Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lies of the Beautiful People Origin

“Well if you think real beauty’s on the outside
Well that’s a far cry
From the truth
Maybe all the information you received
Well you should not believe
There’s no proof
Save yourself from all the lies of the beautiful people
It’s time to run from the lies of the beautiful people” Lies of the Beautiful People performed by Sixx: A.M.

Not long after Joe Elliott and I met we were talking about my favorite Beatles song which happened to be Helter Skelter.  At the time I didn’t know of the California band by the name of Motley Crue who had been performing a cover of the song  which would be released in September of that year on the “Shout at the Devil” album. 

We talked about the meaning of the song and I found out there was actually an amusement ride called “Helter Skelter” in England.  I had a collection of Beatles songs which included the song, but not the White album which had been released the year I was born, 1968.  Joe proceed to tell me and Kurt Cobain the sordid history of the White album and the song. 

The term ‘helter skelter’ was far less well known in the US.  To the psychopath Charles Manson it was a coded prophecy for an apocalyptic race war (or Armageddon).  This is why Kurt at one point drew an “X” on his forehead and had his picture taken.  Def Leppard would release the song Armageddon It on the Hysteria album in 1987.

It wasn’t long after this discussion that I met Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue who in February of ’83 had performed at the US Fest in California with INXS.  (This is when Tommy Lee gave me the nickname Bullwinkle.)

Joe took some time off in June from the Rock Till You Drop tour, claiming a sore throat, while we all worked on new songs.   About this time Pete Willis left the band and they called in their friend Phil Collen of the band Girl to fill the vacancy.  They went back to California to the movie studios and filmed the original music video for Photograph with the stabbing knife at the beginning and using images of Marilyn Monroe.  Joe later made a second version with a black cat like mine at the beginning (see The Pussycat Dolls to Papa Don’t Preach post).

After coming up with the song The Beautiful People I also came up with the stagename “Marilyn Manson” for Def Leppard’s use of Marilyn Monroe in Photograph and the story about Helter Skelter and Charles Manson drawing a connection to Motley Crue.

This is also where I came up with the stagename for Eminem (M&M for Marilyn Manson) after writing songs which he would perform.  It was Michael Jackson’s suggestion for the spelling of the name.

I would go on to make up the song Beautiful performed by Christina Aguilera after Courtney Love gave me a compliment.  Courtney and I did not get along and it surprised me when I overheard the compliment.  So, in a turn of kindness I made up the song.  This song was based on ELO’s Don’t Bring Me Down.

Years later I would makeup a third song titled Lies of the Beautiful People and I asked Nikki Sixx if he would perform it so to tie into the other songs, The Beautiful People and Beautiful.  We then came up with the band name Sixx A.M. (A.M. being the first 2 letters of my name).


What do Korn & Nickelback have in common?

What do the bands Korn & Nickelback have in common?  Besides me writing songs for them, it was Adam & The Ants reversing the “d” in Adam who inspired me to want the “b” in Nickelback to be reversed.  Korn did this as well. 


Origin of Pink’s Album Titles & Songs

“You make me sick
I want you and I’m hatin it
Got me lit like a candlestick
Get too hot when you touch the tip, I’m feelin it, I gotta getta grip
And it’s drivin me crazy baby don’t you quit
Can’t get enough of it
You got me goin again
Baby, you got me goin again
You make me sick” – You Make Me Sick performed by Pink

We listened to a lot of disco at the roller skating rink such as The Gap Band, Midnight Star, George Clinton & P-Funk, The Commodores, The Brothers Johnson, KC & The Sunshine Band, Richard Berry’s “Louis Louis” influenced many of the songs I wrote for my alter-egos.  These particular songs were also influenced by Joan Jett and Pat Benatar.  

The 2000 album and song “Can’t Take Me Home” was from 1983 Joe Elliott released an article about Def Leppard in Goldmine which the headline read, “The Heavy Metal Band You Can Bring Home to Mother.”

You Make Me Sick:  Kurt Cobain and I watched a lot of movies together.  Sometimes Michael Hutchence would be there when INXS had some down time.  On one of these occasions we watched the 1981 British comedy Time Bandits by Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam.

Inspired by a conversation between the characters while sitting on the S.S. Titanic before it went down, Kevin said to Randell, “You make me sick!”

