Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx Started Taking Bass Lessons Again
Motley Crue bassist Nicki Sixx recently started taking bass lessons again amid a practice regimen that included guitar and vocal instruction.
As a result, Sixx, a longtime pick player, started playing the bass guitar with his fingers for the first time. The fresh approach undergirds Motley Crue's 2019 songs such as "The Dirt (Est. 1981)" and "Crash and Burn" from that year's Netflix biopic about the band, The Dirt.
"Before the pandemic, I got into this lesson thing," Sixx explains to My Mom's Basement With Robbie Fox in a video interview that emerged last week.
"I started taking guitar lessons online," he says. "I just pluck away on the guitar, and I can write an OK song on the guitar, but I don't know a lot about the instrument other than I like to write from root notes."
Sixx continues, "So I started taking guitar lessons online, and then eventually in person. I started taking bass lessons online, eventually in person. Then I was pushing myself to play with my fingers. … On The Dirt soundtrack, all those songs I played with my fingers, which was the first time. And it took some adjustments with the audio because I'm an aggressive pick player."
The topic came up when the musician, who often performs backing vocals, was asked why he never does lead vocals in any of his groups, Sixx: A.M. included. As it turns out, Sixx did briefly entertain the idea of singing lead, including vocal lessons in his recent instruction.
Sixx remembers thinking, "While I'm at it, why don't I just take vocal lessons? I'll be a better background singer, and when I'm writing songs, it'll be easier to explain to the actual singer or whoever. … And I was surprised at the range that I had, but it was a little bit in the lower register — I like to sing more of a falsetto-y thing."
The rocker admits he eventually "got to this place where I was just like, I don't have enough years under the hood [as a lead singer]. I don't have a lot of control over my voice. I seem to have been able to sell over a hundred million records with this crackly old thing I've got now, so I kind of let that go for some reason. … That would have all gone bye-bye with the pandemic anyway."
This isn't the first time that Sixx, who's been playing for over 40 years, has returned to musical instruction. He mentioned taking bass lessons in 2017 as well.
Sixx's new book, The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx, emerged earlier this month via Hachette Books — buy it at thefirst21book.com. The Motley Crue bassist previously penned 2007 memoir The Heroin Diaries and 2011's photography-focused This Is Gonna Hurt.
See Sixx talk about his lessons at 21:35 below.