As anyone who knows a thing about Mötley Crue, or has seen Netflix film The Dirt which documented their hedonism throughout the 1980s which like a freight train of partying, knows bassist Nikki Sixx’s addiction problems ultimately lead to him being pronounced dead for a full two minutes in 1987.
Sixx battled a heavy heroin addiction, one which developed in the late 1980s as the band’s success increased to meteoric levels. As their name grew to new lengths, so did the partying that came with it. The lengths of which the group pushed their limits led to one night in which it was all over but, miraculously, Sixx came back to life just minutes later.
The night in question was December 23rd, 1987 when the Mötley Crue man was enjoying a substance filled evening with friends including Guns ‘N’ Roses members Slash and Steven Adler, one which would be a near-fatal evening that would scar Sixx for the rest of his days following a lethal injection of heroin.
“I tried to sit up to figure out what was going on. I thought it would be hard to lift my body. But to my surprise, I shot upright, as if I weighed nothing,” Sixx said in The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band. “Then it felt as if something very gentle was grabbing my head and pulling me upward. Above me, everything was bright white.”
Adding: “I looked down and realised I had left my body. Nikki Sixx or the filthy, tattooed container that had once held him was lying covered face-to-toe with a sheet on a gurney being pushed by medics into an ambulance.”
His bandmates had lost him prior to this point as their relationships deteriorated and Sixx became a shadow of his former self. The only thing that the musician cared about at this point in his life was heroin and everything else in his life being forced to take a backseat to accommodate his addiction.
In Sixx’s autobiography The Heroin Diaries, Mötley Crue frontman Vince Neil recalled the devastation he felt when he heard the news: “Maybe deep down I knew it was going to happen one day, but it still tore me to pieces because I loved Nikki – even though he was an arrogant selfish shit. I cried. And I never used to cry then.”
Sixx woke up from his hospital bed and immediately saw himself out of the hospital before shooting up again just a few hours later. Thankfully, the band then persuaded Sixx to enter rehab in January 1988 and the rest of the band then got sober as an act of solidarity with their bandmate.
The bassist is now trying to help fight the opioid crisis that is crippling America, writing an editorial about addiction for the LA Times in 2017. In the article, he was open about his long road to recovery, which took him until 2001 to be fully clean.
“From the outside looking in, I was living the dream. But in reality, I was in the throes of a disease I couldn’t control, addicted to heroin. I remember very little about that night, but I know someone called an ambulance and saved my life. Today I am 16 years sober and a decade into recovery advocacy,” Sixx wrote in his piece.
The story of Mötley Crue has had more downs than most bands ever have to go through but they’ve also enjoyed their fair share of wins. It is truly miraculous that the four-piece are still going strong today and they are a group who have been to hell and come back smelling of roses.