Black, White and True
Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue
Dress Rehearsals : Olympic Auditorium
January 9, 2005
When Motley reunited in 2004, I was hired to be a “fly on the wall”, with the goal of capturing something simpler and deeper. By this point, I had worked with them before and had developed a bond with Nikki. We both loved classic black and white rock photography and felt, at the time, that no one was taking the kind of shots Neil Preston used to take of Jimmy Page drinking a bottle of Jack or the Stones on their plane. (I used to stare at that shot of Jimmy Page for literally hours.) We wanted to capture everyday moments and make them feel timeless and classic.
I started in the studio with the band a few months prior when they recorded the new tracks for Red, White and Crue. Next we moved on to rehearsals – a tiny, dark room in North Hollywood. As soon as the set-list was together, we were off to full dress rehearsals – pyro and everything – at The Olympic Auditorium.
It was the final day at the Olympic and the band was choosing stage outfits, makeup, etc. Nikki was having a very private moment – putting on the finishing touches – and he saw me pass by. I hesitated. The photographer in me wants to get the shot, while the human side of me doesn’t want to invade his space.
He called out, “Hey bro, it’s cool, come on in.” This gave me permission to start snapping. There was a heaviness to the moment because I knew Nikki was letting his guard down, and allowing himself to be seen in a way that he’s not usually seen. This photo is important to me because I feel I captured the moment, and it does feel timeless. It is not staged, it’s raw and it is real.
Photographed with my Canon EOS 1 and a 24-70mm Canon Lens. Shot on Kodak Black and White film.
NIKKI SIXX on KEVIN ESTRADA:
The moment I saw the photos Kevin Estrada had taken of Motley Crue in the recording studio, I knew he had something you don’t always see in a photographer. Kevin has the unique ability to capture an exact moment in time. Those photos still breathe, “I was right in there with the band” to everybody who sees them.
I plan on using Kevin over and over again and I am now seeing him expanding into video. The sky’s the limit for Kevin.
– Nikki Sixx