Tag Archives: Australia

If U Seek Amy

“My loneliness is killing me
I must confess, I still believe
When I’m not with you I lose my mind
Give me a sign
Hit me baby one more time” – …Baby One More Time performed by Britney Spears

At fifteen, I  used the techniques Joe Elliott of Def Leppard taught me of taking songs I knew to draw upon for writing songs.  For “…Baby One More Time” performed by Britney Spears I was inspired by Pat Benatar’s 1980 hit song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”.   Lyrically the song was inspired by Billy Squier’s “Lonely is the Night”, Shawn Cassidy’s ’78 cover of “Do You Believe in Magic”, and Roberta Flack’s 1979 cover of “Killing Me Softly”.  There are references to Prince, the song “The Beautiful Ones, and the funk ensemble The Time.  

The pseudonym Max Martin was devised with Max being one of the nicknames I gave Michael Hutchence of INXS for the Australian movie Mad Max.  Later Hutch would name his side project Max Q.    

The album “…Baby One More Time” would be released 16 years after written on my birthday, January 12, 1999.

Cobain can you hear the Spears singin’ songs off station to station” – Californication performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Taking a que from lyrics in “…Baby One More Time” Prince released the 1987 album “Sign “☮” the Times” and then changed his name to the “Love Symbol” knowing Amy means beLOVEd.

I chose the 2009 album title “Circus” which includes the single “If You Seek Amy”  for Def Leppard’s 1987 song “Animal” with the music video taking place at a circus as well as it being in the lyrics.

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Bee Girl “Was you ever bit by a dead bee?”

Was you ever bit by a dead bee? – Eddie, 1944 movie To Have and Have Not

You might be under the impression that the “Bee Girl” era actually happened with Blind Melon’s song No Rain released in 1992.  It actually goes back further than to 1983 with Joe Elliott decided to use Lauren Bacall’s dress in To Have and Have Not as inspiration for Julia Robert’s hooker dress in the movie Pretty Woman (see previous post “Oh! Pretty Woman).

One day Kurt kept pressuring me to come up with a new song.  Joe Elliott was standing near by.  I really wasn’t in the mood to deal with them that day and I sat down on the stage.  I said, “I’ve got no new tale to tell.”

After a minute, I stood up and started making up a song which became No New Tale To Tell performed by some of the former members of the band Bauhaus who formed the band Love and Rockets.  The song was released on the 1987 album Earth, Sun, Moon album. 

If you do not know who Bauhaus is, they were featured in David Bowie’s and Susan Sarandon’s ’83 cult classic The Hunger with their song from 1979 “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”.

The music video for No New Tale to Tale was the start of the Bee Girl era along with the image of a monkey, a symbol for Michael Jackson’s chimp Bubbles.  This included Kurt Cobain’s collection of toy monkeys and the use of a toy monkey in the Alice In Chains music video Grind.

The idea to start naming bands for “fruit” came from the use of “peach” in Pour Some Sugar On Me performed by Def Leppard and U Got The Look performed by Prince and Shiela E.  It also came from me joking around with INXS sayingthey were the vegetables and I being the fruit. 

This is how I came up with the name when Billy Corgan asked me what he should name his band and I said “Smashing Pumpkins” and also  named the band “Blind Melon”, with Melons and Pumpkins being a fruit.

The band Krokus which had been on tour with Def Leppard on the Rock Till You Drop Tour in 1983, released To Rock or Not to Be (a reference to the movie To Have and Have Not starring Bogey and Bacall) in 1995 also used the image on the cover art.

One day while Kurt (Cobain) and I were working on songs, he pulled a sheet of notebook paper out of his back pocket which happened to be the lyrics for what would become “Bee Girl” performed by Pearl Jam.

