Tag Archives: Bob Geldof

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.

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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.


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.


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.