The 2001 album and song “Missunderztood” came from a headline about INXS in 1985 (see pic).

 Don’t Let Me Get Me: The other artists could not seem to understand why I didn’t want to be famous.  Only thing hold me back was stage fright and the struggle with how I might be perceived by my grandfather, the preacher.  Not knowing what they actually had in mind for me, I figured they would have just thrown me out there as the next Tiffany or Debbie Gibson which wasn’t me or the image I really would have wanted to project.  It was an inner struggle which I projected in the song.  I make reference also in the song to Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood.

Just Like A Pill: The idea for the song and is influenced by overhearing things after Rick Allen, Def Leppard’s drummer, wrecked his car December 31, 1984 and lost an arm and their song “You Got Me Running” from the High ‘n’ Dry album.

Get This Party Started: There was only one influence on this song and it was Michael Jackson’s friend Diana Ross who released the song “I’m Coming Out” in 1980.

Family Portrait:  It was a self-portrait of my family and somewhat had been happening up until my parents divorced in ’83.  I didn’t want parents to stay together, though at times I still missed my brother and dad after they moved out.

2003 album “Try This” 

Trouble:  This is just my take on the old saying, my middle name is trouble.  In the lyrics I make reference to Tom Cruise who starred in “The Firm” 1993.   

God Is A DJ: Pretty much self-explanatory.  I always liked to make up inspirational songs to not only get people moving, but in life as well. 

2006 “I’m Not Dead”

Stupid Girl: After meeting Hutch, knowing I didn’t want to be famous, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  At fifteen I didn’t have a clue, but Mom always told me I could be anything I wanted to be even the first female President.  This song was heavily influenced by watching some of the females that would hook themselves up with the male artist looking for help with their careers. 

U + ur Hand: This was another version of a song I wrote when a kid.  The other was called Darling Nikki, named for Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue though it was not about him, and performed by Prince.  It was also inspired by Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail.  “I’m not here for your entertainment” was a take on “Let Me Entertain You” a song from the musical Gypsy.   After I came up with the song Kurt Cobain wrote the song “Smells Like Teen Spirits” if that tells you how long ago this song was written.

2008 “Funhouse”

Funhouse:  I wrote this song sometime after 1989.  The officials had been talking about tearing the Auditorium down where we worked on most of the songs.  I asked them to make it part of the museum.  Of course, the lyrics were inspired by Def Leppard’s Pyromania album and the song PhotographI also had become fascinated with the Cirque du Soleil performances which influenced the song, as well as, advertising art & pinup art.

So What: This happen to be written after I was married.  I remember Alecia reading the lyrics and asking, “I’ve got to get married?”   

Sober: I wrote this after “Call Me When Your Sober” performed by Evanescence and I make many references to Evanescence songs I wrote including “Broken”.

These are just a few I wanted to mention.


Michael Jackson’s Black or White Origin

“I Took My Baby
On A Saturday Bang
Boy Is That Girl With You
Yes We’re One And The Same
Now I Believe In Miracles
And A Miracle
Has Happened Tonight
But, If
You’re Thinkin’
About My Baby
It Doesn’t Matter If You’re
Black Or White” – Black or White

Michael Jackson’s song Black or White released in 1991 was inspired by INXS.  In 1982 INXS released a song titled Black and White on their Shabooh Shoobah album.  Of course, having met INXS before meeting MJ in ’83 I pretty much knew all their songs. 

With Michael Hutchence and Tim Farris, we talked about the similarities in our countries in that we shared a history of racism.  It was also a conversation I had with MJ.  Fortunately, I grew up in a South that was changing.  We talked about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march on Selma, Alabama.  I wanted to break down the barriers of symbols which were found offensive.  Symbols used in the Black or White music video were “KKK” and the swastika.

(Martin Luther King, Jr. and marchers on Selma, AL.  The photo was taken by family friend and fashion photographer Spider Martin who committed suicide 9 years to the day that Kurt Cobain’s body was found. )

By the time of MJ’s release of Black or White, I had written the song “Raise Your Glass” which would go on to be performed by P!nk.  Kurt Cobain would sometimes play air guitar while I would sing and it influenced “Raise Your Glass” and Macaulay Culkin was doing an imitation of Kurt in the Black or White music video.

Kurt also made references to the KKK or other symbols of controversy because of this.


