Tag Archives: Nirvana

I [Heart] Amy Lynn Lee

It may or may not be surprising to find out that both terms Kinderwhore and Riot Grrrl originated in conversations about my life between Kurt Cobain and myself. 

Kurt came up with the band name Amy Carter and the idea for a zine “I [Heart] Amy Carter”.  The band members consisted of Tammy Rae, Kathleen Hanna, and Heidi Aborgast.  

We were discussing former President Jimmy Carter who’s home state is Georgia, same as my adopted mother’s.  I told him Amy Lynn Carter and I shared not only a first name and middle initial, but we also both have red hair.  (origin for stagename Amy Lynn

In 1991 Nirvana released the song On A Plain written in reference to President Jimmy Carter’s home town of Plains, Georgia.

(Left, young Amy Lynn Carter, fourth daughter of U.S. President Jimmy Carter)

(Bottom Right, Amy Lee, January 1976 on 8th Birthday)


Purple Rain Origin

“I never meant to cause you any sorrow.
I never meant to cause you any pain.
I only wanted to one time see you laughing.
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain” – Purple Rain performed by Prince

The day my friends called to invite me to the Def Leppard concert, May 15, 1983, it was a typical Spring day in Alabama.  One minute it could be a beautiful sunny day, the next a storm brews and the skies turn grey.  By the time Mom and I left for church it had started raining. 

Not deterred when my normally curly hair turned to frizz, I straighten it again, going through half a can of Aqua Net hairspray.  I then changed into something more suitable for a rock concert, a favorite asymmetrical military style white top, my tightest Levi’s blue jeans .  The kind you have to lay down on the bed to zip up.  And, two favorite accessory of the time, my learner’s permit and a purple comb in the back pocket.  

Now, the comb had a use other than what it was intended for.  At the roller skating rink if a guy liked you, he would steal it from your pocket ensuing a chase around the rink so to retrieve your property.  Most of my girlfriend’s did this.  In fact, Kurt Cobain alluded to this in a fictitious story written in his journal. 

We pulled into the parking lot behind the Thriftway as other zombies slouch bobbed with combs in their back pockets.  There stood the Air Supply box boy holding a Les Paul with a picture from a magazine of Kool cigarettes lamenated on it, a mechanical redheaded biker boy and that tall lanky guy, the first to ever wear skin tight Levis.  A bold and brave change from stacking finger or San Francisco riding gear.  The played faster than I had ever imagined music could be played and with more energy than my Iron Maiden records could provide.  This was what I was looking for, ah punk band.  The other stones were bored and kept shouting, play some Def Leppard.” – Kurt Cobain’s Journal under the title “The Habit”

With the mention of zombies, Kurt was not only referring to Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, but also to the stagename Rob Zombie whom I wrote songs for.

Joe (Elliott) found out I am a fan of Vanity 6, a girl group promoted by the artist Prince, which I had seen on Soul Train performing Nasty Girl released in 1982.  They then brought in Prince’s albums released up until that point for me to listen to and learn his style.  But, the song Nasty Girl would influence many more songs which I would be involved in writing, including Michael Jackson’s little sister’s 1986 Nasty.

I make reference to the “purple comb” in the lyrics for Erotic City.

Everytime I comb my hair
Thoughts of U get in my eyes
U’re a sinner, I don’t care
I just want your creamy thighs”

The Lyrics for “The Beautiful Ones’ I allude to Def Leppard’s Photograph.

MAKE LOVE NOT WAR


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)


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).


Michael Jackson’s Black or White Origin

“I Took My Baby
On A Saturday Bang
Boy Is That Girl With You
Yes We’re One And The Same
Now I Believe In Miracles
And A Miracle
Has Happened Tonight
But, If
You’re Thinkin’
About My Baby
It Doesn’t Matter If You’re
Black Or White” – Black or White

Michael Jackson’s song Black or White released in 1991 was inspired by INXS.  In 1982 INXS released a song titled Black and White on their Shabooh Shoobah album.  Of course, having met INXS before meeting MJ in ’83 I pretty much knew all their songs. 

With Michael Hutchence and Tim Farris, we talked about the similarities in our countries in that we shared a history of racism.  It was also a conversation I had with MJ.  Fortunately, I grew up in a South that was changing.  We talked about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march on Selma, Alabama.  I wanted to break down the barriers of symbols which were found offensive.  Symbols used in the Black or White music video were “KKK” and the swastika.

(Martin Luther King, Jr. and marchers on Selma, AL.  The photo was taken by family friend and fashion photographer Spider Martin who committed suicide 9 years to the day that Kurt Cobain’s body was found. )

By the time of MJ’s release of Black or White, I had written the song “Raise Your Glass” which would go on to be performed by P!nk.  Kurt Cobain would sometimes play air guitar while I would sing and it influenced “Raise Your Glass” and Macaulay Culkin was doing an imitation of Kurt in the Black or White music video.

Kurt also made references to the KKK or other symbols of controversy because of this.


