Courtney Love (born 9 July 1964) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actress, and writer. She was the frontwoman of the former alternative rock band Hole. She was the wife of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, with whom she had a daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.
- 1 Quotes
- 2 Song lyrics
- 3 Stage banter
- 4 Quotes about Love
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
- I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming.
- On women playing rock music, quoted in 1991, from This is the Sound: The Best of Alternative Rock (2008), p. 71
- I've always been provocative toward guys like that. They're lame, and they make it not fun for nerdy guys and nerdy girls and uncool people. They're like these self-righteous jock pricks up at the front, and they come there just to razz you— to tell you that they have a boner, or that they want to see your tits, or that you're ugly, or that you're a whore or something. They're ridiculous.
- Regarding disruptive male audience members at concerts (1991), Not Bad for a Girl documentary (1995)
- If I fuckin' die without having written two, three, or four brilliant rock songs... I don't know why I lived my life.
- Remarks about her ambitions early in her career (1991), Not Bad for a Girl documentary (1995)
- I try to place [beautiful imagery] next to fucked up imagery, because that's how I view things … I sometimes feel that no one's taken the time to write about certain things in rock, that there's a certain female point of view that's never been given space.
- On her songwriting and lyrics, from interview with Everett True (June 1991). In article "Hole in Sidelines" from Melody Maker, p. 8.
- You know what? I was doing Loveline on KROQ, and Lydia [Lunch] sent this fax in that said like, “You’ll never be smarter than me. Stop trying to copy me." So I read it out over the air and I said, "Lydia, I’ve been copying you since I fucking heard of you. You’re the best thing on the planet. I give you more tribute than anybody else and I love you and I wish you wouldn’t be so mad at me. And, Lydia, if there’s anything I can do for you – if there’s any philosophical, tax deductible thing that I can contribute to – you know how to get in touch with me."
- On Lydia Lunch, Rollerderby fanzine (October 1993)
- Don’t eat cheese. There are a million things to eat that are not cheese.
- On eating habits, Rollerderby fanzine (October 1993)
- Does that make you happy, Mr. Rock & Roll Fantasy? You know what? Eddie Vedder’s gonna live to be 98. How’s that make you feel, huh? I love you, come back. You come back! You love us. You love me, don’t you? You love Frances. Where are you? Are you happier now?
- [Internet forums are] kind of fun and stuff, but what's really weird is how they fucking give such a shit about how I'm spelling. It's like, what, I worked to be a clerical worker? I didn't take typing class, assholes.
- On interacting with fans in online forums, interview with Nardwuar (15 November 1994)
- My goal keeps me alive, and no personal issue is going to interfere with that. If people try to put me in the crazy box–'crazy fucking Courtney'–go ahead. But if you think you’re going to stop me from where I’m going, you’re not going to do it. I work my ass off. I deliver the goddamn goods. And I will deliver them again.
- On her career and ambition, Rolling Stone (15 December 1994)
- I didn't ever really talk until I started hanging out in '80 or '81 with the drag queens at the Metropolis [or Met, a gay new wave club] in Portland. I was very, very quiet. So much so that at one point when I was very young I was diagnosed as a probable autistic. And then I started hanging around with bitchy drag queens and with [my friends] Ursula and Robin, and they basically raised me. I found my inner bitch and I ran with her.
- On being antisocial as a teenager, "Endless Love", Spin (February 1995)
- With me and Kurt, it was either Bonnie and Clyde, Sid and Nancy, or mommy. That's where it got at the end, but the rest of the time it was equal. The equality was based on Bonnie and Clyde, which is fucking goddamn fun. And Romeo and Juliet. But it was also Hamlet and Hamlet. Not Hamlet and Ophelia. These two fucking Hamlets sitting around.
