Sixx: A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt (2011)

Posted: May 1, 2011 in Music

Nikki Sixx has plenty to talk about.

As bassist for glam metal band Motley Crue, Sixx has lived the ultimate rock star life. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll – all in major excess – have been the daily standard for Sixx for over 30 years. In fact, when compared to Crue-mates Vince Neil, Tommy Lee and Mick Mars, Sixx was grand champion of over-indulgence. His abuse of drugs and alcohol were legendary, and eventually led to near tragedy. 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 Motley Crue’s “Kickstart My Heart”).

Almost unbelievably, the near-death experience did little to deter Sixx from his drug use. In fact, there were episodes ranging from overdoses to Sixx waking up in dumpsters and back alleys, incoherent from nights of partying. The drugs had cost him millions, several relationships, and a marriage along the way, but Sixx kept going with reckless abandon.

It wasn’t until the late 90’s that Sixx officially declared himself sober, although he had spent several stints prior to that in rehab facilities trying to clean up. The early 2000’s saw the musician reuniting with former Crue-mates and delivering a couple of solid records – including 2008’s “Saints of Los Angeles.” Motley Crue also launched the immensely popular Crue Fest summer concert, which will be celebrating it’s third year in 2011.

With sobriety came a clarity and awareness that could only be conjured up from the demons of Sixx’s past. To document these stories and give his perspective, Sixx began writing his memoirs and formed the group Sixx:A.M. in 2006, 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 . The book (and companion CD) were poignant, powerful, and told the story of a man on the brink of suicide. The book ended up on the New York Times best seller list, and the CD made some noise on the charts with the single “Life Is Beautiful.”

With the success of his book, and with a clean and sober Motley Crue tearing up the stages throughout 2009/2010, Sixx was inspired to continue his writing – which meant another book and yet another Sixx: A.M. album. The tone this time around was to be a departure from the harrowing tales that The Heroin Diaries offered. Instead, Sixx decided the new project, titled This Is Gonna Hurt, would be an exploration into the beauty of life. Through his eyes. The book is a combination of Sixx’s own photography, mixed with journal-type entries on his views on life as a sober man. The photography stands alone as a piece of art (who knew Sixx could take professional-level pictures?), and the writing will certainly get him back on the best-seller list – but what really stands out for me is the album.

This Is Gonna Hurt is a masterpiece of human emotion, recovery, and appreciation for life. This time around, bandmates Michael and Ashba assisted in the penning of both the lyrics and music, collectively drawing from their experiences and perspectives on life and its beauty. The end result is a memorable opus of amazing rock and roll anthems that have deep seeded messages of hope and inspiration.

But make no mistake – this isn’t 45 minutes of Dr. Phil. It still is Nikki Sixx, and he’s still a badass. He’s just a sober badass now, and it actually works well for him. Well-thought lyrics and musical perfection are slathered over all eleven tracks of this CD, with outstanding tracks such as “Deadlihood,” “Oh My God,” and “Live Forever” taking backseat to the album’s first single and video “Lies of the Beautiful People,” which is easily the strongest single Sixx has ever composed. The rest of the album is better than good, and truly is deserving of a “start-to-finish” listen as – like the book – it tells a story worth hearing.

I hope that in the future, Sixx realizes just how good the music coming from Sixx: A.M. actually is. I would hate to have to wait for his inspiration for a third book to get more music out of these guys – as I consider them high up on a very short list of excellent modern-day rock and roll performers.

The book was released April 12th, and the CD will be released May 6, 2011.


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Buy the Book:
Barnes & Noble


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