Matthew Trippe & MÖTLEY CRÜE
Photos from Kerrang article on Trippe
Part 4: the Further Fate of the Man who Subbed for Nikki Sixx
by Ed Turner
See Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 5 and Part 6 of the Matthew Trippe story
Even if he wasn't entirely convinced there was anything to it, Roger Hemond found the buzz on Matthew Trippe - the self-perpetuating spin of rumor and gossip swirling around The Abbey (an apartment building in Tampa) - intriguing. And that was reason enough, he decided, to follow up with Richard Benjamin on Trippe's last known address: a low-rise in Northeast Tampa.
But when Hemond and Benjamin attempted to make contact, knocking loudly at the door of Trippe's ground floor apartment, no one answered.
Puzzled, they returned to The Abbey.
Weeks would go by, and then, once again, the confusion began to escalate. This time, in the person of a man named Carl Fisher, who arrived at The Abbey one day waving a picture of Trippe dressed as Nikki Sixx. At first, Fisher said he was looking for Nikki Sixx. Then, when some of the tenants began pressing him for details, Fisher revealed that he'd been in jail in Florida once, where he'd met Matt Trippe, who was also serving time. Spinning his story about subbing for Nikki Sixx in Mötley Crüe, Trippe had become something of a jailhouse celebrity among the other inmates. In any event, Fisher remembered Trippe. Along with his business partner, a man named Wayne Spillers, Fisher was ready to take a shot at helping Trippe capitalize on his notoriety as Nikki Sixx's one-time double. Call it career development.
When Fisher happened to ask Hemond if he knew Trippe, Hemond offered to be Fisher and Spillers' go-between. He took Fisher's number and promised to pass it on to Trippe.
And like before, when he'd accompanied Benjamin to Trippe's apartment, Hemond knocked on Trippe's door, but no one answered. Before he left, Hemond tucked a note with Fisher's number between the screen door and the jamb.
A few weeks later, a car pulled into The Abbey. As the driver stepped out, Hemond immediately noticed his uncanny resemblance to Nikki Sixx. After Matt Trippe introduced himself, he asked Hemond a few questions about Richard Benjamin.
The conversation carried over to Hemond's apartment. Trippe helped himself to a beer from Hemond's fridge, and generally made himself at home. Hemond told Trippe about Sicor - the band he was playing in. Sicor had recently lost their bass player, Hemond said. Trippe expressed interest in playing with Sicor, but there was some confusion about who, exactly, was auditioning for who. Eventually, Hemond recognized the industry exposure Trippe's association with Mötley Crüe could bring the band. Trippe handed Hemond a cassette and asked him to play along with it . Hemond put the tape in - an original Trippe had recorded, entitled "Black Window " - and Trippe found himself impressed with Hemond's playing.
They dropped the name Sicor, and rechristened themselves Sixx Pakk; a crass - not to mention, blatantly obvious attempt at re-igniting the Mötley Crüe controversy in a bid to sell records.
With Trippe deputized on bass, Sixx Pakk recorded three tracks at a Tampa studio, then shopped the demos to independent labels. Response was strong, and there was even talk of mid-level arena tours as a support act.
But negotiating the day-to-day logistics of a band struggling to reach the next rung on the ladder, especially with a personality as volatile as Matthew Trippe thrown in the mix, would prove increasingly problematic. If they were to have any success targeting the headbangers - their niche market - management would insist that all songwriting be credited to Matthew Trippe. In reality, Roger Hemond and Sixx Pakk lead singer Jim H had contributed equally in the songwriting, often co-writing with Trippe. Further stoking resentment, Hemond increasingly found himself having to " teach" Matt how to play Mötley Crüe cover songs that had become Sixx Pakk's stock-in-trade - the very same songs Trippe variously claimed to have written himself, or played live on a nightly basis while touring with Crüe as Nikki Sixx.
While Trippe was capable of lesser infractions in the eyes of his bandmates, even these carried a bitter sting. Trippe " lifted" the band's PA once, on the eve of a rehearsal, which he sold for beer money. Worse still, after management lined up a gig for the band, solely to attract interested record labels, Trippe, fuming over something so minor no one can even recall what it was now, exploded in a childish fit of rage and smashed an expensive Hamer bass in front of the appalled assembly of label executives.
Following the showcase, things swiftly came to a head. For Wayne Spillers and Carl Fisher, whom Trippe had embarrassed both publicly and professionally, there was only one honorable exit from this long-delayed train wreck: the two split. Left without management and seething over Trippe's deliberate acts of sabotage, Hemond and the other members of the band excommunicated Trippe by unanimous vote. Following Trippe's ouster, Hemond and Co. would regroup, calling themselves Blind Sight, forging ahead as ever.
But for Matthew Trippe, his walk would no longer be by faith or sight. The once and future Nikki Sixx was about to play his last card.
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