MOTLEY CRUE’S NIKKI SIXX WRITES FOR BACKSTREET, MEAT LOAF:
The hard rockin’ dude who wrote the heavy metal anthems and ballads on Girls, Girls, Girls has been thinking about boys lately. Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx wrote and submitted a song to the Backstreet Boys.
The poppy, hook-filled track, “Let’s Get It Together,” was written with songwriter Chris Kelly. The cut was submitted on spec by Sixx’s publishing company, but it was turned down by the Backstreet Boys, who felt it wasn’t quite right for them.
No matter. Sixx has plenty of other places to pitch the tune. Since 2001, when the Crue decided to take a two-year leave of absence, the songwriter has penned ditties for a diverse assemblage of acts including Saliva, Tantric, Meat Loaf and Faith Hill.
“I just think a great song is a great song,” Sixx said, defending his right to write teen pop. “I believe that Garth Brooks proved that a country artist can do a metal song, and the Stones proved that rock bands can have country. And we’ve seen rap and rock mix, so there’s no use to just saying, ‘I am a rock and roll songwriter.’ I’m a songwriter, and if I look back on Motley Crue’s career, I’ve written everything from punk rock to power pop to boogie rock to beautiful ballads.”
Sixx started writing new songs with his friend James Michael, who had worked with him on the last Motley Crue album, New Tattoo (2000). The pair started by writing a song for Michael’s band Heidi Crisis, then they heard that Meat Loaf was looking for material for his next album, so they penned “Man of Steel,” which Sixx described as “an epic ballad that starts with nothing and ends with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in.”
Sixx expected Meat Loaf’s management to get back to him to let him know whether they liked the song, but he never expected that not only would it be the first single on the album, but Meat Loaf would ask him to write two more songs.
“He and his wife called me up and said, ‘Wow, somebody finally out-wrote Jim Steinman,’ ” enthused Sixx.
The Motley Crue bassist didn’t receive as warm of a reception from Santana, who turned down the piece submitted to him, and Sixx is still waiting to hear back from Faith Hill, but he remains eager and optimistic about his prospects with these and other songs. Last month he and Michael wrote a song for Saliva called “Rest in Pieces,” which the band just recorded for its next album.
“After the ‘Hero’ song started going from the ‘Spider-Man’ soundtrack, I think they were a lot more open to something that was across the board more melodic,” Sixx said. “It’s not as heavy as Saliva usually is, but it’s got tons of hooks. It’s very catchy, and I know Josey [Scott] will sing the sh– out of it and the band will play the hell out of it.”
In addition to writing songs to sell to other artists, Sixx is also collaborating with various acts. In May he hooked up with Tantric vocalist Hugo Ferreira and the two wrote a song called “Going Under.”
“I love Hugo’s voice,” Sixx said. “He has a very unique and interesting vocal approach. What I added to the mix was relentless hook ability. We continually kept pushing for more hooks. I always try to have a pre-chorus, a chorus and a post-chorus. And if you don’t get the first one, you’ll get the second or third one.”
Next week, the Motley Crue bassist will get together in the studio with Drowning Pool, and he has plans to write with Orgy and possibly Tal Bachman.
“When I get together with Drowning Pool I’ll be really excited because I’ll know that they have input in it,” Sixx said. “When it’s a song you write to sell to someone like Meat Loaf or Faith Hill, it could go to different artists and it wouldn’t really matter. But I’m sure the song I write with Drowning Pool isn’t gonna end up on a Britney Spears album.”
As a musician in Motley Crue, Sixx got used to writing songs that became beloved staples of the band’s catalog and live set. But as a freelance songwriter, he’s had to learn how to be less possessive of his material.
“When you write with and for somebody else, you write [something] and then it’s gone,” he explained. “Your baby’s gone and you have no control of whether it ends up on the record, if it even gets recorded, or if it gets recorded the way you might have envisioned it. It’s a lesson in letting go.”
Courtesy of VH1