Category Archives: Nicole Kidman

Theory of a Deadman

In ’78 my family up and moved to Mesquite, Texas where I attended J.C. Rugel Elementary and my older brother attended  North Mesquite High School, where model Jerry Hall went to high school.   I was put into advanced classes and Spanish was a required course.  My best friend was a little Mexican boy named Jose.  We would sit on the curb after school and I would try to speak Spanish. 

The Mexican culture affected me greatly.  Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is a celebration on November 1st and 2nd where family and friends gather to remember loved ones who have died.  Tradition includes building alters honoring the deceased placing sugar skulls, marigolds (inspiring Dave Grohl of Nirvana to write the song Marigold), and the favorite food and beverages of the departed, as well as, visiting graves with these as gifts.

While sitting between Michael Hutchence and Adam Ant I made up the song Deadman’s Party and No One Lives Forever which I mentioned in an earlier post.  Both bands  had a very distinctive sound, INXS being more Ska New Wave with Adam & The Ants being Punk Rock and New Wave.  Once I had an idea, a song most of the time would just spill out.  It was my way of conveying what I really couldn’t vocalize and veil it in song.  They would record me singing it and I would go over the rest (the instrumental part) with the other artists like Kurt or members of Def Leppard.

We talked about my brother coming home one day loaded with test tubes, I always figured he stole them from school.  My dad and brother set off to buy a bushel of grain to try their hand at making grain alcohol.  What they produced was a clear almost tasteless liquid.  From this conversation I made up the song Weird Science.  

Weird science!

Plastic tubes and pots and pans

Bits and pieces and

Magic from the hand

We’re makin’

Weird science!

Things I’ve never seen before

Behind bolted doors

Talent and imagination

Since Joe Elliott was standing in the doorway of a dressing room behind me as I made up songs, there was a reference to Def Leppard’s song Bringin’ On The Heartbreak and Photograph  as pictures.

 Weird science!

Pictures from a magazine

Diagrams and charts

Mending broken hearts (and makin’)

Weird science!

Something like a recipe

Bits and pieces . . . .

Bits and pieces . . . .

Bits and Pieces is a 1960’s song originally written and performed by members of  The Dave Clark Five.  The Supremes recorded a cover in 1964 (Diana Ross being a member who was a longtime friend of Michael Jackson), and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts recorded a cover for their 1981 album.  I am a huge Joan Jett & The Blackhearts fan.

Later I learned from a girlfriend about Alabama’s history in NASCAR racing starting with bootleggers.  Her family had a long line of bootleggers back in the day and most of my friends were known to go to Talladega Superspeedway for the races.   NASCAR racers Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnett, and Red Farmer were known as the Alabama Gang.  I told Tom Cruise about my friend which inspired Days of Thunder.

The idea for the band Theory of a Deadman came years later while I was writing songs which the band performs, including Low Life.  The band name came from talking to Michael Jackson about the Big Bang Theory and from the song Deadman’s Party.

Low Life performed by Theory of a Deadman even mentions Joe Elliott with me referring to him as Joe Dirt which inspired the 2001 movie.

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Kurt Cobain’s Down Syndrome Girl

I have mentioned in “About A Girl” above that my grandfather, Miles Edward, was an Evangelist who started his ministry in the 1930’s and his name was inspiration for Edward Lewis’ character name in the movie Pretty Woman.  Lewis being his grandmother’s maiden name.    

Courtney Love claims her birthday is the same day as my grandparents wedding anniversary of July 9th and Trent Reznor claims his grandmother’s name is the same as mine, Clara.   

Russell Brand’s stage name is for the Russell Brand Athletic wear in Alexander City, Alabama where my grandfather married his 2nd wife in October ’84 after Clara passed away in October ’83. 

These, of course, are my adopted grandparents (mother’s side).  I was adopted at the age of 6 months old after having been withheld from adoption by physicians who were concerned about my physical appearance and the possibility of having been born with Down Syndrome.  Kurt Cobain wrote a ficticious story about me in his journal under the title Down Syndrome Girl.  

In 1974, the adoption agency sent my parents a family history which Mom kept in my baby book and Kurt and Joe read.  My background/family history was used as inspiration for background for future artists (including Amy Lynn Hartzler and Courtney Love) and for movies.  One such movie was Susan Sarandon’s 2006 movie Irresistible set in Australia and also starring Sam Neill.  Sam Neill starred in the ’89 movie Dead Calm with Nicole Kidman who went on to marry Tom Cruise and Billy Zane who also starred in the ’97 movie Titanic

“It’s bigger than Germany!” Love Bites, Def Leppard, was inspired by the fact according to my family history I am of English and German descent.


