- Category : Musician - Popular
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Nikki Sixx (born Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna, Jr.; December 11, 1958) is an American musician, songwriter, author, fashion designer, radio host, and photographer, best known as the co-founder and bassist of the band Mötley Crüe. Prior to forming Mötley Crüe, Sixx was a member of Sister before going on to form London with his Sister band mate Lizzie Grey. In 2000 he formed side project group 58 with Dave Darling, Steve Gibb and Bucket Baker issuing one album, titled Diet for a New America, the same year while in 2002 he formed the hard rock supergroup Brides of Destruction with L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns. Formed in 2006, initially to record an audio accompaniment to Sixx's autobiography The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, his side band Sixx:A.M. features songwriter and producer and vocalist James Michael and guitarist DJ Ashba.
Sixx has also worked with a number of artists and groups, co-writing and/or producing songs, such as Sex Pistols's guitarist Steve Jones, Lita Ford, Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Marion Raven, Drowning Pool, Saliva and The Last Vegas among others.
Sixx launched the clothing line "Royal Underground" in 2006 with Kelly Gray, formerly the co-president and house model of St. John. Initially the label concentrated on men's clothing before expanding into women's while in 2010, Premiere Radio Networks launched nationally syndicated rock/alternative music radio programs "Sixx Sense" and "The Side Show Countdown" with both hosted by Sixx and co-hosted by Kerri Kasem.
Nikki Sixx was born Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna, Jr. on December 11, 1958 in San Jose, California. He is of Italian ancestry on his father's side. Sixx was partially raised by his single mother, Deana Richards, and by his grandparents after his father left the family. Nikki later moved in with his grandparents after his mother abandoned him. Sixx relocated several times while living with his grandparents.
While living in Jerome, Idaho, Sixx became a teenage vandal, breaking into neighbors' homes, shoplifting, and being expelled from school for selling drugs. His grandparents sent him to live with his mother, who had moved to Seattle. He lived there for a short time, and learned how to play the bass guitar having bought his first instrument with money gained from selling a guitar he had stolen.
He changed his name to "Nikki Sixx", he said, because of
a long road battling a guy who walked away from me, named Frank Serafino, who was my father, and me saying, "Fuck you, I am gonna reinvent myself, you weren't there for me, and I am gonna become a man, called Nikki, create my own family and fuck you." At some point you gotta go. I carried that fucking baggage around for a long time, so I let go of that.
Early career, Sister, London (1975–1979)
At the age of 17, he moved to Los Angeles and began various jobs such as working at a liquor store and selling vacuums over the phone while he auditioned for bands. He eventually joined the group Sister, led by Blackie Lawless, after answering an ad in the Recycler for a bass player. Soon after recording a demo, Sixx was fired from Sister along with bandmate Lizzie Grey.
Sixx and Grey formed the group London soon afterwards, in 1978. During this time, he legally changed his name to Nikki Sixx. After a number of lineup changes, London added former Mott the Hoople singer Nigel Benjamin to the group recording a 16-track demo in Burbank. After the departure of Benjamin, along with the failure to find a replacement, Sixx departed London. The group would go on to feature Sixx's former Sister band mate Blackie Lawless (later of W.A.S.P.), Izzy Stradlin (then of Hollywood Rose, later of Guns N' Roses) and drummer Fred Coury (later of Cinderella).
In 2000, a number of the London demos recorded with Sixx were included on London Daze by Spiders & Snakes, led by former London guitarist Lizzie Grey.
Mötley Crüe (1980–present)
In 1980, Sixx founded Mötley Crüe with drummer Tommy Lee, later being joined by guitarist Mick Mars through an ad in the local newspaper he was reading, then by singer Vince Neil with whom Tommy had attended high school. The band decided to self-record their debut album, Too Fast for Love, which was subsequently released in November 1981 on the band's own Leathür Records label. After signing with Elektra Records they re-released the album. The band then went on to record and release Shout at the Devil, raising the band to national fame. They issued two more albums, Theatre of Pain in 1985 and Girls, Girls, Girls in 1987, followed by Dr. Feelgood in September 1989.
His bandmates and him became addicted to heroin. Nikki Sixx, from The Heroin Diaries: "Alcohol, acid, cocaine... they were just affairs. When I met heroin it was true love." He estimates he overdosed "about half a dozen times".
