Sons And Daughters

8 August 2014 | 1:56 pm | Adrian Potts

Courtney Love just doesn't understand Beyonce and Jay-Z

Courtney Love is reaching for a cigarette in her LA home and directing her PA to run errands. “I need you to take this script,” she says, “and I need you to make a coffee.” She seems preoccupied and stressed, as she readies herself to rehearse a play she’s hoping to land.
I need to have the same kind of mojo I have with rock’n’roll with acting

One of the most notable rock musicians of the ‘90s – be it for her band Hole’s iconic albums or her frequently tumultuous private life – Love parlayed her fame into a briefly successful film career later in that decade, with major roles in The People Vs Larry Flynt and Man On The Moon. After that flurry of performances, however, her personal life unravelled, the work dried up and she entered what she calls “movie star jail”. Having recently scored a recurring role on TV bikie drama Sons Of Anarchy, Love has hired an acting coach and is focusing her energies on the craft once more. “Yeah, there’s Sons Of Anarchy and this play in New York that I’m probably going to do, and there’s a film I’m up for,” she says between long drags on her cigarette. “I’m really trying to get my chops back and not just wing it, and to be more trained and more mindful. I need to have the same kind of mojo I have with rock’n’roll with acting, and I haven’t done it for ten years.”

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The singer is embarking on an Australian solo tour after releasing her first new music since 2010. This year was also the 20th anniversary of Hole’s Live Through This, perhaps the most well known album she has fronted. It came out at the height of her lipstick-smeared infamy and features intense, sometimes screamed, vocals that tap into a vein of female anger largely absent from popular rock at the time. In a morbid twist and without planning, it was released within a week of Kurt Cobain’s death. The record spawned legions of fans who flocked to the altar of Love wearing copycat op-shopped babydoll dresses. The two-decade anniversary of the album’s release sparked talk this year of a Hole reunion. Love met with the members of the ‘classic’ Hole line-up, after years of enmity between the singer and principal Hole songwriter Eric Erlandson, and the group jammed for the first time since the band’s demise in 2002. 

What will it take to officially get the band back together? ”A lot of money,” Love says. “We all like each other and we’ve played together fine. It will also take new songs. I have no desire to do a Live Through This album tour.”

“I went to the Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert the night before last, but I left early because I didn’t understand the music."

Love also recently turned 50 years old. “It’s miraculous, isn’t it?” she says. Shunning the idea of an A-list celebration, she opted for more low-key plans. “I just spent it with my daughter [Frances Bean], which was good. I didn’t have a lavish party because somebody else was having a lavish party on the same night, so I went there instead.” Love says that she and her daughter have reunited after Frances Bean filed a temporary restraining order against her mother in 2009. “I recently moved to LA and I live four doors down from my daughter. We’re very close now.”

Love has continued to make headlines in recent years, claiming that some $250 million dollars was stolen by shadowy fraudsters from the Nirvana estate she controls. More recently, she publicly made amends with long-time nemesis and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl during the band’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. “We just both knew it was time to let it go, and we were ready to do it,” she says.

claiming that some $250 million dollars was stolen by shadowy fraudsters from the Nirvana estate she controls

Public taste in music has shifted seismically since Love began Hole 25 years ago by placing an ad in an LA street paper stating her influences as Fleetwood Mac, Sonic Youth and Big Black. Guitar-driven music is now an increasingly outmoded second-ran to hip hop and electronic styles. Does Love mourn the decline of rock? “It doesn’t make me sad. It makes me wonder when there’s going to be a correction in the market. This can’t go on forever – nobody wants to listen to hip hop for the rest of their life. Rock will come out of the slump.

“I went to the Beyoncé and Jay-Z concert the night before last, but I left early because I didn’t understand the music. I liked the costumes but the music I didn’t get. I like them as people though,” she continues. “I’m friends with Miley Cyrus and she’s really nice and cool. She’s actually younger than my kid. But I really wouldn’t know a song of hers if it hit me on the head. I listen more to indie-rock. I just rediscovered PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, and I like Fleet Foxes and stuff like that.”

Love’s new music, including the recent single You Know My Name, lies at the more clamorous end of pop-punk, with fast riffs and the singer’s trademark howl at the fore. Her Australian tour will be the first time she has performed here since Hole played Big Day Out in 1999. She has been to Australia several times in the interim, and for surprising reasons. “I’m close with [motivational coaches] Tony and Sage Robbins, and Tony gives a lot of seminars there and does private coaching there, so that’s brought me over,” she explains.

Extinguishing a cigarette, she seems preoccupied once more, anxious to continue her day’s work. “I have to make a copy of this script. I’m sorry to be abrupt, but I have to go.” And with that she says goodbye, to resume her acting training and the always in-progress job of being Courtney Love.