Tag Archives: Tom Cruise

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?”

Advertisements

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.


Origin of Pink’s Album Titles & Songs

“You make me sick
I want you and I’m hatin it
Got me lit like a candlestick
Get too hot when you touch the tip, I’m feelin it, I gotta getta grip
And it’s drivin me crazy baby don’t you quit
Can’t get enough of it
You got me goin again
Baby, you got me goin again
You make me sick” – You Make Me Sick performed by Pink

We listened to a lot of disco at the roller skating rink such as The Gap Band, Midnight Star, George Clinton & P-Funk, The Commodores, The Brothers Johnson, KC & The Sunshine Band, Richard Berry’s “Louis Louis” influenced many of the songs I wrote for my alter-egos.  These particular songs were also influenced by Joan Jett and Pat Benatar.  

The 2000 album and song “Can’t Take Me Home” was from 1983 Joe Elliott released an article about Def Leppard in Goldmine which the headline read, “The Heavy Metal Band You Can Bring Home to Mother.”

You Make Me Sick:  Kurt Cobain and I watched a lot of movies together.  Sometimes Michael Hutchence would be there when INXS had some down time.  On one of these occasions we watched the 1981 British comedy Time Bandits by Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam.

Inspired by a conversation between the characters while sitting on the S.S. Titanic before it went down, Kevin said to Randell, “You make me sick!”

The 2001 album and song “Missunderztood” came from a headline about INXS in 1985 (see pic).

 Don’t Let Me Get Me: The other artists could not seem to understand why I didn’t want to be famous.  Only thing hold me back was stage fright and the struggle with how I might be perceived by my grandfather, the preacher.  Not knowing what they actually had in mind for me, I figured they would have just thrown me out there as the next Tiffany or Debbie Gibson which wasn’t me or the image I really would have wanted to project.  It was an inner struggle which I projected in the song.  I make reference also in the song to Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood.

Just Like A Pill: The idea for the song and is influenced by overhearing things after Rick Allen, Def Leppard’s drummer, wrecked his car December 31, 1984 and lost an arm and their song “You Got Me Running” from the High ‘n’ Dry album.

Get This Party Started: There was only one influence on this song and it was Michael Jackson’s friend Diana Ross who released the song “I’m Coming Out” in 1980.

Family Portrait:  It was a self-portrait of my family and somewhat had been happening up until my parents divorced in ’83.  I didn’t want parents to stay together, though at times I still missed my brother and dad after they moved out.

2003 album “Try This” 

Trouble:  This is just my take on the old saying, my middle name is trouble.  In the lyrics I make reference to Tom Cruise who starred in “The Firm” 1993.   

God Is A DJ: Pretty much self-explanatory.  I always liked to make up inspirational songs to not only get people moving, but in life as well. 

2006 “I’m Not Dead”

Stupid Girl: After meeting Hutch, knowing I didn’t want to be famous, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  At fifteen I didn’t have a clue, but Mom always told me I could be anything I wanted to be even the first female President.  This song was heavily influenced by watching some of the females that would hook themselves up with the male artist looking for help with their careers. 

U + ur Hand: This was another version of a song I wrote when a kid.  The other was called Darling Nikki, named for Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue though it was not about him, and performed by Prince.  It was also inspired by Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail.  “I’m not here for your entertainment” was a take on “Let Me Entertain You” a song from the musical Gypsy.   After I came up with the song Kurt Cobain wrote the song “Smells Like Teen Spirits” if that tells you how long ago this song was written.

2008 “Funhouse”

Funhouse:  I wrote this song sometime after 1989.  The officials had been talking about tearing the Auditorium down where we worked on most of the songs.  I asked them to make it part of the museum.  Of course, the lyrics were inspired by Def Leppard’s Pyromania album and the song PhotographI also had become fascinated with the Cirque du Soleil performances which influenced the song, as well as, advertising art & pinup art.

So What: This happen to be written after I was married.  I remember Alecia reading the lyrics and asking, “I’ve got to get married?”   

Sober: I wrote this after “Call Me When Your Sober” performed by Evanescence and I make many references to Evanescence songs I wrote including “Broken”.

These are just a few I wanted to mention.


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.


Legend Movie Origin

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
“15 miles to the
Love Shack”
Love Shack, yeah, yeah
I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway
Lookin’ for the love getaway
Headed for the love getaway
I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale
And we’re headin’ on down to the Love Shack

 – Love Shack performed by B-52’s

The book St. Elmo by Augusta Jane Evans in 1866, which St. Elmo, Alabama was named for and inspiration for the movie St. Elmo’s Fire, mentions another place I visited as a child Lookout Mountain, Georgia.  Some of the Def Leppard road crew, Kurt Cobain, Michael Hutchence, and others decided to head off on another road trip.  Of which, I told Tom Cruise when he came to see me again.

Located in Lookout Mountain, Georgia is the roadside attaction called Rock City, near the underground cave waterfall Ruby Falls.  Rock City is well-known for the many barn advertisements throughout the South and Midwest.  In total, over 900 barn roofs in nineteen states were painted by Clark Byers.

