Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx Writes For Backstreet, Meat Loaf

Boy band didn't want his track, but Meat Loaf begged for more.

The hard rockin’ dude who wrote the heavy metal anthems and ballads on
Girls, Girls, Girls has been thinking about boys lately. Mötley
Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx wrote and submitted a song to the Backstreet
Boys.

The poppy, hook-filled track, “Let’s Get It Together,” was written with
songwriter Chris Kelly. The cut was submitted on spec by Sixx’s publishing
company, but it was turned down by the Backstreet Boys, who felt it wasn’t
quite right for them.

No matter. Sixx has plenty of other places to pitch the tune. Since 2001,
when the Crüe decided to take a two-year leave of absence, the
songwriter has penned ditties for a diverse assemblage of acts including
Saliva, Tantric, Meat Loaf and Faith Hill.

“I just think a great song is a great song,” Sixx said, defending his right
to write teen pop. “I believe that Garth Brooks proved that a country artist
can do a metal song, and the Stones proved that rock bands can have country.
And we’ve seen rap and rock mix, so there’s no use to just saying, ‘I am a
rock and roll songwriter.’ I’m a songwriter, and if I look back on
Mötley Crüe’s career, I’ve written everything from punk rock to
power pop to boogie rock to beautiful ballads.”

Sixx started writing new songs with his friend James Michael, who had worked
with him on the last Mötley Crüe album, New Tattoo (2000).
The pair started by writing a song for Michael’s band Heidi Crisis, then
they heard that Meat Loaf was looking for material for his next album, so
they penned “Man of Steel,” which Sixx described as “an epic ballad that
starts with nothing and ends with everything and the kitchen sink thrown
in.”

Sixx expected Meat Loaf’s management to get back to him to let him know
whether they liked the song, but he never expected that not only would it be
the first single on the album, but Meat Loaf would ask him to write two more
songs.

“He and his wife called me up and said, ‘Wow, somebody finally out-wrote Jim
Steinman,’ ” enthused Sixx.

The Mötley Crüe bassist didn’t receive as warm of a reception from
Santana, who turned down the piece submitted to him, and Sixx is still
waiting to hear back from Faith Hill, but he remains eager and optimistic
about his prospects with these and other songs. Last month he and Michael
wrote a song for Saliva called “Rest in Pieces,” which the band just
recorded for its next album.

“After the ‘Hero’ song started going from the ‘Spider-Man’ soundtrack, I
think they were a lot more open to something that was across the board more
melodic,” Sixx said. “It’s not as heavy as Saliva usually is, but it’s got
tons of hooks. It’s very catchy, and I know Josey [Scott] will sing the sh–
out of it and the band will play the hell out of it.”

In addition to writing songs to sell to other artists, Sixx is also
collaborating with various acts. In May he hooked up with Tantric vocalist
Hugo Ferreira and the two wrote a song called “Going Under.”

“I love Hugo’s voice,” Sixx said. “He has a very unique and interesting
vocal approach. What I added to the mix was relentless hook ability. We
continually kept pushing for more hooks. I always try to have a pre-chorus,
a chorus and a post-chorus. And if you don’t get the first one, you’ll get
the second or third one.”

Next week, the Mötley Crüe bassist will get together in the studio
with Drowning Pool, and he has plans to write with Orgy and possibly Tal
Bachman.

“When I get together with Drowning Pool I’ll be really excited because I’ll
know that they have input in it,” Sixx said. “When it’s a song you write to
sell to someone like Meat Loaf or Faith Hill, it could go to different
artists and it wouldn’t really matter. But I’m sure the song I write with
Drowning Pool isn’t gonna end up on a Britney Spears album.”

As a musician in Mötley Crüe, Sixx got used to writing songs that
became beloved staples of the band’s catalog and live set. But as a
freelance songwriter, he’s had to learn how to be less possessive of his
material.

“When you write with and for somebody else, you write [something] and then
it’s gone,” he explained. “Your baby’s gone and you have no control of
whether it ends up on the record, if it even gets recorded, or if it gets
recorded the way you might have envisioned it. It’s a lesson in letting go.”