Matthew John Trippe claimed Mötley Crüe's managers Doc McGhee
and Doug Thaler decided to bring him in as a new Nikki Sixx, after he
was unable to continue after a serious car crash in mid '83. In January
1988, he filed a lawsuit against McGhee Enterprises, Inc. citing civil
theft and other relief, claiming royalties that were never paid for
songs he said he wrote. These included Danger, Knock 'Em Dead Kid,
Girls Girls Girls, You're All I Need, Dancing on Glass, and Wild Side.
Mötley Crüe demoed a song called Say Yeah about Trippe in March 1989
for their #1 album Dr. Feelgood. On the 10th December 1993, Matthew
Trippe finally dropped his lawsuit.
On the 25th August 1998, Chronological Crue caught up with
his former band member Roger Hemond, to gain this interesting insight
into the Nikki Sixx impostor Matthew Trippe.
note: Roger has stated, "I would prefer to use initials instead of full
names of the other people involved."
Crue: Tell me how you hooked up with Matthew Trippe.
Hemond: Back in the summer of 1987, I had just moved to Florida. At the
time I was trying to establish myself in the local music scene in
Tampa. After making friends with some of the people at my new place of
residence, The Abbey Apartments in Tampa, I began hearing a wide
variety of rumours from a variety of people that a guy that used to
live at the apartments claimed to have been used as a stand-in for
Nikki Sixx while Frank Feranna
[the real Nikki Sixx as per his birth name] was recovering from a car
accident. Also that he had written music for a bunch of Mötley Crüe's
music, and was planning to sue them for royalties. After hearing all
these rumours, I was curious to say the least, and as time went on I
met some people who knew Matthew Trippe. I urged these people to
introduce me to this flake so I could once and for all dispel the
curiosity. We made a few trips (pardon the pun) to Matt's house, but he
was never home. More time passed and a gentleman by the name of Carl F
came to my apartment looking for Matt. Someone had apparently told Carl
that I knew how to get a hold of Matt, when I had only been to his
house, never actually meeting him. Carl had met Matt while incarcerated
(big surprise huh). Matt had told Carl his whole story about being used
and abused by Doc [McGhee], Doug [Thaler], and the rest of the gang.
That he was in Mötley Crüe until he got arrested in South Florida in
1986. He said that the band and management used his going to jail as an
opportunity to slip Frankie back in the band and leave him for dead, in
a jail cell, with no money, no way home, and no identity.
CC: So why
was Carl looking for Matt?
happened to be very good, life long friends with a guy in Tampa who at
the time was managing major professional wrestlers, owned a large night
club, as well as dabbled in some things of an illegal nature, which was
the reason Carl was incarcerated to begin with. Anyway, Carl convinced
his friend, (who will remain nameless for my own protection) to invest
in Matt. They hired a private investigator named Jerry Oglsbie, they
hired lawyers, and planned to hire a band for Matt to record and
CC: What did
you tell Carl when he showed at your apartment looking for Trippe then?
RH: I knew
where Matt lived, but some of the things I heard were that people had
actually made attempts on Matt's life as a result of his claims, so I
didn't want to just tell this person I had never met or been where Matt
lived, for fear that I might be jeopardizing his family. I was also
very curious by this time and didn't want to wash myself from the
situation by sending this guy on his way with directions to Matt's
house. I told Carl that I would go over to Matt's house personally (who
at this time I still had not met) with a note to get a hold of me, so I
could relay the message that this Carl was looking for him with good
news about having convinced his friend to invest in Matt's case.
CC: So was
Matt home when you went there?
Well a few days after that, another guy shows up at my apartment. This
time a dorky, stuttering, slightly over weight gentleman, who held his
cigarettes between his middle two fingers. I immediately recognized
this guy as the person I had seen in pictures some people had of 'this
guy going around saying he is Nikki Sixx.' It was Matt. He came into my
home, went to my refrigerator, grabbed a beer, sat down at my dining
room table, and put his feet up. After knowing him for less than 5
minutes, I was already less than impressed and pretty pissed off about
bugger hey! Why did he come to your apartment?
I had already been in a band for about three months called Sircor. Matt
told me all about having a management team, lawyers, private
investigators, and also said he was getting a lot interest from some
record labels, RoadRunner for one. He said I should audition for the
guitarist position they needed to fill, so I did. They liked me. I
suggested that Matt come and watch my band Sircor. He did and Sircor
then became Sixx Pakk.
RH: We wrote
and played for weeks, but the management didn't like some of the guys
in Sircor, so they went looking for very marketable musicians to
eventually replace everyone in the band except for Matt, of course, and
myself. Lucky me!!!
sure! Who else ended up joining Sixx Pakk and what was the band like?
actually had a hell of a band. We picked up Jim H, a David Lee Roth
look-alike with an incredible voice, and Joe D, who is probably one of
the best drummers I've ever seen, professional or otherwise. All we did
was practice and write, and put up with this contemptuous, alcoholic
moron, named Matt. We did have a lot of fun though, we had a great
rehearsal facility, and some of our bills were being payed by
CC: What was
the goal of the band at this stage?
Management one day came to us and told us to start writing to record
and tour. At the time, we were constantly being told by these guys that
we were going to do a series of shows in Amsterdam, Japan or Great
Britain. All kinds of things were being discussed, even a tour with
Crimson Glory, who at the time was being managed by Warren Wyat, the
same guy who managed Saigon Kick. So to a certain degree it was a
roller coaster ride to hell... to an 18 year old future rock star.