When Garnet Carter decided to make the area a tourist attraction he named the 700 acres Fairyland.  Mrs. Carter set out to develop the property into one big rock garden, marking a trail that wound its way through the giant rock formations, ending up at Lover’s Leap where LEGEND has it you can see seven states.  She also planted wildflowers and other plants along her trails, importing German gnome statues and other famous fairytale characters.

This trip to Lookout Mountain, the barn roof advertising Rock City, and a movie review about Legend inspired other songs I wrote, including the B-52’s hit song Love Shack.

The Aug. 26, 1985 movie review about the fairy tale movie “Legend” and words of the director Ridley Scott and illustrations from another fairytale called Alice In Wonderland inspired me to write the lyrics in the song “The Show Must Go On” performed by Queen.  

“We originally set out to make a kind of pantomime – a sophisticated “Jack and the Beanstalk.” – Ridley Scott

“Empty spaces – what are we living for
Abandoned places – I guess we know the score
On and on, does anybody know what we are looking for…
Another hero, another mindless crime
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime

and,

“My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly – my friends ”

The initial inspiration for the song, The Show Must Go On, came from Alan Parsons “Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)” which also inspired me to write the song “Day After Day” performed by Def Leppard.


Interview with a Vampire Movie Origin

If you’ve got love in your sights
Watch out, Love bites
Yes it does
It will be hell” – Love Bites 

In the summer of 1991 while on vacation at the beach I was introduced to the 1976 novel by New Orleans native Anne Rice titled “Interview with a Vampire” which came out in a reprint in 1990.  After reading only a couple of chapters we picked up and left the beach for an impromptu trip to New Orleans for a few days where I have family.  On the return to the beach, while nursing blisters from roaming the Quarter for hours on end, I finished the book.  In 1992, I purchased a new fourth edition and had it signed by Anne Rice which sits proudly on my bookshelf. 

(St. Louis Cathedral 1991, by Amy Lee)

When Tom heard about it, the next time he showed up to see me I was made to wait while he dressed in a period costume he borrowed from the studios and made a big production of telling me he would be playing Lestat.         

There is more to the story…


Valkyrie Movie Origin

“It’s bigger than Germany” – Love Bites performed by Def Leppard

In a previous post I’ve mentioned how Amy means Beloved, to Love, and that I am of English and German descent according to my adoption records.  This is origin for the beginning line in the song Love Bites.

These are things Tom Cruise knew about me.  They all knew about me actually. 

One day Kurt Cobain and Tom were carrying on a conversation and I felt a little ignored.  So, to entertain myself I started singing, “Kill the Wabbit” from “What’s Opera, Doc?  Tom started laughing but then realized it was from Ride of the Valkyries, the popular term for German composer Wagner’s Act III of “Die Walküre”.

That wasn’t my only contribution.  Over the years they would ask my favorite movies and actors who had made an impression on me.  One such movie happened to be Kenneth Branagh’s adaption of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing released in ’93.  At about the same time of this movie I had also taken notice of commedian and actor Eddie Izzard.

To commemorate this brainstorming idea, Kurt had a picture made with a rabbit.

Yes, even Kurt’s love of turtles had a meaning.  Turtle is the nickname I gave Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.


Nine Inch Nails

About 1986 Trent Reznor showed up to help out on keyboards while  perfecting songs.  I believe they had already filmed or it was in the works for him to be in the Joan Jett and Michael J. Fox movie Light of Day released in Feb. ’87.   

The movie Real Genius starring Tom Cruise’s future Top Gun co-star, Val Kilmer, was released in Aug. ’85.   I loved the movie and Trent had not seen it yet so I quoted some of it to him.

 (Val Kilmer’s character Chris is hitting on Deborah Foreman’s character Susan)  

Chris: So, if there’s anything I can do for you, or, more to the point, to you, you just let me know.
Susan: Can you hammer a six-inch spike through a board with your penis?
Chris: Not right now.
Susan: A girl’s gotta have her standards.

Trent took “six-inch spike” and turned it into Nine Inch Nails, after which I started calling him Real Genius.

I also told Michael Jackson about the movie.  In Val Kilmer’s dorm room, there is another genius who is a burn out by the name of Lazlo Hollyfield who has made a tunnel out through the rooms wardrobe.  Val gets a new dorm mate by the name of Mitch.  One day, Mitch finally follows Hollyfield down into the tunnel once he figures out how to open the secret panel.  Once the secret panel opens written on the back wall is, “THIS IS IT”.  (Michael Jackson’s concert documentary “This Is It” was released in 2009.)

Trying to draw a connection to Def Leppard’s song Animal released on the ’87 Hysteria album, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, and some of the INXS members attending Forest High School in Sydney,  I made up the song “Closer” performed by Nine Inch Nails. 

 


Going Under Origins

 “Blurring and stirring – the truth and the lies.

(So I don’t know what’s real)

So I don’t know what’s real and what’s not (and what’s not)

Always confusing the thoughts in my head

So I can’t trust myself anymore”

Kurt Cobain and I would often go swimming together.  The first time I dove down to the bottom of the pool and just sat there, I think it actually scared him because I could stay under so long.  There was also an incident in California while learning to surf with Tom Cruise when I fell off the board.   

The lyrics were also inspired by Shakespeare’s MacBeth.  “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.”


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.