June 15th, 1983 was just another blurry day in Mötley-land. The up n’ coming sleaze-stars of the Crüe were just about finished recording their breakthrough sophomore album Shout at the Devil and were doing what they did best: drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. After bassist Nikki Sixx and drummer Tommy Lee spent the afternoon snorting coke off a friend’s grand piano and banging a bunch of groupies in a hot tub, Sixx decides to hop into his Porsche—naked, of course—and speed over to ex-Runaway Lita Ford’s house. He never made it. Barreling down the city streets at excess of 90 miles per hour, Sixx hit a telephone pole and totaled his car. He was discovered by some helpful passersby, who pulled his limp body from the wreckage and got him to a hospital. Amazingly, his only major damage was a separated shoulder, and he recovered quickly enough to hit the road for the first leg of the lengthy Shout world tour.
Matthew Trippe…or Nikki Sixx? You decide!
That’s what “they” want you to think, anyway. But that’s not the way Matthew John Trippe remembered it at all…
Trippe was an alcoholic teenage Satanist when he ran into Crüe guitarist Mick Mars at the Troubadour on the Sunset Strip in the spring of ‘83. Mötley, according to Trippe, was looking for a Nikki Sixx clone to cover while the real Sixx was in the hospital recovering from his car crash. Despite the fact that Trippe didn’t really look like Nikki at all and couldn’t play the bass and didn’t even know their songs, he joined the band, toured the world, wrote and recorded half of the Theater of Pain record, and was left high and dry a year later when he was arrested for robbing a magazine stand in Florida for beer money and the now-mended Nikki Sixx rejoined the band.
If this sounds fucking insane to you, well, it seemed that way to the courts too, who tossed out his suit against Mötley Crüe manager Doc Mcghee in 1988.
The “best” proof of the “fake” Nikki Sixx.
Here’s the thing, though. Trippe—who died in 2014 still defiantly telling the world he was the 80s Nikki Sixx—was a boozy, druggy liar, for sure. But so was everybody else in that organization back then. There are enough kinda-sortas to the story (Kerrang! magazine even published a five-page article filled with puzzling evidence) to keep conspiracy theorists going probably forever. And here’s the thing: I saw Vince Neil perform in Oklahoma (don’t ask) in 2007. He did all Mötley Crüe songs, of course, moldy oldies like “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Live Wire,” but he would only sing the choruses. He would just mumble through the verses. So either this bloated dummy onstage was so wine-soaked at that point that he didn’t even know the words to the songs he’s been singing for thirty years, or they just got a Vince Neil doppelgänger for the gig who didn’t do his homework.
It could’ve even been Ron Jeremy in a wig, I wasn’t that close. Either Crüe conspiracy seems as plausible in 2007 as it does in 1983. Anything is possible in rock ‘n’ roll, man.
If you’ve got a spare 3.5 hours, here’s Matthew Trippe explaining it all on a 2013 podcast.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Excess All Areas’: Mötley Crüe Vibrators