281 of 288 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the life of a shattered rockstar...
In 1987 Motley Crue recorded Girls, Girls, Girls, toured with the then unknown Guns 'n Roses, sold out shows around the country (and world) and partied like they always had a day left to live. The previous book to tell the tale of this excess, The Dirt, felt more like a glorification of the excesses of the band, even though it addressed all the drug abuse Nikki Sixx...
Published on September 12, 2007 by T. LaPonte
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An accurate description of addiction
This book makes me feel sick. It turns my stomach to think that people are actually willing to put themselves through such torture. My sister is a heroin addict and after reading this book, I kinda get the idea of what her life must be like. It's odd that they don't see it as a problem, that it just becomes "normal" life, and it's even odder that they don't get help to...
Published on October 22, 2007 by Gina Dellamora
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281 of 288 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the life of a shattered rockstar...,
In 1987 Motley Crue recorded Girls, Girls, Girls, toured with the then unknown Guns 'n Roses, sold out shows around the country (and world) and partied like they always had a day left to live. The previous book to tell the tale of this excess, The Dirt, felt more like a glorification of the excesses of the band, even though it addressed all the drug abuse Nikki Sixx subjected himself to, subsequent overdoses that almost killed him and reemergence towards a cleaner lifestyle. Basically, you take those chapters of The Dirt and make them their own book and you have The Heroin Diaries.
The book is set up like a diary. In fact, it is a diary: the book accounts the year (Christmas 1986 to Christmas 1987) that Nikki spiraled down a deep hole of addiction and depression and kept insanely careful track of it in a notebook. In addition to his entries (cleaned up a bit so we can understand them), Nikki includes commentary from himself as well as those who were close to him at the time (it's clear that a lot of care and work was undertaken to get all of these voices lined up to tell this story).
I'm reminded of one entry where Nikki says in passing that he had a blast at a radio interview the other night, but probably got the DJ fired. The commentary afterwards is the DJ's account of the debauchery that went down that night (and, yes, he did indeed get fired).
Nikki doesn't pull any punches and asked all of his contributors to do the same. They are brutally honest and help paint a magnificent picture of what it is like to find yourself on a speeding train charging forward into a brick wall. If you ever wanted to know what the rock and roll lifestyle was like, or what it feels like to be addicted to drugs, this is the memoir for you.
It's actually amazing to me that there could possibly have been any lucid entries. We assume of course that a number of them were cleaned up by the editor, but there are times when you are stunned at Sixx's foresight into the future of the industry (the eventual downfall of the hair metal genre by the flood of copycat bands), the future of the band (that they'd make their next record a #1 album) and even his own dim foreboding of the consequences of his lifestyle.
He talks to the diary as if it were a person, as if it were his wife and only confidant in the world during that year (and it probably was). He addresses it with things like, "I have to go to the show now, but I'll see you when I get back tonight." When he departs without an entry for several days (sometimes simply because he is sober and sane) he is always apologetic and makes jokes about how he only writes to it when he is on drugs.
The book pages are broken up with scribblings, notes that presumably came out of the original dairy (To Do lists, lost lyric ideas, notes and the like), drug abuse inspired art and photographs of the people and places addressed, as well as song lyrics from a whole career of Sixx's songwriting. There are Motley Crue songs, songs from his 58 solo album, and songs from bands Nikki has adored in his life and reflect his lifestyle then and now.
Each chapter is a month in the year, with an introduction, intermission and afterward included to set us up, take a break to reflect and plow forward into the future. The afterward in particular is interesting, because in it Sixx explains what happened in his life after that year: getting on and off the drugs, his failed marriages, his struggling band, his solo projects; everything (he calls it his Life After Death). It goes up to and beyond everything covered in The Dirt, and answers a number of niggling questions leftover from that book, like what was going on during the Girls Tour, what did some of the people mentioned in that book think about things discussed (Slash talking about his interactions with Nikki back then and his own struggling band and drug addictions), or whatever had become of certain events (like all that drama with Vanity).
