Home Sweet Home
For the past two weeks I’ve been struggling to put in writing the overwhelming emotion invoked by the story I am about to tell. Every time I speak it aloud, I’m reduced to ugly tears, embarrassing everyone around me, but I don’t care.
It’s an inspirational sermon, delivered by one of rock history’s most dubious disciples: Mötley Crüe bassist, Nikki Sixx. His altar, the Bluffton Cinemark; a state of the art theater housed in a luxury mall seeming to belong more so on the Malibu Pacific Coast Highway than in Low Country. The screening, “Mötley Crüe: The End” —a rockumentary chronicling the final show of the band’s 35 year run.
Seated next to me is Fish, the greatest Mötley Crüe fan who ever lived. Actually, he’s The World’s Greatest Fan, period. That alarming guy in a Miami Dolphin’s rubber facemask, gesticulating wildly for the Jumbotron; the charismatic audience member who jumps onstage, banging on the drum kit until his favorite drummer relinquishes the sticks.
Fish is exactly the guy you want beside you at a show like this. From the moment we pile into the car until the last frame of the film, he rattles off a litany of facts; the Cliff Clavin of Heavy Metal Mania.
Pausing momentarily, Fish calls out some uptight patrons for two-fisting i-Phones and 64 oz. diet cokes at a rock concert. They are the antithesis of a motley crew. Fish, by contrast, is the embodiment of it. With a lit Zippo in one hand and a bottle of MD 20/20 Peaches and Cream in the other, I suspect he just might pull out a can of Aquanet and torch a 1980’s style fireball.
It’s fans like Fish that Nikki Sixx speaks to halfway through the film, as he sits on the edge of the stage and delivers the following (edited for space) monologue:
“When I was 10 years-old, I lived in Jerome Idaho, population 4,000, with my grandmother and grandfather. My grandfather would drive 35 miles to work at a gas station everyday in a white Ford pickup truck. When he would come home, he would put the keys, some change and a pocketknife on a table.
I would look at that knife and think, ‘I’m gonna have it.’ One day I took it and the obvious thing happened, I got in trouble. If you know anything about me, you know that I took it the next day as well, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day. One day my grandfather came home, put those keys on the table, looked at me and he handed me my very first knife.
[Shows his knife to audience] I’ve had a knife ever since. I’m gonna tell you what it represents. If you want something bad enough you just keep doing it. If someone out there is telling you that your dream isn’t big enough… your idea’s not big enough…you’re not smart enough… you’re too fat… you’re too skinny…what the fuck ever these fucking gate keepers want to tell you, look at this knife. You want it bad enough, you do it over and over again until your dreams come true.”
It’s not just the story that gets me, but how he brings it full circle during the show’s finale, “Kick Start My Heart” —a song inspired by the time Sixx was brought back to life after overdosing on heroin. At the end of the number, he throws his bass on the ground, lunges his knife into it…and walks away.
He walks away from his dream.
After 35 years, he leaves it center stage in Los Angeles, CA, the city where it all began. As someone who walked away from my own Los Angeles dream 19 years ago, his knife strikes a little too deep. I am envious of this wild man who fought fiercely for his dream and now has the luxury of leaving it behind him.
The band’s encore, “Home Sweet Home,” is a the gateway between group’s past and their future; a return to the lives they knew before wandering the yellow brick road; a hint of where their wanderlust might next lead them.
I watch them play it for the final time, longing to reconnect with my own abandoned dream, not as the person I was at the time of my departure, but as the person I’ve become because of it.
Pondering the possibility, I remember the final words of his monologue:
“Am I right? I know I’m right and I know that somebody out there is gonna do something fucking amazing, too.”
Anyone out there who’s lost a dream care to join me?