Corn with a K

“Hey you, hey you devils little sister
Listening to your twisted transistor
Hold it between your legs turn it up, turn it up
The wind is coming through can’t get enough

A lone-ly life where no one understands you
But don’t give up because the music do
Music do!” – Twisted Transistor performed by Korn

The song Twisted Transistor itself was inspired by watching my brother and dad build a transistor radio, as well as nights I would try to spend some time with my dad while he worked on televisions.  Yep, the failed musician turned television repairman.

There are many references to other songs I loved just in the lyrics I’ve posted here.  In 1961 Elvis released the song “Little Sister” and it was released again on the ’77 soundtrack album Elvis in Concert which I have in my collection.  As usual, I make reference to Alan Parson’s song “Turn It Up” and to Billy Squier’s song “Lonely Is the Night” released on the Don’t Say No album.

I’ve written about “Coming Undone” in another post. 

“Ya’ll Wanna Single”, happened a day I was mad at Kurt Cobain and Joe Elliott.  There were moments when they would push too hard for me to come up with new songs so I would express myself in a song.  This is where Freak On A Leash came from as well, I felt like I was being kept on a short leash.

Falling Away From Me, Kurt actually makes reference to the fact that I used ‘It’s gonna be better tomorrow’ with the voice of Jean Stapleton who is known for her roll as Edith Bunker by writing Sally Struthers in his published journal.  This was also a reference to a famous line by Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, “Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all… tomorrow is another day.”

With the cover of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Another Brick In The Way pts. 1, 2 & 3, it was a way of referencing Bob Geldof’s character as “Pink” in the movie and also a way to honor such an inspirational band.  When they asked me who I wanted to do the version I could only think of Korn performing it.  

There are a few other songs which I may come back to at another time.


Diamond Eyes Shinedown Origin

“I am the shadow, and the smoke in your eyes,
I am the ghost, that hides in the night” – Diamond Eyes performed by Shinedown

The idea for the song Diamond Eyes goes back to all the artists using an eye as cover art for the albums and even Michael Hutchence using it as the artwork for the movie Frankenstein Unbound. 

It also goes back even further to when I met Kurt Cobain.  I remember thinking he was the first person I had ever met with eyes like mine.  Being adopted I couldn’t look at the family who raised me and know my hair color was passed from a particular person or my eyes from another.  I told Kurt he was very lucky to be able to look at his family and know these things about himself.  

This was not the first time I had referenced someone’s eyes in a song.  When I wrote Mystify for INXS I was referring to Michael Hutchence’s brown eyes with, “almond looks”.   

Publicly Shinedown’s lead singer, Brent Smith, said this about the song:

“A few months ago we got a phone call from a very interesting individual. It’s not everyday that Rambo and Rocky call you at the same time. Sylvester Stallone wanted a song for his new movie, called The Expendables. He said write me something that will personify not only the South, but what rock truly is.”

Actually, this goes back to Tommy Lee of Motley Crue giving me the nickname Bullwinkle when I was 15 and William Grey taking the nickname “Rocky”.  The song itself was written long before a movie was developed called The Expendables starring Sylvester Stallone.   

This particular song has many ties to others, including The Deftones which I wrote the song “Change” for and the Foo Fighters song I wrote called “Walk”.  The lyrics “paper mountains” in Walk is a continuation of the theme “paper flowers” in Imaginary performed by Evanescence and “Paper Sun” a song I wrote for Def Leppard.


I am Kid Rock!

Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy
(Get Ready)
My name is KIIIIIIIIIIIID…Kid Rock! – Bawitdaba

One day I overheard someone say, “That kid rocks.”  I took it as quite the compliment considering the artists which were usually hanging around.  

I happen to be goofing around when I started singing Bawitdaba.  It started with Kurt trying to say, “But, wait a minute Dude!” and I heard Bawitdaba in a sleepy haze while waking up. 

I was influenced by the song Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom) recorded by Perry Como.  My dad was a big Perry Como fan and his albums were usually around the house.    

“up jump the boogy” was a reference to the INXS song “Jumping” off their self titled album released in 1980. 

The mention of D.B. Cooper in the song was actually about a feud with the ultra Southern racist U.S. Senator Edward W. Carmack who was shot down in Nashville, TN in 1908, the same year my grandfather was born.

I wish all of you could know how cool it was to have Tommy Lee playing drums while I sang this song for a few that had gathered after we put the final touches on the song. 