I found myself taking the ups (yes, there were good days) and downs along with Nikki on his ride of drug use, paranoia, rage, attempts at detox, thrills and pitfalls of touring, women, joys of songwriting and love of music, falling off the wagon, struggling on, wondering if he was killing himself, hoping for a way out, dying and coming back to life. I found myself reading an entry, wondering a question about it, and having it answered by the commentary. I also found myself wondering if the now clean and sober Vanity, turned Evangelist, is really any less insane than she was back then. Sure the drugs are gone, but the woman seems like she has a few permanent screws loose (there's one entry where she rambles on about the devil, leaving you thinking, "huh?," and then there's Nikki's commentary under hers going "Huh?" as well: fantastic!).
The book has a message and Nikki Sixx has a hope that by writing this, that by laying his weaknesses bare for the world to see, that maybe that message can get through to people: the tunnel is dark but there is a light at the end, and even though it's probably better if you don't get into that tunnel in the first place, just because you are there doesn't mean there is no hope for you.
I'm definitely sold on this book, as I was already sold on the sountrack weeks ago. I highly recommend it to fans of the band, fans of rock and roll, people interested in learning about the dangers of excess and any open-minded and curious individuals in general. It's a good read all around.
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing,
I could not put this book down. I read it in one sitting. Not only is it a great read, the format of passages interspersed with lost lyrics, photos, and artwork is fantastic, and made it much more of a multi-dimensional experience than merely reading words. The words themselves tell a story that is tragic, heart-wrenching, shocking, gritty and at times sickening in their truth. This is a story of the un-glamorous disease of addiction in the glamorous world of entertainment and rock and roll. The honesty is brutal, and it left me changed. I have nothing but admiration for Nikki in his willingness to share this unflattering aspect of his life in the effort to save if only one soul. Many thanks for this gift.
51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Drugs make it better. Drugs make it worse.",
Nikki Sixx has treated his fans and the memoir-consuming public to a real, live diary of a dope fiend. The Heroin Diaries recounts a dark year in the life of the Motley Crue bandleader/bassist. During 1987, the Crue was on top of the world with the Girls, Girls, Girls album release and world tour, but Nikki was hopelessly addicted to heroin (and coke, and pills, and casual sex), and living a caricature of the rock star lifestyle. (In perhaps the lowest moment of the book, he steals the girlfriend of a member of his management team. Well, he doesn't "steal" her. He meets her, wows her with his rock star style, bends her over some equipment backstage, and moves on. Without any regard for the relationship he just destroyed.)
I had some hesitations about an art-style book written in diary form, with a smattering of lyrics and ink-blot-style illustrations. I'm a huge fan of The Dirt, and at a quick glance, this appeared to be more of a vanity project. Well, don't judge a book by its cover! The Heroin Diaries does contain Nikki's insane drug-addled ramblings, but it is augmented by quotes from band members, ex-girlfriends, photographers, band management, family, and friends. These are interspersed with the rather terse diary entries to provide perspective and context for Nikki's writings. All the players are brutally honest about Nikki's (and their own) failings during the hedonistic days of Motley Crue. (I now forgive the delay of the release of this book--I'm glad the authors and editors spent the time getting these quotes on the record.) The reader is treated to an inside look at what it is like to have all the money in the world and not observe any of the limits of traditional society.
Nikki and his band shared a love/hate relationship with the drug. Nikki knew it inspired paranoia and ill health, but he craved the escape. His bandmates disliked Nikki's strung-out flakiness, but they also needed the break from Nikki's intensity, and recording sessions were more pleasant when heroin took some of the edge off. Nikki's drug dealer made a lot of money off the rock star, so he was always willing to make special deliveries or go out of his way to get back his customer when Nikki did a stint in rehab.
The Heroin Diaries is a priceless piece of rock history (Nikki loved the as-yet-undiscovered Guns N' Roses and loathed the goody-two-shoes Whitesnake with their reliably decent performances). During this time, Nikki bought out all his band's master tapes from his former record company, which was a musicians-rights coup that has hardly been rivaled in the ensuring two decades. With a gag order on the specifics, he is only able to skirt around the issue, but this is just one of many accomplishments Nikki achieved while addicted to dope. Who knows what he could have done off the stuff? The book's architecture allows Nikki to step fully into the role of dope fiend, without preachy commentary and wisdom of hindsight, while his friends, family, and band provide the context and real-world perspective on his downward spiral. Only at one point does Nikki interrupt his own writings with a note that he was obviously lying to himself and his diary about his relationship with heroin as he was about to embark on tour.
