PLAYBOY: Do you think you're a good-looking guy?
SHEEN: From some angles, in certain lighting. I wasn't dealt a terrible hand. I don't think I'm a romantic sex symbol, but I think I'm ruggedly handsome.
PLAYBOY: Is it true you and a friend took a World Sex Tour?
SHEEN: [Laughs] Which one?
PLAYBOY: Amsterdam. You and he did separate sides of a red-light-district street.
SHEEN: Yeah. Me and Jo-Jo [chuckles]. We set a goal for the one night, and we hit it. Ten each. He took one side of the canal, I took the other. Little single rooms, with women sitting in the windows. You walk up, look through the window, go inside, they pull the curtain and, you know. We left there very tired.
PLAYBOY: How did you manage to maintain your stamina?
SHEEN: I was doing a lot of amyl at the time, and that tends to get the sex thing going. Amyl and Heineken: the Amsterdam combination. Jesus, what a nightmare. You can stay hard, but you're shooting blanks after a while. Then it becomes about approaching the number. We said 10 each and you're on eight, and you're going, I need some fucking pasta or steak or something. Fuck it: Heineken, amyl—that's my dinner. Then you get to nine. We didn't want to leave there saying, "We got 17 but we aimed for 20." It was ridiculous.
PLAYBOY: What was it like Stateside, being young and hot in Hollywood?
SHEEN: It was radical. It was perfect. It was anything you wanted it to be.
PLAYBOY: For instance?
SHEEN: You can go to the best restaurant in town with no reservation, at peak mealtime with seven friends, and say, "We're hungry." Then you could leave that meal, call a guy on the way to the airport to fire up a jet to take you to Vegas, go to a casino with nothing—no wallet, nothing—and talk a casino manager into giving you a $50,000 line of credit.
PLAYBOY: Did you do that often?
SHEEN: Not too often, but it was never dull.
PLAYBOY: Where did you hang out in Los Angeles?
SHEEN: Mostly on Sunset, either the Rainbow or On the Rox. I always made friends with the guy who ran the club, because then you could stay after hours and drink. Then there was always a party that went to somebody's house in town afterward, or you'd wind up in a hotel somewhere near the point of origin—with your select group of friends. You'd tell all the other knuckleheads, "I got to get some sleep, I got to do something in the morning" or some lie, just to get them off your trail. Then you'd settle into phase two or phase three or phase four, however deep you were going. The point was just to seek entertainment on all levels—women, drugs, rock stars. I always wanted to hang out with rock stars because they brought a different element.
PLAYBOY: Were they more or less debauched than you?
SHEEN: At first, more; later on, less. One of my fondest memories is when Slash, from Guns n' Roses, sat me down at his house and said, "You've got to clean up your act." You know you've gone too far when Slash is saying, "Look, you've got to get into rehab, you have to shut it down. You're going to die." He's a terrific guy and I love him—he's a buddy of mine—but I had to step back from that situation and go, "Yeah, but you're Slash. Whaddya mean?"
PLAYBOY: How far gone were you when he said that?
SHEEN: We'd been up for about four days. But I still heard him because a part of me was saying, "This isn't as much fun as I thought it was going to be. Something's missing."
PLAYBOY: Where did your appetite for self-destruction come from?
SHEEN: A good question. It came from a long time of wanting things I couldn't have, like women and money and access. From when I was 10 to about 16 I saw other people satisfy those appetites, and I wanted to be not just along for their ride but driving the car.
PLAYBOY: What others?
SHEEN: The group I ran with, the Brat Pack. Emilio's friends. The St. Elmo's Fire and Breakfast Club crowd. They had all pretty much hit when I was still auditioning and struggling and wasn't really getting anywhere.
I got tired of girls coming to me to get to them. We'd be at a table at the Hard Rock and they'd get all the attention; all I got was the waiter telling me what the specials were. I so desperately wanted to be Mr. Somebody: "Thanks for coming back, Mr. Sheen. It's good to see you again." Instead, I was the little brother, included to a point, but there was always a time for the youngsters to vacate.
PLAYBOY: Makes sense if you're 10.
SHEEN: Or 11,12,13. "Go to your room," or, "We're going to drop you off now. You'll hear the great story tomorrow." I got tired of waiting. I wanted to be telling the great story. I just didn't know one day I'd have so many to tell [smiles]. Seriously, I guess I just wanted to be accepted, liked, loved. I wanted respect.
PLAYBOY: Did not being the center of attention make you angry?
SHEEN: Yeah. I wanted to eclipse them all, invite them to my parties, take them on my private jet, introduce them to my women and give them my drugs. And when I hit, there was no montage-like transition into it. It was overnight. Suddenly, I did a movie, Platoon, that everybody went bananas for and it won Best Picture. Everything I thought I wanted became available.