RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Nikki Sixx - The Heroin Diaries: Ten Year Anniversary Edition
Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster

Rating: A

Ten years ago Nikki Sixx shared with the world his tale of rock star excess in book form. The Heroin Diaries terrified anyone who had a teenage daughter. And for good reason!    

The Heroin Diaries was unique as it took the reader inside the mind of a tortured soul, who also happened to be one of the biggest rock stars on the planet. Sixx was a rich, dysfunctional, self-pitying, oversexed mess of a human being when he wrote his book. His ego was out of control. His morals were absent and his drug and alcohol addiction was taking years off his life. He eventually, during the writing of the book, died due to a drug overdose. He came back to life like a Rock ‘n’ Roll messiah…and he wrote about it. 

The book tells the story of everything that was wrong with the 1980s…or perhaps what was right about it depending on  how you view debauchery! Sixx, was a modern day Caligula…with a heroin habit. He wanted to be worshipped yet he wanted to be pitied. He wanted to be left alone yet he wanted to be idolized.  He wanted to die yet he wanted to be saved…sort of. Either way, it was all about him. 

His self-will had run riot to the point that he destroyed anyone who got in his path…including himself. His anger, resentment and self-hatred were only temporarily quelled by drugs and booze. Even when loaded he couldn’t stay happy.  Instead he enjoyed the self-sabotage only a true addict can employ. His safe space was his closet…or so he thought.  It was not actually a safe space at all…it was a tomb.  

Most who read this book seem to relish in the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll story. They talk about all the pussy he scored and all the drugs he did. They miss the point…the lesson in it all. Perhaps the 10 year edition of this book will bring the truth to the light of day about what a fuck up Sixx was.

As one reads on it becomes apparent that not even free sex with hot chicks (or often ugly ones as he admits) was enough to make him happy. Nikki was sick. Nikki was miserable because Nikki despised Nikki. The real story here is how that modern day Caligula kept from dying…and staying dead. Sixx shows the pathetic life of a true addict in this book. It does not matter how much money, fame or sex one has…if addiction grabs hold then misery is the end game…eventually. 

This tenth anniversary of the book has all of that but it has much more added to it. The new version of the book shows others sides to Sixx. In this edition we get a lot of extra commentary by Nikki, his bandmates, his lovers and his friends. We see different versions of his truth. We also get Sixx writing about being sober for over a decade and what life is like for him now that his wild side has subsided.  

Sixx is sincere  and his sober words are powerful and uplifting. The last section of the book shows a guy finally comfortable in his own skin. He is sober and he is doing his best to live and let live. He is still consumed by his passions, however.  He still can’t totally be just  a guy on earth hanging out and being at peace with the universe. No…Sixx still throws himself into artistic passions with the same abandon as he did his addictions. Well…maybe not the same abandon, but abandon none the less. 

While it is good that he is living the life he wants, and is no longer damaging himself, his family, his friends or his kids…he still appears to be a little bit uncomfortable. It is hard to put one’s finger on it. There is still a lot of Nikki’s life that appears to be all about Nikki. Less than before, but I would warn him to let it be less about him and more about others as his life progresses. Even his passion with photography sometimes centers around finding freaks that he can pose in situations that he sees as artistic. He controls the situation…and disguises it as an out of control situation. It becomes about his side of the lens at a certain point. 

It’s complicated. It’s hard to exactly know what is going on in his head. Ego is ego. And it always leads one away from the truth. On a good note, he appears to have grown leaps and bounds since his ‘good ol’ daze.’  

The bottom line is that Sixx is lucky to be alive. He is even luckier that he is smart and a good business person. He also appears to be willing to learn to be a better person. That’s the part I liked reading at the end of the book. He has a shot at this game called life. Still, as a rock star, radio personality, photographer and artist it must be tough to not be Nikki Sixx. It must be hard to leave the ego aside. But maybe he is trying. 

I love that he is embracing growing up…or at the very least aging. I love that he is so raw and honest. I love that at times he truly loves the shit out of life. I still worry about his struggle with Terminal Uniqueness. Sometimes we hold onto the idea of who we are to the death. He did it once. Let’s hope he does not do it again. 

I must admit that this version of the book is spellbinding. It was impossible to put down. The diary part is still insane. You love him one second, and hate him the next. You feel sorry for him then you hate him again. You root for him and then you want him to just put himself out of his misery.

Now, with the new comments, there is less focus on the rock life and more on how he was destroying himself. This is powerful stuff. As I said, there is still much to worry about as recovery from addiction is a tough road…but Nikki is doing it. He is also letting one know when he struggles which is really cool. That is called walking the walk instead of talking the talk. Nikki has done enough talking. Now is the time for him to forgive himself and others. In his case…forgiving others may be more important. 

With this tenth anniversary of the book Nikki shows his human side more than he probably ever has. When that happens is when I have the most respect for the man. The last chapter gives me hope that Nikki Sixx, the baddest bad boy of rock ‘n’ roll, may just be becoming a regular guy—or at least as regular a guy as a millionaire rock star who really is isolated from a lot of what folks would call ‘normal’ can be. 

I doubt Sixx will ever come over to hang out on a lazy Sunday, sip lemonade and look out my backyard at the Kansas wheat fields and feel at ease with life.  I would imagine he would get bored very quickly. Maybe one day he will take a break from being Nikki Sixx and just be Nikki Sixx…if ya know what I mean…

At the very least I hope he realizes that he is not the monster he once was…Sometimes I wonder if he is using his camera to look outwardly at how he feels inwardly. Either way…he seems like a man who has been to hell and back and has decided, one day at a time, to embrace the moment and leave hell for others to discover. Perhaps he is even showing some lost souls a way out through his art.

While I don’t classify him as a hero, I do think he is probably an extremely unique and interesting man…which beats being a dead junkie any day of the week. 

Revisit this classic tale of a misspent life…It has a message that is much needed in today’s world. 

In addition to the book, his band SIXX:A.M. has revisited their soundtrack to the book with The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack. The album is available as a digital album, CD and CD/DVD. A limited-edition vinyl package will also come later this year. All music configurations feature new artwork, personal notes from the band and include three newly re-imagined tracks: "Life Is Beautiful 2017", "Accidents Can Happen 2017" and "Girl With Golden Eyes 2017".

By Jeb “Friend of Bill’s Since 3/19/87” Wright