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The Joy Of Sixx

Stuart Bailie | 13:06 UK time, Friday, 7 January 2011

The first week of January 1988 and I'm in the offices of Warner Records in Kensington, London, putting out the strangest story. My job as a press officer is to manage the profiles of acts on the roster, and one of my current headaches is the ferociously wayward Mötley Crüe.

The UK tour has just been cancelled, and so I inform the UK papers that this is because a pile up of snow on the venues makes it too hazardous. A roof might collapse, or something. And to be fair, it is desperately cold and conditions aren't perfect. However, within minutes, the first news editor calls up. It's the guy from Sounds, evidently pleased with himself.

"C'mon, the tour is off because Nikki Sixx died of a heroin overdose at Christmas. Nothing to do with the snow, eh?"

"Really? That's the first I've heard of it..."

I'm lying, of course. I have been briefed by the offices in New York and London to put out this fabrication. The truth is that Nikki Sixx, bass player with the Crüe, a tattooed lollygag and full-time drug waster, had died of an overdose on December 23. Fortunately the paramedics had arrived on the scene and one of them (a fan of the band apparently) had administered two adrenaline shots to the heart. The musician had been saved, but the tour was off.

I had been preparing for this visit for months, arranging photo shoots and interviews in California, prepping the media, putting together tour itineraries. We were expecting the drummer Tommy Lee to bring along his girlfriend Pamela Anderson, plus his amazing, rotating drum sphere that allowed him to play upside down. Meantime, I had also done my best to suppress a story from Kerrang magazine about a sinister case of changed identity.

The magazine had wondered if Nikki Sixx had been replaced in the mid-80s by a lookalike called Matthew Trippe. Allegedly, Sixx had been injured in a car crash, and so the band had needed a substitute. With forensic bravado, Kerrang had studied a series of photographs, comparing navel profiles and other anatomical issues. You have now idea how much grief I had been getting from the offices of Elektra Records, New York about this.

And then the ingrate had to go and die on us. Lucky old Nikki escaped from the hospital wearing just his leather pants and eventually got to write a bad song about the experience called 'Kickstart My Heart'. The history of his decline was later for sale as 'The Heroin Diaries'. None of which was much of a comfort for me that bleak January, when I was employed to tell lies for a living.


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