Battle of the Drug Memoirs: Steven Vs. Nikki
Who in all honesty doesn’t love a good rock and roll memoir? At one time I had the ‘if you have read one you have read them all!’ attitude but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, I was not even sure I wanted to write up a comparison of Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, and Nikki Sixx, guitarist for Motley Crue, because it almost felt like comparing apples to oranges! Steven Tyler’s book ‘Does the Noise In My Head Bother You?’ is a more traditional memoir, while Nikki Sixx’s book, ‘The Heroin Diaries’ is actually diary entries from his own journal at the time he was deep in the throes of heroin. The two are drastically different- but I’m going to compare them anyway!
Not only are these both drug memoirs, but I read them one right after the other, hence the comparison. Nikki Sixx’s ‘Heroin Diaries’ had been on my list for a while, and I was glad to finally have picked it up. I really enjoyed it, and the journal-style writing of his rock n roll escapades was quite refreshing! Nikki Sixx, amazingly, kept a journal for most of the eighties, all while being seriously addicted to heroin. In between journal entries is commentary from sober present-day Nikki Sixx, as well as commentary from friends and colleagues who shed light on whatever insane incident is featured. Steven Tyler’s memoir is much more linear, starting from his birth and chronicling up to present day in detail. Sixx’s book starts at the beginning of the Girls Girls Girls tour when Motley Crue hit it big, and goes only until he gets sober.
I enjoyed Sixx’s memoir because he goes into a lot of detail about the antics of rock n roll stars. He discusses drugs a hell of a lot more and goes into a lot of detail about scoring and shooting up. I particularly enjoyed his stories about hotel antics, such as spraying hotel doors with hairspray, lighting them on fire, knocking on the door, and running away. This book is all the great legends of rock and roll that you always wanted to hear about! The sex! The drugs! The groupies! The madness! For all of that, it is amazing.
Conversely, Steven Tyler does not really go into the same detail, but instead, talks a lot about the creation of some of Aerosmith’s greatest hits! As a big Aerosmith fan, learning about how Tyler went about writing ‘Dream On’ and ‘Hole In My Soul’ made for a really awesome read! Tyler wrote most of those hits that I grew up listening to.
I find Steven Tyler to be a fascinating, and shockingly enlightened character, his interview on Oprah’s Next Chapter will blow your mind. I loved his memoir, but the one potential downside is the crazy stream-of-conciousness writing. The book follows a loose chronological structure, but it definitely feels as if Tyler penned it himself- meaning at times it does not make any sense whatsoever. The stories are disjointed, but if you can keep up, very interesting! I figured since Steven Tyler has been to rehab about 5 times, that this would be more of a drug memoir, however it’s much more a celebrity memoir.
And on that note, the only downside to Sixx’s memoir is the repetition. It may sound super interesting the first five times, but you will come to find out that 75% of the time Sixx did heroin he ended up locking himself in his closet with a gun. If I had to hear about how many needles were on the floor of that closet ONE MORE TIME!
I will tell you, however, that you should get a kick out of stories about Sixx’s crazy drug addicted girlfriend Vanity, and their raucous fighting! Even MORE interesting, is that Vanity is now a born-again Christian named Denise Mathews who has devoted her life to evangelism and repenting her sins to Jesus. Her commentary on their insane rockstar life is nothing short of hilarious, because she can’t talk about any event without linking it to how Jesus has forgiven her.
In terms of drug memoirs, I would have to say Nikki Sixx takes the cake! The drugs, the drinking, the debauchery, it’s all in there! Some stars seem to glaze right over the insane details of their addiction- I’m looking at YOU, Russell Brand- as if we are all familiar with what it’s like to shoot up. You won’t get this with ‘The Heroin Diaries’, even gruesome detail is in there! It almost seems impossible that anyone has done more heroin than Nikki Sixx, but I haven’t gotten to Keith Richard’s memoir yet…so anything can happen! Also, completely unrelated, I want to note that I REALLY want Sixx and Kat Von D to get back together. The end.
What’s your favorite rock and roll memoir?