Youth of a Nation Origin

Call me blind but I didn’t see it coming
And everybody was runnin
But I couldn’t hear nothin, except
Gun blast, it happened so fast
I didn’t really know this kid though I sat by him in class
Maybe this kid was reachin out for love or
Maybe for a moment he forgot who he was or
Maybe this kid just wanted to be hugged
Whatever it was I know it’s because
We are, we are, [we are] the youth of the nation – Youth of a Nation performed by P.O.D.

The song Youth of a Nation released in 2001 by P.O.D. was inspired by a kid I went to Jr. High with who played Russian roulette with some older men in the mobile home park where he lived one night.  We were the same age and my best friend knew him well.  His death touched her deeply, and the whole school.  This happened only days before Joe Elliott discovered me in May ’83.

“Little Suzie, she was only twelve
She was given the world with every chance to excel
Hang with the boys and hear the stories they tell
She might act kinda proud but no respect for herself”

My mother’s nickname was Suzie Q so I used it in the lyrics and in turn Kurt and Nirvana wrote the song “Talk to Me” also using my mother’s nickname released in 1994.

“Shake down easy, shake yourself Suzy, woman
If somehow make it full house, sad man” – Talk to Me, Nirvana

The next line of Nirvana’s song happen to be about the song I wrote titled Uninvited performed by Alanis Morissette who was dating actor and commedian Dave Coulier who starred on Full House at the time.  As you can see, INXS also made reference to Full House with their ’93 poster.  Uninvited was not released until 1998 on the soundtrack for City of Angels.


Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love Myths

Kurt Cobain did not have a relationship with a girl named Tracy Marander. This was a girl he knew and gave the name Tracy for my ex-boyfriend. (See 1982 of which the page is bound into my school annual)

Kurt does not have a sister named Kimberly Dawn. Kimberly is my sister-in-law’s name. Dawn is the street I lived on in 1983 when I met them.

Kurt claimed to have an aunt named Mary, for the Mary in the song “Lose Control” performed by Evanescence which I wrote when I was 15 in 1983.

Leland Cobain is not Kurt’s grandfather’s name.  In 1957, Frances Farmer met Leland C. Mikesell, an independent broadcast promoter from Indianapolis who helped her move to San Francisco.

In all the years I knew Kurt, I never once saw in inject himself with a syringe. That is not to say he didn’t do drugs.

The movie Straight to Hell released in 1987, the actress which goes by the stage name Courtney Love looking very much pregnant and I don’t believe that is padding.  Do you?  There is a girl who is part of their clan which Kurt Cobain claimed as his half-sister Breanne, who would be about the right age.  Actually, Breanna is my cousins name which he used.

Courtney’s character’s name in the movie Straight to Hell is Velma. In the town where I grew up, Trussville, there is a bar by the name of Velma’s Place.

Just as Courtney Michelle Love is not her real name.  Her birth certificate is a fake showing her father at age 15 and mother age 20 at the time it happened to be recorded in 1973.

  


Poker Face Origins

“I wanna hold em’ like they do in Texas please
Fold em’ let em’ hit me raise it baby stay with me (I love it)
Luck and intuition play the cards with Spades to start
And after he’s been hooked I’ll play the one that’s on his heart”

The headline under the picture says Poker Face which inspired me to write the song which would eventually be performed by Lady Gaga

The article to the right of the picture is another one about Lithium possibly being able to reduce the desire for alcohol which I was interested in for my dad and inspired the songs performed by Nirvana and Evanescence.  This particular article was printed the day I met Joe Elliott and Kurt Cobain.

The stage name for Lady Gaga was inspired by when Diana Spencer, the future Princess of Wales, title was Lady Diana and for Queen’s Radio Ga Ga released in 1984.  The inspiration for her style or persona was the lead singer for the ’80’s band Missing Persons.

I wrote other songs as well, including Paparazzi.


Three Days Grace

“Every time we lie awake
After every hit we take
Every feeling that I get
But I haven’t missed you yet

Every roommate kept awake
By every sigh and scream we make
All the feelings that I get
But I still don’t miss you yet

Only when I stop to think about it

I hate everything about you”

My mother would sometimes call me Grace when I would trip over my own feet or do something completely clumsy.  One day in late ’94 I had planned a long weekend out of town.  It happened to be a weekend they all wanted to fly in and work on songs with me.  I refused to change my plans.  The voice on the other end of the phone gave me a warning, “Three days, Grace!”  While on the trip my aunt’s home caught fire and she died of smoke inhalation.  To commemorate the day my aunt died, to draw a connection to the element Lithium being atomic #3, and the song “3″ I wrote and would go on to be performed by Britney Spears, I decided to name the band Three Days Grace.

When I made up the song “I Hate Everything About You” it was very much inspired by Nirvana‘s song “Heart Shaped Box” and Def Leppard’s song “Miss You In A HeartbeatJust as this song happened to be written many years before it’s release, so were Nirvana’s and Def Leppard’s.

In 1993, Nirvana recorded “I Hate Myself and Want to Die”.

Both songs were based on Joan Jett & The Blackheart’s ’88 hit song “I Hate Myself for Loving You“.