Home Books The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx

The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx

by Erika Gimenes

Nikki Sixx has become one heck of a story-teller over the years. With three books under his belt, he recently released his fourth book “The First 21: How I Became Nikki Sixx,” which explains in detail, his trajectory on becoming one of the most badass rockstars the last two decades has ever seen.

The book chronicles his journey from a young Idaho farmboy to the vivacious mastermind behind one of the best hard rock band my generation has ever seen, Mötley Crüe.

Born Franklin Carlton Feranna on December 11, 1958,  he spent much of his childhood with his grandparents, who raised him. Through his teens, he bounced from house to house, being raised between his grandparents and his mother. Eventually, as fate would have it, he took a Greyhound bus and headed to Hollywood.

As any young rockstar in grooming, Ferrana took regular jobs, working at liquor and record stores, selling light bulbs, and relying on girlfriends to make ends meet. His first break in music happened when he joined the band Sister, and later London, the precursor of Mötley Crüe.

Emotionally, he also wanted to become a new persona. After a tumultuous childhood with his absent father, he left his old life behind and legally changed his name to Nikki Sixx. With a new name, came a new vision: a group that embodied his punk and glam influences and would win over the world with its stage theatrics.

Crüe fans who (like myself) consider The Dirt to be a “rock n roll bible” as I call it, would be happy to have a backstory behind it with Sixx’s new book. I can’t even tell you how many times I have read, re-read, and gifted the book to friends over the years. If there is one book that a music fan should read, that includes all the story and debauchary of the 80s, it’s that book. Sixx’s new release would serve as a good companion book so that the story comes full circle.

The audio book is also a good version of this book. I am not a big fan of audiobooks, but it’s always really nice to hear the artist say the story in their own words, to hear the infliction of their voice, the raw emotions through the pages, and sense their own sentiment as they tell the story page after page.

All Sixx’s books are different. Each one tells a different story of his life, chapter, struggle and success. It was really nice to embark on this trip with him. I have always mentioned how gracious he is for literally opening up his heart to us and hiding absolutely nothing. Sixx is quite literally, an open book. He aims to tell the story of who he was, because he is proud of the person he’s become. He earned every bit of success he achieved because the road hasn’t been easy. But if you look at the person he is today, sober, with a beautiful family, you are proud.

Would he be where he is today without everything he’s been through? Most likely not. But Sixx’s vision was not solely on forming Mötley Crüe. His vision also entailed the best version of himself he could ever be. You are looking at two different people: the chaotic, hungry rockstar who would have done whatever it took to get to the top, and the senseless, sensitive, sober, family man, who in many ways, has become the voice of reason, and the sober man that is not inspiring people. In a way, what he’s saying is that you don’t have to live that life of decadence and chaos to get where you want to be. The most important thing is to stay true to yourself, and just be, you.

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