Thursday, November 1, 2007
You may have read or listened to my Courtney Love story already, but I haven't actually talked too much about her band Hole. And let's face it, her band has always been completely overshadowed by the living disaster/marvel that is Courtney Love. It was Courtney that latched onto male band leaders, threw drunken tantrums, pushed herself to extremes, and clawed her way into getting famous, while the remaining members of Hole always seemed to sit quietly in the background, coming along for the ride... or dying along the way. Most of the early Hole shows I saw were a complete disaster. At two shows at Seattle's Off Ramp Courtney was so drunk she could barely perform. Oddly enough at one of these, after the rest of the band got disgusted and walked off stage and someone had to get her a stool to sit on so she didn't fall over, she sat down and did a couple beautiful versions of her songs solo.
This photo is from a bigger show at The Moore after "Live Through This" had been released by Geffen and the band was playing a lot more sober, motivated to put on a good show to promote their new album and burgeoning stardom. For me, by this time the band no longer mattered, they were cleaned up, re-packaged and sold to the mainstream. Courtney was now the prom queen gone wrong, the princess with the tarnished tiara, fully copying the slip wearing style of Babes in Toyland frontwoman Kat Bjelland. She was living with a millionaire rock star and was far removed from her earlier harsh life as slutty, drunk runaway. It was earlier in Hole's career, when they were still a bunch of fuck-ups and drug addicts with no hints of fame or fortune, where Love and her cohort's brilliance shown the brightest. If you go back to 1990's "Retard Girl" 7" (produced by Falling James), their 1991 Sub Pop single "Dicknail," their bootleg Peel Sessions 7", and even their debut LP "Pretty on the Inside" on Caroline, that's where their music was a dirty and grimy and evoked feelings of finding power and strength when surrounded by darkness. That's when their music was real. That all got lost as they polished up their music and cleaned up their act for more widespread attention and fame... a story we've seen played out a thousand other times and surely will a thousand times again.