MATTHEW TRIPPE & MÖTLEY CRÜE
Part 6: Ex-Member Fades to Black
by Ed Turner
See Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 of the Matthew Trippe story
Surprising even himself, long after he thought he'd lost the capacity to be surprised, Matthew Trippe found the unhurried pace of life in Hernando, Florida oddly comforting. Reassuring, even. Well, something like that, anyway.
Trippe carried out his employment at Faye's Ice Cream and Doughnut Shop in dependable, if routine, fashion. Unfailingly polite, helpful, as much a part of the day-to-day operations of the restaurant as the clientele. For the most part, Faye's customers were outgoing and friendly. Trippe would get to know many of them by name. They knew him and he knew them. And so it went.
Still. There were times when the face Trippe presented to the outside world wasn't convincing enough to mask what his friend Maria Ashmore called, "his personal demons." On those occasions particularly, the reactions others had to him, the way they responded - a crowd of strangers, in once case - is unsettling.
Recalling a trip the two took to Disney World, Orlando, FL, Ashmore remembers, "how people moved out of his way when he walked by, how the lines waiting to ride the attractions were much smaller when he was there."
Just as suddenly, though, and things - seemingly - returned to normal. "St. Augustine (which was another of their trips) was a good time," Ashmore says. " I remember visiting the ocean, the sound of the waves... swimming and having a good time. Matt really enjoyed the history of the city - the haunted ghost tours. He loved the paranormal."
Fast forward. December 10, 1993. Trippe's lawsuit against McGhee Entertainment (Motley’s management) is dismissed; due to a delay, the statute of limitations has run out. Trippe will not have his day in court after all. His dreams cut down like wheat before the scythe, he once again retreats. Moving on, but never moving forward.
"Matt did disappear," Ashmore answers, when asked about the last time she saw him. "He called us on and off. I remember one time he was in Alabama. He called less and less as time went on and eventually, he stopped completely. I remember finding him on Facebook and writing him. At first, he kind of ignored me. Then he answered and mentioned his life being bleak and how he was old school. That was in 2011."
Of his whereabouts at the time, generally speaking, Trippe was said to be somewhere in Florida, repairing clocks and watches.
On December 1, 2013, Matthew John Trippe died in Naples, FL. Cause of death: organ failure. After years of heavy drinking, his body simply gave out. He was 51 years old.
"I know he wanted to leave all those memories behind," Ashmore says today. Likely, she means the wilderness years when Trippe was drifting through a world that gave - then took away - the story he made up about himself. Not that he was Nikki Sixx, which was just an alibi anyway. The story began long before that. Before that even- a Greyhound bus brought him to Los Angeles in early '93. It began with his adoption, written by someone else's hand - in these cases, a judge - who dropped a gavel on the question ‘who am I?’ Brought into the arms of a mother and father that could never answer that question for him, taken from the author of his life, the parents he never knew.
Matthew Trippe reached across the years to embrace his own destiny, only to find that when he looked into his reflection he didn't know enough to recognize himself. What he saw was someone else. In the end, only another casualty.
Screw this world.
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