On April 12, Sixx will publish "This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography And Life Through The Distorted Lens Of Nikki Sixx," the follow-up to his 2007 New York Times bestseller "The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star." The companion album of the same name, similar to "The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack," surfaces May 10, while the first single, "Lies of the Beautiful People," comes out March 1.
Sixx tells Billboard.com that the projects have been in the works for the better part of two years, though some of the photographs in the book date back even further. But the group -- which also includes DJ Ashba and James Michael -- didn't necessarily set out to make another book soundtrack. "It was interesting how some of the photography and subjects I was addressing in the book started to trigger emotions within the band," Sixx explains, "whether it was personal stuff or stuff we could relate to on a societal level. I was writing things and talking to the guys, and suddenly everything came into focus. It was like, 'Oh my God, this all makes sense!' It's an art project, like one big art project where we just throw up all over the place and look at it later and go, 'Wow!' "
Sixx describes the "This is Gonna Hurt" book as "very personal," using his photographs as jumping-off points for essays about a variety of subjects. "It's definitely not an autobiography," he says. "I don't write with an editor in mind or critique myself. It's just me shooting from the hip. Sometimes it's tirades and rants. Sometimes it's very focused. Sometimes it's very sentimental and soft and reflective. Sometimes it's brutal in is assholeishness. It's all my opinion, and I stand by it."
Sixx adds that many of the photos led him to reflect on his childhood. "A lot of this photography is based around the fact my sister was institutionalized," he acknowledges. "I realized a lot of what I've done my whole career was based around fulfilling this fantasy of being closer to my sister, which is pretty heavy."
Sixx says the more than two dozen images used in "This is Gonna Hurt" were chosen from "tens of thousands" of photos he's taken over the years, while the band crafted more than 30 songs for the album. "We definitely have a sound," Sixx says. "It's pretty organic; each member of the band has their own sense of style, and when we're together something a little bit twisted happens. But in the end we're all producers and songwriters who love great music and great songs, so we're always striving for that."
"The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack" has sold more than 300,000 copies while the single "Life Is Beautiful" was the most played rock track of 2008. But Sixx says Sixx:AM is not worried about matching those achievements this time out.
"What's really nice is the fact no one in the band really cares about success," he says. "The band is set up to not really succeed but just to be self-gratifying -- a lot like my photography. It's definitely not about trying to fit in. The three of us have something that nobody else has and we feel very close to it and it's very emotional and we love what it is. But we don't know what it is at the same time, so we're kind of protective about it."
Sixx has already posted three teaser videos for "This is Gonna Hurt" at www.nikkiSixx.net and is planning to add more content, including a series of mini-documentaries related to the project. He's planning a promotional tour but not necessarily a concert run, even though Sixx:AM performed on the 2008 Crue Fest. And while other Motley Crue members have said Crue Fest will return this year and next to celebrate that group's 30th anniversary, Sixx says nothing is in stone quite yet.
"There's some stuff we're talking about, but I don't know," he says. "I really enjoy being off, to be honest with you. I love when the band takes some time off. I feel recharged. I'm starting to feel energized about doing some shows here pretty soon. We're kind of talking to a couple of people now, but I don't know. You're catching me in the 'I don't know' time."