Category Archives: blue angels

Top Gun to Foo Fighters

My face to the sky
Dreaming about just how high
I could go and I’ll know
When I finally get there

Taking off my glasses
Sun pokes through my lashes
And somehow I know
There’s a time for every star to shine

Everybody Got Their Something, performed by Nikka Costa, I came up with the song while hanging out on the beach surfing with Tom Cruise.  Tom had the 2002 movie “Blue Crush” developed which features the song.

Summer ’83, Tom Cruise told me about the movies he had been in.  He told me about his roles in Endless Love, the high strung Cadet Captain David Shawn in TapsThe OutsidersLosin ItAll The Right Moves, and the just released Risky Business as the entrepreneurial high schooler. 

So, I asked, “What are you going to do next?”  He told me, “I thought you might be able to help me with that.”  Basically, from the time he was 17 or 18 to 21 years old Tom had been given roles as a teenager in high school.  I smiled and asked, “When are you planning on growing up?”  He got a little choked up. 

I went through his movies in my head and his role in Taps really stuck out to me.  In fact, Kurt Cobain and I watched the movie together before meeting Tom and I wondered aloud, where he would go after graduating from military school.   Someone in the room spoke up and said, “Flight school!” 

Only a few hours from Birmingham, Alabama is the home of the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels [or the “Blues“] in Pensacola, Florida.  (If you read my early post you know that Bluey/Blue is Aussie slang for a redhead.)  I spent many summers on Pensacola Beach and have watched the Blue Angels practice flights up and down the beach.  It’s pretty amazing. 

I was a little worried.  In ’82 the blockbuster film An Officer and a Gentleman about a U.S. Navy aviation officer candidate had been released.  Many people loved this movie, but as a 15 year old kid I didn’t like it.  I have a problem about movies having a happy ending.  I also have a problem with  no one going to the bathroom in tv shows or movies.   It’s just not realistic.  Think about what all happens in a bathroom, the conversations you’ve had in a bathroom and, if lucky, the sex you’ve had in a bathroom.  

In conversation, we started developing some sort of an idea for a plot and eventually coming up with character names.  Unfortunately, I felt the need to kill off the lovable Goose (Anthony Edwards).  It couldn’t be Iceman (Val Kilmer) being Maverick’s nemesis, or Goose’s wife Carol Bradshaw (Meg Ryan), or one of the instructors.  I couldn’t think of any other character that might have the same impact.  

The ’70’s and ’80’s we were being inundated by commercial’s for Revlon’s Charlie perfume, which supposedly personified the independent woman.  So, I decided to give her the call name Charlie.

Since Pete Willis had left Def Leppard at about the same time Joe Elliott discovered me, I asked Tom if he would name his character for him.  Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell was born.  The definition of a Maverick is an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party.

There were 2 Rick’s in Top Gun for the 2 Rick’s in Def Leppard (Savage and Allen).  Whip Hubly as Lt. Rick “Hollywood” Neven and Michael Ironside’s character was named Lt. Cmdr. Rick “Jester” Heatherly.  Heatherly for Heather Locklear, and Jester for Motley Crue.  Motley refers to the traditional costume of a court jester.

After development of a script started, Joe Elliott and Tom Cruise placed an article in Rolling Stones which was picked up by The Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News, November 18, 1983.  Joe knowing I had lived in Texas for a while, had a close friend who was Mexican (Jose), decided to really make some news by voicing a racial slur.  He knew better, but it made the news.  If you will scroll down the article it mentions Cyndi Lauper’s ’80’s Blue Angel band and even further down mentions Tom Cruise.  Just to tie everyone together. 

For some reason I can’t upload the article as a picture, so here is the link http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=F-YiAAAAIBAJ&sjid=0qUEAAAAIBAJ&dq=tom%20cruise&pg=6796%2C4798499

NOTE:  Tom decided to do the fantasy film Legend before Top Gun, which press releases about it inspired another song which I might come back to another time. 

Most fans of Nirvana or Kurt Cobain know of his obsession with the Seattle, Washington born actress Frances Farmer even writing the song “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle.”  This obsession started in ’86 when Frances Farmer’s ex-husband, Leif Erickson, died in Pensacola (home of the Blue Angels).

When I made up a new song named Lick, performed by Joi, Kurt Cobain named the album Star Kitty’s Revenge.  The kitty part being from The Pussycat Dolls which I founded, or to be politically correct co-founded.  The song can be heard in the movie xXx.  The “X” came from a song I wrote for my pet project Nickelback, a song named S.E.X.

“X is just to mark the spot ‘Cause that’s the one you really want” 

Inspiration for the song S.E.X. actually came from a very innocent place.  On trips to California I would go surfing with Tom Cruise and Michael Hutchence.  Surfers use wax on their boards and my brother had some Dr. Zog’s Sex Wax, surfer’s wax, which drummers sometimes use on their sticks.

Michael Hutchence knew the story about the surfer’s wax and had a charm made for his leather jacket which he wears in the music video for Need You Tonight.  INXS then released their 1990 album titled “X”.

Def Leppard followed suit by naming their 2002 album “X”.

(I forgot to mention that Adam & The Ants had a song titled S.E.X.)

For some reason, during all the research for the movie the term Foo Fighters (Allied aircraft pilots in World War II used to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial aerial phenomena) had been mentioned.  It was something I remembered later on in ’94. 

I was pretty devasted by the loss of Kurt Cobain in my life.  It took me a long time to recover.  Finally, Dave and Krist approached the subject about what to do.  There are very few bands who have survived by the loss of a lead singer.  Actually, AC/DC was the only one that came to mind who overcame such a loss.   I looked Dave squarely in the face and said, “I want you to be the lead singer, but no more Nirvana.”  Dave had been a skinny goofy looking boy with no chin when he first started hanging around, but he had matured and there was something about him that made me think he could pull off being the lead singer.  For a long time he resisted making the transition from behind the drums, but hopefully it is a decision that no one has regretted.  Especially the fans. 

Some of the songs for the Foo Fighters had been written already before all this happened.  Big Me was inspired by Michael Hutchence showing up in about ’84 chewing on a minty candy called a Mentos.  I had never heard of a Mentos before, but it smelled really good.

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