“Bee girl, you’re gonna die.
You don’t wanna be famous, you wanna be shy.
Do your dances alone in your room.
Becoming a star will become your doom.
Bee Girl, be a girl

You know time is long, and life is short.
Begin to live while you still can.
Believe in nothing, believe me,
Those who can be trusted can change their mind.
When the anxious is the present, unwrap your gifts, take your time.
Everything you imagine needn’t be stuck in your mind.
Bee Girl, be a girl… “ – Bee Girl performed by Pearl Jam

“She should have stayed away from friends
She should have had more time to spend
She should have died when she was born
She should have worn the crown of thorns
She should have been a son” – Been A Son, Nirvana


Adele Origin

“There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch, and it’s bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare
See how I’ll leave with every piece of you
Don’t underestimate the things that I will do
There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch
And it’s bringing me out the dark
The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can’t help feeling
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep”  – Rolling in the Deep performed by Adele

This song was for Michael Hutchence after he broke my heart.  I again make reference to Billy Squier’s “In The Dark”, to Def Leppard’s ’83 Pyromania album, to the ’97 movie Titanic which I often made references to, and to “The Open Door” which would go on to be the title of Evanescence’s 2006 album.  I also make reference to the 1960 French film Breathless by Jean-Luc “Godard”, this was my way of drawing a connection to knowing Stuart Goddard better known as Adam Ant.  One other reference is to Michael Jackson’s hair catching fire during the taping of the Pepsi Commercial.

“Think of me in the depths of your despair
Making a home down there

This line is me making a reference to Australia being called “Down Under”.  The name Adele is the name of an island in Western Australia.  Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, Blue is Aussie slang for redhead (me).

 


Cocktails & Dreams

I am the last barman poet.  I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make.  Americans getting stinky on something I stir or shake.   The sex on the beach, the schnapps made from peach, the velvet hammer, the Alabama slammer...” – Tom Cruise in 1988 Cocktail

The “poem” alludes to “you’ve got the peaches” used in the lyrics for Pour Some Sugar On Me which I co-wrote with Joe Elliott.  I also used “peach and black” in the lyrics for U Got The Look performed by Prince & Sheila E.  The rest is taken from the University of Alabama college football cheer “Rammer jammer, yellowhammer, give’em hell Alabama.”

Tom and I were discussing the plot for the movie, before the script was written.  He asked what I would name the bar and off the top of my head said, “Cocktails & Dreams”. 

There are only a few people who really know how proud I have been to watch Tom’s career over the years and he made me feel a part of it.  It’s not something I talk about, except in letting his career inspire me when coming up with new songs.  One such song happen to be “Raise Your Glass” performed by Pink.

“Right, right, turn off the lights
We’re gonna lose our minds tonight
What’s the dealio?
I love when it’s all too much
5 a.m. turn the radio up
Where’s the rock ‘n roll?”

“5 a.m” was a reference to Alarm Clock used in the lyrics for Imaginary performed by Evanescence and Tik Tok performed by Ke$ha.  This also lead into naming Nikki Sixx’s band Sixx A.M.

Even lines in the movie inspired verses in Raise Your Glass.  Bryan Brown as Doug:  “When you see the color of their panties, you know you’ve got talent. Stick with me son and I’ll make you a star.”

“Party crasher, panty snatcher
Call me up if you’re a gangsta
Don’t be fancy, just get dancy
Why so serious?”

The drink “Alabama Slammer” inspired the next line:

Slam, slam, oh hot damn
What part of a party don’t you understand?”


Ode to the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Space may be the final frontier
But it’s made in a Hollywood basement
Cobain can you hear the Spears
Singing songs off station to station
And Alderaan’s not far away
It’s Californication” – Californication by The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Like most Southerners, you could always find a bottle of chili peppers marinating in vinegar in our refrigerator ready at hand to sprinkle on what our hearts desired.  It was usually set out on the table after Mom cooked up a batch of turnip greens and even the occassional barbeque sandwiches.  

Kurt Cobain had a habit of raiding the refrigerator whenever he would show up and had noticed the bottle.  We all watched in amusement as he removed the cap and touched his tongue to it.  His face turned immediately red. 

Of course, Kurt also had to go through my record collection and there he found a rare rerelease of The Beatles St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album which a friend gave me Christmas 1978.  The musical film St. Peppers Lonely Heart’s Club Band was released in July of 1978 starring Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Bee Gees, and many more.

Kurt and Joe knew of a band in California in need of a new name and the name “The Red Hot Chili Peppers” was suggested (1983).

Michael Hutchence suggested Kurt take me to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show one night at a local theater.  Hutch wanted me to see the movie because of one of the actresses was Aussie Nell Campbell.  The next thing I know, I am being dressed in a Dr. Frankenfurter costume and then pushed out onto the stage.  Just for fun I asked Tommy Lee for one of his socks.  I stuffed part of the sock into the front of the costume leaving part hanging out.  Everyone thought it was funny and Anthony Kiedis and Flea jumped up from the crowd and said they wanted to do that.  Not know what they had in mind, the world actually found out. 

