THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Sunday, February 21, 2010
HEROES : COURTNEY LOVE
I once had the luck to have a long conversation with the organisator of the Vooruit-venue, which is one of the most important ones in Belgium. This man saw thousand stars come and go, automatically I asked him who was the most uneasy, unfriendly and most nasty artist he ever worked with. The man didn’t think one second, “Courtney Love” of course…she was there when Nirvana played and you could see on the man’s face that he had very unpleasant memories with her…I got tons of phrases in where the man tried to show me that if there is one person you never wanna get in touch with, it must be her. Is there anyone around who loves Courtney Love? Perhaps more…why is Courtney Love listed in my heroes-list? Why have I decided to give her a tribute out of the other 1000 heroes I have? Honestly said, I was a bit inspired by the fact that she did a one-time Hole show in London recently (the only original member being her, so man ask if it’s really Hole but…). Apart from the inspiration I think I just have the need to tell what Courtney Love means for me. I have a very special relationship with her, I am even a man who’s not that wild about Nirvana. Of course I like Nirvana, I have all their albums and I guess Nirvana are Nirvana but Hole means so much more for me. Because I have a soft spot for her? Nope, not even that because she’s not the kind of woman you wanna wake up with, it’s just because of the music and what it means for me. There are hundreds of books being written about her, and I doubt if there ever is one which covers the whole truth because Courtney is the kind of artist you only expect bad things from. If you should read that she did some charity, you’ll be disappointed…admit it. Courtney was born as Courtney Michelle Harrison on 9th July 1964. Her dad was Hank Harrison, the manager from Grateful Dead. Later she claims that her dad was given her LSD when she was a kid, but dad denied. Anyway, it was soon clear Courtney wasn’t the happy child because at a quite young age she ended up in some reformatory schools and ended up being a stripper in several clubs, even in Japan. Courtney was always the kind of girl who wanted to have famous boyfriends, Julian Cope became one of the first lucky ones, or is a victim a better word? Anyway, I don’t care that much with whom she shared her bed with cos the list will be quite endless I guess. The first musical outfits from Courtney was her being the lead singer from Faith No More. It didn’t last that long and she was sooner kicked out then being taken in, but when arriving in San Francisco she met Kat Bjelland with whom she played in unsigned bands like Babydoll and The Pagan Babies, but as soon as Kat started Babes In Toyland, Courtney could go as well… You can say a lot about Courtney, but being her the rejected one, she always survived in appearing in the right moments (I leave it to your imagination how she managed it anyway) but soon after the adventure with Kat, she got offered the role of Nancy Spungen (Sid Vicious’ girlfriend) in Alex Cox’s “Sid & Nancy”. But Courtney wanted fame, not being the undergroundstar, and she decided to form her own band. When placing an ad she got the request from one Eric Erlandson, the only member (apart from Courtney) who would be a vast member till the bitter end. And then there is of course Kurt Cobain… There are a million theories around. Some say it’s Courtney’s fault that Kurt committed suicide, some say Courtney was nothing but a whore who needed attention for her own stardom, some say Courtney is talentless apart from the bed only… It makes me wonder if anyone has the right to judge such things? It’s clear that both Courtney and Kurt are deranged people but both “Nevermind” and Hole’s debut “Pretty on the inside” (produced by Kim Gordon) were released in 1991. It are two total different sounds, and those who state that Courtney needed Kurt for her music is mental, albeit mental if it comes to musical education. “Pretty on the inside” is one of the greatest American records ever and it shaped Courtney’s image in a final way, being the ultimate rock ‘n roll-queen whether you like it or not. Well, undergroundwise that is, because Courtney was known as Kurt’s eccentric wife but only a handful of people were listening to her music. The musical fame had to come with their 2nd album “Live through this”. Never could be a title so much better (without wanting it) as four days before the release Kurt shot himself in Seattle and two months later bassist Kristen Pfaff died because of a heroin overdose and got replaced by Melissa Auf Der Maur. It was the time of scandals and also the beginning of the end as Courtney soon turned out to be mentally ill, but how much the fans were blaming her for being a mediawhore they also might consider how hard life must have been for her. I never met Courtney so I’m not to comment it, but live with a life like that! The tour that went with “Live through this” was a strange one, every concert was in doubt and I could see it with my own eyes how Courtney went awol in Brussels just because a fan was wearing a Pearl Jam T-shirt in front of her. She stopped the concert and asked the guy to go away, when she saw he refused the guy was drawn out by the security. Is this going over the top? It certainly is, and you forgive her…just because she’s Courtney. Apart from tons of bootlegs and compilations (My body, the grenade) Hole made only three albums and in all honesty, my fave is “Celebrity Skin”. I once wrote Everett True (and who knows Courtney better than him?) that I thought it was Fleetwood Mac for mentally people and I got flattered by the fact that he agreed. It’s very difficult to describe the feeling of this record, but even if I never got a needle in my arm (at least not for heroin) it’s like you can feel the weltschmerz of a junk. From then on everything went downwards. Once she was the honey of the press, now she was the rejected one…nothing from her was accepted, not even her efforts on the brilliant solo-album “America’s sweetheart”. The album was an immense flop salewise but for those who care : listen to it, and you’ll discover one of the best albums from a woman who has something to say, if she says it in a right way is another matter. More scandals came, drugaddiction, arrests, quarrelling with daughter Frances Bean Cobain (it looks like she also feels the need to go into music) and the most current news was her going topless on Twitter, but she had a perfect excuse : it was to show her new tattoos… If everything goes fine, a new album “Nobody’s daughter” will be released in April 2010, but it’s still a grey area if it’ll be under Hole or Courtney Love. Cashing in? Of course, and not in the least, but if everybody can do it then the queen of rock has that right to. Courtney, you made me laugh, you made me cry, you made me shake the head….whatever that might have been said about you, you’re standing next to PJ Harvey, Bjork, Patti Smith, Nico, Liz Frazer, Siouxsie…what do they have in common? Female heroes of mine.