- On her relationship with husband Kurt Cobain, "Endless Love", Spin (February 1995)
- Imagine this: You're peaking. You're in you youth. At the prime of your life. The last thing you want to be is a symbol of heroin use. You've finally met somebody of the opposite gender who you can write with. That's never happened before in your life. The only other person you could ever write with wasn't as good a writer as you, and this person's a better writer than you. And you're in love, you have a best friend, you have a soul-fucking-mate, and you can't even believe it's happening in your lifetime. And as a bonus he's beautiful. And he's rich. And he's a hot rock star to boot. And he's the best fuck that ever walked. And he wants to have babies, and what you want is babies. You've wanted to have babies forever. And he understands everything you say. And he completes your sentences. And he's lazy, but is spiritual, and he's not embarrassed about praying, he's not embarrassed about God, Jesus, none of it. He fucking thinks it's all really cool. He wants to fucking learn the path. He wants to be enlightened. Everything. And there's even some room for you to fix him, which you like, 'cause you're a fixer-upper. He's perfect in almost every fucking way. The only fucking happiness that I ever had. And then it all gets taken away.
- On her marriage to Kurt Cobain and his death, "Endless Love", Spin (February 1995)
- I punched out Kathleen Hanna... Sonic Youth brought her. I punched her, and she screamed, "I'll take you on, any college in America, any feminist debate," and I said, "But Kathleen, that means you're going to have to read!"
- On punching Kathleen Hanna backstage at Lollapalooza, interview with Nardwuar (5 July 1995)
- I wore a dress that was so restricting and shoes that were five inches high, I could barely stage-dive. Then I got the best write-ups, for being feminine, I guess. I couldn’t move well and I was restrained, which equals great review. That’s pretty horrid.
- On her attire during live performances, Billboard (30 March 1996)
- I used to see media on Althea [Flynt] and she was very wild looking. She had a mohawk and she published Hustler—I thought that was crazy. But when you study her, she was so innocent and frail and sort of birdlike, and sweet. She stayed sweet until she died, but I don't know what happened for her to get into drugs or the things she got into.
- The deal with fashion is that proletariat male rock critics have a real Bruce Springsteen problem with denim boomer issues. We as females have thousands and thousands of years of fashion in our DNA. We want to wear nice fucking clothes—it's part of what we do, so I don't have an issue with it. If you have an opportunity to go to the Oscars in a fabulous gown, you're gonna fucking take it. I don't have to listen to a rule. Who made that rule? Some dumb guy.
- On fashion, press interview for Celebrity Skin (1998)
- Without the benefit of history, there was no way you could be in the middle of all that and understand what it was like. To be a couple that persecuted, and to be such weak people, so frail and reactive, huddling together because the whole world is going [she makes a sound like a bomb going off]. You’ve got your own team, the sectarian left, splintering off and pointing accusing fingers. We’re fucking picking nits off Eddie Vedder and Eddie Vedder is trying to take on the constitution, and the whole fucking world is damning me to the stake. It was insanity. So in reaction to that, I made a record about it.
- On her relationship with Kurt Cobain, interview with The Georgia Straight (1999)
- Releasing those songs into the void, and not having the void answer back, led all of us to splinter off and attempt to make our mark by deconstructing. Instead of going forward with my tunesmithing, I went back to the beginning. And that’s what Pretty on the Inside was about. I said, ‘I’m not going to follow any of the songwriting values that I’ve been learning for a good seven years. Instead, I’m going to set up on my own land and make my own stake, and see where it goes.’ And the next place that takes me is Seattle, where what was happening was so heavy, and so intense.
- On the beginnings of her career, interview with The Georgia Straight (1999)
- Even though I now feel more confident and happy, I was really paranoid for about a year and a half. Basically, what happened was that I quit taking drugs and I walked out into the world and was sort of in this film that was really well received. So, after years of living a more destructive lifestyle, I had to, instantly, kind of court this world which had incredibly nice value systems, but with protocols that I had never encountered before. And then I had to reconcile these two worlds. You know—I want to live a happier, more productive lifestyle, but the question was, did I want to renounce being in a great rock ’n’ roll band for that? The answer was ‘No way.’
- On reconciling her career in acting and music, interview with The Georgia Straight (1999)
- Do you remember when you were young, and you’d stare at someone on-stage and think ‘Oh my God—he looked right at me?’ I do, so I have this kind of rescue-fantasy thing. When I see kids in the audience I think, ‘Okay, that’s me, and it would be kind of cool if the person on-stage would come down and save me.’ I’m not going to be able to save every one of them, but I’ll do my best, because I genuinely like kids. If I didn’t have my lust for my art, I probably would have ended up working with them.
