While some fans are embracing the raw power of Hole's new single, "Be a Man," online, it appears that the majority of rock radio stations are, so far, passing on the sinewy track.
"Be a Man," which is available in MP3 format on a fan website and will appear on the soundtrack to the forthcoming Oliver Stone film "Any Given Sunday," is airing on 46 stations across the United States, according to a source who requested anonymity. The song was released to radio nearly three weeks ago.
Only 22 of the 82 alternative-rock stations tracked by Radio & Records are playing the single, Jim Kerr, the trade magazine's alternative-rock editor, said. "You would expect an artist like that to be on significantly more stations," he said Friday. "But at the same time, we're in an environment where there's so much stuff being released that stations are running out of room on their playlists."
Hole recorded "Be a Man" (RealAudio excerpt) during sessions for their most recent album, Celebrity Skin (1998), but they decided not to include it on the album. "It didn't fit with the rest of the record," Janet Billig, the band's manager, said.
The webmaster of a Hole fansite called "The Doll House" recently posted "Be A Man" online (http://www.brookelyn.com/beaman/index.html). Billig said Hole are supportive of the fansite.
"Be a Man" finds Hole using industrial noise to brace their hard guitar grooves and singer Courtney Love's sneering vocals. Love's sardonic lyrics include, "Take off your dress/ Your master plan/ Show what it takes to be a man/ The fucking wars/ The carnage yeah/ Prove it to me/ Yeah you're a man."
"It's definitely rawer than the more polished stuff on Celebrity Skin," Mike Savage, music director at the Los Angeles station Y-107 (KLYY), said. "They're not breaking any new ground, but if you like Hole, chances are you're going to like this song."
Savage said he has the single on light rotation but will bump it up if requests increase. "There's so much new music out from big bands that that one's going to have a hard time," he said. "If people like the new Korn song, they can go out and buy the Korn album, whereas the soundtrack with the Hole song on it might not have anything else they like."
The "Any Given Sunday" soundtrack, which also features songs by LL Cool J, DMX, Goodie MOb and Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, will hit stores Jan. 4.
Hole, who formed in Los Angeles in 1990, recently began writing material for their fourth album.
The band will hold auditions in Los Angeles this weekend to replace bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur, according to a source who asked not to be named. Auf Der Maur left Hole in October after five years in the group. She was their third bassist, following Kristen Pfaff, who died of a drug overdose.