The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star
"Ok, so maybe Motley gave me the resources to be
an addict, but...you know what? If it hadn't I'd
have found some other way to do it."
When I read Aerosmith's Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith the thing that struck me the most was the accounts of the band's drug and alcohol problems. Granted, I've come across some drunks and druggies in my day, but there's something amazing and sickening about how badly a person, or group of people, can get so unbelievably out of hand when they have all the money and all the fame that anyone could ask for. Yet Nikki Sixx's personal account in The Heroin Diaries is far worse than anything I've ever read -his darkness much murkier than any darkness most people can even imagine.
With Aerosmith's autobiography, and many of the other retrospective accounts from those who were once lost but can now tell their horror stories from the warmth and security of atop the proverbial wagon, we hear about everything they'd experienced in hindsight - but with The Heroin Diaries, readers are given a rare window for which to peek into the mind of a junkie. The Heroin Diaries is told predominantly by Sixx's diaries throughout 1986 and 1987 - an integral period of his addiction and also while Motley Crue concurrently was reaching all new heights of mega-stardom.
When I saw Motley Crue's Girls, Girls, Girls tour Sixx and company were Herculean , they were hot, they were bad-ass -- they were giants. Little did I, nor did most people, know that the Bass-God we drooled over and idolized was spending holidays alone, locking himself into closets, and hallucinating - among other twisted and revolting things like using toilet water in a filthy restaurant bathroom to cook his heroin with.
Throughout The Heroin Diaries there are also current-day excerpts where Sixx explains his diary entries and expounds on his musings -- these passages add some stability to the story and act as much needed breaks from what can be called no less than insanity.
The book also includes quotes from many of the people who have been players in Nikki Sixx's life -- each of the members of Motley Crue, Sixx's family members, former manager Doc McGhee, and an entire guild of friends, former record executives, photographers, bass techs, and prominent musicians. Many of these accounts are less than favorable -- something that Sixx insisted upon including when putting this project together.
The sum of all these parts creates a gritty story which is often difficult to read because of its impetuously gloomy atmosphere. Fans of Nikki Sixx will never be able to look back at Motley Crue years 1986 and 1987 the same way again. Sure, we knew about the booze and chicks, we knew there were drugs but what you'll find in this book goes way beyond the cliché of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Some of Sixx's entries are from sober moments within that era, but most aren't. He fights his demons and yet sometimes adores them -- enamored by the rituals involved with his drugs of choice, and often times more interested in shooting up than anything else - including sex.
These passages allow readers to take a guided-tour down a crazed and filthy alley through the world of Nikki Sixx's dual personality which he refers to as "Sikki." Still in the midst of all this drug-induced lunacy there's the creative man struggling with his past and his pain, and emotionally tussling with the desire to make some sense of it all.
Nikki Sixx breaks down what we thought of as a hero -- and reveals himself to have been a fiend. And it's within this honesty that the true hero is born. Someone who has been to hell and back, someone who's even been dead, a person many people thought would never live long enough to tell his own story -- and here he is allowing his soul to open up and show the world his insides with no bells or whistles, no tricks with mirrors, no cover-ups or excuses.
The Heroin Diaries is addictive in its own right -- even more difficult to put down than The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band. Its art and photography which augment the book have got that same sordid and grungy feel as the text - which dances upon the edge of depression, of disaster, and of bloodstained death itself. Reading this book is a visual and emotional nightmare, but one in which - the reader knows -- does lead to much better days.
And while in the process of offering up his worse to us, Nikki Sixx is using this opportunity to help others. A portion of proceeds from this book goes to a charity he's created called Running Wild in the Night through Covenant House, a program that's geared at helping runaway kids. If that's not a hero then I don't know what is.
Saying that this is a must read for Sixx and Motley fans is moot -- everyone wants to read this book. And although it is an emotionally daunting read, there's so much more here than just the details of a famous (and infamous) rock and roll star's life.