- On her teenaged fans, interview with The Georgia Straight (1999)
- Since I’ve basically been giving my music away for free under the old system, I’m not afraid of wireless, MP3 files or any of the other threats to my copyrights. Anything that makes my music more available to more people is great. MP3 files sound cruddy, but a well-made album sounds great. And I don’t care what anyone says about digital recordings. At this point they are good for dance music, but try listening to a warm guitar tone on them. They suck for what I do. … I’m looking for people to help connect me to more fans, because I believe fans will leave a tip based on the enjoyment and service I provide. I’m not scared of them getting a preview. It really is going to be a global village where a billion people have access to one artist and a billion people can leave a tip if they want to. It’s a radical democratization. Every artist has access to every fan and every fan has access to every artist, and the people who direct fans to those artists. People that give advice and technical value are the people we need. People crowding the distribution pipe and trying to ignore fans and artists have no value. This is a perfect system.
- From "Courtney Love does the math", a speech given on the corruption of the music industry, from Salon.com (14 June 2000)
- My brother, Toby, is six-foot-six, [and] he [went to] Vassar; my other brother, Brown; my sister, without one penny from me or my [step]dad, NYU Law, number one in her class—Jesus, it's such a functional family, I don't know where I came from.
- On her siblings, The David Letterman Show (17 March 2004)
- [Crack] used to be called freebase when white rich people did it. Then it got sold in batches, and white rich people were still doing it, and it was still called freebase. And then all of a sudden this guy named Ricky Freeway Ross started making it and he happened to be black, and— everything is political— and, then it turned into "crack."
- Explaining the racist politics of the history of cocaine; The Howard Stern Show (2005)
- I'm all for putting money back into the black community, who white people have been stealing from for years.
- On race and the music industry, 24 Hours of Love MTV2 Special (21 September 2005)
- We choose convenience over individuality every time—every time.
- On Americans' consumption of popular music, 24 Hours of Love MTV2 Special (21 September 2005)
- I finally learned from Fred Durst, who is [of] my generation, that "selling out" means every ticket at The Forum got sold. I don't think Britney [Spears] and Christina [Aguilera] sit there agonizing over their record sales. The [term] "sell out" needs to be eradicated from the language, because if you don't "sell out," guess what? An asshole will.
- On the notion of "selling out" in the music industry, 24 Hours of Love MTV2 Special (21 September 2005)
- I love being around people that are smarter than me, that think faster than me. So even if you're a dork, and you wear stupid clothes, and you make a fool of yourself, and everyone makes fun of you, and you're just an idiot—I don't care about the context. I don't care. If you're genius and I recognize it, I kind of dig that.
- On people she is attracted to, The Return of Courtney Love (2006)
- I do remember not having good social skills [as a child], although I learned them later. I learned them from hanging out at a gay disco, learning them from drag queens; and I learned them in Liverpool, and I learned them in juvenile hall. So, I learned [my social skills] from future criminals, drag queens, and rock stars.
- On developing social skills , The Return of Courtney Love (2006)
- When I post, I forget I’m famous. It’s a really bad thing.
- On blogging and using Twitter, Spinnermusic.co.uk (January 2010)
- I never expected I would be connected to the Alpha male as some kind of ancillary object, and to this day it mystifies me.
- On her marriage to Kurt Cobain, The Telegraph (3 April 2010)
- After what I've been through, I'd rather die than take drugs again.
- On sobriety, The Howard Stern Show (26 April 2010)
- I started chanting when I was living on Hollywood Boulevard, working as a stripper. Within six months, I got my first million dollars and I didn’t have to strip for bucks any more. Then I met Kurt and we still chanted, but we did a lot of drugs together.
- On her Nichiren Buddhist chanting practice, The Guardian (29 December 2010)
- Someone once said that Nirvana attracted everybody that had ever been through a broken home... my niche is a lot more specific: It's a lot of females, and a lot of gay guys, and a few advanced and evolved heterosexual men—not many, but there's a few out there.
- On her fans, Hit So Hard (2011) documentary
- I don't know why I ever succumbed to any of it... [but] I liked the rush of going under. It's such a high—it's like dying. I die, but then I come out prettier.
