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SIXX: AM SIXX: AM

'Gotta Get It Right: The SIXX:AM Story'

James Michael, DJ Ashba and Nikki Sixx, collectively known as SIXX:A.M., released their third album, MODERN VINTAGE this week - and it quickly debuted at #1 on the iTunes Rock Album chart.

The band celebrated the release by playing their first live show since 2009 last night at iHeart Radio Theater in Los Angeles, CA in front of an intimate crowd, hosted by Trey Morgan from 98.7, LA’s alternative radio and in partnership with iHeartRadio Live.

The big announcement at the event was that SIXX:A.M. will be embarking on their first-ever headline tour in 2015 playing a limited number of dates across North America with special guest Apocalyptica (see full tour dates below).

Says bassist Nikki Sixx: “Fans have been asking for years “When is Sixx:A.M. gonna tour?” and we’ve finally announced our first headline tour. We can’t wait to play these songs live and put on a rock extravaganza for our fans. We’re excited to announce that we’re bringing along Apocalyptica as special guest because we are fans of their music and think this is going to be an amazing night of music from beginning to end”.

Chatting recently with lead singer, James Michael, I first wondered how the new album, Modern Vintage differed from The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, and then in turn, This Is Gonna Hurt? "There are a number of ways in which Modern Vintage differs from our previous two studio albums. The first and most obvious difference is that on both The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack and This Is Gonna Hurt, we had Nikki’s Diaries and the incredibly powerful imagery of his photography that we used as an inspiration. On Modern Vintage, it was very important to us that we did not have any peripheral element because we really wanted this album to reveal to our fans and to ourselves who we have become as a band. So we made a very conscious decision to look back to the amazing rock albums and artists of the late 60s and early 70s that influenced us and inspired us to become musicians. Artists like David Bowie, Queen, ELO, T-­‐Rex, Elton John to name a few. The one thing that all of those bands did so beautifully was capture the imagination of the listener and took them on a musical Journey. THAT is the kind of record that we wanted to make with Modern Vintage."

With SIXX: AM rooted in songwriting, musicianship and lyrics, for you growing up, which one artist/band encapsulated all that for you personally? "Freddie Mercury and Queen encapsulate everything about music that I find so exciting. The drama. The Theatrics. The way that they incorporated classical music, rock music, opera, etc. into a musical experience that left you speechless."

Please tell us more about your choice to cover the iconic Cars song, 'Drive' on this album. Because, I have to say, it 100% completely f**kin' blew me away listening to it today! Very nicely done, my friend "Thank you so much! We were really excited to record our very first cover song on this record and DRIVE by the cars seemed like a perfect choice for a number of reasons. First, it really fit in the spirit of Modern Vintage in that it was such an iconic song from an era of music that we were all so heavily influenced by so it made a lot of sense for us to bring it into the Sixx:AM world and make it a part of the Modern Vintage story. But what really struck me as we started to work on the song is how similar the lyrics on DRIVE are to a lot of Sixx:AM songs in that we have always loved the contrast between beauty and darkness in our songs and we find a way to have the underlying message be one of hope and inspiration. When you look at the lyrics of DRIVE, they are so sad and painful and yet there is a hope in the message that makes the listener never give up. The heaviness of that lyric is why we chose to start our version off as a very intimate piano ballad and then it gradually grows into a very modern sounding track while never losing the essence and simplicity of the original recording."

Modern Vintage is jam-packed with some powerhaus songs, but which one track still stands out to you today as your favorite - and why? "I REALLY love “Get Ya Some”! It is such an unusual song and yet a very “Sixx:AM” type of turn for the record. The lyric is so abstract and cinematic and it inspired me to do a very “Tom Waits” type of low creepy vocal in the verses and then the chorus explodes in this multi-­‐layered, very over-­‐the-­‐top, almost flamboyant “Freddie Mercury” type of delivery. It’s such a beautifully absurd song!"

It's been said for this new album you guys put fewer restrictions on yourselves. Please explain this some more for us "Sixx:AM has always maintained the mentality that we formulated when we first began The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack, and that was “We are not a band and therefor the rules do not apply to us!” That really set the stage for an extremely creative working environment between the three of us…we have carried that mentality with us into everything we do, including this new album Modern Vintage. Obviously, we ARE a band now, but we have never let go of that freedom that is at the core of all Sixx:AM music. We really wanted to push that even further on this new record. We’ve noticed over the years that the definition of "Rock" music has gotten so narrow that many styles are being excluded from it. We felt that it was important to make a record that was very “inclusive” and celebrated many different “genres” of “Rock”."

