Nikki Sixx on the final days of Mötley Crüe
Given the lives enjoyed and endured by Sunset Strip hair metal veterans Mötley Crüe, it was always going to take something unusual to signal the demise of the band. We really didn’t see the Crüe ending their near 35-year career with a formally written contract though.
But that’s exactly what they did at last month’s glitzy LA press conference, where they announced the Final Tour, a run of shows set to stretch from this summer up to the end of 2015. And, just to pre-empt all those questions about reunions, the band signed a cessation of touring agreement that forbids them from ever going back out on tour as Mötley Crüe.
Musicradar spoke to bass player/band leader Nikki Sixx about calling it a day, staying away and regrets...
Going out swinging
“We’ve talked about how to end it for so long. We said why not sign a contract where we can never do this again and everyone said ‘I’m in, I’m in, I’m in!’
"Ok, that’s the easy part, now go make it legal. It was the easiest decision ever. We want people to know that we came in swinging and we went out swinging. It’s exciting and emotional, it’s mind boggling.”
“We wanted to go out and secure our legacy together. We wanted to go out when we were on top.
"There are bands out there that are just cool, and we wanted to be one of those bands. I like that better than hearing Mötley Crüe is playing at a local bar with two original members. We were talking about when the [The Dirt] movie is going to be getting made, that’s the time to do it.
"We’d do a tour and then have the movie and we’ll be at our peak and take our final bow with the original band members, and fans will go, ‘F**king awesome!’”
Is this really it?
“We’re saying we’re not coming back, come see us now, this is a celebration.
"And by the way, for any of you bands out there now reading this, you better think twice about your farewell tour because the press is going to say to you, ‘Are you doing a farewell tour like those other guys, or do you have a cessation to cease ever touring together again contract that you’ve all signed, like Mötley Crüe?’ When they say they don’t have one, you guys are going to call bollocks.”
We did it!
“The thing is that I’ve known the guys from Mötley Crüe longer than just about everybody.
"After the press conference, I came home and took my dog into the back yard and the stars were so bright. No one was home and I was standing there quietly looking up at my mom, dad, grandma and grandpa and my sister who have all passed away. I have a sister in Seattle but besides her that’s it. I’ve known the guys in this band longer than I’ve known anybody else. I looked up and said, ‘We did it!’ I started laughing out loud like a mad man. My dog looked at me like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’
“There’s all kinds of emotions coming out. There’s pride, realisation that this is the end. What’s going to happen when I have the ability to look at my calendar and realise that I have nine months out of every year that I don’t have to be on the road? I can take SIXX AM and tour, I can do photography, there’s a lot I can do.
"Right now because of touring and my radio show, time wise I’m doing more street photography and I just did a piece for Addiction in Canada. I did that during the tour because I don’t have time to do proper studio photography. All of a sudden there’s all these opportunities. I’ll have more time to write books, to work with SIXX AM, I’m working on a Broadway play. All of the guys have stuff to do. In that sense this is a gift. But I’ll miss it.”
The Final Tour
“This tour has to top everything we’ve done before and it will. It has to, we have no choice. We’re just in preliminary conversations and looking at things we want to involve with the show.
"I call them shapes. When you look at our sets you think, ‘That’s a little bit off.’ We always start with the shapes. Like Carnival of Sins, when you walked into the arena you went, ‘Everything seems a little bit titled.’ Everything was a little bit titled, just enough to make you realise something was off and then we started building it from there.
"We’re just getting all of our ideas together, and then we plug the songs in. Nobody wants to see Mötley Crüe for the last time and not hear every single hit. That would be the worst thing. Can you imagine a band on their final tour, like going to see Aerosmith for the final time and they don’t play Dream On? They’ll be none of that, we’ll be playing all of the hits.”
“It would be easy to get a piece of paper out and write down all the bad things we did and try to make amends.
"That would probably make some people reading this interview happy that we’ve said we’re sorry. But to be honest with you, all your mistakes make you who you are. I can only speak for myself, I know I hurt my family and a lot of people through drug addiction. I can’t take it back. Now I just learn from it.”
Only one Mötley
“It’s going to be a blast and emotional and we’ll walk away. There’s still enough gas in the tank for each guy to go out and do other stuff. Do I think anything I ever do will be as big as Mötley Crüe? It’s impossible.
Nothing that Robert Plant does will ever equal Led Zeppelin but that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop being creative. Jimmy Page has so many incredibly cool projects, but it’s not Led Zeppelin, there will only ever be one Led Zeppelin.
There’ll only ever be one Mötley Crüe. I love those Keith Richards solo records, but it’s not the Rolling Stones. We’re not stupid. We’re doing this with our eyes wide open.”