Sixx:A.M. ligger inte på latsidan. Om de inte befinner sig i studion och spelar in nytt material, är de ute på vägarna och bockar av konsert efter konsert. Vi fick tillfället att ta ett snabbt samtal med Nikki under pågående turné med Five Finger Death Punch i USA och vi pratade bl a om färska albumet “Prayers for the blessed vol. 2” och döda legender.
You´re fighting for your life and if people can still be here ten years later and be a class act and keep pushing yourself… if you look at those people you go “Wow!” and then you start to look at the standard, like “Where´s their standard?”. I guess anybody can slug it out with average stuff, but the standard of these cats, man…
There´s a song on ”Prayers for the blessed” called ”That´s gonna leave a scar”. When was the last time you thought to yourself “Well, that´s gonna leave a scar.”?
Just about every night on stage. I got off stage recently and my left knee was all bloody. I looked down and I looked at DJ and I went “How did I do that?” and he started laughing. We don´t know. It all happens on stage and you don´t feel anything. You bang into stuff, you fall off stuff. That kinda scar is a little different than this one. “The scar” was a reference to a few things. You know, when you write a song, sometimes they change their meaning. “We won´t go quietly”, “Rise” and a couple of other songs and “That´s gonna leave a scar” were kinda influenced by the fact of the the down beating we felt that we were in. I don´t care if you´re a democrat, a republican or if you´re from another country… we all felt it and it was just like “Ok!” and a part of that was like “That´s gonna leave a scar, man. We´re not gonna recover from this that easily.” It was also about a relationship where it leaves a scar and you never really forget it, but you learn from it.
Whose idea was it to record a cover of “Without you”?
That was interesting. We were on tour for “Prayers for the damned” and we were playing tons of shows and in Europe we were playing all the festivals and opening for Disturbed one night and Rammstein another night, Megadeth one night and we were on an airplane and we were burned out. Even before that tour we had been on tour in America and before that we had done a promo tour and before that we were recording a double record and on top of that, I´d been on tour for two years with Mötley Crüe. I was sitting on an airplane and I fell asleep and I heard the song. I kinda opened my eyes and it was at the end of a movie, a war scene going on and it was just in the background and I was like “This kinda sounds like us.”, like the melody or something. We got off the airplane and I pulled up the song, I have the song, and we were just there at the airport walking and everybody huddled around the phone and James went “This would be fun!”. We said “Why don´t we cut it when we get home?”. It was that loose. It was not like “We´re gonna record a song and it´s gonna be a single.”. We came back to LA after the tour and James called us up and said “Hey, let´s cut a not overly produced version of that song?” We didn´t even tell the record company or anybody. When we turned in the music for the record we thought it would be like a bonus track or something. We didn´t even care and we didn´t think it was an important song and immediately people started talking about that song. It makes me feel good. I love the Badfinger version and harry Nilsson´s version. Didn´t really like the Mariah Carey version that much. It´s a nice surprise and we don´t know what will happen with it, but it sure feels good to do something without a bullet proof masterplan and see it finding its way to peoples´hearts.
You´ve been very productive as a band with two new albums. Do you have more new stuff?
We have music written. There are a couple of the songs on the record that were written for the album that comes out after “Prayers for the blessed” and we were recording for that album back in Los Angeles before we took off on tour again. One is “The devil´s coming” and one is “Barbarians” and also “Catacombs”, which was just an accident, something DJ played and was warming up to. He was in the studio and we were getting ready to track something and James looked at me and said “We should record it.” He said “Hey DJ, come here for a second!” and played it and he was like “Oh, that´s cool!” and we were like “This is really cool!” and he said “What do you mean?” and we said “We should put it on the record.”. That was a surprise and “Barbarians” was a surprise. The idea for “Barbarians” is musically is that it´s sort of a continuation of “Rise of the melancholy empire” off of “Prayers for the damned”. Lyrically an answer to that and if you understand what “Rise of the melancholy empire” is about, you understand “Barbarians”. It´s the thug mentality answer to that.
I´ve met you guys a few times and interviewed you and there seems to be a great camaraderie in your band.
Yeah, it is. We´re very close and we have each other´s back no matter what. It´s the little things that I just appreciate every day in my band. It´s funny things. You´ll get a text message from a band member and they say something about something you did or whatever. It probably doesn´t make sense to a fan, but sitting there in the dressing room today and it´s like “I´m gonna go grab a coffee before we go to the meet & greet.” and James and DJ going “Hey man, we´ll go with you!”. It´s that stuff that you hear on the record. When somebody goes to do something and somebody else goes “What did you do right there at the D position? Do that again!” and we just constantly encourage each other. Our belief really is “No, is just not the answer.”. If someone has an idea, and we´ve gone some crazy places within the rock format like “Before it´s over” on “Modern vintage” where we really pushed it in the land of Queen and “The night at the opera” and we weren´t scared of that because we had each other´s backs. We didn´t know how it would resonate with a rock audience that likes the harder stuff, but we did it for each other and we could say “We did that.”. James had to really push it and lyrically, even though it comes off a little tin pan alley, the lyrics are dark and challenged. With us, if someone has an idea we say yes and if it doesn´t work it´s only because the song never matured.
It´s been a really bad year for music legends. We lost Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell just the other day and also Lemmy, Bowie, Prince and so on. Was there anyone of those guys that stood out for you more than others? I know you like Bowie, right? Did you listen to Prince?
Of course. I always said that I have so much respect for anybody that can still be in the business after 10 years. 10 years is like going to war without a gun in the music industry. You´re fighting for your life and if people can still be here ten years later and be a class act and keep pushing yourself… if you look at those people you go “Wow!” and then you start to look at the standard, like “Where´s their standard?”. I guess anybody can slug it out with average stuff, but the standard of these cats, man… You realize you have to stand next to that, even if you´re not a 100% of the deepest fan. I don´t know that much Leonard Cohen stuff, but I can tell you I know every David Bowie song. I would stand next to both of them and just feel like “I hope I can be like you guys someday, I hope.”
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen
Foto: Therés Stephansdotter Björk