Nikki Sixx is talking about life on the road as he drives through the canyons just outside of Los Angeles toward wherever rock stars go at 9:30 in the morning on a Thursday. Before the cell signal cuts out, the Motley Crue bassist, who now sounds more like a Mr. Sixx than a Nikki, is trying to sound enthusiastic about his band's residency at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas.
He's not succeeding.
Sixx isn't the same guy who overdosed on heroin on Valentines Day back in the '86. He's sober and he's a dad. He takes this stuff seriously and, though he admits his publicist might not like him saying it, he's outgrown Sin City.
Still, sobriety doesn't mean he's outgrown the road or rockstardom. He sounds ready to play; not caged animal, leather pants lighting-stuff-on-fire-ready, but prepared. He's good to go in the way that only a man who has put on some serious mileage can be good to go.
Sixx talked to HuffPost Travel's Andrew Burmon. Motley Crue will play its first show at the Hard Rock on Friday.
Andrew Burmon: Are you excited to set up shop in Vegas?
Nikki Sixx: I'm looking forward to it, but -- to be honest -- I don't love Vegas. I'm sober so it doesn't make sense for me. It is hard for me to appreciate. There are so many people there and so many people are drunk. Still, if you get outside of the city, the place gets pretty hip. We played a show outside the city last time around and it was very different. Not everyone was drunk. It seemed a long way from all that.
AB: You've put on a lot of miles over the year. Was touring a form of travel for you or just a way to get to the next show?
NS: For me it's always been about traveling. Just being able to live that nomad lifestyle was amazing. I could watch the seasons change and look at the changing types of architectures. I'm very interested in architecture. We'd travel from January through to the next July so I'd get to see the leaves change on the east coast and the snow pile up in the midwest. We went through Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia. It was amazing.
AB: How are fans in other countries different?
NS: Fans are so grateful when you go places they don't expect you to go. In Japan, they idolize you and you're like this unreachable hero where, in America, you come out of a Hilton and there is just this group of teens waiting to talk to you. South American audiences were also mindblowing because they were so passionate. All those countries are so different though.
AB: Do you have any particularly fond memories of playing on the road?
NS: Sometimes when people can't speak English, they hum the melody instead of singing along. Having 20,000 people humming your song is incredible.
AB: There are rumors of you going on tour again, but for now you'll be in one place. Does that change the show?
NS: To play in one place is really different because we can do all sorts of crazy stuff we can't usually do because certain pyrotechnics and pieces of equipment are not movable. It is also particularly nice in bad economic time. I think things are going to get worse before they get better, so I'm happy that people can go stay at a Vegas hotel and enjoy our band. I want people to relax and go over the top in Vegas with Motley Crue.
AB: After that, maybe you'll hit the road again?
NS: We're in a time when it's hard for bands to tour because of ticket sales. It is generally good for us to have a double bill. We co-headlined with Aerosmith recently and with Def Leppard. The crowds love that because it is basically four hours of hit singles. That still works.