Life in/out of Mötley Crüe, Part 2 By Ed Turner
See Part 1 of the Matthew Trippe story
Piecing together what happened next is complicated, and that's largely down to Trippe himself, who proved to be his own worst enemy when it came to convincing people he was telling the truth about the meeting with Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars and Cue manager Doc McGhee. And Matt Trippe would tell anyone who would listen.
The story went something like this...
McGhee moved Trippe into an apartment with Tommy Lee, the 'Crüe's party-crazed drummer. When the two weren't drinking and drugging, Lee would help Matt rehearse his stage moves. Once he was in, things began to move fast - perhaps a little too fast . There was, for instance, Doc's nagging insistence that Trippe, from here on out, be careful to always sign his name as "Nikki Sixx." And that went for anything, Doc stressed. Meal vouchers, parking garage claim checks, you name it...
Significantly, Trippe had arrived on the scene just as the band got to work writing and recording a follow up to their 1981 debut album, Too Fast For Love. With encouragement from Doc, Trippe knocked off two songs - "Danger" and "Knock 'Em Dead, Kid" - which he offered to the band. Both were included on their '83 release Shout At The Devil.
When Shout At The Devil went into the Top 20 on the Billboard album chart, Trippe called his parents to announce he was a rock star. In 1983, Mötley Crüe went on tour with Kiss. Between shows, Matt trashed hotel rooms. He did interviews as Nikki Sixx. To relieve the tedium of being on the road, he got in on the groupie action.
And then, as suddenly as it started, it was over. In April of 1984, Frank Ferrano - the real, original Nikki Sixx - rejoined the band, and Matthew Trippe was told his services were no longer needed.
Trippe moved in with his parents, who had retired to Fort Myers, FL. There, he met, and quickly fell in with a crowd of outcasts and fringe-dwellers whose rootless, nomadic existence consigned them to the ragged margins of society. Among their outlaw ranks was a girl named Cherry, who found herself drawn to Trippe and his on-the-road tales of life in a rock n' roll band. Soon, Matt, Cherry and two of her friends, Chris and Jeff, began partying together- a loosely bonded fraternity of outsiders who craved a life of alcohol and drug-induced oblivion.
One day, when their beer ran out, Trippe drove Chris and Jeff into Naples to buy more. The beer run turned into a heist when Jeff and Chris robbed a magazine stand, and Matt became their getaway driver. Fearing arrest, Matt and Cherry fled to Erie, where they hid out at a hunting camp. Within days, Chris and Jeff had found them, and the party was back in full swing.
Trippe's wild stories about his shady past as a rock musician began to attract attention in Erie, and soon the campground was overrun with curious onlookers. Tiring of the circus-like atmosphere, Cherry left. Matt stayed behind and was arrested by police less than a week later. Charged as an accomplice to robbery, he was sent back to Florida to stand trial. After making bail, Matt put in a call to Doc McGhee but he never returned the call.
At his trial, Trippe was represented by a public defender. He was sentenced for his part in the robbery, and received two years' house arrest.
In 1985, Mötley Crüe released their third album, Theatre of Pain. Matt immediately recognized one of the tracks, " Save Our Souls," because, he said, he'd written it. Cheated out of his songwriting royalties, and now a convicted felon under house arrest, Trippe wondered if he should go public with his story.
Enter a thirty-nine year old U.S. Army intelligence officer named Michael Aquino. In 1969, Aquino joined Anton LaVey's Church of Satan (the same church a teenage Matthew Trippe had once forged checks to). The following year, while stationed in Vietnam, Aquino penned a Satanic tract which he titled "Diabolicon". In it, he addressed a growing dissatisfaction with The Church of Satan's doctrines. In 1975, Aquino left The Church of Satan and founded the occult initiatory order Temple of Set. Setianism encourages followers to seek self-deification as a means to achieve immortality.
Aquino and Trippe's lives would intersect in West Palm Beach, where Trippe served out the remainder of his two-year sentence in court -ordered rehab. While completing his stint in rehab, Trippe would join the Temple of Set. Once he was out, Trippe told his story to Aquino and some of the other Setians. Aquino advised Trippe to get a lawyer and take legal action against Doc McGhee and Mötley Crüe.
Trippe took his advice in part, settling on a private investigator instead of an attorney. But the P.I., a man named Jerry Rollins Oglesby, was skeptical. For one thing, Trippe, in a foolish attempt to grab the investigator's attention, claimed to Oglesby that he'd started Mötley Crüe, that he was Nikki Sixx. Once Oglesby shot that down, Trippe relented and started at the beginning...
When he finished, Oglesby took the case.
See Part 3 of the Matthew Trippe story
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