As the longtime bassist and creative force behind Hollywood bad boys Motley Crue, Nikki Sixx is undoubtedly one of the most recognized names in rock and roll; but the road to top of the mountain was neither a quick nor easy one for the man born Frank Feranna, Jr., on December 11, 1958. Instead, the future Mr. Sixx endured a troubled childhood after being abandoned, first by his father, then his mother, to the care of grandparents, and then bouncing between homes spread across Northern California, Idaho, Seattle before landing in Los Angeles at age 17. Once there, the aspiring bassist began auditioning with local hard rock bands, including future W.A.S.P. leader Blackie Lawless’ Sister, underground favorites London and, finally, Motley Crue, which he founded in 1980 with drummer Tommy Lee, guitarist Mick Mars, and singer Vince Neil. From the very start, what the quartet lacked in natural talent they more than compensated for with their sheer ambition, over-the-top image, and undeniably catchy songs. These quickly took the quartet from the self-released punk metal of 1981’s ‘Too Fast for Love’ to a major label deal that helped propel 1983’s career-defining ‘Shout at the Devil’ into millions of teenage hands and homes -- to the chagrin of concerned parents everywhere. In the end, ‘Shout at the Devil’ became one of the decade’s most influential al-bums and thrust Motley Crue to the forefront of the booming Hollywood glam metal scene, where they remained, thanks to mega-platinum follow-ups like ‘Theatre of Pain’ (1985), ’Girls Girls Girls’ (1987) and ‘Dr. Feelgood’ (1989), until being unseated by the all-conquering Guns n’ Roses. Unfortunately, this period of unparalleled fame and prosperity for Motley Crue coincided with equal doses of personal decadence; decadence, which, in Nikki’s case, revolved primarily around debilitating drug abuse and several near-death experiences (candidly chronicled in his memoirs, ‘The Heroin Diaries’). And then, just as they were finally cleaning up their act, Motley Crue parted ways with singer Neil, hired new frontman John Corabi, and released a single, ill-fated 1994 eponymous album into the unwelcoming jaws of grunge, before backtracking, their tails between their legs, and reuniting the original foursome for ’97’s ‘Generation Swine.’ The band would carry on recording and touring sporadically, amid recurring internal feuds and fallouts, but this at least opened the door for Sixx to explore other band projects, including 58, the Brides of Destruction (with Tracii Guns) and, more permanently, Sixx:A.M., which has released three studio albums to date.
- Selected Discography: ‘Too fast for Love’ (1981), ‘Shout at the Devil’ (1983), ‘Dr. Feelgood’ (1989), ‘Here Comes the Brides’ (2004), ‘This is Gonna Hurt’ (2011)
- Related Artists: Motley Crue, Brides of Destruction, Sixx: A.M.
- Further Reading: 10 Best Motley Crue Songs, 10 Best Nikki Sixx Songs, You Think You Know Motley Crue?