Oh! Pretty Woman

In ’82 Van Halen released a cover of Roy Orbison’s song Oh!, Pretty Woman on their Diver Down album.  This is one album my brother had and I loved.  My favorites being the cover of Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now) and Hang ‘Em High.  But, my all time favorite cover of Van Halen’s is Ice Cream Man, which Tommy Lee seemed to enjoy whenever I would sing it. 

Joe Elliott started paperwork getting a passport for me in the summer of ’83.  It was unknown to me his intentions, but when I returned from my grandmother’s funeral, my adopted mother’s mother, in Georgia the first of Oct ’83 everyone seemed to be upset about my disappearance. 

I told them of my grandmother’s long battle with Leukemia which she had been in remission with for years.  Joe wanted to do a movie about it, knowing I had also been babysitting off and on during the summer for a little girl in remission from Leukemia.  Kurt Cobain spoke up knowing my cousin had Type 1 Diabetes and worked for Xerox.  Of course, Kurt was a walking Encyclopedia of music and knew that Zerox was an early Adam & The Ants song.  There is actually an early home movie of Kurt trying to tear up a copy machine.   http://youtu.be/NxS_55Ql1Ks  While discussing the idea Joe came up with the title naming it Steel Magnolias released in ’89.

My adopted father’s mother, Isabel, a redhead herself, once owned a  beauty shop named Belle’s House of Beauty in Texas.   The picture is of my brother getting his first haircut.  This is where they got the idea for the beauty shop in Steel Magnolias and also name the character Belle Marmillion.

Tom Cruise would go on to adopt a little girl with Nicole Kidman and name her Isabella.

Kurt Cobain later would talk about how Nirvana would practice above a beauty shop in the early years.  My grandmother’s birthday, February 24, also happened to be the day Kurt and Courtney got married in 1992.

(My grandmother’s Social Security Card application)

 Michael Jackson knew I loved the tv show Beauty and the Beast which ran from 1987 to 1990 starring “Linda Carroll” Hamilton (Courtney Love’s mother’s name is supposedly Linda Carroll) as Belle and Ron Perlman as the Beast Vincent.  Linda Hamilton is the ex-wife of film director James Cameron (this is important and will post about the development of Titanic later).  Disney put into production the development of Belle about this time and released the animated Beauty and the Beast in 1991. 

Sometime during all of this the actor Eric Roberts found out what was going on and invited to Alabama to meet me.  His motive was in looking for scripts for his sister, Julia, another redhead. 

Plans for a trip were rescheduled for the weekend before Halloween which fell on a Monday.  I didn’t know this would mean skipping a day of school.  They dressed me in a brunette wig and large sunglasses and we left on Joe’s private plane.  We arrived in Dublin and Joe took off through customs and the airport ahead of us being mobbed by paparazzi.  I heard Kurt ask if Joe had let them know he was arriving.  Joe gave a quick interview distracting them while we finished in customs then climbed into a Range Rover.  We climbed into the Range Rover parked behind his.

The home was large, but not quite what one would call a mansion by today’s standards.  It had a mortar and rock facade in a very European style.  Joe met us at the door and came up behind me putting his hands over my eyes leading me through the front hall into the main living area.  When he took his hands away I was staring at green rolling hills through a window that spanned the length of the room.  The window was made up of panes of beveled glass which obscured the view some.  I gasped as a white hairy beast rounded one of the green mounds charging toward the home.  At first I thought it was a horse.  A few seconds later this mud covered behemoth was sitting on the white marble in front of me.  This is when I realized it wasn’t a horse at all but a dog, a Great Pyrenees actually.

Development of the script for the ’90 movie Pretty Woman was well under way on this trip and changes were being made.  Joe decided to use Lauren Bacall’s dress in the 1944 film adaption of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not as inspiration for the “hooker dress”.


O’ for a Muse of fire!