I also remember hearing Kurt say there is an Adam & The Ants song called Dirk Wears White Sox released in 1979.

If you will look at the cover art for RHCP “One Hot Minute” it looks like a redhead not a brunette sitting at a piano, doesn’t it?

(Amy Lee Piano Recital, Dallas, TX, December 1978)


What Women Want movie Origins

“What a girl wants
What a girl needs
Whatever makes me happy and sets you free
And I’m thanking you for knowin’ exactly
What a girl wants”

The former ’79 Mad Max star, Australian Mel Gibson, came to see me and, along with Michael Jackson, I pitched him the idea to do the movie “What Women Want” released in 2000.  The idea actually came from the song I wrote “What a Girl Wants” which would be released by Christina Aguilera in 1999.

In the song lyrics for “What a Girl Wants”  I make reference to another girl group I named and wrote songs for,  TLC’s second album Crazy Sexy Cool released in 1994.

   “Somebody sensitive, crazy, sexy, cool, like you-yeah, What a girl wants”


Nine Inch Nails

About 1986 Trent Reznor showed up to help out on keyboards while  perfecting songs.  I believe they had already filmed or it was in the works for him to be in the Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox movie Light of Day released in Feb. ’87.   

The movie Real Genius starring Tom Cruise’s future Top Gun co-star, Val Kilmer, was released in Aug. ’85.   I loved the movie and Trent had not seen it yet so I quoted some of it to him.

 (Val Kilmer’s character Chris is hitting on Deborah Foreman’s character Susan)  

Chris: So, if there’s anything I can do for you, or, more to the point, to you, you just let me know.
Susan: Can you hammer a six-inch spike through a board with your penis?
Chris: Not right now.
Susan: A girl’s gotta have her standards.

Trent took “six-inch spike” and turned it into Nine Inch Nails, after which I started calling him Real Genius.

I also told Michael Jackson about the movie.  In Val Kilmer’s dorm room, there is another genius who is a burn out by the name of Lazlo Hollyfield who has made a tunnel out through the rooms wardrobe.  Val gets a new dorm mate by the name of Mitch.  One day, Mitch finally follows Hollyfield down into the tunnel once he figures out how to open the secret panel.  Once the secret panel opens written on the back wall is, “THIS IS IT”.  (Michael Jackson’s concert documentary “This Is It” was released in 2009.)

Trying to draw a connection to Def Leppard’s song Animal released on the ’87 Hysteria album, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, and some of the INXS members attending Forest High School in Sydney,  I made up the song “Closer” performed by Nine Inch Nails. 

 


Easy A

 “Easy operator come a knockin’ on my door” – Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard

Upon meeting Tom Cruise he wanted me to help him with ideas for movie and not just for himself, but his friends as well.  I knew that several of the bands or artists such as Billy Squier and Oingo Boingo had contributed songs to movies, such as ’82 Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and INXS later talked about contributing to the movie Pretty in Pink released in ’86.  

I started with what I knew and told him about spending part of my summers in singing school and then the other in a reading club at the local library from about 2nd grade.  We would have contests to see who could read the most books at our grade level.  When I was in about third or fourth grade, while searching for a new book to read, a garnet covered book with a large “A” stood out in a low stack.   It was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.  While reading The Scarlet Letter I realized there were words I did not know or understand, so I approached the librarian who directed me to the nearest dictionary.  There I sat for several afternoons in a row until I finished the book.

There is another Scarlet which has meaning to me and that is the iconic Southern female Scarlet O’Hara portrayed by Vivian Leigh in Gone With The Wind.  Mom and I would curl up on the sofa together every time it would come on television.  I’ve actually known a few Scarlets, figuratively speaking.

English actor Gary Oldman had been tapped to play the role of Sid Vicious in Kurt Cobain’s  brain-child, the ’86 movie (Love Kills) Sid & Nancy.  Actress Demi Moore had been tapped to star in ’85 St. Elmo’s Fire.  While trying to draw connections to me they found a town in lower Alabama named St. Elmo.  The town was named for an 1866 novel by Southern author Augusta Jane Evans of the same name.  While doing more research they came across the electrical weather phenomenon called St. Elmo’s Fire. 

