Tag Archives: St. Elmo’s Fire

Dont Go Chasing Waterfalls

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and lakes that
You’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way
Or nothing at all
But I think you’re moving too fast”

While reading the book which inspired the 1985 film St. Elmos Fire, St. Elmo by Augusta Jane Evans, it gave me the idea to show them why I love Alabama so much and places I had been to when little.

In the fall we, several on the Def Leppard road crew, Kurt Cobain, and members of INXS, went to Noccalula Falls National Park located in Gadsden, Alabama (pictured top right).  It was named for the Cherokee princess Noccalula who, according to local legends, plunged to her death after being ordered by her father to marry a man she didn’t love.  The bronze statue memorializing her jump into the falls.

Unfortunately, the day we went to the falls it was at a low ebb and disappointing.  This inspired the lyrics to the song “Waterfalls” performed by TLC. 

I was running along the dirt path in front of Michael Hutchence to get a view of the falls when I tripped over a tree root.  This inspired their song “Falling Down The Mountain (Kiss The Dirt)” released on the album Listen Like Thieves in October ’85. 

With the song Creep also released on TLC’s ’94 Crazy Sexy Cool album, in the lyrics I make reference to a song I made up for Prince titled “Gett Off”.

The 23rd of loneliness” in Creep is a reference to “23 position in a one night stand” in Gett Off.

While Andrew Farris and Hutch were teaching me Aussie slang words when the subject came to The Outback and words like “the Bush” and “Shrub” which, due to the accent, I misunderstood as “scrub”.  That is what inspired the song “No Scrubs” and eventually the band name Bush.

This trip to Noccalula Falls also inspired the lyrics in Nickelback’s song “Leader of Men”.

“One day, up to a cliff

That overlooks the water

I jumped in to save a girl

It was somebody’s daughter”


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.