On Saturday, my alarm went off at four am, as I planned on being at the U-Village Barnes & Noble no later than six. However, in order for that plan to work, I really needed to get into bed a little earlier than one am, so I ended up re-setting and re-setting and re-setting my alarm clock until I was coherent enough to realize I was screwing up my (likely) one opportunity to meet Nikki with my laziness. By the time I arrived at the Barnes & Noble, it was already 8am; a small part of me was glad that I hadn’t arrived at 6, because it was foggy and FREEZING outside.
There was an interesting sort of generation gap going on in line. Well ahead of me was a young man decked out in a sleeveless vest, police cap, and eyeliner, and behind me was a group of forty year olds grumbling and making sarcastic remarks along the lines of “Well, I bet his parents are proud, dressing like a fag.” And yet they were standing in line waiting to meet someone who started out his career wearing more makeup than the New York Dolls. The girls standing immediately in front of me were bitchy sorostitutes and would not speak to me when I tried to engage them in direct conversation. Apparently, I look like some sort of troll, and it’s a disease you can contract just from treating someone like a human being.
Thusly snubbed, I called bellachiara6 to help me take my mind off of the cold–she asked how far back I was in line, and I guesstimated there were about 100 people in front of me. We chatted for a while, until the line started to move and she had to get back to working on her costume, and we parted with her indicating that I should inform Mr. Sixx that my friend Nicki in Wisconsin thinks he is a ‘dreamboat’ and I should photograph his facial reaction. It’s something that I’m certain would have a better effect if I handed him an 8×10 photograph of her, in a crocheted frame and then said the same thing, but alas, I’d left her christmas present to me at home.
When I waited in line with Chris Keto to meet The Smashing Pumpkins on the Arising! tour of 99, the organizers distributed wristbands, but we still had to wait in line all day. The people around us were nice enough, but it was still a looooong day. Apparently between then and now, they’ve figured out a better system; the first hundred people in line get ‘group a’ wristbands, the second hundred get ‘group b’ wristbands, and so on and so forth–everyone can then scatter and do what they want for the next few hours. You might not end up in the exact same place in line, but when they’re distributing 500 wristbands, it doesn’t really matter if you were number 203 in line and ended up at 299–you’re still getting inside. As it turned out, I was very close in my guesstimate to Nicki–I received the very last group A wristband, so I was exactly number 100 in line.
Signs everywhere informed that Nikki would only be signing ‘The Heroin Diaries’ books and cds, and no other memorabilia, so after I purchased a copy of The Heroin Diaries book, I brought the friend of a friend of a friend’s first edition copy of The Dirt back to my car (which will be mailed out this week, I am a horrible human being and no one should ever allow me to borrow anything of theirs, ever).
It seemed wasteful/stupid to me to drive home to have to turn around and drive back in less than two hours, so I grabbed some coffee to warm up and hung out in my car, reading. I very nearly finished it in the time I had, though I’m still not sure what to think of it, days later. It’s difficult to read about someone killing himself over the course of a year, to be certain. The way the book was formatted, though, is that people who were mentioned in the entries often had written commentary immediately afterward, which makes the book feel like it’s constantly going off track, and in the case of ‘Vanity’, now the Reverend Denise Matthews, it really derailed into insanity; in 1987, this woman was constantly fucked up on heroin–in 2007, now she’s totally fucked up with Jesus, and her preaching is irritating, to put it mildly. I feel that it would be a more gripping read if the diary entries were all together, and the commentary was instead included as footnotes. Regardless, when I sat up to take a breather and looked at my watch, it was nearly one o’clock and time to get back in line.
At exactly one, they allowed people with Group A wristbands into an upstairs section of the store. Somehow, I ended up twenty people back from the front instead of at the very end, which was great, because the people around me were much, much nicer. One of them, named Darcy, was in a band and was nicknamed Little Sixx by her friends, as she is a tiny, female, spitting image of Nikki–she had the skulls from the cover of Dr. Feelgood tattooed on her collarbone. The woman behind me in line, India, had driven five hours to be there, and had brought her two young children, who were (surprisingly) equally excited to be there. She planned on getting Nikki’s autograph tattooed on her arm. I didn’t plan on getting any event-related tattoos, but I related that when I was 15, working at Music Center, they had a life-size poster of Nikki Sixx on the bass wall, and I never thought that I’d get an opportunity to meet him.
As the time neared two, you could feel the energy level of the room rising. When they announced on the overhead speakers that Nikki was in the building, I could see Darcy and India’s bodies begin to thrum like live wires, hands shaking with excitement. When he walked into the room, the cheers were deafening.
I hadn’t been nervous the whole day, but the quakes around me were nothing if not contagious. Still, I managed to get it under control before I met the man, as I hate hate HATE coming off as gushing fan, or anything other than cool as a cucumber. I did not exactly come off cool as a cucumber when I met Rob Zombie a few years ago, but in my defense, it was over 100 degrees at Alpine Valley, and the vendors had run out of water hours before. When I met Rob Zombie, it was much more of an exhausted, sweaty “Hi” and “thank you” and that was it. Clearly, my control of the english language was on full display that day.
This time, I was tired, but far more functional. Nikki seemed an inexhaustible well of smiles (though, admittedly, I wasn’t very far back in line, and I wasn’t planning on sticking around until number 500 made it to the front).
They’d had everyone write who they wanted the book made out to on a post-it beforehand, to make it easier on everyone, because it was obvious that some fans were so star-struck, they’d forget how to spell their own names when asked. Nikki smiled at me as I approached with my book, looked at the name I had written and did a double-take. “Mell…how do you pronounce that? Mellzah? That is a fucking awesome name.”
…I nearly lost my ability to speak at that moment. Nikki Sixx thought my (nick)name(but mine alone nonetheless) was fucking awesome.
I never realized how tall he was until I met him; when he shook my hand, his completely enveloped mine. I told him the only thing that I felt it was important that I express, which was that I was glad he had decided to live. Everything else–I love your music, you’re an inspiration–everything is a subsidiary of that. His smile grew even larger, he winked at me, and said he was glad, too.
Afterward, I exchanged contact info with Darcy and India to share pictures, and drove home, far too amped up to want to nap before the parties I was supposed to attend later that evening.