On this day in 1964, Love Michelle Harrison, better known as Courtney Love,
was born in San Francisco. Love's father is Grateful Dead associate Hank
Harrison and her godfather is the Dead's Phil Lesh. She was raised by her
wealthy hippie mother in New Zealand and Oregon and displayed a rebellious
nature early on by stealing a Kiss T-shirt, for which she was put in reform
Love began playing rock music as a teen-ager in Oregon, where she
worked as a stripper. With money she made from that job, Love traveled the
world, including England, where she met and played with musicians such as
Pete Burns and Julian Cope.
After returning to America, Love joined Faith
No More but stayed only for a few gigs. She then formed Sugar Babylon with
L7's Jennifer Finch and Babes in Toyland's Kat Bjelland, but they quickly
fired her. In 1989, after a bit role in the film "Sid and Nancy," Love
placed an ad in the L.A. newspaper Recycler that stated: "I want to start a
My influences are Big Black, Sonic Youth and Fleetwood Mac." Guitarist
Eric Erlandson, bassist Jill Emery and drummer Caroline Rue auditioned
successfully for Love and the quartet formed Hole. That same year, Love
embarked upon an ill-fated marriage to L.A. punkers Leaving Trains'
transvestite lead singer, James Moreland.
Hole's debut EP, Rat Bastard, including the track "Retard Girl," was
released in 1990 and was followed by 1991's Dicknail on Sub Pop
Records. Later in 1991, Caroline Records released Hole's first full-length album,
Pretty On The Inside, co-produced by Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon.
Featuring the single "Teenage Whore," the album charted in the U.K., where
Love had impressed music critics.
In early 1992, Love married Nirvana's
lead singer/songwriter, Kurt Cobain, and the pair became the king and queen
of alternative rock. In August, Love gave birth to their daughter, Frances
Bean, and the press floated the rumor that she used drugs during the
Love's notoriety in the media was just beginning to develop.
After the departure of a few members, Hole added drummer Patty Schemel and
bassist Kristen Pfaff. Just as the band's second album, DGC's Live
Through This, was to be released in 1994, Cobain was found dead
of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Though obviously
saddened, Love thrived on the media onslaught surrounding her husband's
death. After Pfaff overdosed on heroin in June of that same year, Love and
Erlandson filled her slot with bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur for Hole's U.S. tour.
Live Through This, though a moderate-seller initially, soon topped many
critics' year-end album polls and spawned the minor hit
(RealAudio excerpt). Love's increasingly mischievous public antics -- including
offensive behavior on airplanes and walking off stages mid-concert -- generated
attention that helped the album eventually go platinum (one million copies sold).
Love participated in the 1995 Lollapalooza tour, during which she brawled with
Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna.
Love then stayed away from Hole for a while, choosing instead to act in films,
most notably her critically hailed performance in Milos Forman's "The People
vs. Larry Flynt." She also mellowed her image by trading grunge wear for
gowns, which she wore to Hollywood parties and the Oscar ceremonies, often
accompanied by Academy Award-nominated actor Edward Norton.
After Hole recorded a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman" for the
soundtrack to "The Crow: City of Angels," Love interviewed Mac singer Stevie
Nicks, whom Love called a major influence, for Spin magazine.
Hole slowly returned to the studio, in between Love's film projects, to record
next effort, the aptly titled Celebrity Skin, due in September. The
album features arrangements by Smashing Pumpkins leader Billy Corgan.
Whether Love can live up to the musical standard set by Hole's previous
albums -- and/or the media hype that she has generated as music's most
notorious female -- remains to be seen.
Other birthdays: Mitch Mitchell (the Jimi Hendrix Experience), 51; Marc Almond
(Soft Cell), 39; Jim Kerr (Simple Minds), 39 ... Donald McPherson (Main
Ingredient), 1941-1971; Bon Scott (AC/DC), 1946-1980.