Nikki Sixx’s New York Times bestselling book, This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through The Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx is shocking in all kinds of wild ways. There are sordid tales of debauchery, odd photos of freaks and lots and lots of skulls. But it’s biggest surprise is a loving photographic tribute to his ex, Kat Von D — the same famed L.A. Ink star who left him for Sandra Bullock’s ex, Jesse James!
I recently caught up with the Motley Crue rocker, who just scored his first top ten debut album this week with his new band, Sixx:A.M., to ask him about this seemingly odd decision, as well as why he says he’ll never do reality TV.
UsMagazine.com: How are you going to deal with touring and doing your radio show at the same time?
Nikki Sixx: I'm like an octopus! I'm gonna be doing the This Is Gonna Hurt book tour and touring with my bands. It's a blast!
Us: And you've got the clothing line, right?
NS: Love that. We'll be designing clothes on the road in the middle of everything else. Fantastic!
Us: I read the book over the weekend, this is a very good follow-up to The Heroin Diaries. It's a little more artistically driven with the photography. Could you tell me a little bit about why you decided to explore that angle of things.
NS: I've been doing photography for years. I have tens of thousands of images so I decided I wanted to push this idea of my photography out. I knew in my heart it wasn't going to be successful, because most things I do are set up for failure. I like to set myself up for failure. I assumed The Heroin Diaries was going to fail.
NS: It was set up for failure, and it touched so many people because of the honesty in it, and it feels great. I don't want it to fail, but I'm prepared to fail. And this book was like me trying to resurrect my sister, dealing with a lot of my issues. This is me in recovery, me as a father, me in my struggle to stay grounded as a rock star, and it's all being captured during this real live moment. You kind of get to feel and understand what's happening. And the band bonded together as three brothers and at the same time I was individually sort of dealing with my own demons.
Us: So you've just been saving these photographs all along?
NS: I have, and I could put out five books of just photography. I thought it was very fragmented. But someone said, 'no, there's something with the light.' And that was really interesting because I felt that the story was told in the shadows, and I use old lighting. Very rarely do I use flash, and sometimes I'll even use candle light, to try and reenact some of the feeling that I love in Renaissance style oil paintings. So to me it's really nice when people get the art, but then the writing was me sort of trying to understand it myself, and I think that the book was an accident.
Us: The last book was so complete. In terms of the text, did you have a problem figuring out what to write about because you'd said it all last time?
NS: I really felt that this moment in time gives me an opportunity in looking at what's going on socially and how I fit into it. To be able to go back to the beginning of being a kid and really look at what was happening — how I grew up, dealing with fame, addiction, recovery, being a father, and staying an artist throughout this — was really interesting. I didn't understand how I could be in the circus and be laughed at, and then I could be your best friend, a sex symbol. But maybe human beings are all the same. We're all looking to just be accepted.
Us: Were you surprised by the success of the book?
NS: Yeah. I was surprised and I was thrilled. When I was invited to Washington, D.C. to speak on Capitol Hill, and just to look at the four hundred film crews and all those congressmen and congresswomen, and be in the Halls of Congress talking about recovery and this is a global issue that came from teenage angst was surreal. This is a global issue that I'm talking about in this book. I'm just doing it in my broken, creative way.
Us: Have you been approached ever to do Celebrity Rehab or anything like that?
NS: I would never do reality TV. It's not my thing. I can't even put anybody down, I just think that I have more to offer.
Us: How did your band mates react to what you revealed in the last book? Are they gonna be bothered by some of the things you reveal in this book? And did you seek permission?
NS: No, I was just honest and I believe kind and nice. I love being in Motley Crue, and I love being in Sixx:A.M., and I would never hurt the fans feelings by saying anything mean about my band. I think that would be disrespectful and out of line.
Us: Did you have reservations about putting Kat in the book?
NS: No, I've been on the planet a long time, and in retrospect, it was a small time in my life, and it was the time in my life when I wrote this book. I felt that being nice and kind to the relationship was important, and I know all things come to an end eventually, and when it did, I didn't feel that it was my job to point fingers. I think people know the truth, and my job is to do a book of photography and talk about what's going on socially and not comment too much on people's personal lives. I speak to what it's like to have a relationship with my band, and I speak what it's like to have a relationship at that time with a woman.
Us: And then you chose not to put it in, but you briefly dated Denise Richards. Did you have a thought about that? Or not putting her in?
NS: It was such a short, short time, and the book was already done and published. I'm not really about talking too much about relationships, but I'm in a beautiful relationship right now. I love being in love, and I love being in that creative zone, where you just, feel that everything you do is honest and real, and you're not second guessing anything. Being in a rock band, being in a relationship, having a relationship with my subjects that I'm photographing, it's all the same thing. I have to have that complete honesty and complete trust. The thing I think a lot of artists forget is that you need to have fun. When you're really having a good time, I feel like it's infectious and everybody shares in it. And this is such a great time for me because everyone's talking about the book, they're talking about the Sixx:A.M. album, they're talking about the documentary…the radio show's doing fantastic, the clothing line is doing fantastic… It’s a great time and I'm grateful!
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