This is drug-addition, rock star style, and recovery-memoir, rock star style. It's a match made in rock n' roll heaven. I'm glad Nikki is still here with us to share his story and keep making music.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An accurate description of addiction,
This book makes me feel sick. It turns my stomach to think that people are actually willing to put themselves through such torture. My sister is a heroin addict and after reading this book, I kinda get the idea of what her life must be like. It's odd that they don't see it as a problem, that it just becomes "normal" life, and it's even odder that they don't get help to get away from the drugs. Well done to Nikki for finally connecting the dots and making his life a life worth living, and thank you to him for letting the world see what not to do!
This book really opened my eyes to the life of an addict. It's well written and very descriptive...almost to the point of repulsion. If you want to keep your kids off drugs, then read them this book as a bedtime story!
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and Great.,
I have been a Crue fan since I was a kid. I always thought Nikki was just about the cat's meow in all ways. This book was a really great read into his life in a HORRIBLE time that should have been great. His addiction really speaks out in this book, and it really pained me to read about someone so totally hooked on drugs.
The only problem I had ( other than THANK GOD he came to grips over it) was his fixation on his childhood. It WAS a sad story, about his father abandoning him, and a mother so immature and selfish at times, that she let other people raise him, but what bugged me so bad was that it bugged HIM so bad. He really, basically, blamed his addiction on his childhood, and I think that was pretty sad. I had a Johnny Cash song childhood, and YES I made a few bonehead decisions when I was younger and blamed them on my Dad dying, his alcoholism, etc, but I just honestly NEVER let it push me into doing SMACK!I guess some people just deal with things differently than others.
I really did like the story, I think he did himself a justice writing it, and I was really pleased with the ending, a SOMEWHAT happy one, but one that held a lot of hope, and hope is what keeps a person going.
There was absolutley NOTHING glamorous in this book, and that is a GOOD THING, makes you really THINK about what hell an addiction can be.
OH...and I STILL think Nikki is the cat's meow!!!!
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heroin Diaries,
By Rev. John of <a href="[...]">PC LIVE!</a>
One of the most memorable moments from VH-1's "Behind the Music" was Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx telling the story of his outer body experience. He had just overdosed, was presumed dead, yet revived at the last minute...and he saw all this from above. What BTM doesn't tell you was that Slash from Guns n' Roses was with him at the time. It doesn't tell you of the chaos amongst his bandmates wondering if he was alive or not. It also doesn't tell you the depression and drug addiction that haunted Sixx in the year preceding this most recent overdose. These are all some of the things Nikki shares with gruesome detail in "The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rockstar."
"The Heroin Diaries" is a journal Nikki started on Christmas Day 1986 to, among other reasons, remember what he did the day before. This was a fascinating entry point for me personally because it was right before the writing and recording of the "Girls, Girls, Girls," album and was my introduction to Motley Crue. Twelve year old me looked at Motley as the coolest band on the planet, and even planned to use "Wild Side" when I made my debut as a pro wrestler (don't laugh, I was twelve). Thirty-two year old me was surprised to read just how depressed and suicidal Nikki was at the time.
I was even more surprised to read that "Wild Side" was actually a bastardization of The Lord's Prayer, and inspired by his friend's daughter, a seventeen year old Catholic school girl who used to stop by between classes for reasons that had nothing to do with prayer (though, she may have still been on her knees).
<!--more-->The twenty year difference between when you first discovered the band and reading "The Heroin Diaries" now is the most interesting aspect of the book. As a kid growing up in the 80's, "Shout at the Devil" back patch in all, The Crue were gods. They rocked. They partied. They had all the girls. This was the life you wanted to live. This was what it was all about.
Who knew that, while we were idolizing the man, Nikki Sixx was sitting on the floor in the closet in his bedroom, alone, shooting up as much heroin as he could get his hands on and wanting to die? The lifestyle we all grew up wanting as teenagers suddenly stopped looking so glamorous. It actually looks pretty sad.
