Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star
by Nikki Sixx with Ian Gittins
MTV/VH1 Pocket Books
The Dirt, Motley Crue’s no-holds-barred account of their sex, drugs and rock n’roll-fuelled career, was a riveting read and dwarfed even Led Zepellin’s Hammer of the Gods in the tales-of-rock-star-debauchery-and-excess stakes.
One of the anecdotes recounted in The Dirt was Crue bassist Nikki Sixx’s drug OD and two-minute “death” in 1987. Now, 20 years after the event and using excerpts from now-sober Sixx’s own personal diaries, plus interviews with a motley crew (pardon the pun) of assorted hangers-on, Heroin Diaries goes into more detail on the most insane year in his surreal life.
Along with its accompanying soundtrack, the book launches the reader straight into the brutal reality of Sixx’s supposedly glamorous rock star existence: alone on Christmas Day in an LA mansion in the midst of an unrelenting heroin binge while cradling a shotgun. It’s a sobering image, but not for Sixx, who despite his apparent will to quit such a deadly lifestyle, lacks the conviction to get clean.
Haunted by rejection from both his parents and Sixx’s belief that he was born with an addictive personality, his diaries show he spent almost every day of 1987 in a drug-induced fog, somehow writing an album and going out on tour (which naturally only exacerbated the problem), all the while indulged by his bandmates and record label, fearful the gravy train might stop rolling without him.
Retrospective interviews with some of the key protagonists — including Sixx’s mother and his former junkie lover, Penthouse Pet-turned-religious nut, Vanity — give the entries another dimension, while a striking page design also adds to the vibe of the dark, often depressing chapters.
It’s only natural that given the nature of Sixx’s experiences in 1987 (strictly limited to sex, drugs and rock n’roll) that Heroin Diaries becomes a little repetitive at times; after all, there’s only so many times he can say, “I got high again today/I just fucked another groupie/I hate my parents and I want to die” before it gets a little tedious.
Although this almost Chaucerian moral tale of the perils of fame and avarice never quite reaches the heights of The Dirt, Sixx’s candid honesty and humor ultimately make Heroin Diaries a gripping read.