Soon after his overdose, he and his bandmates went into rehab. In 1989, the band produced their most successful record, Dr. Feelgood, with producer Bob Rock. The album stayed on the charts for 114 weeks after its release. After releasing the compilation album Decade of Decadence, that included a new version of "Home Sweet Home", in 1991, Neil departed the group and was replaced by John Corabi formerly of The Scream. They released one self titled album with Corabi, in 1994, before firing him in 1996 and releasing Generation Swine in 1997 with Neil returning as lead vocalist. In 1999, Tommy Lee left the group and formed Methods of Mayhem. He was replaced by former Ozzy Osbourne drummer Randy Castillo. The group remastered and reissued all of their studio albums as well as releasing a new album titled New Tattoo in 2000. Due to Castillo's illness, former Hole drummer Samantha Maloney filled in for Castillo for the subsequent tour. The group went on hiatus soon after before reuniting in 2004, during which Sixx declared himself sober. A 2001 autobiography entitled The Dirt packaged the band as "the world's most notorious rock band". The book made the top ten on The New York Times Best Seller list and spent ten weeks there.
In 2006 Mötley Crüe completed a reunion tour featuring all four original members and embarked on a co-headlining tour with Aerosmith, called "The Route of All Evil".
In April 2008, the band announced the first Crüe Fest, a summer tour, that featured Sixx's side project Sixx:A.M., Buckcherry, Papa Roach and Trapt. On June 24, 2008, Mötley Crüe released their ninth studio album, Saints of Los Angeles, with Sixx credited as either writer or co-writer on all tracks. The second Crüe Fest, Crüe Fest 2, commenced a year after the first and featured Charm City Devils, Drowning Pool, Godsmack, and Theory of a Deadman, in addition to Mötley Crüe themselves.
Sixx is controversial for an October 30, 1997 incident at Greensboro Coliseum in which during a Mötley Crüe concert he goaded the audience to physically attack a security guard for repeatedly punching a female fan. In May 2001, Sixx addressed the issue and claimed he had apologized to the victim of the incident.
Sixx wrote most of Mötley Crüe's material, including tracks such as "Live Wire", "Home Sweet Home", "Girls, Girls, Girls", "Kickstart My Heart", "Wild Side", "Hooligan's Holiday" and "Dr. Feelgood". In the 1990s, all four members began contributing to the material on the albums.
Sixx is currently touring with Mötley Crüe, which is the co-headliner along with KISS on The Tour 2012.
In 2000, Sixx formed the internet based side project 58 with producer Dave Darling, guitarist Steve Gibb (formerly of Black Label Society and Crowbar) and drummer Bucket Baker. They released one single, titled "Piece of Candy", and their debut album, Diet for a New America, also in 2000 through Sixx's Americoma label and Beyond Records. The group did not tour and was described by Sixx as "strictly an artistic thing."
Brides of Destruction (2002–2004)
Brides of Destruction were formed by Sixx and Tracii Guns in Los Angeles 2002 initially with the name Cockstar after Mötley Crüe went on hiatus and Guns left L.A. Guns. Sixx also invited former Beautiful Creatures guitarist DJ Ashba to join the group however he declined to focus on his solo band, ASHBA. Ashba would eventually join Sixx in Sixx:A.M.
After a few lineup changes, that included Sixx's former Mötley Crüe band mate John Corabi, keyboardist Adam Hamilton and drummer Kris Kohls of Adema, the group was composed of Sixx, Guns, singer London LeGrand and drummer Scot Coogan formerly of Ednaswap and Annetenna.
They were advised by radio programmers that the name Cockstar would not be announced on air. They briefly adopted the moniker Motordog before settling on Brides of Destruction.
They entered the studio with producer Stevo Bruno to begin recording what would become Here Come the Brides. The Brides played their first show opening for Mudvayne and Taproot on November 14, 2002 at the Ventura Theatre in California.
After signing a deal with Sanctuary Records, the group released Here Come the Brides in 2004, with the album debuting at number 92 on the Billboard 200 selling over 13,000 copies. A tour of the US, Europe, including an appearance at Download Festival in the United Kingdom, and Australia followed.
On October 25, 2004 it was announced that the group were to go on hiatus while Sixx reunited with Mötley Crüe for a reunion tour. The group continued without Sixx, however, with Guns adding former Amen bassist Scott Sorry to the group as Sixx's replacement.
The second Brides of Destruction album, titled Runaway Brides, released in 2005 featured three songs co-wrote by Sixx during the Here Come the Brides sessions.