- On what attracted her to undergo plastic surgery, The Inner Circle (27 October 2011)
- When I was fourteen, I was so bloody ugly and I thought I was Kate Moss. I chased this guy named Mark Rennie, who was the hottest photographer in Portland, around, convinced him to [take pictures of me]. I had this big schnoz, I had blusher on, I'm wearing white gloves, and I [was] making new wave faces, and, like, voguing... there was a gap in my teeth, and I was 180 pounds. So if someone calls me ugly, it sort of rolls off my back because it's not about looks, it's about attitude—you get laid on attitude.
- On confidence; The Opie & Anthony Show (30 May 2013)
- I don’t like coming to Seattle much. I talked to [Chris] Cornell about it not that long ago. And Jerry Cantrell. None of us like it. It is beautiful, objectively. The arboretum is great. But it freaks me out for obvious reasons. I didn’t really live there. I lived behind a gate. I would try to go up to [Pike Place] Market. My big expedition would be Urban Outfitters and the yoga store.
- On living in Seattle in the 1990s, The Seattle Times (14 July 2013)
- America's Sweetheart was my one true piece of shit. It has no cohesive thread. I just hate it.
- On her 2004 solo record, The Daily Telegraph (April 5, 2014)
- It’s been twenty years—we didn’t even talk at [Kurt's] funeral. None of us. And so, twenty years of me getting Yoko-bashed, and Dave bashing, and me bashing and making it worse, all that shit. The legal stuff, the trial. We just buried it. It was really deep. It brings tears to my eyes to even talk about it.
- If I see a chick playing guitar, I’m drawn to that band immediately. I want to know everything, even if it’s completely electronic. But you have to really get my attention if you’re male. I can’t help it. It’s part of my nature.
- On women playing guitar, Pitchfork (1 May 2014)
- When my looks are shot—which I reckon will be in about six years—I’ll have plastic surgery here on my chin, and they can pull my cheeks back, but I’m not ready for that. And because of the smoking, the mouth is starting to give.
- On plastic surgery, The Sydney Morning Herald (11 August 2014)
- I’ve protected it [the Nirvana catalogue] from everything from Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials to movies about board games. We’ve been offered $6 million for 18 seconds of one Nirvana song and I turned it down.
- On managing the Nirvana catalogue, The Sydney Morning Herald (11 August 2014)
- I am a feminist and I’ve always thought of myself as a feminist. What I don’t like about feminism and the far left in general is the in-fighting, the way that the far left in-fights too much to get anything done and I feel like in feminism it’s like, ‘well, she’s not really feminist enough’ and there can be this kind of less-than thing in feminism. And also I think there’s a biological paradigm between men and women where men are just men and women are just women, and there is something to be said about that. But at the same time, I think equality amongst the sexes is critical.
- On feminism, Dazed (22 March 2016)
- I always said I’d never go to New York until someone pays me—because I’ve seen people come back from New York like desiccated, broken… New York is a tough place if you’re coming out of Port Authority or from Oregon, and they were paying me 356 dollars a day to be on the set [of Sid and Nancy] so that was really wonderful. Then I did Straight To Hell which went straight to video (but) then Andy Warhol noticed me from those two films. Then I got to be in Interview magazine and I got this little measure of celebrity, but with no money (laughs) that sucks… (but) it feels great if you’ve been wanting it. A lot of people like to say, ‘oh I didn’t ask for this, it just happened. I’m the luckiest guy in the world…’ I always wanted it.
- On her first exposure to fame after appearing in Alex Cox's films Sid and Nancy (1986) and Straight to Hell (1987), Dazed (22 March 2016)
- I always took myself really seriously... but sometimes I’d be at a venue and the guy would call me ‘sweetie’ or ‘honey’ when we were doing drums and stuff. I’d carry the drums in myself so people wouldn’t say I was a bitch. I went very briefly to an engineering school, so I knew the difference between white noise and pink noise and what a view meter was, and a logs player and things like that. I didn’t need to know but it came in handy when I was sitting with Steve Albini like ‘really? Is that a good logs player?’ I barely know what it is, but I learned "Smoke On The Water" so I could go to Guitar Center and play that and not have guys look at me. It was a different time—I think girls get taken a lot more seriously now.
