It’s been a wild ride, but Courtney Love is back—and she’s touring the Northeast this summer, which includes a stop in Philly this Thursday night at the Theater of Living Arts. PW's Randy LoBasso spoke with her at length about … oh, lots o’ stuff.
Like, did you know the notoriously raucous rocker once jammed out to one of her more radical songs with Mariah Carey? Or that she’s been doing tons of corporate gigs, including an endorsement for e-cigarettes? Or that she’s seriously seeking a female bass player—and can't find one? These topics and more—including bands she’s into these days, bands she’s really not into and a TV show she’s working on—were brought up during their half-hour, wide-ranging conversation. No, don’t worry: Our grunge icon is not the new Bachelorette. “It took them 15 years to convince me to do this shit,” she says of the reality show, “and I finally said yes … like, okay, I’m gonna do it. I will tell you this: It’s hilarious.”
LoBasso’s tape got cut off in the beginning, so their recorded interview starts about 10 minutes into their conversation. At this point, the two are talking about the sort of music Love is currently liking, and Starred, the band that’s opening for her on this tour.
COURTNEY LOVE: Today I was listening to the Magnolia soundtrack. I was listening to a band that’s opening for us, Starred, and I was listening to Chelsea Wolfe, this kid called Blood Orange.
And I listened to a little bit of the Arctic Monkeys this morning.
What can you tell me about Starred? Have you been a fan of them for a while, or did they kind of just come along?
I’ve been friends with Liza and Matt for about six or seven months, I guess. Like really good friends. Matt has a degree in audio engineering, so he was doing house sound for Trent [Reznor’s] wife’s band—you know, this How to Destroy Angels thing, which I thought was … I remain a fan of Nine Inch Nails, but I kind of thought the one song that I heard was atrocious. I have to be honest. I thought it was kind of a waste. But hey, you know, whatever. Matt is … he’s kind of an audio genius, so he’s really helping. Micko [Larkin, Hole’s guitarist] is a man of very simple taste. But I mean, you know, we’ve been together now since he was 18, and I think he’ll be 25 next month. So that’s seven years, my time with Micko.
That was eight, actually, Randy. Which puts it on par with at least as long as I’ve played with Eric [Erlandson, ex-Hole guitarist], if not longer.
What have you guys learned about each other, would you say, in that time, about your styles?
Who—with Starred? Or Micko?
Uh, we never fight.
We get along great. When he started, he was drinking, and now he’s completely sober. He does a lot of like physical fitness, rock climbing. He even quit smoking, which I couldn’t even believe. I hired him when he was barely 18, and he was drinking 40-some beers a day. You just got to put a guitar in the kid’s hand. I got him from Florence + the Machine. He was the machine.
I gave her an opening slot in London. It was like a secret, like a billiards hall with 200 people, and I heard her sing. I’m like, she doesn’t need that guitar player; that guitar player’s fucking sick. So, I kind of amicably convinced everyone to let me have Micko. He came out to L.A., and he’s been through all of my travails. And the last eight years have been definitely dramatic in a lot of ways, so he’s been through all that stuff with me.
I wanted to talk about that, I guess, the eight years. I’ve been listening to your album, America’s Sweetheart, a lot lately …
Nobody’s Daughter is a master work. I think America’s Sweetheart is half-ass.
Well, there were some songs …
I mean “Mono’s” great. “But Julian, I’m a Little Bit Older Than You’s” great. “All the Drugs” is kinda good. I think that’s about it. It’s just discombobulated as hell. I hate the packaging, artwork—I had nothing to do with that artwork. That was the first time someone ever put artwork on something that I had nothing to do with. That’s really a buzz kill. And there’s some crap on there, man. Oh, there’s a song called “Almost Golden” that’s kind of good. But I don’t think it’s … it’s certainly not a master work. I don’t know. I’m glad you’re listening to it. What do you think?
I’m really into the punk influences on the album. Especially toward the beginning.
Yeah, those first few songs are gnarly. Those first few songs are good.
It sounds a lot like the Distillers to me toward the beginning.
No, no, the Distillers.
Oh, thank you. I was like …
No, no—not The Killers. Not even a little.
“I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier.” Oh God, someone stop me. Oh, that song. No, I actually liked Hot Fuss, but I didn’t like that song. I thought that song was really bad. But I like the other song better. The Distillers … wait, don’t The Distillers kind of sound like me?
Yeah, I guess I do mean that, in context [Laughs]. Brody Dalle, she totally sounds like you.
She’s singing on [America’s Sweetheart track] “Sunset Strip.” That’s her singing on “Sunset Strip” with me, actually.
That makes sense then.
We were friendly. I tried to get her to sing on “Samantha” on Nobody’s Daughter, and she was too busy with her baby that night. I was like, "Brody, get a fucking babysitter. You’re in the valley." She wouldn’t do it. And do you want to hear a funny story?