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When Nikki Sixx Refused to Write a Letter to Get Out of Japanese Jail

Motley Crue Nikki Sixx
Amanda Edwards, Getty Images

Nikki Sixx briefly declined to write a letter that would have gotten the Motley Crue bassist and his former manager Don McGhee out of jail. It took an assist from one of Japan’s most famous promoters to finally free them.

“We played Japan in December of ’87 and took the bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka for a show,” McGhee told Rock Candy magazine. “On the way back, Nikki was all messed up. Mick [Mars] and Nikki started getting into each other and Nikki threw donuts at Mick while he was drinking a bottle of Jack.

“There wasn’t a fist fight because Mick couldn’t fight anybody,” added McGhee, who is also known for his work with Kiss and Bon Jovi. “Nikki threw a bottle and hit a Japanese guy in the back of the head. Blood was pumping and they ended up dragging the guy out like he’d survived a battle.”

When Motley Crue arrived back in Tokyo, they were confronted by “a couple of hundred Japanese police with riot gear,” McGhee added. “I went up and said, ‘I’m Doc McGhee, the manager of Motley Crue.’ They grabbed me, threw me on the ground and zip-tied my hands behind my back. Then they went and got Nikki. They dragged him out and threw him beside me and took the two of us off to jail.”

He believes they spent “four or five hours” behind bars while promoter Mr. Udo worked frantically to resolve the issue, eventually persuading the authorities to release them if they wrote a letter of apology. “Mr. Udo went through hell on that tour,” McGhee said. “He came down and sorted things out so that all we had to do was write that letter of apology. But Nikki didn’t want to do it. I wanted to kill him, because I’m in jail because of him.”

With the letter presumably written at last, the pair were allowed out of prison – but McGhee reflected that if it hadn’t been for Mr. Udo, “we’d probably still be there.”

Next: Motley Crue Albums Ranked Worst to Best

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