For those who recognize this excerpt and are ready to rock, ‘we salute you!’ (See what I did there?) For those of you scratching your head right now it’s okay, Rock ‘n Roll isn’t for everyone so I’ll try and stop referencing Mötley Crüe and AC/DC for that matter. Mötley Crüe was founded in 1980 by Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee. Since then, Mötley Crüe has made quite a name for itself, musically and otherwise, becoming one of the greatest hair metal bands in the 80’s. In my opinion, Mötley Crüe continues to pump out excellent rock songs, but their story is much more than that.
In 1987, Mötley Crüe had finally made it big, releasing their new record, Girls, Girls, Girls. That same year, Mötley Crüe almost lost one of its founding members, bassist Nikki Sixx. Sixx was the only band member who used heroin, but he used enough of it for everyone in the band. In his autobiography, Sixx admits to nearly overdosing about half a dozen times, but he continued to use. On December 23, paramedics were called to an apparent overdose and arrived on the scene to find Nikki Sixx unconscious. One of the paramedics was apparently a Mötley Crüe fan and said, “No one is going to die in my ambulance!” But Sixx was pronounced dead and remained dead for two minutes until the paramedic hit him with two adrenaline shots to the heart, at which point he came back to life immediately.
From there the stories diverge. Equally parts fan mythology and rock ’n roll history, some say that Sixx was checked into the hospital before he broke out. Others say that Sixx ripped the tubes out of his arms and nose and escaped from the back of the ambulance as it pulled up to the hospital. Personally, I like the latter. Either way, Sixx got free wearing only leather pants and found a pair of female Mötley Crüe fans to take him home.
In his autobiography, Sixx recalls making it home and shooting up again. He said that he passed out and woke the next morning with the needle from the night before still in his arm. This last incident was enough to get the band to check him and everyone else into rehab.
On their next record, Dr. Feelgood, Kickstart My Heart was featured prominently and is still one of Mötley Crüe’s biggest hits. As with all great bands, they wrote what they knew and without Sixx’s brief encounter with death, one of the best songs of the 80’s would never have been written.