Nikki Sixx, along with his bandmates in Sixx:AM, take on YouTube and Google, but still have time to release a double album, start a world tour, and inspire a generation to Rise.
Thereâ€™s no doubt that former Motley Crue bassist, and foundingÂ Sixx:AM member, Nikki Sixx, is an unstoppable force in the music business.
With Motley Crue, Sixx was public enemy #1.
An undeniable force.
In Sixx:AM, along with guitarist DJ Ashba and lead vocalist James Michael, theyâ€™re out to change the world, and theyâ€™re asking for your help.
The band posted an open letter to YouTube and Google and their founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, imploring the conglomerate to compensate musicians fairly,
Less than 24 hours later, Nikki Sixx spoke to National Rock Review regarding this important matter, as well as their #reasontorise campaign, the new album â€œPrayers For The Damned,â€ and its coinciding tour.
The call to YouTube and parent company Google for realistic compensation for musicians has been brewing under the surface for quite a while now. With the prevalence of music streaming and the decline of album sales, whatâ€™s a new band to do, and why have Sixx:Am decided to take this on now when they have so many other things on their plate?
Putting it simply: theyâ€™ve got your attention now. So really what better time is there?
Sixx elaborates, â€œWeâ€™re putting tickets on sale for the Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Sixx:AM, As Lions tour in a couple of days and our tour starts in a couple of days, and the way the three of us looks at things is not only do we put massive amounts of work into our songwriting, and our lyrics, our production, our art, and everything, but we also look at opportunities when to do something. Say something. This is the best time when we have peopleâ€™s attention.â€
[pullquote align=”right” class=”pullquote” cite=”Nikki Sixx” link=”” color=”#D96D00″]The idea is to start a conversation that hopefully doesnâ€™t end up in a court. People can go, ‘Lets do the right thing.'[/pullquote]
Certainly makes sense. If you, as a fan, think this cause doesnâ€™t affect you, think again.
How can the world be blessed with another Sixx, Prince, Bowie, or Jackson, if new talent canâ€™t afford to create? No one is asking for anything above and beyond, merely to be compensated for the art they put out. Seems fair, especially for a company that sells itself as doing the right thing.
Not only would fair compensation help the future of music, but it will alsoÂ cascade to the rest of the rock world, the businesses that are dependent upon musicians for their livelihood.Â Sixx is hopeful:
â€œThe idea is to start a conversation that hopefully doesnâ€™t end up in a court. People can go, â€˜Lets do the right thing.â€™â€
â€œIsnâ€™t it ironic, or is it just me, that Googleâ€™s branding statement, or their motto, was â€˜Donâ€™t Be Evilâ€™ and then they changed it to â€œDo the Right Thing.â€™ I mean weâ€™re just saying to do that. If it trickles down to all these other people that should be paid for their art, we would be really happy about that,â€ explained Sixx.
Sixx:AM taking a public stand is hardly anything new, though. This recent call out to YouTube/Google isnâ€™t the first social cause the band has recently taken on.
Sixx:AM has launched the social media #reasontorise campaign, urging fans to stand up for whatever cause may be close to their hearts and meaningful in their lives. Nikki explains how the idea developed.
â€œReason to Rise was something that the three of us came up with when we were actually finishing the song Rise. Each of us have things that we believe in, and thatâ€™s the thing about being in a band. You have not a singular vision all the time. You have a singular sound and an idea of what you want your band to be, but we are individual people, so we are able to look at our song and how itâ€™s connecting to people, and then how each of us individually found different things we are passionate about. To inspire people to look at the world in a different way.â€
Big ideas and serious goals from a relatively â€œnewâ€ band with a solid past between them.
Outside of taking on billion dollar corporations and seeking to change the world, you might forget that what these guys are at the heart of it all is an amazing band, with a brand new album and tour about to start, and this is great news.
â€œPrayers For The Damnedâ€ is the first of a double album, the fourth in the band’s career. The first single off the album, Rise, is the No. 1 most-added song on rock radio, and the remainder of the album is also exceptional. These songs are deeper and heavier than anywhere the band has been before, yet by heavy, it doesnâ€™t mean that they are not palatable. The tracks communicate profound personal messages and a serious guitar crunch. The album will most certainly fuel long time fans while easily drawing interest from those outside the genre.
