysfunction, particularly involving its former lead singer, Sebastian Bach, Nikki said: “I’ve talked to the SKID ROW guys before, and it really comes down to, again, the fact that you’re not twenty-one years old, and you have a home and you have a wife and everyone in the band, they’ve got what they want, but they also want a little bit of peace. I don’t wanna wake up every day to fucking drama. I don’t want drama every fucking day of my life.
“I’m so happy that MÖTLEY CRÜE made a decision to move on, because there’s no more e-mails about things that you’re, like, ‘We can’t even agree on the goddamn artwork,'” he said. “It’s, like, ‘Fuck, dude! It’s artwork. You guys win. It’s two percent smaller.’ But it becomes about other stuff.”
Circling back to SKID ROW, which has steadfastly refused to reunite with Bach despite substantial offers from promoters to do so, Nikki said: “With SKID ROW, I don’t think they want… They’re just like, ‘Dude, if you can just sing… but you can’t.'”
MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s last studio album was 2008’s “Saints Of Los Angeles”, which was followed by a 2009 “Greatest Hits” compilation.
A tour film about MÖTLEY CRÜE‘s final shows, “The End”, came out last year, and a film adaptation of the band’s 2001 autobiography “The Dirt” is said to be in negotiations to land at Netflix.
Special thanks to Chris Marti