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Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett bring their “Stadium Tour 2022” to TIAA Bank Field Saturday, we spoke with Nikki Sixx about his photos
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hello First Coast rock and rollers.
Be advised: Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will be at Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field on Saturday.
Start time is listed as 4:30 p.m. so make sure to hydrate out there.
(Bret Michaels and Poison had to cancel Thursday in Nashville due to Michaels being hospitalized with a medical issue. No word on Poison’s status for the Jacksonville show.)
This “Stadium Tour 2022” packages four legendary rock bands into one bill. Bands that have sold approximately four-gazillion albums combined over the years with fans spanning multiple generations. We’re talking all the way back to early ‘80s.
In other words, let’s Pour Some Sugar that’s Too Fast For Kick Starting Your Heart into Talking Dirty to Me Putting Another Dime in the Jukebox Baby.
Now to Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, born Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna. He’s a man who has done many things, and many substances. And the soul-patch facial hair on his chin is like an on-ramp to Rocktown.
In 1981, he and drummer Tommy Lee started Mötley Crüe in Los Angeles and would go on to carry a torch for hair-metal until the early ‘90s when Nirvana happened.
Sixx was part of writing such hits as “Shout at the Devil,” “Home Sweet Home,” “Dr. Feelgood,” “Looks That Kill” and “Too Fast for Love.”
On the night of December 23, 1987, Sixx was declared dead for two minutes after a heroin overdose in LA. He was revived with two shots of adrenalin, then he went straight home and overdosed again.
Through the years Sixx and Crüe attained levels of debauchery few humans have ever reached, wrapped up in a Sunset Strip burrito of booze, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll.
Which is why Sixx and I talked about – photos. Sixx has traded in shooting drugs for shooting pictures.
30 years after his double-overdose he’s clean and rocking. His autobiographical book of photography titled This Is Gonna Hurt that was released in 2011.
His photos are textured, ominous and odd. Subjects preen with gripping features – homeless Europeans, an individual with dwarfism, an amputee Alice in Wonderland with spiked prosthetic legs.
Sixx said his rock antics “could be considered embarrassing, because rock’n’roll is embarrassing, as it should be. It’s ridiculous, because it should be. It’s supposed to be loud and outrageous and in-your-face.”
Sixx spoke from an undisclosed Los Angeles location.
First Coast News: I met a guy a couple years ago who had just gotten “Too Fast for Love” tattooed across the front of his neck, over his Adam’s apple and everything. You still got it, I guess.
Nikki Sixx: You know, honesty is a good commodity.
Who are your favorite photographers?
I like Joel-Peter Witkin a lot. I like what he does in the darkroom, the way he manipulates his photography. I love Diane Arbus. I love the fact that she pulls beauty out of what some wouldn’t understand.
Does it ever get to the point, doing interviews, where you lose patience and say, “That’s it. I can’t talk to anybody else“? Maybe one too many dumb questions about Mötley Crüe putting their genitalia in burritos?
No. For me how it works is if I’m talking to people who really care, that’s awesome. If somebody just wants to take potshots and be stupid, I get bored.
There are pictures in your book of an amputee with spike prosthetic legs. Who is she?
I took out an ad for an adult amputee and met Amy. I wanted to build spiked legs for somebody. The idea was to put her in a fantasy situation. When I met Amy, it was unbelievable. I mean, she’s such an inspirational person, losing both her legs to viral meningitis when she was 19-years-old, and what she’s done with her life since. I wasn’t just looking for someone to shoot who had no legs. I had the idea for these spiked prosthetics. They were really sharp, impossible to stand on. We made her a wig, too.
Was it painful for her to be on those things?
We had a guy who worked on “Iron Man II” make the spikes. They screwed into her existing prosthetics. Then we harnessed her and hung her in the studio, so that she could basically be standing. As we were shooting, she got to play around. She wasn’t putting all of her weight on her legs because she was suspended from the ceiling.
It was hard for her to balance in the different positions. There was a moment when we lowered her onto the ground and she sat back in almost a sitting position, looking off stoically and majestically, and she was really beautiful and calming. It was one shot.
Is it odd for you to be talking about cameras and lenses instead of basses and riffs and the Sunset Strip in the 80’s?
No, because I love them all. Bass and photos are something I can do by myself. And they are both something I can interact with other people and do.
Another one of your pictures that stands out is the homeless man in Prague holding up the note that reads “I HAVE TWO CHILDREN. NO JOB. I DON’T HAVE FLAT. I MOST SLEEP ON THE STREET AN I ANTEET. THANKS.”
That was at night. I had gone for a walk with Paul Brown, who’s another photographer I really love. We went for a late-night walk with our cameras and I had a 50 mm, which is about the fastest lens I have. I think it’s a 1.4.
We came upon this guy in the shadows. He asked if I had any money and he held that note up. Right then, the light hit just right, and I held up the camera and took the shot. It was one or two shots. I gave him some money, and he walked off.
You like to randomly find your subject matter.
Oh yeah. So much of photojournalism is stuff where you just wing it. It’s really exciting because you never know what you’re going to get. I can get in my car right now, grab any camera, head into downtown Los Angeles, and come back with something. You don’t know what, though. I always say it’s like playing with magic. Stuff just happens. I’ll be like, “Where did that come from?