Is it a worry that the musical diversions of Modern Vintage perhaps won't appeal to all the fans of the first two SIXX:AM albums? "No. We have been very blessed with fans that trust us and are willing to roll up their sleeves, pack their bags and go on these journeys with us. Even from the very beginning, Sixx:AM has done things very differently than most bands and we have pushed ourselves into very exciting and unusual places, and the fans have been right there with us. They know that we aren’t going to take them someplace unfamiliar and abandon them. They know that we will ultimately bring it full circle and the journey will make sense. And in the process they will hopefully discover things about themselves and their relationship with music throughout their lives. Our fans don’t want us to repeat ourselves and make the same record over and over. Neither do we!"

Please do tell us more about the stunning front cover art work for Modern Vintage. What is it all meant to symbolize and who is the woman?! "Paul Brown designed the cover art for Modern Vintage. We are so pleased with the work he did on it. It was very important to us that we had a cover that seemed “Iconic”. We also wanted to have the cover tell the story of Modern Vintage. When you look at the girl on the cover from a distance, she appears to be a beautiful woman (almost angelic) and yet she appears to be half human and half robot. But as you look closer, you realize that her body is made of up vintage car parts. So, just like the music, the cover walks that fine line between the old and the new and finds a really beautiful timeless balance."

Being that we're not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, please reveal something about the making of this album that you have never yet spoken of in interviews or in public! "We recorded all of Nikki’s bass parts sitting in his living room. I had a mobile recording unit that I took with me everywhere I went for the better part of the two years that it took us to make this record. I’d fly up to DJ’s house in Vegas for a few days and track him, then fly down to Los Angeles to record Nikki at his house for a few days, then fly back to Nashville to my recording studio there to work on vocals and other overdubs…there was about a year of time where I was flying across the country several times a week to get this record made. This was a real labor of love and we are very proud of it!"

Being that the bands name is a combination of all the member's last names ie SIXX: A(shba) M(ichael), at the time of concept were there still other choices that were being considered, perhaps? "Any band will tell you that coming up with a band name is probably the hardest and worst thing to have to do. We kind of took the easy way out. I think the only other band name we were considering at one point was “Dead Man’s Ballet” which was the title of one of our songs. Probably a good thing we opted for Sixx:AM!"

As there will be two CD editions of Modern Vintage released, with the Deluxe Edition featuring four (4) extra tracks, please tell us how these piano ballads, acoustic versions, etc. came to be in the recording sessions. Like, were they always planned to be for a Deluxe Edition CD? "As soon as we finished recording the record, we went right back into the studio and completely reworked a few of our songs. We didn’t just want to do the typical “acoustic” version…we wanted it to be special and give the listener and entirely different experience with the songs…It was an incredible experience for us because it gave US a a whole new appreciation for the lyrics as well. For those that do get the Deluxe Edition, they will really enjoy taking the musical journey even further!"

Finally, and yes we ask everyone this question, we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE Penguins (the birds)! So, do you also, and if so do you have any stories, perhaps? "I love all creatures great and small…but when I think of Penguins…I think of the delicious chocolate cookies that you can only get in the “import” section of my local super market in Los Angeles. They sure know how to make sweets over in Europe!!!"

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

SIXX:A.M. with Apocalyptica on “The Modern Vintage Tour” 2015

4/08/2015 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom
4/10/2015 Las Vegas, NV The Joint
4/11/2015 Los Angeles, CA Club Nokia
4/13/2015 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
4/14/2015 Kansas City, MO Midland Theatre
4/16/2015 Houston, TX Warehouse Live
4/17/2015 Dallas, TX Bomb Factory
4/19/2015 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
4/20/2015 Chicago, IL The Vic Theater
4/21/2015 Detroit, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
4/23/2015 Toronto, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre
4/24/2015 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
4/25/2015 Worcester, MA Worcester Palladium
4/27/2015 New York, NY Best Buy Theater
4/28/2015 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
4/29/2015 Silver Springs, MD The Fillmore

www.sixxam.sandbaghq.com

Standard CD Purchase Link

Deluxe CD Purchase Link

'Stars' Audio Stream

'Gotta Get It Right' Video