It’s hard to imagine a more “colorful” bandmate than Courtney Love. And for 10 years, guitarist Eric Erlandson maintained his shaggy-haired stance alongside rock’n’roll’s most unpredictable frontwoman in the group Hole.
Since Hole disbanded in 1999, Erlandson retreated from the spotlight (aside from a stint touring with Vincent Gallo’s band Rriiccee in 2007). While he says Hole’s “worst record contract in the history of Geffen [Records]” hasn’t kept dollars rolling in, he was able to buy a house in 2000 and sell it at peak market value in 2005. That real estate deal afforded him time to go backpacking across Asia, practice Buddhism (which he picked up from Courtney), and become a vegan. He now sells a line of raw food products online.
But the guitarist’s post-Hole Zen is being rudely interrupted: Love’s been talking about releasing a new album under the Hole name, albeit without Erlandson — guitarist Micko Larkin from British band Larrikin Love has been mentioned as a collaborator instead — and quite possibly without bassist Melissa Auf der Maur.
SPIN contributor David Peisner caught up with Erlandson to talk about Love’s new version of Hole and his thoughts about the band, looking back ten years after they dissolved.
Courtney’s said that she’s going to put out her next album under the Hole name. How do you feel about that?
[Laughs] How do I feel about that? That’s a good segue from “not taking things personally” and having the distance so that you’re trapped in that emotional baggage. I mean, it’s all business. The band’s a business. We have a contract. She signed a contract with me when we decided to break up the band, which was like 2002 or something, so I really don’t have comment on it except that I know my part in that band. The way I look at it, there is no Hole without me. [Laughs] To put it blunt. Just on a business level.
She didn’t approach you or give you a call about possibly joining back up to do something?
No. There was no call, nothing, I just heard about it from somebody. Somebody told me and it just sounds like something — it just sounds like the usual. I love her a lot and I wish her the best, and I’m open to discussions regarding the real Hole, and if she has a solo album together, I think that’s great. I think she should finish it and put it out and do that.
Do you have a personal highlight from the time you spent with Hole?
[Laughs] The good stuff? The last highlight was playing Glastonbury. That was probably our last big blowout show. We actually flew with Michael Stipe in a helicopter from London over the farmlands of Glastonbury and landed there. So that was quite an experience. That was ’99.
Do you miss being in Hole?
I don’t really miss it because I feel like it’s been a part of me — I’m still living it, that’s the way I look at it. You can’t separate when you have deep, profound experiences. There was a lot of craziness that went on while I was in that band, so every day I have something that will trigger a memory. With the 10 years of distance, I can actually get beyond all the emotional baggage. Now I can see things a lot clearer, acknowledge my part in things that went wrong, and also see the good stuff. We had a lot of fun, and I was really lucky.
Are you happier these days with your life and all the things you’re doing than you were when Hole ended?
Hell yeah. At first, I was a little lost because I had spent 10 years of my life, 24 hours a day being into that band, putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again… I was constantly putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again for the whole 10 years. And so when Melissa left the band at the end of ’99, it just didn’t work anymore. I was a little bit lost for a while, but now I can definitely say that I’m happier and I have more of a solid sense of the captain of the vessel, who that being is.