Tag Archives: Supermassive Black Hole

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.


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.