Nikki Sixx on Motley Crue Breakup: ‘It Became Four Men With Different Ideas’
Since disbanding in 2015, Motley Crue have been surprisingly quiet about their feelings on the band post-breakup and why the group ended all future touring. Recently, Nikki Sixx appeared on the Let There Be Talk podcast where he opened up about the band's end.
On Motley Crue's breakup as a whole, Sixx points to the fact that it felt like the group was unravelling and each member was at a much different place. "When these four guys got together, we agreed on a common idea, and everybody put their skin in the game," Sixx said. "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 [Neil] 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 [Lee]. Tommy was 17-, 18-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," Sixx said. "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 Motley Crue did this?' And my thing was, 'I want Motley Crue to be Motley Crue.' 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 Motley Crue. 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."
He reiterated the feeling of being separated from the other members, comparing themselves with other groups. "It became four men with different ideas. 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 of this, Sixx has no ill will towards how things ended and is glad things took a natural course. "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."
Sixx has kept busy since Motley Crue's demise. At this year's San Diego Comic Con, Heavy Metal Comics announced they would be adapting Sixx's iconic autobiography The Heroin Diaries into a graphic novel. He's currently "unofficially retired from touring," and is working on new Sixx: A.M. albums and his own books.
Hear Nikki Sixx on the Let There Be Talk Podcast
11 Unforgettable Motley Crue Moments
Motley Crue Albums Ranked