Sixx formed the group Sixx:A.M. in 2006, initially to record an audio accompaniment to his autobiography The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, with friends producer/songwriter James Michael and guitarist DJ Ashba (Guns N' Roses, formerly of Beautiful Creatures and BulletBoys). They recorded and released The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack in August 2007 through Eleven Seven. The single "Life Is Beautiful" received strong radio and video play peaking at #2 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks.
The band made their live debut at Crash Mansion on July 16, 2007. They performed five songs from the album, with former Beautiful Creatures drummer Glen Sobel filling in on drums. On April 15, 2008, Sixx:A.M. announced they would be touring as part of Mötley Crüe's Crüe Fest. The tour began on July 1, 2008, in West Palm Beach, Florida. During Crüe Fest, Papa Roach drummer Tony Palermo served as a touring drummer for the band. A deluxe tour edition of The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack was released on November 25, 2008, which included a bonus live EP entitled Live Is Beautiful which features recorded performances from the band's summer tour.
In April 2009, both Sixx and Michael confirmed that the band were in the studio, recording new material. Sixx added that the new material is "inspiring. it feels like we may have topped ourselves on this album coming up, and can't wait for you to hear what it sounds like." In 2010, the group continued recording the album with plans to release it by the late 2010/early 2011 with the group bringing in Paul R. Brown to shoot the video for the album's first single. During an interview in July, Sixx stated that the album was almost finished.
With the release of "Lies of the Beautiful People" in April 2011, Sixx took to a feud with Facebook. Having posted stills from his photography book 'This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life, Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx' on Facebook, the social network deemed a shot portraying a porn star to contravene the site's rules on pornography, and deleted it. Dissatisfied with the ruling, Sixx encouraged fans to replace their profile pictures with a similar shot of the same female performer. When over 250,000 did so, the act resulted in a number of fans having their Facebook accounts deleted. Sixx's criticism of Facebook centered around his consideration of the original photograph being art - and should therefore have been judged by different standards of decency.
In 1989, Sixx was a featured guest artist on the album Fire and Gasoline by Steve Jones, formerly of the Sex Pistols. Sixx co-wrote and performed on the song, "We're No Saints".
In 1991, Sixx played bass on "Feed My Frankenstein" on Alice Cooper's Hey Stoopid album. Sixx also co-wrote the track "Die For You", along with Cooper and Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars (who plays guitar on the song).
In 2002, Sixx played on Butch Walkers first solo album "Left of Self Centered"
In 2005 Sixx collaborated with the Norwegian singer Marion Raven on two songs, "Heads Will Roll" and "Surfing the Sun", for Raven's debut album, Here I Am. A new version of "Heads Will Roll" appeared on Raven's 2006 EP Heads Will Roll and on her 2007 U.S. debut album, Set Me Free.
In 2006, he was one of the songwriters for Meat Loaf's long-awaited album, Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose.
In September 2007, Sixx released a book titled The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, a collection of his journal entries from 1986 and 1987 (when his heroin addiction was at its most dangerous). Written with British journalist Ian Gittins, it also presents the present-day viewpoints of his bandmates, friends, ex-lovers, caretakers, business associates and family as they respond to specific passages. The book debuted at #7 on The New York Times Best Seller list.
Along with Big & Rich (John Rich and Big Kenny Alphin), and James Otto, Sixx co-wrote the song "Ain't Gonna Stop" for Otto's 2008 Sunset Man CD on Warner Bros/Raybaw Records.
In September 2011, Sixx is scheduled to appear on the live streaming video site backBEAT
Nikki Sixx is most often seen playing Gibson Thunderbird basses. Between 2000 and 2003 Gibson produced the Nikki Sixx Signature Blackbird. The Gibson Blackbird was for all intents and purposes a standard Thunderbird bass, but with a satin black finish, Iron Crosses on the fretboard instead of dots, an Iron Cross behind the classic Thunderbird logo, and Nikki Sixx's 'opti-grab' (a metal loop installed behind the bridge for hooking the little finger onto while playing). What also made this bass interesting was the lack of volume or tone controls, being replaced by a single on/off switch. Although subtle, this helped give this Blackbird more tone and a higher output. This model was discontinued in 2003, but has recently been put back in production as the Epiphone Nikki Sixx Blackbird. Cosmetically the Epiphone Blackbird is identical to the Gibson original, but with a bolt-on single ply neck, solid mahogany body, different pickups and lower grade parts and manufacturing. The Epiphone model still kept the 'opti-grab,' designed and made first by his bass technician Tim Luzzi, and single on/off switch of the Gibson original.
