Clearing up weeks of speculation and rumor, Hole announced the departure of bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur on Monday.In a statement released exclusively to MTV News, Hole's camp declared that "bass player Melissa Auf Der Maur has left the band after five years to pursue other interests." Hole leader Courtney Love addressed the move in the statement, saying, "The fabulous Melissa is an extremely talented artist and wishes to grow in many different directions. We wish her well." The band will now begin what it's calling "a global search" for a female bass player to fill in for the departed Auf Der Maur. Those who think they have the chops are urged to send "two copies of your photo, bio describing your style & influences, and demo to: BASS PLAYER, PMB 394, 2658 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039." A spokesperson for Auf Der Maur told MTV News that the bassist is considering several possible projects, including work with the Smashing Pumpkins (who recently lost bass player D'arcy Wretzky) and Rufus Wainwright, though Auf Der Maur has no concrete plans yet. Hole plans to soldier ahead, and the group has begun writing new material for its next album. The band also recently finished mixing the previously unreleased track "Be A Man" which the Hole camp says may be "the subject of a major Internet initiative, which will be announced shortly." The track may also turn up on the soundtrack to the upcoming Oliver Stone football film "Any Given Sunday." According to the Hole camp, Love has also been working with Murder Inc. production guru Irv Gotti (Ja Rule, DMX, Jay-Z, Ol' Dirty Bastard) on a song tentatively titled "Good Girls." The song sees Lil' Kim share vocals with Love and may also turn up on the "Any Given Sunday" soundtrack. Auf Der Maur had been with the band since 1994, when she stepped in to replace Kristen Pfaff, who died of an overdose in June of that year. While she began touring with Hole in '94, Auf Der Maur didn't make her recording debut with Hole until 1998 when the band released "Celebrity Skin." In her free time, Auf Der Maur has recorded with the likes of Ric Ocasek, Ben Lee, and Blinker The Star. Here is the band's statement on Auf Der Maur's departure in its entirety:
"Representatives for Hole have officially announced that bass player, Melissa Auf Der Maur, has left the band after five years to pursue other interests. Speaking on behalf of the band, Courtney Love was quoted as saying, 'The fabulous Melissa is an extremely talented artist and wishes to grow in many different directions. We wish her well.' "Hole has recently come off the successful multi-platinum 'Celebrity Skin' album and worldwide tour in support of that project. The band is currently in the middle of a flurry of activity, which includes writing material for the next album, which sources say will be heavily skewed towards the rock area. "The band recently completed mixing on a previously unreleased track entitled 'Be A Man.' The track is rumored to be the subject of a major Internet initiative, which will be announced shortly. Negotiations are also underway for the inclusion of the song in the upcoming Oliver Stone release 'Any Given Sunday.' "Courtney Love is also collaborating on an original composition with Irv Gotti (Ol' Dirty Bastard, DMX, Jay-Z) tentatively entitled 'Good Girls,' with Lil' Kim sharing vocals. This track is also rumored to be slated for the Oliver Stone pic. "Courtney is also on a frenetic pace with her own movie projects, recently completing the filming of 'Beat' in Mexico, the upcoming movie on the life of William and Joan Burroughs. She will also have major visibility with the Christmas release of 'Man on the Moon,' co-starring with Jim Carrey in the filmed bio of Andy Kaufman. "Hole, meanwhile, is readying for the launch of a dedicated website, which will aggregate the Hole and Courtney Love fan sites and function as a major lifestyle portal for music and fashion. Hole representatives are currently in negotiations with major online entities. "In the interim, the band is conducting a global search for a female bass player, and is accepting submissions. If interested, please send two copies of your photo, bio describing your style & influences, and demo to: BASS PLAYER, PMB 394, 2658 Griffith Park Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90039."