Nikki Sixx conceded that Motley Crue were “most probably” a sexist band in their heyday, as were the rest of their big-haired, hard-rocking peers.
“In today’s environment, most probably,” the bassist told Classic Rock while discussing whether Motley Crue’s behavior in the ’80s would be seen as sexist. “As was everybody. In the ’70s, when I grew up, it was just the messaging that came through, and you were emulating your heroes.”
Sixx also name-checked Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, whose lewd lyrics on the Get Your Wings track “Pandora’s Box” (“Now I ain’t what you’d call a city slicker / Or claim to fame to be a slitty licker“) impressed him as a teenager. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s fucking rad!’ It was dangerous, y’know?” he said. “When someone is talking about guns and sex and drugs, you’re like, ‘This is fucking dangerous, man. This is not mom and dad’s music.’ So it was a different time. You can’t rewrite history, man.”
Motley Crue’s debauched exploits have been public knowledge at least since their scandalous memoir The Dirt came out in 2001. The tell-all book was adapted into a Netflix movie in 2019, putting the spotlight back on the band’s bad behavior.
In a recent Kerrang! interview, Sixx admitted his past conduct was inappropriate but added, “If we left that stuff out, it would be dishonest filmmaking. I was thinking about this: If there was a movie made about the colonial period and it left out the burning of the witches, what kind of film would that be? In 2019, burning witches is obviously bad, but I think we all know that. When it comes to our movie, we understand that the way that society was at that time [in the ‘80s], girls and guys acted in different ways. It was a different time. We’ve grown up from that.”
Sixx is currently promoting a much different type of memoir. The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx delves into the bassist’s troubled childhood and burgeoning musical career as he moved from Idaho to Los Angeles, legally changed his name from Frank Feranna Jr. to Nikki Sixx and hatched his plan for world domination with Motley Crue. The book comes out Oct. 19.
He also stressed to Classic Rock that he no longer lives the hedonistic lifestyle of his youth. “I’m really looking at somewhere between 25 to 30 years of not sticking needles in and drinking alcohol and taking pills and stuff,” he said. “I actually lead a pretty clean lifestyle. But people don’t think that when I walk into the restaurant. People are always like, ‘Hey man! What’s happening? High five! Let me buy you a shot of Jack Daniel’s!’ I’m like, ‘It’s been three decades!'”