“The schedule has changed. I’ve got Courtney Love on hold. Can you speak to her in 30 seconds?” SweetJesus! If there was one phone call I wasn’t expecting to be woken up by after a rather heavy Friday night out, it was this.
One of the most polarising, fascinating and downright intriguing names in the contemporary music industry, Courtney Love Cobain is an intimidating interviewee at the best of times, let alone in a state of haze at 9am. Although it could be argued that’s exactly the state of mind you should be in when speaking to the former frontwoman of Hole, widow to one of the most influential names in rock history and the Rolling Stone-certified “most controversial woman in rock’n’roll”.
Arguably, Love is as famous for her music as she is her mercurial temperament. In 1992, she took aim at journalist Lynn Hirschberg after an interview in Vanity Fair led to the revelation she’d been taking heroin while pregnant with daughter Frances Bean. Following its publication, Bean was taken away by child services. Hole then released a bootleg titled ‘Bring Me The Head Of Lynn Hirschberg’. Love blamed Hirschberg for the death of Kurt Cobain, and at an Oscars afterparty in 1995 she attempted to impale her with Quentin Tarantino’s statuette that he’d been awarded for Pulp Fiction. Not wanting to be on the receiving end of her well-documented wrath, I began by outlining what sort of questions writers should tread lightly upon when speaking to her.
“Oh, man, I have a few,” she says. She’s speaking to me from a hotel in Tokyo, where she’s embarked on a last-minute holiday before heading Australia’s way.
“‘What’s the biggest misconception about you?’ That’s not my job to answer that. You answer that. I’m not answering that fucking question! That one always bugs me. Then there’s just the usual mind-numbing crap that I’m always asked.”
“OK then, let’s leave this completely open. What would you like to talk about?”
“I don’t want to talk to the media about anything.”
“Why? Why?! Because it’s none of your fucking business. My personal business is not your fucking business. That’s fucking why. How about that? I’ll talk about the tour. I’ll talk about my new single. I’ll talk to you about my rock show. That’s it.”
“OK, fair enough.”
[Crosses out the entirety of my list of 20-odd questions.] “Well then, I suppose we should best talk about your rock show.”
This month sees Love descend on Australian shores for her debut solo tour. Having toured in the past with Hole, her 2014 visit follows the release of her double A-side single ‘You Know My Name’/‘Wedding Day’, which the UK’s Telegraph described as “potty mouthed and captivating”.
“I’ve been to Australia a few times since I last played there, but just for friends and stuff,” she says. What should people expect from this visit? “I don’t know. We’ll see when I get there, I guess. I have a great band that I love who are really good and really tight. I’m probably not going to play many shows after this because I want to really focus on my acting. So come and get it while you can.”
Indeed, Love’s adoration of acting has seen her add yet another string to her bow – most recently being cast in a recurring role in the seventh and final season of the FX series Sons Of Anarchy.“I love the show and I love the producers of it,” she says of the program that depicts an outlaw motorcycle club operating in a fictional town in California’s Central Valley. “I’m playing a kindergarten teacher. I’m really excited about it. That’s what I really want to focus on for the rest of the year, then I’ll look towards making an album.
“[2014 has] been mostly filled with highlights. I’ve started acting again, which is really good. I’m currently working on a play in New York. I’ve played some really good shows and I’ve also started working on designing for a clothing line. Other than that, I’ve just been hanging out with my daughter a lot, which is great. In terms of lowlights, I don’t really like living in LA very much. It’s pretty boring.”
It’s at this point when Love’s interest in continuing the interview has dwindled. She’s quite obviously becoming irritated; it’s time to wrap things up. At the risk of cliche, I close out the interview by asking if there’s anything left she’d like to tell me about her Australian tour.
“I can’t wait to play there, I can’t wait to rock it out. It’s going to be the last time I play a rock show in a long time.”
I’m going back to bed.