That was 1987 for Nikki Sixx. Throughout the recording and touring of "Girls, Girls, Girls," that was his life. Save for fifteen days in May when he was clean and sober (except for the alcohol and the cocaine), it was doing as much drugs as he needed too just to make it through the day. There was still the debauchery you would expect; he was a rockstar after all. But at the end of the day there was just a junkie all alone, both physically and emotionally.
The "Diaries" weren't all about the drugs. Nikki also went into his feelings about the recording industry, all the other bands that were biting off of Motley's style, his management, and even his bandmates. I also had no idea that Slash was a friend of his from before "Appetite for Destruction" was released. There was a day in August when Axl Rose had actually called Nikki to tell him that Slash was all "strung out" and wanted to know if Nikki could help him or say something to him. Think about that one.
If it sounds like I'm down on him, I'm not. I'm still a Motley Crue fan, and even more so of Nikki personally. Even when you strip away all the bells and whistles that go along with being one of the biggest bands in the world, there's a guy who remains passionate about what he does, and more importantly, remains passionate about music.
But he didn't publish these diaries to say "look at me and look how cool it was to be in Motley Crue." He published them for the future rockers and/or junkies as a guide book of what not to do. He's been there and done that. He knows all the excuses and he knows all the tricks. He's also lucky to be alive. "The Heroin Diaries" is his way of telling people not to make the same mistakes.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Lame Diaries,
This review is from: The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star (Paperback)
First of all, this book is drivel. It is the addicted ramblings of a crybaby rock star. It is in this weird graphic format with drawings & magazine like pages which is supposed to make the reader feel more like he/she is actually reading a diary. However, the drawings are not done by Nikki Sixx. They are fabricated by some MTV artist who wants to make the book feel more "rock star."
Secondly,in addition to the diary entries, we get this ongoing commentaries by Nikki in present day & also different people in Nikki's life who add their two sense to the situation which gives the book a cheap reality show feel. Sometimes this was helpful giving a "behind the scenes" look at different perspectives, but sometimes it was really just annoying. Like I think we could have done without Vanity's (oh, excuse me, Evangelist Denise Matthews) commentaries.
Thirdly, I would have really enjoyed seing some of the actual photos of Nikki, however they were all splotched up with the inky graphic junk scribbles that covered the whole book. The content, the actual writings are poor. To sum it up in one entry: "I don't like fame. My family f___ed me up. I am rich & can buy whatever I want. I am so depressed. I haven't showered in 8 days. I pissed the bed. I am going to do a bunch of blow/smack/pills/ and drink a bottle of JD. I love music." There you have it, the book in one entry followed by a commentary saying how brilliant Nikki was & how f___d up he was.
Don't get me wrong, I love Motley Crue! I think they are one of the greatest rock/metal bands ever. I think drug & alcohalism is a terrible problem. I think Nikki Sixx is an interesting person with talent, but you just won't find evidence of that in this book. Do yourself a favor, if you want to read a real rock 'n roll autobiography of substance, skip this one & read Slash's "Slash."
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Motley Fooled: How Nikki Sixx ripped off Dave Navarro,
Nikki Sixx's struggle with heroin addiction in the 80's and temporary death in '87 is well known and documented. Now the Motley Crue bass player has come out with The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star, a revealing memoir documenting that one fateful year during the height of Sixx's addiction, supposedly culled from his own diaries and inserted with retrospectives of those around him during this time. There's even a soundtrack of original music composed by Sixx and friends coinciding with the release. Sound familiar yet? That's because it is.
Former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro came out with a book in the exact same format three years ago. Don't Try This At Home: A Year In The Life Of Dave Navarro documented....well, a year in the life of Dave Navarro during his peak heroin/cocaine addiction, through the pen of both Navarro and writer Neil Strauss (who witnessed most of the events documented in the book). Like Sixx's memoir of a similar title, pages from Navarro's own diary and essays are examined, and events are documented on a linear timeline with interjected retrospectives from friends, family, and Navarro himself for corroboration and perspective. The similarities don't end there. Both books share the same style artwork because they share the same designer: P.R. Brown. If that weren't enough, Navarro's solo album Trust No One was meant to serve as an accompaniment to Don't Try This At Home in 2001 before Navarro pulled the book off shelves just three weeks prior to it's release. At the time, Navarro had relapsed and felt it inappropriate to release the book considering the circumstances. Though the solo record came out as planned in the summer of 2001 and the book finally hit shelves in late 2004. By sheer coincidence, Nikki Sixx also has a solo album as an accompaniment to The Heroin Diaries. Both authors also donated a portion of their books proceeds to charities that help musicians struggling with addiction.
