Nikki Sixx Talks Anxiety, Chris Cornell's Death

By David Konow 06/06/17

Sixx reflected on his own battle with anxiety while sorting through his feelings about Cornell's passing on his radio show.

Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx, the co-founder of legendary heavy metal bad boys Mötley Crüe, has certainly lived much of his life on the edge, and he’s seen a lot of addiction and death around him. Still, he admits that the suicide of fellow rocker Chris Cornell left him baffled.

“I just don’t get it,” Sixx said on his syndicated radio show, Sixx Sense, echoing the refrain of many who were shocked by Cornell’s death. “He might have taken too much of his anxiety medication…Why did he take too much, if he did? Was he just feeling very anxious that day and he thought maybe he'd take one more?”

The toxicology report on Cornell was released shortly after Sixx’s comments, which confirmed that Cornell had a mix of Narcan, Butalbital, Ativan, the decongestant pseudoephedrine, and barbiturates in his system. According to Us Weekly, Cornell had also previously battled an addiction to OxyContin.

Sixx then reflected on his own struggles with anxiety, which hit him hard after he got sober in the late eighties. “I think anxiety can be a good thing—it can get you to do stuff,” he said. “It can also be crippling. I know that when I got off the drugs in the ‘80s, I had lots of anxiety, 'cause my body hadn’t found a balance yet. So things gave me anxiety…going to the gas station, going to the grocery store…I was doing things outside my norm. I was used to being high on drugs and being in this bubble of being on the road, and all of a sudden, I was off the drugs, I was at home, and I was having to do everyday stuff…And I used to feel really nervous and anxious about that.”

Sixx added, “I think anxiety is something a lot of people deal with, whether it’s a little bit or a lot. And these medications, like if you need something to sleep, too much of that will kill you…It’s scary.”

Sixx, who is the father of four children, feels especially sad for the family Cornell left behind. “I think about his wife and the kids, I looked up Chris and his family [online] and I saw these beautiful pictures of him with his wife and him being a dad, just being a guy…I don’t know…I just don’t get it.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.