Ex-STATIC-X Guitarist TRIPP EISEN Reflects On His Time In Prison: 'I'm Shocked I Survived'
November 22, 2022
Ex-STATIC-X and DOPE guitarist Tripp Eisen says that he has "accepted responsibility" for his role in two separate incidents involving sexual relations with minors.
Eisen — whose real name is Tod Rex Salvador — was arrested in Orange County, California in late February 2005. The then-39-year-old musician allegedly met a 14-year-old Sayreville, New Jersey girl on the Internet, drove from Pennsylvania on January 7, 2005 to meet her, and assaulted her in a shopping center in Old Bridge, New Jersey. The girl's mother found out about the incident and alerted police.
In a separate incident, Eisen was arrested on February 10, 2005 on one felony count of crimes against children. Authorities from the Orange County (California) Sheriff's Department found the musician sleeping in a parked car with an underage female with whom he'd just had sexual intercourse, according to Bergen, New Jersey's The Record.
Eisen accepted a plea bargain in California for "having oral sex with a person younger than fourteen years old and more than ten years younger than him," stemming from the Orange County arrest. He was paroled from the Mid-State Correctional Facility and was released from custody on April 17, 2007 after serving time for the January 2005 incident. A year and a half later — in December 2008 — Eisen was returned to prison on a parole violation and was released again the following year.
Eisen reflected on his arrest and subsequent prison sentence in a new interview with "The Chuck Shute Podcast". Regarding his decision to accept a plea bargain, he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It was, like, you're not gonna fight it. You get a plea bargain. You accept responsibility. I accepted responsibility and I just did what I had to do. I made a mistake and I have to pay the price for it. And there was never, like, 'Oh, let's go to trial.' Never — [it was] never a consideration."
Asked by host Chuck Shute if those were the only two incidents that he was involved or if there were other similar situations that he was never caught for, Tripp said: "This is all I know about. It was an incident. What happens in rock and roll, you make mistakes and you do things that are irresponsible. So I did something irresponsible. A lot of people do a lot of different things, you don't know what the consequences are, really, till you get held accountable."
He continued: "I don't wanna cast any aspersions of anybody else, but there's a lot of irresponsible behavior going on. It's a culture. What happened with me is something that may or may not be commonplace in the music industry. People have told stories, we all hear the stories about your idols back in the day — LED ZEPPELIN, KISS, MÖTLEY CRÜE, RATT, POISON — all these crazy stories. I'm sure there's a lot of irresponsible behavior that went on. And all you can do is pick up the pieces when things happen. Like what happened to me, I was held accountable. To speculate on it is… I'm comfortable speculating on it. Yeah, maybe other things that happened with other people… I don't know. It's just bad decisions. And you try to overcome it."
Eisen added: "I accepted responsibility. I've talked about it. It is something that's not admirable. It's shameful and it's something that I regret. I feel a lot of remorse. I've been through a lot of therapy and counseling. I understand the motivations. I understand the way I was thinking. It's called thinking errors, cognitive distortions. And you understand where you were at the time and things like that. So, if it can help anybody to say, 'You've gotta be careful.' And I've been told that by all kinds of people: 'Hey, you should have been more careful. You should know about people, about their age and things like that.' I was a teenager; I should have known better. It's that simple. But I look for forgiveness, maybe, and that you can give somebody a second chance and that you can learn from your mistakes and not ever make 'em again."
Tripp also reflected on the time he spent in prison, saying: "You try to see good in different things and you make the most of it. If you're lost out in the wilderness or you do whatever, you're in some unbearable situation, you make the most of it and you go in survival mode. And I'm shocked I survived because I feel like I'm a wuss. I don't know how I survived gangs and all these different things. There are murderers and gang members; it's scary stuff."
Asked how he was treated by other prisoners, especially considering that child sex offenders are at risk of being murdered and assaulted in prison, Tripp said: "It can be [like that]. But if you're honest about it, you defuse it. And I was in a situation where I was just honest about it. And people who would maybe beat or murder people of certain charges, they were understanding. They said, 'Listen, that's not… You're not a child molester. You've gotta know girls' ages. That's not molesting a child.' So, people in gangs that would normally rough you up or kill you or whatever, for some reason — maybe I'm stupid — but I said, 'Let me just be honest.' And they had empathy for me, weirdly enough. I mean, hardcore skinhead gang members. It was scary. I was just, like, 'I'm just gonna tell 'em. Whatever. See what happens.' And because I was upfront and they respected me in some weird way… I don't agree with people with swastikas on their arms. I was just, like, 'If they wanna do something, they're gonna do something. What are you gonna do?' So I was honest, and they respected that. And they said, 'We wouldn't harass you about that. You've just gotta be careful.' And I've had corrections officers and different people in different situations — like actual police, corrections officers, officers of the court — ask me questions, 'What are you in for?' And I'd tell 'em, and they'd go, 'Oh. Yeah, you've gotta be careful these days.'
"So, I understand. I took responsibility," he repeated. "It's a thing that's shameful, and it's a terrible mistake. But I was in facilities with people that did horrible, horrible, horrible things. So I'm, like, 'Phew, thank God. I've just got this little bit to do here and I'm gonna get on with my life.' So, you count your blessings, and you've gotta recover from it."
Tripp joined STATIC-X in 1999 and recorded three albums with the platinum-selling band.
Eisen is currently a member of an industrial rock band called FACE WITHOUT FEAR, in which he is joined by Reg S. on bass, Kenny "Mantis" Hoyt (CRUSHPILE) on vocals, T.J. Cooke (METHODICAL) on drums and Dante on guitar.
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