Tag Archives: Rock of Ages

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.


Diamond Eyes Shinedown Origin

“I am the shadow, and the smoke in your eyes,
I am the ghost, that hides in the night” – Diamond Eyes performed by Shinedown

The idea for the song Diamond Eyes goes back to all the artists using an eye as cover art for the albums and even Michael Hutchence using it as the artwork for the movie Frankenstein Unbound. 

It also goes back even further to when I met Kurt Cobain.  I remember thinking he was the first person I had ever met with eyes like mine.  Being adopted I couldn’t look at the family who raised me and know my hair color was passed from a particular person or my eyes from another.  I told Kurt he was very lucky to be able to look at his family and know these things about himself.  

This was not the first time I had referenced someone’s eyes in a song.  When I wrote Mystify for INXS I was referring to Michael Hutchence’s brown eyes with, “almond looks”.   

Publicly Shinedown’s lead singer, Brent Smith, said this about the song:

“A few months ago we got a phone call from a very interesting individual. It’s not everyday that Rambo and Rocky call you at the same time. Sylvester Stallone wanted a song for his new movie, called The Expendables. He said write me something that will personify not only the South, but what rock truly is.”

Actually, this goes back to Tommy Lee of Motley Crue giving me the nickname Bullwinkle when I was 15 and William Grey taking the nickname “Rocky”.  The song itself was written long before a movie was developed called The Expendables starring Sylvester Stallone.   

This particular song has many ties to others, including The Deftones which I wrote the song “Change” for and the Foo Fighters song I wrote called “Walk”.  The lyrics “paper mountains” in Walk is a continuation of the theme “paper flowers” in Imaginary performed by Evanescence and “Paper Sun” a song I wrote for Def Leppard.


Origins of Evanescence

 Soon Joe Elliott brought band members of Adam & The Ants, INXS, Motley Crue, Gene Simmons, Tom Cruise, and Michael Jackson among many others to meet me.

It was upon meeting Stuart Goddard, lead singer for Adam & The Ants, in June of ’83 who encouraged me to read newspaper articles for inspiration to makeup songs.

Inspiration to write Like A Virgin, performed by Madonna, and the name of the band Evanescence came from the review of a Chorus Line by Frank Rich of the New York Times Oct ’83.


Rock Till You Drop

                                                                                                      Sunday, May 15, 1983, my friends invited me to the Def Leppard concert. I didn’t know who they were, but told it was a rock band. Of course, this was cool on so many levels being a 15 year old girl and never having been to a rock concert before.

Monday, May 16, 1983, I returned home from school, dropped my school books on the dresser as the doorbell rang. A young goodlooking guy with bright blue eyes smiled as I opened the door. Without a word he pointed to the old van parked at the top of my drive. The side door swung open and my mouth dropped as the lead singer in full stage costume exited. If the phone had not started ringing, distracting me, I might have been more concerned about how and why this man knew where I lived.

NOTE: In 1983 Def Leppard was on tour in the US promoting their January released Pyromania album as the support act for Billy Squier before embarking on their own Rock Till You Drop Tour.  They ended the tour with Billy Squier in April of ’83 in Seattle and Oregon.  May 15, 1983 the Swiss band Krokus was their opening act.  Little known fact, Kurt Cobain was on the road crew for this tour.