I was a big fan of the Crue in high school- they use a pentagram for a logo, and I would put one on my arm in blue eyeliner. Oh yes, I was a real badass. The star within a circle went nicely with my deck shoes, acid washed jeans, and pink polo. I also frequently accessorized with duct tape; I had this one pair of 501s that were ripped all the way around one of the thighs. They were my favorites. I would duct tape them up and wear them until they simply had to be washed. Then, unless I hovered over the washer and dryer and snatched them up as soon as they came out so I could pick off the hot, sticky, balled-up tape and start over, my mother would take them and throw them in the garbage. Then I would have to fish them out of the trash, wash them again while standing guard, then begin again with the elaborate taping operation. And sometimes I would put a safety pin through my pierced ear. True story: if you are going to do that so you can look all tough, you need to file the end of the safety pin down until it's dull, because if it's sharp it will stick in the flesh instead of going through the hole. See? BADASS.
I sort of lost track of what the band was doing until recently, when I saw the sign at the Tacoma Dome advertising their upcoming show. I googled them up and saw that they were pretty much still raising hell, and that Nikki Sixx was writing books and taking pictures. I went shopping for blue eyeliner (they still sell that stuff; can you believe it??!?!?) and then picked up both the books: The Heroin Diaries and This is Gonna Hurt. I read 'Heroin Diaries: a Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star' first; it details Christmas 1986 to Christmas 1987 and describes his life as a heroin addict and the beginnings of how he got clean. The book includes wrenching passages from his journals during that time in his life and harrowing stories from his difficult childhood, along with his present day reflections and those of his family, friends and bandmates. Fascinating, painfully honest, and deeply inspiring. And even if that touchy-feely stuff holds no interest for you, the book is worth reading for the tales of total debauchery alone. Just a little warning, you might want to skim parts of it if you have a tender constitution, as the stories of sex, drugs, and rock and roll are pretty graphic. Luckily for me, I have a high tolerance for drunken ridiculousness. The thing I found the most alarming was that of the list of junkie rules of personal hygiene he shares, I religiously adhere to at least one. As an added bonus, proceeds from the book go to Covenant House.
This is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx is also inspiring, and somewhat hard to describe. His photography is stunning, compelling and disturbing, all at the same time, and celebrates what some people would consider ugly. He makes the same point, over and over, sometimes with a wrecking ball, and sometimes with a laser: everyone is different, and that's good. People deserve to be who they want, and to do what they want with their lives. We don't have to be what our society has decided everyone has to be to be accepted: thin, rich, and conventionally beautiful. No one measures up to the airbrushed ads that are constantly jammed down our throats, among other things, so we should all just tell the man to kiss our collective ass and do what suits us. To me, he seems to speak to artists in particular, though I'm not at all sure that's his intention. He even bashes the glossy soul sucking magazines and says he keeps them out of his house. I harbor a deep hatred for those rat bastard rags for their generous contribution to our self-loathing, too, and wrote about it here in a post about how hard it is to be a man. See how smart he is?? He thinks just like me! BRILLIANT. Another definite must-read. The Nikki Sixx Facebook page is also outstanding; lots of good discussion and photos, so check it out, and ROCK ON, dudes! I totally just wrote 'duds' instead of 'dudes'. Does that ruin my ending? DAMMIT.