After a lot of meetings, none of the plans ever came to fruition.
CC: Did Sixx
Pakk ever get a recording down?
During this time [March/April 1988] we recorded a three song demo at
Morrisound Studios in Tampa, where at the time, Juliet, a local band
that Kevin Dubrow from Quiet Riot had taken under his wing, were in the
next studio doing a mix down or something. When you are recording, you
may end up spending a lot of time hanging around a television in the
lounge waiting for other guys in the band to cut their parts. Such was
the case at Morrisound and I can't tell you how funny it was to see
Kevin, out in the lounge, relentlessly malign Matt and tease him saying
things like, "Yeah and I was Lita Ford for two years in The Runaways."
He really gave him hell. The stuff at Morrisound turned out pretty damn
wrote the songs for Sixx Pakk? Did Matthew Trippe prove his supposed
song writing abilities?
RH: I had
written the music to two of the three songs, and Jim H the vocalist
wrote the words to all of them as well as the music to the one I didn't
write. The frustrating part was we had to tell the press and everyone
else that Matt had written all of it, in order to strengthen his claim.
Under protest, I quickly had all of the music copywritten, giving
credit to the rightful authors, THEN I agreed to tell people that Matt
had written the music. Kind of sucks huh?
RH: On the
bright side, Lifetime, one of the three demo songs, was put on an
automated phone line that Kerrang! Magazine had set up so you could
call and "listen to the new Nikki Sixx music". It got pretty good
reviews, so at least I got that satisfaction.
CC: So what
came of the demo? Did Sixx Pakk release an album in the end?
No. Matt took a f*ck you attitude every where he went. Even to meetings
with the management. He once broke an $800 Hamer bass they had bought
him in half because he wasn't getting his way. He would occasionally
pawn some of our practice gear to buy beer or pay for diapers to get
his wife off his back. We'd show up to jam and the mixing board would
be gone, or the PA amp. Eventually the people who were paying for all
of this got a little sick of it, and pulled the plug, leaving us with
no backing and no reason to be tied to Matt and his problems. So Joe,
Jim, and I formed a band called Blind Sight. The three of us were very
tight as a group. We picked up another bass player and a second
guitarist and became a very good all original band, and recorded a lot.
Excellent! Did you keep in touch with Matt over the years?
RH: I can
count the times I've seen Matt since then on one hand, and it's
probably been nine years since the last time.
CC: What was
the deal with his suit against Mötley? It was all a scam right?
RH: He could
at times be very convincing and to this day, I don't know whether or
not anything he said was true. I have seen copyright forms processed by
the Library of Congress that had every member of Mötley Crüe's full
real name, aka name, and social security number, with the exception of
Nikki Sixx. All it said was Nikki Sixx and gave a social security
number, which I swear to God was the same number on Matthew John
Trippe's social security card which I was holding in my other hand.
I'll tell you one thing, if I were going to try to pull what Matt
alleges Thayer/McGhee did, I would probably pick someone a lot like
Matt to do it with, because nobody would believe him completely - he
was a lunatic! A variety of photos seemed to show differences in facial
features through those years for Nikki Sixx. That could be attributed
to any number of things though I guess. Matt was at the time that I
knew him, a member of the Temple of Set, which is a pretty exclusive
organisation. I find it a little strange that they would allow some
weird-guy-nobody with no money to be a member, but I guess it could
about his Nikki Sixx tattoos then?
RH: He had
all of the tatts through the Theatre of Pain years. They were not
cheaply done and there were several. He had a wife, a brand new baby
boy, and no money - so I have no idea how he would have paid for them.
CC: So this
is perhaps a case for Mulder & Scully [from the X-Files] in your
looked a lot like Nikki Sixx. Maybe a little heavier but the facial
features were very similar. There are some things that leave
considerable doubt as well, like the fact that he didn't 'remember'
some of the music he had written. He was NOT a virtuoso bassist! But
weirder shit has happened in this country by far.
CC: Are you
still playing guitar today?
RH: Yes I
still play frequently. I've got a Marshall 120 watt half stack that I
love annoying my wife with. No immediate plan to join in on the rock
star rat race again though.
Thanks for your time Roger. It was great to catch up and gain your
insight. All the best!
You rule Paul!
Hear some RealAudio
of the Sixx Pakk song called Back For
The Kill, written by Jim H. This
was recorded by Sixx Pakk in March/April 1988 at Morrisound Studios,
Tampa, Florida USA.
Roger Hemond emailed Chronological Crue to say, "It's been awhile and a lot has been happening
with us musically. The name of the new band is Thrown Alive and we are
doing a lot of exciting things over here. It's all-original rock, the
material is great and we're doing several festivals as well as opening
slots for nationals like Great White, Bullet Boys, Ratt and another big
one this summer that I probably shouldn't disclose until confirmed. The
line-up is me on lead vocals and guitars, Joe Dixon on drums and Jimmy
Harris on bass, all of the members of Sixx Pakk, still together and
kicking ass 20 yrs later!
When you get time, please check us out at www.thrownalive.com
more ?? Click to see the complete
listing of Chronological Crue interviews.
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