Category Archives: Dark Horse

The Firm

Top Gun was not the only movie that started being developed in ’83, but so was the ’93 movie The Firm.  I know, everyone believes it was a book published in ’91 by the Southern author John Grisham first and then was turned into a movie.   (Does anyone know bandmembers who say they are from Arkansas like Grisham? Evanescence sound familiar?)

Tom Cruise dropped his surname Mapother once he became a professional actor.  As some might not know, artists keep their press clippings.  

Some articles about a “credit attorney” from the Louisville, Kentucky firm Mapother & Mapother in a trial taking place in Washington (Kurt Cobain mentioned reading about it) kept popping up while searching for Mapother.  I even remember Tom saying he was related to them.  This may or may not be true. 

On The Firm movie soundtrack another connection to me and to Kurt Cobain was a song titled Never mind written by Harlen Howard and performed by Nanci Griffith 

The title to the book and film came from lyrics in Billy Squier’s song The Stroke“You put your right hand out give a firm hand-shake

Once the book/movie started taking shape I wrote the song Shakin’ Hands for my pet project Nickelback.

“Well she ain’t no Cinderella
When she’s getting undressed
‘Cause she rocks it like the naughty wicked witch of the west”

What inspired the lyrics happened to be when I met Michael Hutchence and INXS they told me Australia was called “Oz” for short.  I had also seen Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow in the ’78 film The Wiz.  It was about someone, but it was a man/artist and none I have mentioned in this particular post.  Actually, I take that back.  I watched and listened to how Joe Elliott of Def Leppard and others treated women which appalled me.  Some of the lyrics in my songs sound sexist, but it was actually me throwing their actions and even words back in their faces.  

I became pretty good at reversing sexes in songs too, except for one song I wrote for one of my alter ego’s, Rihanna, and they left the mistake in when she recorded it.  The song was S.O.S.

Rihanna was given the name for one of my favorite Stevie Nick’s song Rhiannon.  When writing for Rihanna I was listening to a lot of Bob Marley/Reggae at the time and was also inspired by early ’80s INXS New Wave/Ska sound.

You may be asking yourself why I referred to Rihanna as my alter ego.  I considered all the artists I wrote for, except the established artists, my alter egos.  All of the songs were written and perfected well before the artist who performed them was found or discovered.  Some where even groom, such as Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.  The artists and the songs were all very much a personality and you will even find my strange sense of humor in some.


Sweet Sacrifice Origin

I’ve written about the origins of Evanescence in an earlier post, but here are just a few words about the songs.

Sweet Sacrifice and the duet Broken were two of the first songs I made up at 15 and told them the artist I wanted to perform it would be called Amy Lee.   

The title to Sweet Sacrifice was to tie into Pour Some Sugar On Me which I wrote with Joe Elliott of Def Leppard and to Sugar Walls which was performed by Sheena Easton. 

Sweet Sacrifice 

It’s true, we’re all a little insane.

But it’s so clear,

Now that I’m unchained.

I used what I knew at the time which was making reference to albums my brother had and I would listen to while he was not home.  His collection of albums included Aerosmith, Van Halen, Billy Squier, and ELO.  ‘The definition of Aerosmith’s Toys In the Attic (meaning insanity) influenced the first line, where Van Halen’s Unchained is mentioned in the third.

The line “Blow me away” from Sweet Sacrifice I used in another song performed by the Deftones named Change when I was 15 or 16 (’83 or ’84).  The title for Change was taken from David Bowie’s Changes, but the song itself was inspired by the ’46 movie The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Martha Vickers as Carmen (pictured). 

“Vivian is spoiled, exacting, smart and quite ruthless. Carmen is a child who likes to pull wings off flies. Neither of them has anymore moral sense than a cat. Neither have I. No Sternwood ever had.”– General Sternwood

Another line from The Big Sleep inspired the song Something In Your Mouth performed by Nickelback.

“If I did, she’d just suck her thumb and look coy. (about Martha Vicker’s character Carmen)”-General Sternwood

Years later Kurt Cobain decided to cover the band Flipper’s ’84 song “Sacrifice” and Def Leppard members wrote the lineA whole lotta somethin’ you can’t sacrifice” for the ’87 song Women.

The idea for the 2006 The Open Door album started with an 1844 photograph at The Getty Museum of the same name by William Henry Fox Talbot http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=71564

The change I wanted to make for the design of the album cover came in wanting it to show the image of Amy Lynn Hartzler walking out the door from the inside.