NIKKI SIXX On His War Of Words With EDDIE VEDDER: 'You Take A Swipe At My Band; I'll Take A Swipe At Your Band'
March 7, 2022
MÖTLEY CRÜE's Nikki Sixx says that he doesn't understand why PEARL JAM's Eddie Vedder felt it necessary to "take a swipe" at his band.
A month and a half ago, Eddie gave an in-depth interview to The New York Times to promote his recently released solo album and he discussed a variety of topics, including what "ripples" of change he believes the Generation X / alternative rock culture of the early '90s may have been responsible for.
"You know, I used to work in San Diego loading gear at a club," Vedder said. "I'd end up being at shows that I wouldn't have chosen to go to — bands that monopolized late-'80s MTV. The metal bands that — I'm trying to be nice — I despised. 'Girls, Girls, Girls' and MÖTLEY CRÜE: [expletive] you. I hated it. I hated how it made the fellas look. I hated how it made the women look. It felt so vacuous."
The PEARL JAM singer continued: "GUNS N' ROSES came out and, thank God, at least had some teeth. But I'm circling back to say that one thing that I appreciated was that in Seattle and the alternative crowd, the girls could wear their combat boots and sweaters, and their hair looked like Cat Power's and not Heather Locklear's — nothing against her. They weren't selling themselves short. They could have an opinion and be respected. I think that's a change that lasted. It sounds so trite, but before then it was bustiers. The only person who wore a bustier in the '90s that I could appreciate was Perry Farrell."
A few days after Vedder's interview was published, Sixx took to his Twitter to respond to Eddie's comments, writing: "Made me laugh today reading how much the singer in PEARL JAM hated @MotleyCrue. Now considering that they're one of the most boring bands in history it's kind of a compliment isn't it?"
In response to fans' tweets, Sixx compared Vedder's vocal technique to singing with "marbles in your mouth", and wrote to a PEARL JAM fan who tweeted in defense of Vedder: "Remember there were zillions of brown haired bands for brown haired fans…..Go find them. You will know them by the bored look on their face."
Nikki elaborated on his PEARL JAM comments during a recent interview with Brazilian entrepreneur Paulo Baron and music critic Regis Tadeu. In a chat that was recorded on February 25, Sixx initially broached the subject while discussing how he has evolved as a songwriter since MÖTLEY CRÜE's inception more than 40 years ago. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I'm not trying to be the guy that wrote [the CRÜE song] 'Bastard' [from 1983's 'Shout At The Devil' album], 'cause I'm not the guy that wrote 'Bastard'. I wrote that song about somebody that ripped us off. I am the guy that if you fuck with me, I will fuck with you back. And that's what that song is about. You take a swipe at my band; I'll take a swipe at your band. You try to hurt my family, which is my band; I will try to hurt you. That's not something to be proud about. [Laughs]"
Asked specifically about his PEARL JAM criticism and why he felt compelled to respond to Vedder's comments, Nikki said: "I remember going to MTV with [a copy of] 'Nevermind' before it had come out, NIRVANA. Me and Tommy [Lee, CRÜE drummer] were on there. We were, like, 'Hey, you guys gotta check out this band. You gotta check out this band.' And they were bands that were coming. I remember having a cassette — I think it was demos; it might not have been; it might have been early recordings — for RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, and I remember telling everybody about that.
"We've never been afraid to embrace music changing because that's the whole idea behind music," he continued. "If you listen to 'Too Fast For Love' and then you listen to 'The Dirt', you're, like, 'Well, it's the same band, but it has grown.' So we never had a problem with that.
"My only thing is, you wanna take a crack at my band, I'm probably gonna say something back. But what I don't understand is why's the guy even talking about my band? He's a successful guy.
"Listen, let's face it: the guy flies around in private jets; he lives in a mansion in a gated community; he sells out stadiums; and then he dresses at the thrift store and tries to pretend some guy in the '90s. Don't take a swipe at my band, dude. I mean, I'm at least being honest."
Back in 2019, Sixx spoke to U.K.'s Kerrang! spoke about how the rise of grunge in the early 1990s forced most hard rock bands off the radio and MTV, with album and tour sales plummeting. Asked if it was fair that CRÜE was lumped in with bands such as POISON and WARRANT, Nikki replied: "I have to say that I don't think that NIRVANA and PEARL JAM killed the bands you mention, I think that they killed themselves. They were making copycat music. We, on the other hand, simply imploded."
He continued: "Forget about the lifestyle for a minute — the thing that ultimately allowed us to pull ourselves through was the music that we made, and how good we can be when we really put it together. Every great band has hills and valleys; they start at the bottom and if they're lucky they make it to the top of the mountain. But eventually you have to go down. Very few bands are lucky enough to become popular and stay popular forever. That's just the way music is — it changes, technology changes, fashion changes, and social outlooks change. But again, today a lot of bands are just so fucking safe."
Upon release in September 1991, NIRVANA's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" wreaked confusion upon the hair metal vanguard, putting an end to an era dominated by glamorous, androgynous and sparkly rock stars who absolutely saturated the radio waves and were almost exclusively what aired on MTV.
Former MÖTLEY CRÜE singer John Corabi told Newsday in a 2014 interview that the CRÜE album he sang on was a commercial disappointment because the music scene had changed, with hair metal brushed aside for grunge. "Everybody was listening to ALICE IN CHAINS and SOUNDGARDEN," Corabi said. "At that point, we were considered passé."
According to Corabi, CRÜE's ill-fated 1994 American tour " was a nightmare. We weren't selling tickets. It was just horrible," he said.
After working with Corabi for two years on a follow-up album, "Generation Swine", CRÜE dropped the singer and reunited with Vince Neil.
Despite Neil's return, "Generation Swine" sold poorly when it was released in 1997.
Nikki Sixx photo credit: Jason Shaltz of SiriusXM / Eddie Vedder photo credit: Danny Clinch