In 2008, Gibson announced a 'limited run' new Nikki Sixx signature bass. Like the original it features a neck through design made of mahogany and walnut, with maple 'wings' to form the body. Unlike the original 'Blackbird' bass, a clear 'satin black cherry' finish is given to the instrument, with red 'slash' X's on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 12th frets. A mirror pickguard is also applied, with a red signature and two X's (6 x's on the whole bass) is also a new addition. Unlike the Gibson Blackbird, the new signature featured volume and tone controls, the 'opti-grab', and an on/off switch.
In January 2013, Nikki announced that a new signature bass would be made by Schecter. The "Schecter Sixx" keeps a Thunderbird style body but has a set of EMG PJ pickups instead of the normal Thunderbird style pickups.
His inspiration to use the Gibson Thunderbird came from Pete "Overend" Watts of Mott the Hoople and John Entwistle of The Who. His first Gibson Thunderbird was a white 1976 model. He would light it on fire with pyro gel during early Mötley Crüe shows, (when they were still a club band) and it finally just disintegrated. He used Fender Precision basses and Rickenbacker basses before he had his first Thunderbird.
Early on, he was sponsored by B.C. Rich, and used Mockingbird & Warlock basses. He used Hamer Firebird basses during the tour for Theatre of Pain, in either plain black or plain white, while some of them had finishes that suited his stage outfits. After that he used Spector basses during Girls, Girls, Girls and Dr. Feelgood. These Spector basses were shaped like Thunderbirds and usually commonly called Spectorbirds. Sixx owned at least eight Spectorbirds. All eight had an opti-grab, designed and made by Tim Luzzi, 1 volume knob, P & J pickups, 24 frets and Spector bass "Crown" inlays. He used four during the tour for Girls, Girls, Girls, two black ones and one with a 101 Dalmatians finish, all of which had the Gibson Thunderbird Non-Reverse body type. One of the black basses had a large skull painting covering most of the body. He also used one in a buckeye burl finish with the reverse body style. It had an orange Harley-Davidson Crüe sticker where the Thunderbird logo usually is. These all had black hardware. For Dr. Feelgood he used five Spectorbirds, two in sunburst and one in a natural finish. He also used a white one with a Non-Reverse style body, covered in small black stickers and a sticker saying Dancing On Glass. He also used a plain black Spectorbird with a reversed body style, which he smashed at the Make A Difference Foundation Moscow Music Peace Festival in Moscow.
During the 1990s, Sixx started using 12-string basses made in Japan by the Hiroshigi Kids Guitar Company. He owns at least five: a black one with red lettering and white binding, a black one with gold binding, a black one with white lettering and white binding, a red one with "Helter Skelter" written on it, and a green one. The red and green ones have dragon inlays on the body. He also used four- and five-string Epiphone Non-Reverse Thunderbirds for the Generation Swine tour and would usually smash one after his bass solo. He has also used Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay 5 basses, most notably while on tour with Brides of Destruction and the two newly recorded songs for the 1998 Mötley Crüe album, Greatest Hits.
He also has used Fender Precision Basses, particularly when smashing basses at the end of a set. They are usually black Squier Precision Basses with white pickguards. He previously used Ampeg amplifiers, but has switched to Basson amplifiers. While recording The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, he used a 1959 Fender Precision which was amplified through a 1964 Fender Bassman. Sixx also uses Audiotech Guitar Products Source Selector 1X6 Rack Mount Audio Switcher.
Events, family and relationships
In the early 1980s Sixx dated guitarist Lita Ford. They lived together for a short while.
From December 1986 to September 1987, Sixx dated singer/actress/model Vanity. They had a rocky and drug-oriented relationship, which is chronicled in Sixx's book The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star. During this time, Vanity would tell the press that they were engaged, while Sixx would always deny her claim.
On the night of December 23, 1987, Sixx was declared dead for two minutes after a heroin overdose, only to be revived by paramedics with two adrenaline shots to the heart (this incident was the inspiration for the song "Kickstart My Heart"). In an interview, Sixx states that after he was declared dead, the ambulance arrived and one of the paramedics in the ambulance was a Mötley Crüe fan. "Apparently, the paramedic took one look at me and said, 'No one's gonna die in my ambulance.'" He also recalled having an out of body experience while being revived. When Nikki came into the hospital, he ripped the tubes out of his nose and escaped into the parking lot where two girl fans gave him a ride home wearing just a pair of leather pants. At the time, Nikki's near death experience did not do much to change his ways. Not long after returning home, he shot up in his bathroom and passed out until the next morning, where he found the needle he had used the night before still dangling from his arm. On an earlier trip to London, Sixx overdosed at a dealer's house and the dealer apparently tried to beat the life back into him with a bat. Afterward, the dealer dumped Sixx into a nearby dumpster. Sixx recounted the incident in The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, saying, "I had overdosed in London exactly a year earlier: Valentine's Day 1986. We had played the Hammersmith Odeon". In The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, it was the autobiography written by Sixx and his close friends and managers, detailed Christmas 1986 to Christmas 1987.
