Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx dishes ‘The Dirt’: ‘I was doing $1,000 a day in heroin’

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A scene from the Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” on Netflix. | Courtesy Netflix

Partying with Ozzy Osbourne, snorting cocaine off drum kits and having sex backstage with groupies mid-show.

These are just a few of Motley Crue’s wild antics depicted in their Netflix biopic “The Dirt” (streaming Friday), which charts the band’s meteoric rise to fame in the 1980s. But was the rock-star life really as outrageous as it looks in the movie?

“Even more so,” says lead singer Vince Neil, 58. “We were young kids and crazy and wanted to live for that excess. I think they capture it in the film without going completely overboard on it.”

“Dirt” is based on Motley Crue’s collective 2001 autobiography of the same name, and stars rapper Machine Gun Kelly as drummer Tommy Lee, Douglas Booth as bassist Nikki Sixx, Daniel Webber as Neil, and “Game of Thrones’ ” Iwan Rheon as guitarist Mick Mars.

MTV Films bought rights to the book in 2006, but the movie lingered in development for more than a decade: changing production companies and directors, and losingoriginal stars including Liam Hemsworth.

Before “Jackass” director Jeff Tremaine came aboard and Netflix saved the project in 2017, “we were attached to some different companies that didn’t necessarily see it the way we did,” says Sixx, 60. “They were worried about ratings and fitting into the landscape, but we stood our ground. We wanted to be able to tell the story honestly from that era.”

But sharing their truth wasn’t always easy. While the first half of “Dirt” is a booze-soaked, music-filled romp through their greatest hits including “Looks That Kill” and “Home Sweet Home,” the two-hour movie takes a darker turn as the rockers’ bad habits start to catch up with them. In December 1987, Sixx was declared dead for two minutes after a heroin overdose, and went to rehab soon after with his bandmates.

“I was doing a little over $1,000 a day in heroin, and then probably the same in cocaine and alcohol,” Sixx says. “I was in a downward spiral, and was eventually going to end up dead or bankrupt. And that was hard to watch in the film.”

Neil also had to relive his share of pain: The movie shows his 1984 drunk-driving accident that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley and seriously injured two others. He spent 15 days in jail and received five years probation.

“It was rough for everybody after that accident,” Neil says. “I tried to stay sober for a few years, but it’s tough when there’s no support system around you. They were still doing coke and drinking and carrying on, and I just couldn’t be a part of it.”

The movie reaches its dramatic climax with Neil’s firing from Motley Crue in 1992, only for his bandmates to rally behind him in 1995 when his 4-year-old daughter, Skylar, died of cancer. (He rejoined the group in 1997.)

The scenes of him and Skylar in the hospital “really brought back those feelings from back then,” Neil says. “It’s been a long time and those feelings are still there. I got emotional while I was watching it and it was just so sad.”

Both bandmates insist there have been no talks of another album from Motley Crue, who played their farewell tour in 2015. But they did reunite in the studio recently to record four new songs for the “Dirt” soundtrack, which felt just “like riding a bicycle,” Sixx says.

“It’s been almost 40 years with these three guys,” he says. “We know everything about each other. I’ve known Mick and Tommy and Vince longer than anybody on Earth. … So there’s a bond between us that is unbreakable. Even if we’re fighting, it’s unbreakable.”

Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY


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