When interviewing Courtney Love, you don’t want to upset her, especially within the first minute of the conversation.
We begin innocuously enough, by asking the singer about her current tour, which we saw listed on one venue’s website as, “Courtney Love performing songs from ‘Live Through This,’ ‘Celebrity Skin’ & ‘Nobody’s Daughter’ including ‘Violet,’ ‘Miss World,’ ‘Celebrity Skin,’ ‘Malibu,’ ‘Skinny Little Bitch’ & More!”
This is news to her, and she vows to let the responsible parties know exactly how she feels.
“I think I’m gonna tear someone’s f—ing head off,” she says.
Through all of the tangents that the rest of the brief conversation takes — and it takes many, from Rod Stewart to investment strategies — she keeps returning to this new information she has received. And whatever commentary is not about the way her show has been advertised, is peppered with similar bitterness.
“If you want to see something really miserable, watch that Pixies reunion frickin’ documentary,” she says at one point. “Man, I’ve never seen anything so sad in my life.”
Love says this current tour is anything but a jog through her greatest hits. She says she has an album’s worth of new material recorded, and will be drawing from those songs, but not necessarily her favorite new ones.
“I’m waiting for this Prince single, which has dropped, to die down so we can have the next single, because we’re on the same label,” she says. “And it’s very frustrating to not be playing the songs because I don’t want them to leak. I can play the album tracks, you know, like filler songs that we’ve been writing … I’m not playing the singles though, which are the funnest ones.”
So if the only new songs she’s playing are not the so-called funnest ones, how does she stay fresh?
“I stay fresh and dainty all the time and I’m really good at taking baths,” she jokes, picking apart the phrasing of this reporter, “but beyond that, I’m not ever going to do that oldies circuit thing ever.”
“Go on, take everything! I dare you to!”
Love says that since her last full length release, the 2010 Hole album, “Nobody’s Daughter,” she has given up the Hole moniker and the idea of any sort of reunion with the formative lineup, which included drummer Patty Schemel, guitarist Eric Erlandson and bassist Melissa Auf der Maur.
“Micko is not going anywhere,” she says of guitarist Micko Larkin, with whom she has been playing for the past six years. “I’ve been playing with Micko as long as I played with Eric, if not about three months longer. Micko is just a fact of my life, get used to it.”
Despite the fact that we don’t press her on the issue — we’re quite used to Micko Larkin playing alongside Courtney Love — she seems eager to address the reunion possibility fully.
“I would be happy — as much as I love Shawn [Dailey, bassist] — to take Melissa back, but Melissa won’t do it unless Eric does it and I’m not doing it with Eric,” she says at an uninterruptible pace. “I just won’t do it. The guy went into my storage, took 74 guitars out of storage, took my entire backline, which is Kurt’s backline, so one side says Hole, the other side says Nirvana, and of 74 guitars, 22 are mine, 18 are Kurt’s. Melissa went in and got her bass, Patty went in and got her drums and drum riser and Eric f—ing cleaned me out, so I’m about to start pressing charges against him on like robbery, a whole bunch of criminal matters, six counts I think. I really can’t envision touring with that asshole, so that’s the end of that.”
The girl with the most cake
Towards the end of the conversation, Love shares that she wrote the song “Doll Parts” in Cambridge, Mass., a fact which is well-known in local rock lore in Boston. But we press her for additional details.
“I was in Joyce Linehan’s bathroom,” she says, dropping the name of the current head of Ashmont Media and political activist whom Love got to know when Linehan worked promotions for Sub Pop. “I had played the Virgin Megastore*, and I played about half of [the song], because it took about 20 minutes to write, and then I finished the rest of it that night, around 3 a.m. It’s a two-chord or a three-chord song, and it’s super-easy. I was pissed off at Kurt because he was like, sleeping with a busker, and I was like, ‘OK, you know, f— you. I’m gonna write you a “f— you” song.’ So I wrote a melancholy ‘f— you’ song and it’s a very good way to get boys to pay attention to what you’re trying to say. It beats a text.”
Because Love often speaks at the aforementioned uninterruptible pace, we are cut short before we get a chance to clarify, if when she says “sleeping with a busker,” she means Mary Lou Lord, also well-known in local rock lore in Boston (and still quite active in the scene). We ask her publicist if we could obtain further comment on this matter, but the response is, “we’re not commenting on the below at this time.”
So we turn to Mary Lou Lord herself and ask if that could have been her, and if she even knew that she helped to inspire “Doll Parts.”
At first, Lord thinks that song would have been way after her relationship with Kurt Cobain had ended, but we discover that “Doll Parts” was first performed three years before Hole’s breakthrough, “Live Through This” arrived.
“It was me. I never knew that before,” says Lord. “Back in 1991, I wasn’t ‘just’ sleeping with him. I was his girlfriend. He was on the road. On tour. He had also hung out with Courtney a few times during the U.S. tour. I guess we both thought we were his girlfriends and of course, he was stuck in the middle. If anything, I suppose a few of the best things that remain now, for me anyway, are the memories I have of the time with him. Great ones, as well as the songs. If I hadn’t been with him, and if everything had been great with she and him, ‘Doll Parts’ might never have been written. I wrote songs about all that too. ‘Camden Town Rain,’ ‘The Bridge,’ ‘Some Jingle Jangle Morning,’ etc. So, painful experiences can also launch songs that remain. No one wants to waste good happy love in a room ‘writing’ about it. It’s a time for babies, puppies, and ice cream.”
*=Records show that Hole played Tower Records, not the Virgin Megastore on the day that “Doll Parts” was first played.