Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hole - Northern star

Courtney Love drunk and high as a kite and the song grabs her anyhow, she doesn't even mangle any of the lyrics as well as adding a few that are a clear reference to her dead husband. Even high as a kite she hit all her cues (if you've never sung to backing music you won't know what I'm talking about, it's harder than you think). Courtney had talent. Too bad she threw it away on drugs and craziness.

But that's what the music industry does, takes screwed up but talented kids like the Courtney Loves of the world, feeds them ever more booze and drugs in hopes of keeping them docile enough that they don't question the screwing the suits are giving them while exploiting their talent, and then throw them away when the booze and drugs take their inevitable toll. Courtney never grew up. She never had a chance to, she went from a fucked up home life to a fucked up road life. Thus the famous episode where she flashed her boobies at David Letterman. Sad. Just sad.

-- Badtux the Observant Penguin


  1. At the risk of sounding like a geezer...I find no talent in that poor excuse of a body and mind. I fear for the Francis Bean...I really do.

  2. Hole flashed Letterman, too. I thought that was Drew (Barrymore).

    I always like Hole's music, it's too bad the drugs and alcohol keep wrecking thier lives, not to mentioned the other tragedy that would have sent anyone over the edge.

    Francis Bean, all I can say is "Oh No"

  3. just yesterday i was talking with an old collegue on the phone. we were remarking how most of the pros that have made it to our age are either in recovery or dead. there is a real "goose that lays the golden egg" thing that goes on with the label suits. there are also "show doctors" who have magic bags of gear and will do what ever science can do to get someone out there on stage.

    as far as singing to backing music, if the backers have any level of pro chops they should be tuned into the singer. accompiment is damned near its very own performing discipline. it requires an extra level of both attention and nuance. i say this because it is a form that has made me a prize acquisition for many performers. they know that i understand the concept that when i am performing in support that my performance can only be fully appreciated in the context of the larger performance. trying to back the impaired can be maddening. sometimes the only thing you can do is get rock steady beat, light firecrackers to end and begin phrases and devil take the hindmost. i enjoyed a lot of courtney and hole's stuff. "take everything! i want you to!" brilliant.

    your observation on the fucked up home to fucked up road is spot on. the girl never really had a chance.

  4. Sumo: You need to listen to the music and the lyrics before you make such a judgement. Pre-Hole-breakup Courtney Love reminds me of some of the near-feral kids I met while teaching in the inner city, sharp as hell with a naive intelligence about what their daily life involved, and ignorant of anything outside that. No, it's not Mozart, but the intelligence is there when you know what you're looking for.

    Nick - go to YouTube and search for "Courtney Love Letterman" and you can see the full video. She climbed up on his desk and kneeled on her knees to give him a better view.

    MB - yeah, "Violet" (the song you refer to) is probably my favorite Hole song. She hadn't shot out her voice yet and the pacing and dynamic changes make for a technically interesting song as well. As for show doctors, I've seen video of many of the outings of Hole's last tour, the one to promote "Celebrity Skin". Given how inebriated and stoned Courtney Love is in each of them, that show doctor must have had a nervous breakdown at the end of that tour. As for the backing band adjusting to the singer, if you look at the beginning of this video you'll see her long-time guitarist segue into the first chords of the song as Courtney insults the audience and lights up a cigarette, and then you see Courtney realize that he isn't going to stop, that he's going to just dive right in and make her look like an idiot. She throws the cigarette away and grabs the mike and starts half-heartedly slurring out the words of the song on cue and then the song grabs her. Her guitarist had been with her long enough to realize that Courtney would just stand there smoking and insulting the audience if he didn't do something. So it's sometimes more complex than just the backing musicians matching to the singer... though the band did a bit of that too, since Courtney threw in some extra verses that weren't on the album version of the song (verses that give the lie to her insistence that this was not her "widow album").

  5. It always cracked me up when people referred to Courtney as "Nirvana's Yoko." She didn't break up Nirvana; Kurt's rapidly deteriorating mental and physical condition broke them up. Even if he hadn't killed himself, it was pretty clear from interviews and public statements he made that he was sick of the band and wanted to go in a different direction.

    You can blame her for a lot of stupid shit she did, but breaking up Nirvana is not one of them.

  6. Badtux:

    While I agree with your statements on the music industry, Courtney's downfall is of her own making.

    My boyfriend is a freelance music journalist who has friends in the underground/indie music scene that Courtney was a part of in the early 1990s. He has heard horrifying stories of Courtney threatening people, beating them up, and leaving threatening messages their answering machines. There's one indie label owner who refuses to have anything to do with her for that reason.

    She is notorious for feuding with musicians and slagging people off in the press. She has made a lot of enemies and burned a lot of bridges. None of this is the music industry's fault.

    Basically, she is like a female Axl Rose: a sick, sick person who did herself in in the end.

  7. Like I said, Truffle -- drugs and craziness.

    As for the threats and stuff, sounds like she took Phil Spector's biography as a guide to the music business, heh!

    Regarding Frances Bean -- I did a quick google to see who you were talking about, Nick. All I can say is that she has that serial killer look in her eyes. The fact that a 13 (14?) year old girl has fan sites dedicated to her for nothing more than being the daughter of a famous "bitch"... sick. Sick sick sick. And WTF is her mom doing letting her kid do all these interviews and stuff? "Oh No" is a mild thing to say here...


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