Though Courtney Love's supposedly enrolled in a live-in rehab facility, the singer stepped out on Thursday night for some L.A. club-hopping, even popping up onstage to play with a local band.
Eyewitnesses place Love at two shows less than a mile from each other in the heart of Los Feliz, near Los Angeles' Silver Lake hipster district. From the description of her interaction with clubgoers, it would seem Love went to Tangiers specifically to see power-rock trio the Hard Place, described in an LA Weekly club pick as having the same breathless impact as Nirvana did at Jabberjaw in the spring of 1991, a quote Love kept referencing when speaking with friends of the band. "They don't sound like Nirvana!" and "So, this band sounds like Nirvana, huh? They wish!" she was said to have repeatedly complained and joked.
Though some clubgoers said they heard Love was accompanied by minders to keep her clean, no one was absolutely sure whether she came to the club alone or not. The only certainty was that Love was in the mood for fun. Dressed in a black-and-white-striped tube top, fishnets with British flags on them and blue Converse low tops, she moved around the club to talk astrology with fans and mock people she perceived to be groupies. At one point she wore plastic yellow "caution" tape across her torso like a beauty queen's sash.
She was also spotted at the Derby, where one of the bands on the bill invited her onstage. Let's Go Sailing singer Shana Levy said she figured the worst that could happen was Love would say no, and she was delighted when the former Hole frontwoman said yes.
"She said, 'I really need to get laid tonight, but I always have time for a chick band,' " Levy said. "So we taught her a song of ours on the fly and she sang and played guitar with us. She'd be all, 'Just give me some chords,' and I gave her the wrong chords at first, and she was joking, 'If you don't get this right, I'm going to kick you out of this band!' "
The style of the unsigned band — indie pop in the vein of Grandaddy and the Flaming Lips — wasn't Love's typical sound, so she tried to rough them up and rock them out, Levy said. And because Love kept yelling that the song they played, called "Sideways," was destined to be a hit, the band whipped out three renditions of it — two with Love, and the third as an encore without her.
"We didn't have a drummer that night," Levy said, "so we were playing soft, and we kept telling her, 'Cut off when we tell you to,' and she was like, 'Yeah, I know, I'll be subtle,' and then of course she'd be loud. It was funny because she was making up lyrics, too. It was just insane."
Levy said her band really appreciated Love's participation — since the crowd pretty much doubled as word spread that the former Hole singer was onstage. "She was really approachable, really nice, really considerate," Levy said. "We were totally surprised."
The crowd spilling onto the street after the shows was also surprised, as Love made sure her exit was just as memorable as her entrance. An eyewitness said she drove by in a white van, hanging out the window, yelling to what was assumed to be her driver, "You gotta get me back to [rehab]!" and then was gone.
Earlier that day, Love's lawyer, Ron Fischetti, had told MTV News that Love was undergoing live-in detox care at a facility in Malibu (see "Courtney Love Has Been In Rehab For Two Weeks, Lawyer Reveals"). Fischetti could not be reached on Monday.
The singer is awaiting trial on drug charges following an overdose and an arrest for possession in October (see "Love Pleads Not Guilty To Felony Drug Charges, Asks For Rehab"). Her next court date is Thursday.