Nikki Sixx is one of the most respected and recognizable icons in the music industry. As the founder of Mötley Crüe who is now in his twenty-first year of sobriety, Sixx is incredibly passionate about his craft and wonderfully open about his life in rock and roll, and as a person of the world. In “The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx” (Hachette Books; 10/19/21; $30; ISBN: 9780306923708), Nikki Sixx tells the inspirational story of his first 21 years.
Born Franklin Carlton Feranna on December 11, 1958, young Frankie was abandoned by his father and partly raised by his mother, a woman who was ahead of her time but deeply troubled, and who even dated Richard Pryor at one point whilst she was raising him. Frankie ended up living with his grandparents, bouncing from farm to farm and state to state. He was an all-American kid—hunting, fishing, chasing girls, and playing football—but underneath it all, there was a burning desire for more, and that more was music. He eventually took a Greyhound bound for Hollywood.
In Los Angeles, Frank lived with his aunt and his uncle—the president of Capitol Records—for a short time. But there was no easy path to the top. He was soon on his own. There were dead-end jobs: dipping circuit boards, clerking at liquor and record stores, selling used light bulbs, and hustling to survive. But at night, Frank honed his craft, joining Sister, a band formed by fellow hard-rock veteran Blackie Lawless, and formed a group of his own: London, the precursor of Mötley Crüe. Turning down an offer to join Randy Rhoads’ band, Frank changed his name to Nikki London, Nikki Nine, and, finally, Nikki Sixx. Like Huck Finn with a stolen guitar, he had a vision: a group that combined punk, glam, and hard rock into the biggest, most theatrical and irresistible package the world had ever seen. With hard work, passion, and some luck, the vision manifested in reality—and this is a profound true story finding identity, of how Frank Feranna became Nikki Sixx. And it’s a road map to the ways you can overcome anything, and achieve all of your goals, if only you put your mind to it.
Nikki’s band, Sixx:A.M, featuring members James Michael and Dj Ashba, is also releasing a single by the same name, “The First 21,” that is coinciding with the book launch on 10/19. The single will be one of five new recordings featured on their new Sixx:A.M. best of album entitled “Hits”, which will be released on 10/22 via Better Noise Music.
The “Hits” album serves as a companion piece to the upcoming book. Combining the work of a writer and a musician to offer multi-layered pieces of art, Sixx:A.M. previously released “The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack”, which acted as a companion piece to Sixx’s best-selling memoir “The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star”, introducing the concept of a book soundtrack into popular culture in 2007. Both the book and the album became instant successes upon release, with the book landing on the New York Times-best seller list in its first week, selling out in bookstores around the U.S. At the same time, the album spawned the #1 single “Life Is Beautiful,” while simultaneously receiving critical acclaim and eventually achieving Gold certification in the U.S. IGN praised its effectiveness as a concept album, writing, “[It’s] not really an album but rather a musical book. It is almost impossible to recommend any specific songs over others.” Expanding this artistic signature move, The First 21 will now get its own soundtrack with the forthcoming HITS album, which is now available for pre-save or pre-order here.
Nikki Sixx is an international rock icon, founding member of Mötley Crüe and Sixx:A.M., three-time New York Times best-selling author (with The Heroin Diaries, This Is Gonna Hurt, and Mötley Crüe’s The Dirt), philanthropist, photographer, and addiction recovery advocate. Sixx had the #1 nationally syndicated rock radio show, Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx on iHeart Media, for eight years. In March 2019, Sixx premiered Mötley Crüe’s hit Netflix biopic, The Dirt, based on the band’s 2001 autobiography. Sixx has been a long-time advocate for expanding the support services for people in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). He has given testimony on Capitol Hill, made frequent media appearances to discuss his experiences, and authored op-eds on the subject in major publications. It is Nikki’s strong desire to help make a change for the better regarding what is our country’s most prevalent public health crisis.