[pullquote align=”right” class=”pullquote” cite=”Nikki Sixx” link=”” color=”#D96D00″]Reason to Rise was something that the three of us came up with… [We Hope] To inspire people to look at the world in a different way.[/pullquote]
According to Sixx, the decision to go with a heavier sound was not an accident.
â€œD.J., our guitar player, is extremely versatile. And so is James. And so are we lyrically. So musically we can do just about anything we want to do. When we were making this album, the idea came from touring â€œModern Vintage.â€ We just wished we had more of the meat and potatoes in our set list, so we started writing an album for touring. Not paying attention to the lyrics and the melody and all that stuff. But in general, itâ€™s like â€˜Whatâ€™s it gonna feel like to play live?â€™ These are guitar driven songs with strong messages.â€
So in conjunction with a heavier guitar sound, it would only suffice that Nikkiâ€™s bass playing would need to change as well. So just how do the twists and turns of Sixx:AM’s music differ from what Nikki has done in the past?
â€œItâ€™s a different style of bass playing. Iâ€™m not saying my style of playing bass for Motley Crue doesnâ€™t come in. There are times when thatâ€™s what the song needs too. Just that kind of very aggressive, punk rock style of bass playing, but in general the song structures are different, and it pushes me to come up with different parts, as well as DJ and James push me to come up with different parts.â€
With so much creativity actively flowing within the band, itâ€™s no wonder they didnâ€™t stop with just the 11 songs on the first album but instead turned it into a full length, double album release.
In an era of one-off singles and short attention spans, why did Sixx:AM outdo themselves and go ahead with a double album release?
â€œWe believe in music, and we believe in supporting our fans. The idea of basing your success on album sales alone is a little bit dated. Itâ€™s 2016, and we have to look at the reality that you donâ€™t sell as many physical copies of stuff. We are trying to become more of a digital band, streaming. But, for us, the idea that we would put out one song or two songs, itâ€™s not really who we are.â€
Lucky us. Anything less than a full-length album from Sixx:AM would be a tease; to be beatified with two albums is aÂ reason to rejoice.
[pullquote align=”right” class=”pullquote” cite=”Nikki Sixx” link=”” color=”#D96D00″]When we’re on the bus … traveling across the country like the Partridge Family From Hell. We’d like to just pull up somewhere … and play. You never know. We may just end up on your front doorstep.[/pullquote]
As â€œPrayers For The Damnedâ€ hits the shelves withÂ itâ€™s counterpart soon to follow (hopefully early fall), what can we expect as far as a Sixx:AM tour is concerned?
â€œThe tour starts playing festivals on the 30th of April. Weâ€™re doing a handful of headline shows in America, we jump over to Europe, weâ€™re doing a few shows there and festivals. Starting in October weâ€™re going out. Itâ€™s gonna be Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Sixx:AM, and As Lions.â€
Set times at the festivals will vary, â€œSome will say 40 minutes, some will say 65 minutes. We like the longer ones, but weâ€™ll take what we can take.â€
And the tour schedule is beyond hectic. Take for instance the band’s upcoming date at River Rock Fest in San Antonio, TX, â€œSan Antonio is fun because weâ€™re playing, I think afternoon, and then we fly straight to Dallas and weâ€™re doing another show in Dallas, then weâ€™re leaving straight from there and going to Paris. Itâ€™s gonna be a crazy day.â€
And you know whatâ€™s even crazier? You just never know if the band might roll up at your favorite watering hole for an impromptu set while bussing it across the country.
â€œOne of the things thatâ€™s on our docket, of things we want to do, is what we call â€˜hit and runs.â€™ When weâ€™re on the bus and have our guitars out, traveling across the country like the Partridge Family From Hell. Weâ€™d like to just pull up somewhere and get out and play some of our songs, some of other people’s songs, just for us to stay creative. You never know. We may just end up on your front doorstep.â€
Well if nothing else up to this point clued you to what this band is about, hopefully that sentiment did.
Sixx:AM is a band driven by the pure love of creating music and giving that back to the world.
In its most basic form it embraces the fans that know them already and welcomes every new set of ears their music will touch.
They are a trio rooted in social awareness, integrity, and rock n’ roll.
If youâ€™ve yet to become acquainted with this band, if all you know of Nikki Sixx is his past, then brace yourself for the future, because itâ€™s here, and Sixx:AM is leading the way.
And donâ€™t forget to ask yourself…whatâ€™s your reason to rise?
Photo by Dustin Jack Photography