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The First 21:  A Night with Nikki Sixx 

Nikki Sixx is known for a lot of things. Being the bassist and main lyricist in Mötley Crüe and Sixx:A.M., his signature teased black hair, writing The Dirt, The Heroin Diaries, and This is Gonna Hurt- but what Nikki Sixx is not usually known for is being Frank Feranna Jr. However, with his new book The First 21, he’s finally deciding to change that.  

Last night I got the opportunity to sit in on a Zoom call with Nikki, where he spoke about all things related to the book, his upcoming stadium tour with Mötley Crüe, and answered fan questions. Corey Taylor, lead singer of Slipknot and friend of Nikki’s, hosted the event. It was sponsored by Barnes and Noble as it’s meant to be part of his promotion for the book. Nikki gave us over an hour of his time, and you can tell he was genuinely invested in the conversation and willing to speak on all the questions asked of him.  

The First 21 is a book chronicling the first 21 years of Sixx’s life. He was born Frank Feranna, an Idaho farm boy caught up in an extremely rocky childhood. His father (Frank Feranna Sr.) was never in the picture, and his mother struggled with many of her own demons, so he was mainly raised by his grandparents. He worked odd jobs to try and make ends meet, as well as buy music equipment to fuel his ever-growing passion for songwriting. He took a Greyhound bus to LA at age 17 and never looked back. After falling in love with the music scene there, he decided to legally change his name to Nikki Sixx at age 21 as a way to feel like he was officially cutting ties with his old life. He joined several bands before finally striking gold meeting the other three members of what would become Mötley Crüe in 1981.  

The entire conversation surrounding the book was such an eye-opener. I’ve been a pretty big Mötley Crüe and Nikki fan for a few years now, so I thought I knew all there was to know about his life. Turns out there is so much more to Nikki’s life that he had to write an entire book about it. He explains how he dug deeper than he ever had before about what really went down in his childhood in order to write this book. He says he learned so much about his history. For the majority of his life, he had always been told that his father was an alcoholic who had simply just left after he was born, but to his surprise, after doing a bit of research, he discovered that that was not the whole truth.  

Corey eventually asks Nikki, “Was it a positive or negative experience looking back at those first years of your life?”  

Nikki responds with, “I had no idea it was gonna be so cathartic. I had no idea it was gonna glue some of the pieces of the past into the present. I spent more time on the phone with old friends, even like ex-girlfriends, family members, getting new information, so I kinda was like ‘yeah this is what my first 21 years were like I think it’s kinda interesting, here’s maybe a roadmap you could use for success.’ For me it turned out to be a totally different book. My wife goes, ‘I feel like this book changed you.’” 

Nikki’s excitement is tangible. For the past month he has been posting about it daily on social media. He even went as far as writing a song also titled “The First 21” which was released as a new Sixx:A.M. single, and creating a video trailer as well.  

I have yet to read the book, since it only officially came out today, October 19th 2021, but with all that I’ve been hearing about it, I am beyond excited. One of the perks of getting a ticket to this event is getting a signed copy of the book, so let’s hope whatever company is delivering mine is on schedule.  

In addition to the book, this night was a chance to catch up with Nikki and (what feels like) the million other projects he’s working on. There has been a lot of speculation about the upcoming stadium tour Mötley Crüe is set to co-headline with Def Leppard, along with Poison, and Joan Jett, since it has been postponed twice due to coronavirus concerns. However, Nikki was here and ready to squash any rumors, saying, “We are gonna tour next year. For sure.” And later repeating, “I know I’m gonna tour next year with Mötley Crüe.”  

This was music to my ears, and I’m sure all of the other Crüe fans out there too. I’ve been holding onto my tickets for many months and I’m very ready to see the four of them back in action.  

As always, Nikki was eternally grateful for all the support he’s been shown throughout this last year with the book, and all of us fans are just as grateful he’s still here, happy and healthy, willing to share so much of his life with the world.  

The First 21 hits the shelves October 19th 2021, also available for online purchase and in audiobook format. You can follow Nikki @nikkisixxpixx on Instagram and @NikkiSixx on Twitter.  

Maria D'Agostino is a junior at Loyola University Maryland studying Communications with a double specialization in Journalism and Digital Media. In her free time you will find her either scrolling through Pinterest looking for new dessert recipes to try, obsessing over musicians, camping, or doing makeup.
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