Courtney Love

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Love pictured in 1995 in Melbourne, Australia.

Courtney Love (born July 9, 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.



Love performing live, 1990.
  • 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.
    • Regrading 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, fuckin', 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."
  • Don’t eat cheese. There are a million things to eat that are not cheese.
    • On eating habits, Rollerderby fanzine (October 1993)
  • [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 (November 15, 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 (July 5, 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 (March 30, 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.
  • 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 (June 14, 2000)
  • [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."
  • 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 (September 21, 2005)


Love performing live, 2012.
  • When I post, I forget I’m famous. It’s a really bad thing.
    • On blogging and using Twitter, (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 (April 3, 2010)
  • After what I've been through, I'd rather die than take drugs again.
    • On sobriety, The Howard Stern Show (April 26, 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 (December 29, 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 (October 27, 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.
  • 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 (May 1, 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 (March 22, 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 (March 22, 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 (March 22, 2016)

Song lyrics[edit]

Pretty on the Inside (1991)[edit]

  • 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.
    • "Loaded"
  • 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)[edit]

  • 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
    • "Plump"
  • 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)[edit]

  • Oh, make me over
    I'm all I wanna be
    A walking study
    In demonology
  • 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)[edit]

  • 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)[edit]

  • 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
    • "Samantha"
  • 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[edit]

  • 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"

Stage banter[edit]

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

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Encyclopedic article on Courtney Love at Wikipedia