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The Innovators: Courtney Love

I was married to Kurt and he had a melodic sense. He also played left-handed and I never really could copy anything that he did. But I could copy things that Billy did, and Billy had done Siamese Dream, which is a lot of songs about me, and I couldn’t listen to Siamese Dream at home because my husband would get weird and freaky and jealous about Billy. I might start playing with Erik [Erlandson] again, I’m playing with Patty [Schemel]. I don’t think I’ll play with Melissa [Auf Der Maur] again just because she crossed over to the [Dave] Grohl side, and you’re either on my side or the Grohl side.

The one weird thing [about recording Live Through This] is that I had to blow my nose all the time when I sang. It must have been like mucus buildup from smoking or something. The only reason I know about it is I got this girl Dana [Kletter] to do the high vocals on it, and she went around and told this awful story about how there were bloody handkerchiefs — which isn’t true. I mean, I’m sure there were handkerchiefs.

The [Live Through This] songs are so easy. People did not think I could play because of Pretty on the Inside and it was like, “Fuck you, I can play. I was just posing as the angriest girl in the world, and it worked, and now none of you think I can fucking play.”

I actually played yesterday on Patti LaBelle’s cover record. I played with Mary J. Blige and Babyface and Elton John — this is how fucking mainstream I am — and I played “I’ll Stand by You.”

Bon Jovi came into rehearsal one time and all he wanted to talk about was movies, and I couldn’t give a shit. But he did teach me “Livin on a Prayer,” and I wanna tell you, if you [disassemble] that song, it’s a fucking a good song. Not in an ironic way! It’s really good, really nice. Of course he thought I was making fun of him, because I’m so cool.

I think I might actually do this thing that Eminem does, I might do a radio show — not like a Howard [Stern] radio show where I talk, [but] a radio show where I play old Australian garage and Nuggets and the shit that I really like. And that’s what happened when I went to Celebrity Skin. I was like, “The shit that I really like is Fleetwood Mac, old garage. That’s what I like, that’s what I want to pay homage to.” Live Through This is formless, has no information except these chords I learned from Billy and certain things I learned from Kurt — really boring three chords and make them fucking magical. And I had a godhead of a guitar player who is Erik, and Erik is the real tragedy of Hole. The guy built a cathedral to fantastic guitar playing. And he should really get credit for it.

I love Elton. Elton is so good to me. I once sang “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” at the Old Vic Theatre in London, and I got a standing ovation from the Queen. And I wore his duck suit and then I went up on his piano and sang “The Bitch Is Back,” which isn’t even a great song. And my mascara’s a little runny. When I looked inside of my file for the district attorney, that’s the first picture you see because my mascara is running! And I’m like, “Context!” I just sang one of the number one requested songs of all time, got a standing ovation from the Queen and I’m smoking cigars — but my mascara’s running.

One of the reasons I hate Dave so much is he went on Howard Stern and he said, “I like ‘Teenage Whore’ because I know she wrote it.” That stupid motherfucker. He knows exactly what I wrote — he knows exactly the input I had on his fucking’s band’s third record — and that piece of shit goes on Howard Stern and goes, “I know she wrote ‘Teenage Whore.'”

This Kurt thing has burdened me so much. In a lot of ways, I wish I just had a baby with him and didn’t marry him. I could’ve gone my own way.

I think if you commit suicide — the minute it happens you’re like, “What the fuck did I just do?” That’s what’s stopped me over the years.

I’m the kind of girl you wanna fuck, but then you don’t want to tell your friends.

Interview by Phoebe Reilly