Later both actors, Gary Oldman and Demi Moore, were then tapped to star in the ’95 movie The Scarlet Letter.  The Executive Producer being none other than Dodi Fayed who died in the car crash with Diana, Princess of Wales in ’97.  After seeing the movie I mentioned to Tom that I was a bit disappointed in the writer taking creative license with the script. 

Another Scarlet influenced the ’92 movie Basic Instinct and the fact that one day I accidently stabbed Kurt Cobain with a microwave meat thermometer.  Fortunately, it wasn’t a mortal wound.  The movie I am referring to is Australian-American filmmaker Fritz Lang’s 1945 Scarlet Street. 

The dance scene in Basic Instinct actually happened while I was dancing with Kurt Cobain and Michael Hutchence at a private party when the ’84 album Purple Rain was released and Prince & The Revolution performed. 

Kurt Cobain made reference to the Scarlet Street movie in his journal under the page titled H.R. Puffnstuff, “Marlen Dietritch, Lilly Marlene sings”.  He is referring to the German love song Lili Marlene.  The poem was originally titled “Das Mädchen unter der Laterne” (German for “the girl under the lantern”), but it became famous as “Lili Marleen”. 

Nirvana in 1993 on MTV Unplugged in New York, Kurt requested the stage be surrounded by “Madonna” lilies.  Not to mention the “Anarchy A” on the cheerleader’s uniforms in the music video for Smells Like Teen Spirit.

While getting to know Michael Hutchence, of INXS, he told me about Australia, slang words, vegemite, and the ’79 movie Mad Max film starring Mel Gibson.  One day I fell asleep on the sofa in a dressing room of the auditorium we were working in.  I woke to Hutch starring me in the face smiling and for some strange reason I exclaimed, “Max!”  As a side project in 1989 Hutch started a band by the name of Max Q. 

If you haven’t seen the 2010 movie Easy A, I can highly recommend it.


Kurt Cobain and Charles Barkley

The Orange and Blue” also known as Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama

In 1983, basketball player Charles Barkley from Leeds, Alabama was on the Auburn University basketball team before going pro. 

After we met in ’83, Kurt Cobain wanting to make a public connection to me, made a connection to Barkley.  This is not only because Barkley grew up in a small town near where I grew up in Trussville, but also because there is a city near where Kurt grew up in Washington also named Auburn.

I’ve mentioned that Courtney Love showed up in our lives in late ’84 looking for a part in the movie (Love Kills) Sid & Nancy.  Kurt asked her to have a picture taken which she claims was taken while still a teenager at Hillcrest juvenile hall and I do believe that is Kurt in the picture with her.  Her hair is dyed red, almost the color of mine.

In 1993 Barkley was asked to appear on SNL with Nirvana.

 Kurt also made mention of me is in his journal “At peace ami. You’re a good one.”  Kurt was a self proclaimed bad speller.

There is one more connection to Auburn and that is to Michael Hutchence.  Hutch was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.  Auburn is a suburb in western Sydney and named after Oliver Goldsmith’s poem The Desserted Village, which describes ‘Auburn’ in England as the loveliest village of the plain.


Eye On You

I watch you on the tv–you’re with me every place I go
I’m caught up in the daydream–I’m into everyone you know
Turn on the action–grab every minute
Learn every lesson–then live to regret it
I’m so distracted–my mind’s disengaged
Sharin’ the moments when you’re all the rage

I got my eyes on you
Got my eye on you… – Eye On You performed by Billy Squier

The idea for Eye On You came from Def Leppard’s groupie pass (shown).  It actually became quite the theme for cover art for other artists as well, other’s I wrote songs for.

It was used as cover art for the movie ’90 Frankenstein Unbound which Michael Hutchence of INXS had a small role as poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.  Hutch knew I was a Shelley fan and actually have a collection of his poetry which was collected by his wife Mary Shelley author of the original Frankenstein.

Def Leppard used the eye on the cover art for their ’92 Adrenalize album.  

Nickelback used it on the cover art for their 2001 album Silver Side Up which includes songs I wrote.

And, the band Skillet’s 2009 album which includes the song “Awake and Alive” which I wrote.  I named the band Skillet for that oh, so southern of accessories which comes in hand when you need to beat some lousy jerk over the head with it.  Next time I promise to make sure there is not hot oil in it.