Tag Archives: Nickelback

I wanna be a Rockstar! Nickelback Origin

In 1983 Joe Elliott released to the press he received a scar over one of his eyes due to a fan throwing a coin from the crowd in Spain during a concert.  It was his right eye and it wasn’t a coin. 

Knowing Joe released this to the press I started yelling at him, “I want my nickel back!” after making up a new song.  He would walk off smiling saying, “I know you do.”

I overheard someone ask why I said it was a nickel.  I bought a souvenir at  Rock City (see previous post “Legend Movie Origin”).   The souvenir was only a  nickel and in exchange received a wooden nickel back.   

It was then later decided to choose band members who were Canadian citizens due to the Canadian football position called a Nickelback.

“‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blond hair” – Rockstar performed by Nickelback

The song “Rockstar” was inspired by an article which Kurt Cobain showed me about Tom (Cruise) going to the Playboy Mansion to watch the Hagler-Hearns fight.  I was making fun of him and others when I made up the song.


Lies of the Beautiful People Origin

“Well if you think real beauty’s on the outside
Well that’s a far cry
From the truth
Maybe all the information you received
Well you should not believe
There’s no proof
Save yourself from all the lies of the beautiful people
It’s time to run from the lies of the beautiful people” Lies of the Beautiful People performed by Sixx: A.M.

Not long after Joe Elliott and I met we were talking about my favorite Beatles song which happened to be Helter Skelter.  At the time I didn’t know of the California band by the name of Motley Crue who had been performing a cover of the song  which would be released in September of that year on the “Shout at the Devil” album. 

We talked about the meaning of the song and I found out there was actually an amusement ride called “Helter Skelter” in England.  I had a collection of Beatles songs which included the song, but not the White album which had been released the year I was born, 1968.  Joe proceed to tell me and Kurt Cobain the sordid history of the White album and the song. 

The term ‘helter skelter’ was far less well known in the US.  To the psychopath Charles Manson it was a coded prophecy for an apocalyptic race war (or Armageddon).  This is why Kurt at one point drew an “X” on his forehead and had his picture taken.  Def Leppard would release the song Armageddon It on the Hysteria album in 1987.

It wasn’t long after this discussion that I met Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue who in February of ’83 had performed at the US Fest in California with INXS.  (This is when Tommy Lee gave me the nickname Bullwinkle.)

Joe took some time off in June from the Rock Till You Drop tour, claiming a sore throat, while we all worked on new songs.   About this time Pete Willis left the band and they called in their friend Phil Collen of the band Girl to fill the vacancy.  They went back to California to the movie studios and filmed the original music video for Photograph with the stabbing knife at the beginning and using images of Marilyn Monroe.  Joe later made a second version with a black cat like mine at the beginning (see The Pussycat Dolls to Papa Don’t Preach post).

After coming up with the song The Beautiful People I also came up with the stagename “Marilyn Manson” for Def Leppard’s use of Marilyn Monroe in Photograph and the story about Helter Skelter and Charles Manson drawing a connection to Motley Crue.

This is also where I came up with the stagename for Eminem (M&M for Marilyn Manson) after writing songs which he would perform.  It was Michael Jackson’s suggestion for the spelling of the name.

I would go on to make up the song Beautiful performed by Christina Aguilera after Courtney Love gave me a compliment.  Courtney and I did not get along and it surprised me when I overheard the compliment.  So, in a turn of kindness I made up the song.  This song was based on ELO’s Don’t Bring Me Down.

Years later I would makeup a third song titled Lies of the Beautiful People and I asked Nikki Sixx if he would perform it so to tie into the other songs, The Beautiful People and Beautiful.  We then came up with the band name Sixx A.M. (A.M. being the first 2 letters of my name).


What do Korn & Nickelback have in common?

What do the bands Korn & Nickelback have in common?  Besides me writing songs for them, it was Adam & The Ants reversing the “d” in Adam who inspired me to want the “b” in Nickelback to be reversed.  Korn did this as well. 


I am Kid Rock!

Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy
(Get Ready)
My name is KIIIIIIIIIIIID…Kid Rock! – Bawitdaba

One day I overheard someone say, “That kid rocks.”  I took it as quite the compliment considering the artists which were usually hanging around.  

I happen to be goofing around when I started singing Bawitdaba.  It started with Kurt trying to say, “But, wait a minute Dude!” and I heard Bawitdaba in a sleepy haze while waking up. 

I was influenced by the song Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom) recorded by Perry Como.  My dad was a big Perry Como fan and his albums were usually around the house.    

“up jump the boogy” was a reference to the INXS song “Jumping” off their self titled album released in 1980. 

The mention of D.B. Cooper in the song was actually about a feud with the ultra Southern racist U.S. Senator Edward W. Carmack who was shot down in Nashville, TN in 1908, the same year my grandfather was born.

I wish all of you could know how cool it was to have Tommy Lee playing drums while I sang this song for a few that had gathered after we put the final touches on the song. 

Another song I wrote which has connection to this one is “No Diggity” performed by the R&B group Blackstreet. 

