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Get Set to Hang on for a Roller Coaster of a Tour by tamea agle When I spoke with bassist Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe last week, he was prepping for getting back on the road. The Crüe was in the middle of loading the band’s gear into trucks. The self-proclaimed “overpacker” and the rest of the band – including frontman Vince Neil, drummer Tommy Lee and Mick Mars on lead guitar – are gearing up for a U.S. tour. I ask what they have been working on in the last days before the start of the tour, and clearly a lot of hard work was behind them; now it’s time for the shows. “We’ve been working with the dancers, all the intros and segues between songs,” Sixx answers. After hearing about the tour, I know the shows will be epic. “Lighting, video, pyrotechnics – it’s really quite a production,” says Sixx. “Tommy does a drum solo that will just be insane, it’s basically a roller coaster.” The band wants everyone to have an experience going into the shows. From the sound of it, there are not many other shows to compare it to. “There’s a lot of mediocrity out there, you now, so it’s always been our goal to cut through that. Even if you hate us, you hate us on our terms. We have a really good time with all
Campus Circle > Music > Interviews of it,” says Sixx. With such iconic songs and hits for them to choose from for their touring setlist, the guys decided to enslist the help of their fans from around the world. It started when they reached out for feedback, and fans asked for the Dr. Feelgood album. The band listened and went out and played the album from beginning to end for a show. They decided to take it a step further with the set list. “We have hundreds of songs and hearing from the fans made us want to look into our catalog of songs and bring out the songs that the fans want to hear but also what we want to play.” Social networking sites, like Twitter, for Sixx have been more than just working on setlists. “What I do personally with that is – something I was opposed to until a few years ago, but have warmed up to – that I now make my life very public in that way.” It opens up a new way to communicate, Sixx continues, “You start having an interesting relationship. I’m not selling something [through social networking], what I’m doing is inviting you into my musical and personal experience. We’re all doing this life together, I’m really interested in what people think and feel, that’s why we did the questions for the setlist.” Later in the year, the band will be heading back to the Sunset Strip for the yearly Sunset Strip Music Festival. “We are from Los Angeles and very proud of it, but as far as the Sunset Strip, when we came up, it was still punk rock and a little invasion of British metal, and for us it was all about mixing our favorite punk, glam and rock bands together,” says Sixx. “It was just a perfect time in history, there was just nothing else like that out there. [The venues on the strip] are our stomping grounds personally, even more than musically. I think [the festival] will be fun. I hope it’s
DUNCAN SHEIK Multitasking Mastermind by stephanie forshee The talent who brought us ‘Spring Awak– ening” is now giving us Covers 80’s. And Duncan Sheik also has a few other stage productions in the works. His cover album releases this week and provides a taste of the ’80s, without overplaying the obvious ’80s hits. “It was an idea that I had been toying with for a long time,” Sheik says. “I’m not one of those people who wants to cover others’ songs. I spent a lot of time writing my own material. In certain situations, though, it’s nice to play a song [from another artist].” Sheik says there was more to it than just selecting obscure ’80s songs. “The other criteria was I was able to kind of pull them off and sing them in my own voice, and I wasn’t having to have to jump through hoops to sing or copy a style that wasn’t natural for me,” he says. In addition to his mainstream music, Sheik continues to work for the stage. He is currently working on the musical “American Psycho” in the states and “Alice in Wonderland” in London. “These theater things take forever,” explains Sheik. “I’m crossing my fingers.” He says he is currently finishing a first draft of the musical. Over the next 12 months, he expects to continue development and to begin workshopping the piece. By 2013, Sheik plans
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just a couple amps and drums on the floor – raw, like we are in rehearsal.” Outside of Mötley Crüe, Sixx keeps busy with his radio show and his band Sixx:A.M. and the recent release of his book, This is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx. Sixx says he began taking photos of himself and the band on tour, which resulted in some iconic photos. He says, “As a photographer I wanted to expand to more things and found my interest in art and music, photography, social commentary all merging. I started capturing writing about the photos to explain it to the person looking at the book. As someone that is able to say whatever I want to say on the radio, or TV and in books or songs, I feel a bit of a responsibility to say, ‘Shout at the Devil,’ stand up for what you believe in.” Mötley Crüe perform June 14 at Hollywood Bowl and will be honored Aug. 18 at the Sunset Strip Music Festival. For more information, visit motley.com.
Campus Circle > Music > Interviews to share “American Psycho” with either Broadway or the West End (or both). Although Sheik says he isn’t quite sure about casting, he does assure that the creative team will be thorough in their decision. “When the time comes to cast it, we’re gong to see as many great actors or singers as we can,” he says. As for recreating such a well-known story with “American Psycho,” Sheik is not intimidated. “It’s a different animal. The book has become a really wellregarded piece of literature. The film has a cult classic status, which helps people be aware of it,” Sheik says. “I don’t think this piece would be possible without the existence of those two things. It’s a fascinating story about a time in American culture that is outrageous and insane but also very real.” “American Psycho” isn’t the only recreation Sheik is diligently working on. He also has a retelling of “Alice in Wonderland” in the works in the UK. “It’s in development and will be presented in the UK early next year,” Sheik shares. “Depending on how that goes, we can do the version at some theaters in the states. You kind of have to go through the process of development and hope it’s something that audiences appreciate.” “It’s going to be a very unique take on that story. It’s a lot of fun. Hopefully it’s something that can make its way to the states,” he continues. All of his projects require some collaboration of some kind, and Sheik recognizes what a privilege it is. “In these mediums, it’s collaborative and it’s great to work with these smart, talented people.” Sheik says. “It is also nice to work with a set of people that are visual and narrative. It’s a much fuller kind of experience. Two heads are better than one.”
Working in multiple mediums, Sheik has had collaborative opportunities with multiple types of creators in different fields. With those opportunities, though, come difficult decisions in whom to work with and on which projects. “I work on things that I find interesting, that I’m inspired by.” Covers 80’s is currently available. Duncan Sheik performs June 20 at Largo. For more information, visit duncansheik.com.