Tuesday, September 8, 2009

10 things Ray Bradbury and musician Nikki Sixx have in common: #5 - Horrible car accident

#5. Both SF&F author Ray Bradbury and Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx have had their lives impacted by a horrible car accident.

Ray Bradbury has never had a driver’s license or driven a car. Here’s how he explained it in the instrumental 1996 interview with Playboy magazine:

"Playboy: Were you surprised when, after the [1994 Northridge] earthquake, the freeways were rebuilt within a few months?

Bradbury: And almost before anything else? No. Here a human without a car is a samurai without his sword. I would replace cars wherever possible with buses, monorails, rapid trains - whatever is takes to make pedestrians the center of our society again, and cities worthwhile enough for pedestrians to live in. I don't care what people do with their cars, as long as they give them up three quarters of the time - roughly the amount of time people spend every week superfluously driving places they don't want to go to visit people who don't want to see them.

Playboy: That's easy for you to say; you have never driven a car.

Bradbury: Not a day in my life.

Playboy: Why not?

Bradbury: When I was 16, I saw six people die horribly in an accident. I walked home holding on to walls and trees. It took me months to being to function again. So I don't drive. But whether I drive or not is irrelevant. The automobile is the most dangerous weapon in our society - cars kill more than wars do. More than 50,000 people will die this year because of them and nobody seems to notice."

Nikki Sixx was nearly killed in a 1983 car crash while driving home from a party in a drunken stupor. Here's how he described the accident in the book The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band‎ (2002):

"I ran to the wall and scaled it, completely naked. As I dropped down on the other side, I noticed that the stones had cut up my chest and legs, which were trickling blood. Outside, two girls who couldn’t get into the party were waiting in a ’68 Mustang. “Nikki!” they yelled. Fortunately, I always left my keys in my car then – I still do. So I hopped into my Porsche and gassed it down the hill. The Mustang screeched on the gravel and took off after me. I floored it to ninety, looked back to see if I had lost them, and, as I did so, was suddenly thrown against the dashboard. I had crashed into a telephone pole. It was sitting next to me in the car in a decimated passenger seat. If anyone had been sitting there, their head would have been smashed flat. I stepped out of the car, in shock, and stood in front of the steaming mess that was once my true love. It was totaled, useless. The girls who were chasing me were gone, probably more scared than I was. And I was alone – naked, bloody, and dazed. I tried to raise my arm to hitch a ride, but a sharp pain raced from my elbow to my shoulder. I walked to Coldwater Canyon, where an older couple picked me up and, without saying a word about the fact that I was butt-naked, drove me to the hospital. The doctors put my shoulder in a sling – it was dislocated – and sent me home with a bottle of pain pills. I spent the next three days unconscious, whacked out on painkillers. […]

The car crash, combined with everything else creepy and dangerous that had happened to us, brought me back to reality and Lita talked me into backing off my flirtation with Satanism. Instead, heroin began to consume me, first to kill the pain of the shoulder then later to kill the pain of life, which is the pain of not being on heroin.”

Pictured: Cover of Volume 1 of Mötley Crüe’s two-volume CD box set entitled Music to Crash Your Car To (2003-2004). The brainchild of Nikki Sixx, the picture and title are indirect references to lead singer Vince Neil’s 1984 drunken driving accident that killed his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Nicholas “Razzle” Dingley. In response to criticism of the “tasteless and murderous gimmick,” Sixx explained that Music to Crash Your Car To was a "sarcastic statement towards a lifestyle."

Previous entries on the Ray Bradbury-Nikki Sixx 10 list:

#10. Both are Angelenos who once palled around with a motley crew doing crazy things

#9. Neither attended college

#8. Both are intimately familiar with Playboy magazine

#7. Both created an illustrated man

#6. Both have exploded on stage

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