From May 1989 to November 1996, Sixx was married to Playboy Playmate Brandi Brandt; they have three children: Gunner Nicholas Sixx (b. January 25, 1991), Storm Brieann Sixx (b. April 14, 1994), and Decker Nilsson Sixx (b. May 23, 1995).
One month after the divorce from Brandt, Sixx married another Playboy Playmate, actress Donna D'Errico. Sixx and D'Errico have one daughter, Frankie-Jean Mary (b. January 2, 2001). D'Errico has a son, Rhyan, from a previous relationship. They separated shortly after their daughter's birth, and reconciled months later when Sixx completed rehab. They separated again on April 27, 2006 and divorced in June 2007, with D'Errico claiming irreconcilable differences.
Sixx dated tattoo artist Kat Von D from 2008 to 2010. A few months after their breakup, Sixx and Von D were spotted back together. Sixx was featured on an episode of Von D's reality television show LA Ink in 2008, in which Von D gave him a tattoo of Mick Mars, lead guitarist of Mötley Crüe. On August 25, 2010, Sixx issued a statement that their relationship had dissolved. It was reported on October 19, 2010 that Nikki and Kat had gotten back together. On October 27, 2010 Kat Von D confirmed to USA Today that indeed she and West Coast Choppers owner Jesse James were still an item, debunking original reports that she and Sixx had reconciled. On November 4, 2010 Sixx was spotted at the Call Of Duty: Black Ops Launch Party in Santa Monica, California with Courtney Bingham, whom he had been dating ever since and they now live together. On November 26, 2012, Nikki revealed to the public that he proposed to Courtney and she said yes. He proposed on a trip to St Barts and said that both he and his family are very happy.
Launched on February 8, 2010, Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx broadcasts Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight local time on rock/alternative music stations. Each night, host Nikki Sixx will discuss music and lifestyle topics as he gives listeners a backstage look at the world and mind of a rock star. Joined by co-host Kerri Kasem, Sixx will provide his unique perspective and attitude as the duo welcomes celebrity guests, recording artists and fascinating characters from all walks of life. All this and more will be coupled with radio station playlists.
Starting on May 7, 2012, KEGL in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas moved the show to Mornings, making it the only station to carry the show in the mornings at 6 to 10 AM local time instead of the evenings time slot, the show is customized for the Dallas/Fort Worth listeners for broadcast in the mornings on KEGL. Sixx said that bringing Sixx Sense to mornings has always been our goal, Who better to start your morning with than a rock star and a hot chick? It’s a dream come true to have a morning show on one of America’s best Rock stations.
The Side Show with Nikki Sixx is a two-hour original weekend program. Airing Saturday or Sunday between 6 a.m. and midnight local time, Nikki Sixx and co-host Kerri Kasem will air top-charting songs, showcase new and emerging artists, and welcome guests from the worlds of music and entertainment.
Running Wild in the Night
With the formation of Sixx:A.M. and the release of The Heroin Diaries, Nikki Sixx teamed up with an already existing charity known as the Covenant House and created his own branch called Running Wild in the Night. In addition to partially funding the services the Covenant House provides on its own, Sixx’s division also provides a creative arts and music program, allowing the beneficiaries of this program to discover an answer to their problems that is better than drugs. Sixx has negotiated with people in his industry to provide the program with musical instruments and software. Sixx has arguably prevented thousands of potential drug users and rehabilitated teenage addicts from continuing to dabble in the world of drugs, as the Covenant House helped almost 78,000 youth at risk last year.
A Portion of the profits from Sixx:A.M.’s album The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack and his autobiography, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star is donated to help the Covenant House. Sixx also continues to auction off personal items to fund Running Wild in the Night. As of April 2009, he had raised over $100,000. In addition to monetary contributions, Sixx has made personal and emotional ones. George Lozano, the director of Covenant House California, said that Sixx is "passionate about the cause; he can relate to the youth in our program and they can relate to him. He’s a great role model for these kids."