When Nikki Sixx calls into Rolling Stone, he’s gearing up for the kickoff of another round of North American dates as part of Mötley Crüe‘s extensive Final Tour farewell jaunt. And with the first show of this newest leg scheduled for Thursday night in Anchorage, Alaska, the bassist has important things on his mind. Like, for instance, how many clean socks he needs to pack for the road.
“Right now,” he tells Rolling Stone, “I have 12 pairs.”
When it’s pointed out that this run of shows stretches well into September, Sixx remains unruffled. “Well then, looks like it’s not gonna make it!”
The 56-year-old bassist remains in high spirits these days, even as he’s settling into the fact that Mötley Crüe’s final tour date, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at the Staples Center in the band’s hometown of Los Angeles, is rapidly approaching: “I looked at a calendar the other day, and I had January 2nd,  marked off, because it’s my daughter’s birthday,” he says. “And I just stared at it and thought, Oh, I won’t be in Mötley Crüe anymore…”
Which is okay, he says, because even as the curtain comes down on the Crue, for Sixx, there will be no rest for the wicked. In February, the bassist will join up with his other band, Sixx:A.M., to begin rehearsals for a major tour — just one component in what will be a big year for the group. Along with the extensive live dates, encompassing two years of roadwork, the three-piece — which includes Guns N’ Roses guitarist DJ Ashba and singer James Michael — will release two full-length albums of new material in 2016.
“[Mötley Crüe fans] are gonna fucking lose their shit” – Nikki Sixx on new Sixx:A.M. albums
The pair of as-yet-untitled records, for which Sixx says the band has 24 finished songs, will serve as the follow-up to 2014’s well-received Modern Vintage. “They’ll be companion pieces, named Volume One and Volume Two, and they’ll come out with a little bit of space between them,” he says. “Because when a band releases a double album, a lot of times, about halfway through the second record, you say, ‘Sounds like they ran out of gas…’ So by putting them out separately we’ll give the fans time to absorb each one fully. They’ll get the first one. They’ll stream it. They’ll feel it. They’ll hear it live. And then it’ll be, ‘Here comes another one…’ “
Sixx says that the albums will be linked thematically and sonically, though he is hesitant to reveal too much. “There are tent poles that we’re working with, but they could still change,” he says. “The one thing I can say is that, in Sixx:A.M., we always connect darkness to light, whether it’s something like ‘Life is Beautiful’ or ‘This is Gonna Hurt,’ or even ‘Stars.’ There’s a lot about our own experiences in our songs, but there’s also always a light at the end of the tunnel, because we’ve lived through those experiences. And on the new material, those themes are maybe even a little bit heavier.”
Heavy, as it turns out, is also the word Sixx chooses to describe the sound of the new music. “I’ll give you an example,” he says. “We have two ballads that we’ve written, and they’re both heavier than the heaviest song on our last record. This thing we’re working on is like a monster hiding in the shadows. It’s beautiful. It’ll seduce you. But it’ll also pounce on you and eat your heart.”
As for whether or not the music will appeal to Mötley Crüe fans, he says, “If they want to check it out, I think they’ll have a blast. But I’m just an artist doing things, and this is simply what I’m doing for the next chapter. So I’ll leave it up to them. But I have a feeling they’re gonna fucking lose their shit.”
Either way, the bassist is adamant about that once Mötley wraps the Final Tour, he will be channeling all his creative energy into Sixx:A.M. for the foreseeable future. “We’re all committing 100 percent of our time to this band, and anything else that’s out there has to revolve around that,” he says. “And I think James and DJ’s visions are the same as mine, which is that we want to play with anybody, anywhere we can. We’d love to headline, we’d love to be direct support, we’d love to play festivals. We’ll do acoustic gigs, radio stations, whatever. We just want to play. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
And while the notion of spending another two years on the road might seem like a daunting, if not completely mad, undertaking, Sixx says he wouldn’t have it any other way: “For me, energy creates more energy. And if you do it correctly, you have a consistent flow. At this point in my life, I’m not so interested in taking a break and fading out and then trying to restart the engine in the middle of winter. I like the idea of, Let’s just keep being creative. The floodgates have opened for [Sixx:A.M.], and it’s a weird, freeing feeling. So we’re going to see where this creativity leads us. We’re going to finish the two records, and then if we want to do another record right away, in 2017, we’ll do that, too. Even while we’re still in the touring cycle for the last one.”
Which begs the question: With a two-year Sixx:AM tour looming on the horizon, just how many pairs of socks should the bassist be preparing to pack?
“Well, let’s see,” he says. “There’s roughly 30 days in a month, and we’re looking at 24 months…so something like 720 pairs of socks!”
Sixx laughs. “But I already have 12. So deduct that.”