Grunge-rocker-turned-Cosmo-cover-girl Courtney Love is all over record shelves this spring but not as the frontwoman of her band, Hole.
Love has become a song topic, eulogized (sort of) in the Santa Barbara pop-punk band Nerf Herder's single "Courtney" (RealAudio excerpt), and condemned in the British anarchists Chumbawamba's "Passenger List for Doomed Flight #1721."
On "Courtney," Nerf Herder singer/guitarist Parry Gripp sings "Courtney Love, saw you in a movie about pornography/ You were looking pale and kind of saggy/ I have to say it made me woozy/ When you fucked Woody Harrelson in the Jacuzzi."
"She actually had to approve the song for us to get to use it," Gripp said. "Everyone was like, 'Oh, she's going to sue you. She's gonna kill you.' We have a small record label and they didn't want to go through litigations."
Honest Don's, a subsidiary of Fat Wreck Chords, eventually told the band that if they wanted to release the song, they needed to find a different label.
"And we said, 'How about we play it for her and see if she's going to sue us?' " Gripp explained. "It was actually really cool because she said she wasn't. She could have easily said she was, just to be a jerk, even if she wasn't planning on it. But she was nice about it, which goes against everything you hear about her. I'm still kind of afraid to meet her."
Band Known For Poking Fun
It was Nerf Herder's ode to Van Halen in 1996, which included the lyrics "Sammy Hagar, is this what you wanted?/ Dave lost his hairline, but you lost your cool," that garnered the group a record deal with Arista and a top-40 hit.
"Van Halen" (RealAudio excerpt) also landed the band an interview in a Van Halen fanzine and compelled Hagar to call the band "a bunch of faggots."
"It's interesting because when we first did the Van Halen song, the idea that those guys would actually hear the song seemed impossible," Gripp said. "It still seems kind of impossible. I imagine if our record came out now, and she didn't have to hear it, there's a chance Courtney Love wouldn't hear it."
That chance became even more slim after the song was released to radio around the same time as tour mates the Bloodhound Gang's "The Bad Touch" (RealAudio excerpt) was.
"It was getting a lot of airplay on The End (KNDD-FM) in Seattle, but they just dropped it," Gripp said. "They got the Bloodhound Gang song and said, 'We can't have this many novelty songs on at the same time.' Which is kind of funny, because we're buddies with them."
On How to Meet Girls, Nerf Herder's recently released second album, the band also pays a punk-rock homage to Jonathan Richman on "Jonathan," and to metal bands on "Pantera Fans in Love" (RealAudio excerpt).
The former includes the chorus "Too sensitive for this world/ Too sensitive for that girl/ Please God, don't let me end up being like Jonathan Richman."
"Our manager was like, 'You guys need to write more songs about people. Write a song about Marilyn Manson or something,' " Gripp said. "You hate to think about it that way unless 'Courtney Love' was a huge, giant #1 hit. Then I'd be like, 'The next song is about Marilyn Manson.' "
'Just A Rock 'N' Roll F--- Off'
Chumbawamba's "Passenger List for Doomed Flight #1721," which caused controversy when it was released as the B-side to "She's Got All the Friends" last month, bids adieu to Love, with President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, television character Ally McBeal, U2's Bono, radio host Howard Stern, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and media magnate Rupert Murdoch, all of whom are aboard a doomed plane.
"I don't really have a beef with her, I just think she has a beef with absolutely everybody who doesn't adore her," said Chumbawamba singer Alice Nutter. "She's just part of that pop-music celebrity circuit. But a lot of it is just a rock 'n' roll f--- off. It's not that we sat down and carefully worked out why Courtney should be on that plane."
Love refused to comment for this story.