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!  
Shakespeare

(The Real Amy Lee, Singing School, Dallas, TX, age 4)

Redheads make up a small percentage of the population.  They have been the target of much ridicule and feared for their fiery temperament. Montague Summers, in his translation of Malleus Maleficarum, notes during the Middle Ages red hair and green eyes were thought to be the sign of a witch, a werewolf, or a vampire.  We endure being called such names as Gingers (a UK term popularized by South Park) and Carrot Top.

There were times in various cultures redheads have been prized.  Many painters have exhibited a fascination with red hair. The colour “titian” takes its name from the painter Titian, who often painted women with red hair.  Early Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting The Birth of Venus depicts the mythological goddess Venus as a redhead.

There is the belief  that redheads are highly sexed; Jonathan Swift satirizes redhead stereotypes in part four of Gulliver’s Travels, “A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms,” He writes: “It is observed that the red-haired of both sexes are more libidinous and mischievous than the rest, whom yet they much exceed in strength and activity.” Swift also writes that: “…neither was the hair of this brute [a Yahoo] of a red colour (which might have been some excuse for an appetite a little irregular) but black as a sloe…”

Speaking of Yahoo.  I was crazy about Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS.  Hutch really wasn’t much to look at, he had a head full of curly hair (like me), a funny nose, and was only an inch or two taller than my five foot four inches.  Not to mention he had a really funny accent.  But, there was something about him, something inexplicably sexy and more mature than most of the artists who hung around.  My attraction to him mystified me.   I had been joking around with Hutch and learning Aussie slang when I learned the slang word for redhead (Bluey/Blue).  I added it to the lyrics of Mystify.

 “All veils and misty streets of blue”

While talking to Andrew Farris about “what if” Hutch and I worked out, had a family, what our child might look like.  I think we both agreed it would be the weirdest looking Bluey with wild hair.  Yep, this where he got the idea for the ’80’s Australian funny man Yahoo Serious .  Can you believe Serious tried to sue Yahoo over the use of his name?  Oh, you might not realize they were not just into investing their money in development of books and movies, Crocodile Dundee for example, but also in technology.     

Joe Elliott of Def Leppard has always said his favorite color is red. He even had 2 redheads in his band, Steve Clark under all that bleach was a redhead and drummer Rick Allen.  Actually, Joe made the comment once I reminded him of Rick Allen when he was 15 and joined the band. 

Before I met Tom Cruise he had dated redhead Melissa Gilbert, starred in All The Right Moves with Leah Thompson and then went on to marry Nicole Kidman.

Kurt Cobain had family members who were redheads, or would dye their hair red. 

Kurt was also known to dye his hair red.

Australia was not the only one to have a Yahoo [redhead] but Gene Simmons of Kiss befriended comedian Carrot Top.

 I couldn’t have been more than 16 when Bob Geldof, Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist, came to meet me.  Geldof  of the band Boomtown Rats who had albums produced by the ever mysterious John “Mutt” Lange who produced Def Leppard’s ’83 Pyromania.  

Geldof had starred as “Pink” in ’82 Pink Floyd’s The Wall and where I came up with the singers stage name P!nk which I wrote songs for.  I remember it was about this time that Michael Hutchence had been talking about helping to organize Australia’s version of Live Aid known as Oz for Africa. 

Tom Cruise and Kurt Cobain dressed me in a belly dancer outfit, for some unknown reason the day I met Geldof, and came up with the song “Genie In A Bottle” eventually to be performed by Christina Aguilera.  Some of you Kiss and Gene Simmons fans might know his family calls him Genie, but the song was more inspired by the costume and Barbara Eden’s role in the ’65 to ’70 television show I Dream of Jeannie which I grew up watching even in re-runs.

Not sure if any of you are old enough to remember the English/Australian group the Bee Gee’s who enjoyed great success during the ’70’s disco era.  I grew up listening to them being played everywhere, in movies, on tv, and even at the roller skating rink on the weekends where one could often hear everything from George Clinton’s Atomic Dog to The Gap’s You Dropped The Bomb On Me, and Wipe Out by the Surfaris happened to be a favorite too. 

The Bee Gee’s brother Barry Gibbs falsetto inspired me when I wrote Supermassive Black Hole.  The song was also inspired by a conversation I had with Michael Jackson years before about Stephen Hawkin’s Black Hole Theory and the Big Bang Theory.  Hawkins had been in the news quite a bit at the time.  This must have been about the time that Kurt Cobain decided to name Courtney Love’s band Hole.  After coming up with the song, they wanted to know what I wanted to name the band and I told them Muse.