- On being a woman in rock in the early 1990s, Dazed (22 March 2016)
- LA is easier. People have garages. And then as you go up the coast, in Washington and Oregon people have bigger houses and bigger garages, and people have parents.
Pretty on the Inside (1991)
- When I was a teenage whore
My mother asked me, she said, "Baby, what for?"
- Without, without a doubt
Come on and let me out
Hey, where the fuck were you when my lights went out?
- Sister ectoplasma she's incredulous
Just like a pro she takes off her dress
And she kicks you down in her snow white pumps
Just remember it was me who found the lumps
- "Mrs. Jones"
- Don't blush when I rip you open.
- Slutkiss girls, won't you promise her smack?
Is she pretty on the inside?
Is she pretty from the back?
Slutkiss girls, won't you water her rack?
Is she pretty on the inside?
Is she pretty from the back?
Slutkiss girl, molasses, rot blackstrap
Is she rotten on the inside
Is she ugly, ugly from the back?
- "Pretty on the Inside"
Live Through This (1994)
- And the sky was all violet
I want it again, but violent, more violent
I'm the one with no soul
One above and one below
- I am the girl you know, can't look you in the eye
I am the girl you know so sick I cannot try
I am the one you want, can't look you in the eye
I am the girl you know, I lie and lie and lie
- He shakes his dead rattle
Spittle on his bib
And I don't do the dishes
I throw them in the crib
- Every time that I sell myself to you
I feel a little bit cheaper than I need to
I will tear the petals off of you
Rose red, I will make you tell the truth
- I want to be the girl with the most cake
He only loves those things because he loves to see them break
I fake it so real, I am beyond fake
And someday you will ache like I ache
Someday you will ache like I ache
- I've got a blister from touching everything I see
The abyss opens up
It steals everything from me
- I want my baby
Where is my baby?
I want my baby
Where is my baby?
- "I Think That I Would Die"
Celebrity Skin (1998)
- Oh, make me over
I'm all I wanna be
A walking study
- Crash and burn
All the stars explode tonight
How'd you get so desperate?
How'd you stay alive?
- Love hangs herself with the bedsheets in her cell
Threw myself on fires for you
Ten good reasons to stay alive
Ten good reasons that I can't find
- "Reasons to be Beautiful"
- And I wait staring at the Northern Star
I'm afraid it won't lead you very far
He's so cold, he will win the world tonight
All the angels kneel into the frozen lights
Feel their hearts they're cold and white
- "Northern Star"
America's Sweetheart (2004)
- Hush your highness, don't you breathe
No, baby, hold me in your arms, I'm shivering
But what's all this for?
If I was the battle, baby, you have won the war
- "Hold Onto Me"
- The devil's driving my car tonight, and he's drunk
He's pissed, he's mad
I don't care which of you he fucks up
- "All the Drugs"
- You should've loved me baby
When redemption's too blind
Nature took my soul
And sin left a scar so wide
Time ravaged my body
And now I live in the house
Where the red light's always on
- "Life Despite God"
Nobody's Daughter (2010)
- Asphyxiate all your pain away
Don't try to win; it will only end in disgrace
Translucetize the cold light of day
It's glorious, its terrible, God I need it
It's beautiful, it's ravenous; I'll just feed it
Coil down to your black dark decay
And I will dig my own grave now
I'm miss begotten
I am the last one you save here
It's all gone rotten
- "Nobody's Daughter"
- And they're coming to take me away now
What I want I will never have
I'm on the Pacific Coast Highway
With your gun in my hands
- "Pacific Coast Highway"
- People like you fuck people like me
In order to avoid agony
People like you fuck people like me
In order to avoid suffering
People like you fuck people like me
Fuck people like you
Fuck people like me
Fuck people like you
Fuck people like me
Fuck people like you
- So you think that you could save him,
And we know that someone died.