While The Heroin Diaries is certainly an interesting - and often frightening read; Don't Try This At Home comes across as more genuine, honest, and even artistic. Snapshot photobooth strips serve to illustrate the types of people that came in and out of Navarro's life during that time, as well as document his rapid physical and mental deterioration. Unfortunately, Sixx's memoir comes across more as a shallow opportunity to sell himself and his infamous past, yet again. Aside from the numerous songs and documentaries that covered Sixx's addiction and experience with death, that year in his life had already been documented by Sixx himself in another book: Motley Crue's 2001 rock n roll memoir, The Dirt. The journal entries Sixx had supposedly found in his attic last year that were included in The Heroin Diaries seem to be derived right out of The Dirt itself.
With all this in mind, it makes one wonder how much of the book is genuinely from 20 year old journal entries as claimed, or if it was written by Sixx and a ghostwriter more recently in an attempt to cash in on the success and format of Navarro's book. Also, considering the heavy amount of marketing and mass media promotion that went into all this, one can't help but wonder if Sixx's solo album - sorry, "soundtrack" - would garner nearly as much attention were it not attached to the book.
Don't be mistaken - addiction is a horrible disease and anyone willing to open up personal wounds for public consumption in hopes of helping others is admirable. But it seems more like Nikki Sixx is interested in helping himself by ripping off Dave Navarro and his book.
Like just about everything he's done with his career in the past decade, this seems like yet another attempt by Nikki Sixx to rely on the past for success in the present.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theres no Hero in Heroin,
this was the most brutally honest personal account of addiction as i have ever read. as i recovering meth and heroin addict, i found it humbling and written with a pure heart. this book challenged me as a reader and addict to take myself back to my own closet of despair and to remember my life as it was, and to realize how far I have come. Nikki is really merciless to himself and effectively portays just about the ugliest picture of addiction and depression that the mind can comprehend. As I read these memoires and their respective commentaries, I felt a mixture of pain, humour, sorrow, joy and inspiration, encouragement and redemption. I actually cried and prayed after having read the final pages of this groundbreaking book of unprecedented truth. The Heroin Diaries is not for the weak minded or the squeamish. It is a priceless addition to my collection of autobiographies. A must read.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick, painful read into the real life of a rock icon.,
Nikki Sixx IS Motley Crue. He was always my favorite. Read through "The Dirt" in two days and was a little bit shocked to hear that he was a bigger bad boy than Tommy Lee.
I had been waiting forever for this book to come out, and when it did, I held off buying it right away because it was kind of on the pricey side. Then one day, in my local bookstore, I picked up a copy and started to flip through it and found out why the cost was so high. (And why there will probably never be a paperback version released.) Every page is printed on graphics-laden shiny paper. It can actually be somewhat of a distraction to read red typewriter font on a black background every few pages. The graphics end up taking up a lot of print space, which in reality, makes this book a lot shorter than it initially appears.
And so on with the show...
This book chronicles one year in Nikki's life when he was at his junkie rock star worst. It's taken from the pages of his ever present journals, and is interspersed by current day reflections from Nikki, the band, and other people relevant to the story at hand.
To put things lightly, Nikki had a major addiction problem. Heroin, alcohol, cocaine... The book gets extremely painful to read at times because he really doesn't get any better until long after this book ends. It's just one train wreck after another and no one around him seemed really interested in intervening because they didn't want their meal ticket to end.
Did I like the book? I'm not sure. I think it's a good book, but because the subject matter was so painful I can't really say if I liked it or not. It certainly helped me to understand that famous rock stars are not any less human than the rest of us.
What blows my mind is that he was able to keep writing during it all, and I'm glad he did.
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The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx (Paperback - October 28, 2008)