Nikki Sixx turned 61 today!
Born Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna Jr., he is the co-founder, bassist, and primary songwriter of Mötley Crüe.
Sixx is of Italian ancestry on his father’s side. Sixx was partially raised by his single mother, Deana Richards, and by his grandparents after his father left the family. Sixx’s uncle, husband of Deana’s sister Sharon, is Don Zimmerman, producer and president of Capitol Records.
Sixx grew up listening to Deep Purple, Harry Nilsson, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Queen, Black Sabbath and later discovered T. Rex, David Bowie, and Slade. While living in Jerome, Idaho, Sixx’s youth years turned out to be a troubled one, as he became a teenage vandal, broke into neighbors’ homes, shoplifted, and was expelled from school for selling drugs. His grandparents sent him to live with his mother, who had moved to Seattle. Sixx lived there for a short time, and learned how to play the bass guitar having bought his first instrument with money gained from selling a guitar he had stolen.
At the age of 17, Sixx moved to Los Angeles, and began various jobs such as working at a liquor store and selling vacuum cleaners over the phone while he auditioned for bands. He eventually joined the band, Sister, led by Blackie Lawless, after answering an ad in The Recycler for a bass player. Soon after recording a demo, Sixx was fired from Sister along with bandmate Lizzie Grey.
Sixx and Grey formed the band, London, soon afterwards, in 1978. During this time, he legally changed his name from Ferrana to Nikki Sixx
In 1981, Sixx founded Mötley Crüe alongside drummer Tommy Lee. They were later joined by guitarist Mick Mars through an ad in the local newspaper, and singer Vince Neil, with whom Lee had attended high school.
During his time with Crüe, Sixx became addicted to heroin. He estimates he overdosed “about half a dozen times”. On December 23, 1987, Sixx overdosed on heroin and was reportedly declared clinically dead for two minutes before a paramedic revived him with two syringes full of adrenaline.
Other than Crüe, he formed some side project group: 58 (with Black Label Society’s Steve Gibb), Brides of Destruction (with L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns), and Sixx:A.M as an accompaniment to his autobiography The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star.
The video here, the power ballad “Home Sweet Home” is Crüe’s most popular song, it was written by Nikki Sixx & Tommy Lee.
Happy birthday, Nikki Sixx!
Nikki Sixx featured image via Esquire.