I wrote All Summer Long performed by Kid Rock and is my take on Def Leppard’s friends Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama, which growing up in Alabama I was pretty sick of hearing so I thought I would write my own version.   In 1994 Nirvana started performing Sweet Home Alabama in concert and on MTV Unplugged expressed my sentiments about the song by performing a small portion.  When talking about the song I am the one who gave him the idea for someone in the audience to yell “Freebird”.  Yes, that was planned.

This did inspire the 2002 movie “Sweet Home Alabama”.  There is a coon dog cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama which is the hometown of Helen Keller and near Muscle Shoals, AL where Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded albums. 

(Amy Lee, 1972, Dallas, TX)

Another song is Cowboy I wrote performed by Kid Rock.  A connection to this song is the one I wrote for Nickelback titled “Rockstar”.


Titanic the Movie Origin

It was midnight on the sea,
Band playin’ “Nearer My God to Thee”
Cryin’, “Fare thee, Titanic, fare the well,”
Titanic when it got its load,
Captail hollered, “All aboard,”
Cryin’, “Fare thee, Titanic, fare the well” – Huddie Leadbetter (Lead Belly) 1912 Dallas, TX

In January of 1978, a 16 year old redheaded New Zealand girl stowed away on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker the Polar Star headed to Seattle, Washington.  After making her way to San Francisco, she met the members of the rock band Dr. Hook’s Medicine Show and traveled with them to Texas. 

Four months shy of my sixteenth birthday in 1983, Labor Day weekend, my family and friends headed to Ft. Lauderdale, FL for a cruise on Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras (pictured) formerly known as the RMS Empress of Canada.

In fact, several from the Def Leppard’s road crew were on the cruise.  Kurt Cobain was there too.  I didn’t see any of the members of the band, but I recall giving Rick Savage a t-shirt from the Bahamas.

For most of the cruise I kept to myself there really wasn’t much for a kid to do onboard, or maybe just a kid like me.  Being fair-skinned I really do not care to lay out turning into a crispy critter, though I love to swim but as long as there is some shade to escape to.

(Some friends outside the “Showplace” on the ship. The other is me with some friends inside the Showplace, Mark and the real Rob Thomas pictured center.)

Before dinner I disappeared from my mom and friends just roaming the ship and went to the bow.  I stood on the railing looking down at the water crashing against the sides.  When I hopped down, turned around, and looked up toward the Bridge I saw a man in uniform running across.  Later I learned they thought I was going to jump.

During the cruise I met the Italian First Mate Marco Nogara.  (Marco Nogara with actress Mira Sorvino, years later after he became the Captain of his own ship called the Liberty.  He became a regular fixtured hanging around with Ricky Martin and Robi “Draco” Rosa.  I remember Michael Jackson telling Marco he would have him moved to the Disney Cruise Line.  Marco also wears brown eye contacts sometime.)

Upon the return home I was able to finish a song I had started when I came up with the songs for Oingo Boingo’s Deadman’s Party with Michael Hutchence and Adam Ant.  It was a gospel rock inspired song called “Home” later to be performed by Marc Broussard.

Hot damn you should have felt the groove
Like I was swimming in a sea of soul
The sun was rising and the day was hot
And we was all about to lose control
My daddy turned his face up towards the sky
And I knew that there was nothing to lose
I felt the crowd breathe in and I closed my eyes
And we disappeared into the groove

Said take me home
Said take me home
Take me home
Said take me home

The original lyrics for part of it was changed, but I wrote:

Stray from the water
Stray from the water children

You don’t know nothing about this

I had also started working on a song called “Oops…I Did It Again” and later someone requested I add to the lyrics a spoken verse:

“All aboard
Britney, before you go, there’s something I want you to have
Oh, it’s beautiful, but wait a minute, isn’t this…?
Yeah, yes it is
But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end
Well baby, I went down and got it for you
Oh, you shouldn’t have”

I actually started using references to the Titanic in songs, including Supermassive Black Hole performed by the band I named Muse.

A little background on Carnival Cruise Line.  It was started by the late Ted Arison who was in business with Meshulam Riklis, actress Pia Zadora’s ex-husband, who’s business was based in Massachusetts where Billy Squier is from. 

At the time of my cruise Carnival Cruise Line was looking to expand their business.  From what I understand the cruise business was having a hard time in ’83. 

(This picture is of the cover of a photo taken onboard the ship which lists the names of the ships in Carnival’s fleet.  The Carnival, Festivale, Mardi Gras, and Tropicale.)

It was soon after my cruise that Carnival started having a standing in the “entertainment business” and hired Cathy Lee Gifford to do their commercials. 

Part of the blockbuster Titanic movie released in ’97 was based on things that happened to me on the cruise.  Of course, from an artistic standpoint.  They had also wanted to use ideas from Danielle Steel’s ’91 book “No Greater Love” which I tried to talk them out of.  They also wanted to use ideas from the 1943 German movie based on Titanic.

This is the connection between Carnival Cruise Lines and the Titanic.  The article is from January 1986 about a ship model builder. 

Just for the record, I never saw director James Cameron as the script ideas were being developed who claims to have written it.

In November of 1978 there was a headline out of London with the 16 year old New Zealander stowaway exclaiming, “Never Again.”  This inspired me to write the song Never Again performed by Nickelback.

It would be years later that I came up with the idea for and named the annual Rock the Boat held onboard Carnival Cruise Line for the ’74 Hues Corporation song of the same name.


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.


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.