Artist: Sixx A.M.
'Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star' is the book, the album 'The Heroin Diaries – The Soundtrack', the artist Sixx A.M. With every song comes a story, but with this it's totally turned on its head, with this album it was the story that inspired the songs.
Nikki Sixx's life has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride and if anyone hasn’t read The Dirt then go out and get it, as his life of Rock N' Roll excess is well documented not only in that book, but also in the popular music press as the world domination of Motley Crue took its toll on the band, and with easy access of drugs and drink which led the band down that rocky road to self destruction. They weren’t the first band to do so and they certainly won't be the last.
Between the years of 1986 and 1987 Sixx took it upon himself to write down in journals what was going on in his life as a heroin addict. These journals acted as Sixx himself says in the intro to 'Xmas In Hell', the album opener, the diaries would act as something ... “to read back and remember what I did the day before and if I die I would leave a nice suicide note of his life”
Along with Sixx on this album are James Michael on vocals and rhythm guitar, ex-Beautiful Creatures DJ Ashba on lead guitar, and together the three bring these diaries to life on this quite astounding album.
The story begins December 25 1986 as Sixx reflects on why he started the diaries, then like some Tim Burton film sound track the music kicks in and the album gets going with ‘Van Nuys’, a real powerful mix of emotions are felt with opener with Michael’s bringing out the best in story.
‘Life Is Beautiful’ is another hard-hitting track and the first single to be taken off the album. The track that slowly builds into a statement and reflection of life with lines like ... ‘‘There’s nothing like a funeral to make you alive’’ ... and ... “There’s nothing like a trail of blood to find you way home”.
‘Pray for Me’ carries on the hard rock vibe with its tempestuous guitars and drums all wrapped around the deeply emotional vocals of Michael. This is one of my favourite tracks along with ‘Life is Beautiful’. The pace is brought down a little with another emotionally filled vocal on ‘Tomorrow’ by Michael, although vocal performance of the album has to be on ‘Accidents Will Happen’. This is Michael at his best and perhaps explains why Sixx brought him in the project as he magically brings the diaries to life.
Like all good
stories there is a beginning, a middle and an ending. We reach the
middle with the aptly title ‘Intermission’, a carnival sound bite
with narratives from Sixx as he continues the story of his
Such is the powerful story behind each song that if you have the diaries, the songs reflect the written word so well and as each chapter unfolds you become gripped with the rock n' roll excess where you come to truly realise the only winner is the drug dealer.
The album continues the story with ‘Dead Mans Ballet’ is a more darker affair (if the subject matter wasn’t dark enough) before ‘Heart Failure’, which starts off with Sixx narrative then the track breaks into a that now familiar DJ Ashba guitar sound and James Michael’s soulful vocals, which are still one of the highpoints of the album.
Things slow down a touch with the haunting melodies of ‘Girl With Golden Eyes’, a song which you have to read between the lines because the euphemisms are there in abundance as the girl is heroin.
‘Courtesy Call’ continues the more serious side of the album as Sixx reflects on when things went so far as the grim reaper made a courtesy call to the Sixx household to tell him his time was up, in the well noted sequence of events when Sixx did indeed die and was revived with an adrenalin injection into his heart and became the inspiration for the Motley Crue song 'Kick Start My Heart'.
With the album
almost at an end we look back and reflect on what has gone before with
‘Permission’ before the albums epilogue ‘Life After Death’,
which rounds off a superb album and one of the highlights of the year
for me. Now just sit back and enjoy the book as I have.
1. X-Mas In Hell
2. Van Nuys
3. Life Is Beautiful
4. Pray For Me
6. Accidents Can Happen
8. Dead Mans Ballet
9. Heart Failure
10. Girl With Golden Eyes
11. Courtesy Call
13. Life After Death
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