Book Review: The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx By Nikki Sixx (Hachette Books)

By: Jesse Striewski

I had no idea I needed even more knowledge regarding the life of Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, until I started reading his latest book, The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx. But while much has already been written/published on the pioneering musician’s life, there was still a lot to uncover.

From his early childhood bouncing around from place to place after his father left, to discovering music and eventually seeking stardom via the west coast, there’s surprisingly no shortage of new stories to behold here. Perhaps the most fascinating are the lesser known ones; Sixx finally dives deep into the history of pre-Crue acts such as Sister and London, and working with the likes of W.A.S.P. frontman Blackie Lawless (among others).

It’s unfortunate Sixx often doesn’t get the due respect he deserves. Sure, as a bassist his playing may be simple. But as a songwriter and as an overall musician, his talent is nothing short of impressive. Do yourself the favor of getting to know him a little better by reading this book, and you might just be glad you do.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Film Review: Mean Man: The Story of Chris Holmes (Cleopatra Entertainment)

By: Jesse Striewski

Those who know me well, know what a huge fan of ’80s metal veterans W.A.S.P. I’ve been since day one (frontman Blackie Lawless was even the first major interview I ever conducted as a professional journalist more than a decade ago). Guitarist Chris Holmes no doubt played an enormous role in their early sound, yet never really got his just due…until now.

Following heavily in the footsteps of Anvil! The Story of Anvil, Mean Man is the ultimate underdog story that finally answers the question (one that I’ve even been asked a time or two over the years) “Whatever happened to Chris Holmes?” perfectly (for those who don’t know, he now resides in France these days with his wife, still making music albeit on a smaller scale).

Current and archive footage, as well as interviews with numerous musicians including Scott Ian of Anthrax, Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses, and Holmes’ own former bandmates Johnny Rod and Stet Howland, help tell the tale of this once revered guitarist, who no doubt got the raw end of the deal from his former band mate Lawless.

I only wish more of Holmes’ former bandmates might have been included, especially early (and somewhat elusive) members like Randy Piper or Tony Richards, or even Lawless himself for the sake of transparency (although I knew going in the likelihood of that wasn’t very promising). Still, this quite possibly might be the closest the world is ever getting to a straight forward W.A.S.P. documentary, and I can live with that.

Rating: 4/5 Stars