Sixx: A.M. was founded by Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx (born Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna, Jr. on 12/11/58 in San Jose, CA). A pair of guitarists rounded out the core line-up: DJ Ashba and James Michael, who also handled lead vocals.
In '06 Sixx began working on his book The Heroin Diaries, based on a collection of his journal entries from '86-'87, when his addiction was arguably at its worst. Sixx was hardly alone. Motley Crue was roaring through the '80s.
During the "Theatre Of Pain - Girls Girls Girls" era (as the band ventured from Metal to Glam) the Crue's lead singer, Vince Neil was involved in a DWI car crash that killed Razzle (the drummer for Hanoi Rocks).
In that context, Nikki's misadventures are almost comical. Almost.
Just as the dust settled around Neil's debacle, Sixx was pronounced dead in '87 from a heroin overdose. He was DOA in an ambulance before two adrenaline shots in the chest revived him. Later, he checked himself out of the hospital (ignoring medical advice) and went home to record an answering machine message. "Hey, it's Nikki. I'm not home because I'm dead." He then took more heroin and passed out again. Good times. It's a wonder any of them made it out alive.
Fast forward twenty years. Sixx announced a line of high-end menswear. He teamed with Kelly Gray, a former executive of luxury women's apparel company St. John Knits, for the Royal Underground brand. "Too many of today's fashions have skulls or look tattered and worn out," said Sixx. "You can step it up a notch and have something a little bit on the classier edge." The '06 Royal Underground line featured $100 T-shirts and $900 cashmere sweaters. Hard to believe it was the same guy.
Prior to the August,'07 release of "The Heroin Diaries" album Sixx: A.M. made their debut at New York City's Crash Mansion club playing five songs from the set.
Each of the 12 tracks matched an individual a chapter in the book. "It's given me some closure on a lot of different issues, to be able to discover, through the book, what was driving me," explained Sixx. "Life Is Beautiful" was the first single. It peaked at #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
An '08 supporting tour was completed (the eight song EP "Live Is Beautiful" resulted) before work began on a follow-up. In July, '10, Sixx announced the album, "This Is Gonna Hurt," was finished. Later, he added that a photo journal with the same title was going to be published as a companion to the album.
"Lies Of The Beautiful People," the lead single from "This Is Gonna Hurt" dropped in February, '11. The album arrived a month and a half later.
Sixx A.M. performed live for the first time in four years at the '12 Revolver Golden Gods Awards in L.A. They played "This Is Gonna Hurt" and "Are You with Me Now."
Two years later, the group issued their third album, "Modern Vintage."
Some may have wondered whether it would ever happen. Sixx A.M. finally launched their first North American headlining tour in '15. The trek began in San Francisco.
With the tour completed, and then some, Sixx: A.M., announced that Dustin Steinke was their permanent drummer. Steinke made his live debut with the band nearly a year earlier.
A few months passed before "Prayers For The Damned" was released. "Prayers For The Blessed," a companion set, dropped the following November.
2007 The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack
2011 This Is Gonna Hurt
2014 Modern Vintage
2016 Prayers For The Damned
2016 Prayers For The Blessed
2008 X-Mas In Hell
2008 Live Is Beautiful
Sixx A.M.'s explores Motley Crue's nefarious side. It's arena Rock aimed at the cheap seats.
The cruel reality of heroin addiction, aside from it often being lethal, is that it does permanent damage. Any recollection of what happened is clouded, if not lost, and the addict, as Sixx admits, can't see beyond himself. Parts of "The Heroin Diaries" reek of self-indulgence and blinding flashes of the obvious. Just the sort of thing you'd expect from a recovering junkie. But most of the album is a hard, cold, unblinking view of a life in ruin.
With no friends left, the dairies are used to recall obliterated days or to serve as a nice little suicide note. Gothic swirls that show up here and there are meant to convey confusion and desperation, which they do, but the theatrical touches aren't really necessary. The subject matter compelling enough.