Another song I wrote which has connection to this one is “No Diggity” performed by the R&B group Blackstreet. 

I wrote All Summer Long performed by Kid Rock and is my take on Def Leppard’s friends Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, which growing up in Alabama I was pretty sick of hearing so I thought I would write my own version.   In 1994 Nirvana started performing Sweet Home Alabama in concert and on MTV Unplugged expressed my sentiments about the song by performing a small portion.  When talking about the song I am the one who gave him the idea for someone in the audience to yell “Freebird”.  Yes, that was planned.

This did inspire the 2002 movie “Sweet Home Alabama”.  There is a coon dog cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama which is the hometown of Helen Keller and near Muscle Shoals, AL where Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded albums. 

(Amy Lee, 1972, Dallas, TX)

Another song is Cowboy I wrote performed by Kid Rock.  A connection to this song is the one I wrote for Nickelback titled “Rockstar”.


Youth of a Nation Origin

Call me blind but I didn’t see it coming
And everybody was runnin
But I couldn’t hear nothin, except
Gun blast, it happened so fast
I didn’t really know this kid though I sat by him in class
Maybe this kid was reachin out for love or
Maybe for a moment he forgot who he was or
Maybe this kid just wanted to be hugged
Whatever it was I know it’s because
We are, we are, [we are] the youth of the nation – Youth of a Nation performed by P.O.D.

The song Youth of a Nation released in 2001 by P.O.D. was inspired by a kid I went to Jr. High with who played Russian roulette with some older men in the mobile home park where he lived one night.  We were the same age and my best friend knew him well.  His death touched her deeply, and the whole school.  This happened only days before Joe Elliott discovered me in May ’83.

“Little Suzie, she was only twelve
She was given the world with every chance to excel
Hang with the boys and hear the stories they tell
She might act kinda proud but no respect for herself”

My mother’s nickname was Suzie Q so I used it in the lyrics and in turn Kurt and Nirvana wrote the song “Talk to Me” also using my mother’s nickname released in 1994.

“Shake down easy, shake yourself Suzy, woman
If somehow make it full house, sad man” – Talk to Me, Nirvana

The next line of Nirvana’s song happen to be about the song I wrote titled Uninvited performed by Alanis Morissette who was dating actor and commedian Dave Coulier who starred on Full House at the time.  As you can see, INXS also made reference to Full House with their ’93 poster.  Uninvited was not released until 1998 on the soundtrack for City of Angels.


Origin of the ! in P!nk

As I’ve mentioned in another post, it was in meeting Bob Geldof who starred as “Pink” in Pink Floyd’s The Wall released in ’82 who inspired me to give the stagename P!nk for an artist I was writing songs for.  Geldof is the singer, songwriter, author, and political activist best known for his work on Band Aid and Live Aid.  In the ’70’s he was the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats with John “Mutt” Lange producing some of their albums.  Lange who also produced Def Leppard’s ’83 hit album Pyromania.

As a child, I was inspired by the Danish entertainer Victor Borge to want to be a classical pianist.  It was Borge’s stage act on “Phonic Punctuation” which inspired the ! in P!nk.  I also hated when little girls would draw a heart at the top of an “i” which my friends were known to do, so to solve the problem I turned the “i” upside down.

Michael Hutchence and INXS knew of this and soon a movie script was developed titled “Pretty in Pink” released in 1986 starring another redhead, Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy, Jon Cryer, James Spader, and others.  INXS lent the song “Do Wat You Do” to the soundtrack.

I would also make up the song “Pink” which would be performed by Aerosmith released in 1997.


Origin of the $ in Ke$ha’s Name

Hot and dangerous
If you’re one of us then roll with us
‘Cause we make the hipsters fall in love
When we got our hot pants on and up

And yes of course we does
We runnin’ this town just like a club
And no, you don’t wanna mess with us
Got Jesus on my necklace-ace-ace – We Are Who We Are performed by Ke$ha

This is another song I wrote for the artist known as Ke$ha.  “Jesus on my necklace” happen to be a reference to where I got the idea for the dollar sign in her name (Michael Hutchence ’90’s).

In the song We Are Who We Are, I again make reference to Alan Parsons song Turn It Up in the lyrics.  The stuttering in the song came from my brother having stuttered as a child.