Few bands, if any, can claim to be as decadent as Mötley Crüe was in the 1980s, and even in the 1990s. Even nowadays, at a point where the band has mostly sobered up, tales of their wild and crazy antics still captivate music fans, so much so that their autobiography, “The Dirt,” was turned into a movie and released on Netflix in 2019. And they’re definitely no strangers to controversial incidents. For one, there’s the time when frontman Vince Neil drunkenly crashed his sports car in an accident that killed his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley. Then you’ve got their various instances of hotel room destruction, as well as the infamous leaked sex tape featuring drummer Tommy Lee and his then-wife, “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson.
Before getting clean and mellowing down considerably, bassist Nikki Sixx was front and center for a lot of the band’s shenanigans in the ’80s, and his prodigious heroin habit resulted in a near-fatal overdose toward the end of 1987. You may be aware that his brush with death served as the inspiration for the Crüe hit “Kickstart My Heart,” or that he was declared clinically dead for two minutes before he was revived by paramedics — the latter was notably dramatized in the biopic version of “The Dirt.” However, there are a few things most fans might not know about Nikki Sixx’s near-death experience.
Sixx claims he had an out-of-body experience after his overdose
As recounted by Ultimate Classic Rock, Nikki Sixx overdosed on heroin on the evening of December 23, 1987, and was taken to the hospital after friends were unable to revive him. Breaking news reports on the radio soon started claiming that the Mötley Crüe bassist had actually died, and his bandmates were also made aware of his apparent death. We now know that Sixx ultimately survived that OD, but as he recalled on the pages of the Crüe autobiography “The Dirt,” he had an out-of-body experience shortly before he was revived.
“I tried to sit up to figure out what was going on,” Sixx wrote. “I thought it would be hard to lift my body. But to my surprise, I shot upright, as if I weighed nothing. Then it felt as if something very gentle was grabbing my head and pulling me upward. Above me, everything was bright white. I looked down and realized I had left my body. Nikki Sixx — or the filthy, tattooed container that had once held him — was lying covered face-to-toe with a sheet on a gurney being pushed by medics into an ambulance.”
Waking up in the hospital a few hours after his overdose, Sixx told off a policeman who was asking him questions about the incident, walked out of the hospital wearing nothing but a pair of leather pants, and promptly hitched a ride home with a couple of fans.
Sixx did more heroin right after his near-death experience
True to his form as the bassist and co-founder of one of the world’s hardest-partying rock bands, Nikki Sixx wasn’t immediately done with heroin after his near-death experience, as he related further on “The Dirt,” via The Guardian. Upon returning home from the hospital, Sixx changed his answering machine message to “Hey, it’s Nikki. I’m not home because I’m dead,” before getting some heroin from his medicine cabinet and shooting up. “[I] realized that all the love and concern of those millions of fans still didn’t feel as satisfying as one good shot of heroin,” he continued.
Sixx went on to explain that he woke up the following afternoon to the sound of his phone ringing, with the bathroom floor covered in his blood and the needle hanging out of his arm. According to Far Out Magazine, the Mötley Crüe bassist entered rehab in January 1988, and while he struggled with his sobriety for more than a decade after his overdose, he took to Facebook on July 2, 2020, to celebrate his 19th year of being drug- and alcohol-free.
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