Producer Bob Rock has clarified his recent comments about Nikki Sixx's bass playing on some of MÖTLEY CRÜE's earlier records, insisting that his words were "taken out of context and misconstrued."
While appearing on the "Talk Is Jericho" podcast earlier this week, Rock was discussing his recent work with MÖTLEY CRÜE when he brought up a conversation he had with Sixx during the sessions for the band's classic fifth album, 1989's "Dr. Feelgood".
"I've got to tell you a story about Nikki Sixx. This is funny," Rock said. "So, [while we were making] 'Dr. Feelgood', [Nikki] says to me, he goes, 'I don't think I ever played on any of the MÖTLEY CRÜE records. I think somebody came in at night and replaced all my parts.' He says, 'So I don't really know how to play bass.' And I said, 'Too bad. You're playing bass on it.' So I worked with him through 'Dr. Feelgood', did a lot of edits and made him play every note. But when we did 'The Dirt' [soundtrack], the songs on 'The Dirt', I went to see him and we started working on the demos. He picked up the bass and started playing, and I said, 'Woah, woah, woah. What's going on here?' He had been taking bass lessons for five years. All of a sudden he's an amazing bass player. And I think that's so cool, in that point of his career, he wanted to be better. I admire that. So now, on 'The Dirt', Nikki and Tommy [Lee] played live off the floor, both of them."
After several media outlets published Bob's comments with headlines suggesting that Nikki alleged someone replaced his bass parts on early CRÜE albums, Rock issued a new statement praising Sixx's playing ability and calling Nikki "one of the most talented players, lyricists and songwriters" he has "ever had the pleasure of working with".
Rock's entire statement reads as follows: "Yesterday on a podcast with Chris Jericho I told a story about working with Nikki Sixx and MÖTLEY CRÜE on the 'Dr. Feelgood' record. Unfortunately, like many things on the Internet today, it was taken out of context and misconstrued.
"When I began working with MÖTLEY CRÜE on the 'Dr. Feelgood' record, the band was sober for the first time and Nikki particularly was recovering from a very public addiction to heroin. We joked around a lot and Nikki, in his very self-deprecating style would say he didn't even remember playing on their prior records. This was Nikki's way of saying that for the record we were working on, he was showing up to do the best he possibly could and to make the best record of the band's career. Which we did. At no time did I ever actually think Nikki didn't play bass on MÖTLEY CRÜE's records. He's one of the most unique and talented players in the world and his approach to the instrument is part of what has made MÖTLEY CRÜE great throughout the years.
"Lastly, I was commenting on and commending Nikki because he never stops learning and never stops improving. I respect Nikki for always wanting to be better at his craft and it shows. I have worked with some of the biggest bands in the world and I can say unequivocally that Nikki Sixx is one of the most talented players, lyricists and songwriters I've ever had the pleasure of working with. And if the Internet wants to latch onto a story from one or two sound bytes, it's extremely unfortunate because it doesn't reflect the truth of the contributions he's made to music over the last 40 years."
In MÖTLEY CRÜE's official band biography, "The Dirt", Sixx credited Rock with challenging him and his bandmates in ways they hadn't previously been put to the test.
"Bob whipped us like galley slaves," Sixx said. "His line was, 'That just isn't your best.' Nothing was good enough… Before we walked into the studio each day, we never knew whether we'd leave that evening feeling like the best band in the world or four angry clowns who couldn't even play their instruments.
"In eight years together and with millions of albums sold, we had never recorded properly. No one had pushed us to the limits of our abilities before."
During his latest "Talk Is Jericho" appearance, Rock confirmed that he recently worked on three new songs with MÖTLEY CRÜE.
MÖTLEY CRÜE resumed its world tour with DEF LEPPARD this past Monday (May 22) in Sheffield, U.K.