Oh, an unkindness of ravens,
And we know that Mary lied
- And I don't care what it takes my friend
I will never go hungry, go hungry again
Oh, and I don't care what I have to pretend
I will never go hungry, go hungry again
And the phoenix she rises, she is sure to descend
She will never go hungry, go hungry again
And you're looking to me more and more like a godsend
We will never go hungry, go hungry again
And we owe each other nothing, there's no one left here to offend
We will never go hungry, go hungry again
- "Never Go Hungry"
B-sides and compilations
- It's my lie and I believe in it
It's my lie and I wanted it
It's my bed and I'll bleed in it
It's my bed, and I'll lie
And I sit on the corner
And I drink drown soda
I wanna bomb the whole state of Minnesota
- "Drown Soda"
- You want retreat, filthy and deep
A dead moon, a drunken sleep
Baby, there is a room full of death and whores and truth
And I am waiting in that room
And I am waiting in there for you
It's all hoarse, it's all pain
It's all disease, man, it's all the same
My little Judas, my little twin
Where you start, that's where I begin
- "Burn Black"
- You look good in my dress
I'll get your friends to clean the mess
You look good in my clothes
I can feel you where the doctor goes
- She spent twenty years like a virus
They want to burn the witches inside us
Well, yeah, you don't fuck with the Fabulous Four
Or you'll spend the rest of your life picking things up off the floor
Oh baby, dry your dirty eyes
My water breaks like turpentine
- "20 Years in the Dakota"
Note: All stage banter sourced from Hit So Hard: The Life and Near Death of Patty Schemel (2013) documentary, and Courtney Love: Behind the Music (2010)
- Hi. We're Hole. As in "asshole."
- Why do guys get to take off their shirts and we don't?
- Phoenix Theatre, Toronto, Ontario; September 1, 1994
- Why did you pay twenty dollars to sit in the front row and tell me I suck? And you're a girl. That's stupid.
- At the Paradiso, Amsterdam; April 24, 1995
- Hi. Kiss my ass. We're Pearl Jam.
- Brixton Academy, London; May 4, 1995
- On three, I want you to say "bitch" really loud. One, two, three, "bitch!"
- Lollapalooza, George, Washington; July 4, 1995
- Is this the anti-gay state? Aren't you the people that voted on the anti-gay thing?
- Lollapalooza, Denver, Colorado; July 8, 1995
Quotes about Love
- After the suicide of her husband, Kurt Cobain, 10 months ago, Courtney Love acquired a strange distinction reserved for Presidents, major felons and celebrity widows: every word she said and wrote became newsworthy. Her postings on the computer bulletin board America Online were repeated word for word in magazines; her arrests, scandals and the drug overdose of the bassist in her band, Hole, made national headlines ... People have trouble accepting Ms. Love because in her odd way she fits the classic model of the controversial celebrity. She is both fan and star, heroine and villainess, celebrity and pest, sex symbol and homely urchin, critical darling and tabloid pariah.
- Whatever you say about Courtney, you can also say the opposite. She's a walking Greek tragedy, and a comedy. She's horrible and great, inspiring and frightening, strong and weak. She's a role model – and everything you wouldn't want your child to be.
- Biographer Melissa Rossi on Love's personality and persona, quoted in The Independent (8 February 2003)
- She's always made it very clear that she needs to work with other musicians, and I certainly don't think that makes Courtney a bad one, because she can't do absolutely everything on her own... Whenever you have a woman who is threatening or unapologetic about her attitudes, I think you'll always have detractors who want to pull that person down... I think until somebody comes along who can do it better than she can, Courtney's still going to be around.
- Shirley Manson on Love and her career, Courtney Love: The E! True Hollywood Story (5 October 2003)
- If she can bring all of that—from that journey from literally the depths of hell, all the way back to the surface of, like "I have value"—that is an incredible, symbolic journey. If people can't get beyond their own preconceptions, they're missing the point. You have to go down to hell to come back up to make that journey. Most motherfuckers won't step two feet out the door, and sit in very deep judgment of those who do go there.
- Billy Corgan on Love's songwriting in the aftermath of extensive drug rehabilitation, The Return of Courtney Love (2006)
- I was seventeen when I first heard [Pretty on the Inside]... For me, the thing that I loved about [Hole] and [Courtney Love] was the anger, and aggressiveness, along with the tender side. That was something I hadn't seen before in a woman playing music. That was hugely influential and really inspiring. Women up 'til then were kind of one-dimensional, twee, sweet, ethereal, and that annoys the shit out of me.
Encyclopedic article on Courtney Love at Wikipedia