Updated: Jun 3
W.A.S.P band leader Blackie Lawless and Motley Crue band leader Nikki Sixx had a friendship that goes way back to the late 70s and early 1980s, when Nikki showed up to audition for bass player gig in Blackie Lawless band at the time, Sister, which would bear a huge influence on a future Motley Crue that use and borrow heavy from during their Shout at the Devil era. Sister was one of the first L.A. bands to experiment with occult symbolism (such as pentagrams), blood and face make-up. (Nikki Sixx giving Blackie Lawless credit on twitter below)
Some of Blackie's earlier stage stunts were to eat worms and put live rats in a meat grinder. The Sister logo was a inverted pentagram with flames around it and the word Sister going through it! Lawless once quoted :
"If you look at Motley Crue (circu 1984), that was Sister, another band that was too far ahead for its time. We were the first band that I ever saw to use the pentagram. I met Nikki (Nikki Sixx) when he was 19 years old, he came to me when he was just starting and he says 'Are you going to use any of that stuff you used to use?' I said 'Nope!', he said 'You mind if I use it?' I said 'take whatever you want' because at that point, I realised that with an image like that, you end up painting yourself in a corner and you can't get out'
Although Blackie gave Nikki this kind of stuff, he also told him to be careful about using the pentagram, he said:
"Do not dabble in things you do not understand, there isn't one person I know thats dabble with it and did things they would not do"
Its was also rumoured that Nikki Sixx played in Sister, but he and Blackie could not work together, but they remained friends, apparently Blackie kicked Nikki out of Sister. Another former band mate Lizzie Grey confirms the same story here https://fullinbloom.com/lizzie-grey-talks-blackie-lawlessnikki-sixxsister-connection/
What were some of the ideas Nikki Sixx adapted from Sister to later use in Motley Crue?
Lizzie Grey: Well, you know, that’s the funny part. Once Nikki started making a big noise with Motley Crue, he suddenly threw away all the glitter/glam imagery that had made him so popular in Hollywood with the London band, and outfitted Motley Crue and their stage exactly like the old Sister band photos…right down to the skulls on spikes, pentagrams, and flame pots. I guess Blackie really messed with Nikki’s mind when he fired him, and this was Nikki’s way of doing an ego “checkmate” on him.
Some of Sister's early demos were Sex Drive (which appeared on The Last Command), Sweet Dreams and Don't know what I am (later to become part of The Titantic Overture on The Crimson Idol).
Flash forward a couple of year both Blackie and Nikki would become international superstars but their friendship would become strained. Nikki become a heavy heroin drug user, overdosed, died to then be revived in December of 1987.
Around 1989 Blackie Lawless would begin working on a solo album to full-fill a contract obligation that album would be later released under the W.A.S.P. brand, it was called The Crimson Idol released in 1992. Its about a boy that dreams about being a rockstar but lacks any love or self respect for himself. Its been rumored that Blackie's friendship with Nikki inspired this album, stating it was influenced by a good friend of his that became very famous at the 12:00 mark of this interview clip
Crimson Idol is a brilliant concept album and I highly recommend it for all the vinyl collectors out there, lots of passion and emotions laid down on these analog vinyl grooves. Is this album about Nikki Sixx? Where the evidence presented and given their past friendship, Ill let you decide.