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Courtney Love MTV Interview
MTV Networks - 09/08/94
The following is a transcript of an interview with Courtney Love, broadcast Sept. 8th on MTV. The interview was Friday, Sept. 2nd, in Toronto, and the interviewer was Kurt Loder
KL: So the company has agreed to relaunch the record and everything. Are you gonna, like, spend the rest of the year going out and...
CL: Well, it's not that they've agreed to it. It's that we all just sort of, like, didn't... were weary and didn't feel like it.
KL: It was a terrible thing, I mean, this great record comes out, and then all this awful stuff happens around it.
CL: Well, I'm not psychic, but my lyrics are. And, and now, you know, it's... I mean, people go back to work. This is what I do. I gotta make a living, and I think I do a pretty good job at it, and I gotta go back to work. I mean, it's what I do.
KL: Well, no one's gonna hold this against you. I don't think that you can...
CL: Well, I think they do. I mean, I think that it's expected that I should go close the drapes and, shoot drugs or something, for, five years. But I don't want to do that. You know, I have a baby, I have to make a living, and I, you know... it's the one time I feel really... good. You know, is the last couple... I've played five times now, and that's basically, other than certain times with my daughter, been the high points of this last period of time.
KL: Yeah, you're a good guitar player now. Your guitarist Eric was saying that he learned stuff from you.
CL: I'm fine. I'm fine. I have a style. And a lot of the songs are complete Bauhaus ripoffs. With total... and, like, my guitar-playing is totally picked up from Will Sargent and Johnny Marr. It's, like, referenced from these British bands, and nobody would guess that because of the sort of persona ... that's been foisted on me.
KL: Well, now they'll know.
CL: I guess now, you know...
KL: Secret's out now.
CL: I think having been a goth is kind of a cool thing, and no one admits it anymore.
CL: The guy from Pavement came up to me, he's like, "You're so brave." I'm like, "Why?" He's like, "To cover a Bunnymen song," he's like, "I wouldn't have the nerve." You know, and nobody, like, admits, like, the Bunnymen were, like, the greatest band. Like in my marriage, the compatibil... Like, at one point we were listening to KROQ, and they were having one of their great, like, flashback weekends, and Kurt was like,... and I was singing every word to, like, "The Killing Moon", and Kurt was like, "Man, this music you used to like is so... ROMANTIC." You know? I'm like, "Yeah, OK."
CL: Well, the vibe at Reading was insane. It was very strange. It was like goddess-worship verging on stoning me to death.... Did they really think that I was going to give them the satisfaction of crying in front of them or having a nervous breakdown? I mean, I know it sounds like I'm trying to act all bad-assed, but it's more... I have a duty to render dignity to somebody whose dignity has been taken away from him. And I have a duty, I have duties.
KL: And who were the people that helped you get through all this? I mean, did you have a couple people that just stayed with you?
CL: Michael is SO persistent... that it annoyed me, cause I just thought he felt sorry for me. But he called me two, three times a day, every day. And people that have gone through the same thing. Those are the people, it has nothing to do with socioeconomic, fame, no fame, NOTHING. It's totally neutral on that level, you know? It's the same thing on every single level. So people that have dealt with it that way, it's really good to hear their stories. You know? Because everybody is like, "I coulda done this, I coulda done that. I coulda..."
KL: I know that my mother used to tell me that her mother had died when she was young. She said the last time she talked to her mother, they had a fight about something, and then she never saw her again. Did you actually get to say something nice before the end and all?
CL: I wish I could find more help in terms of people that have gone through it, cause people that have gone through it aren't interested in the celebrity quality of me. And if you haven't noticed, there's quite a large discrepancy between my celebrity and the band. You know? And that's really gross. I feel like Cher. You know? It's like, you pay attention to what I'm wearing, but, like, somebody buy my record, cause it's an OK new wave record, please.
KL: A guy wrote that Kurt left some demos behind that might someday see the light of day.
CL: Yeah. We listened to 'em last night. The last songs that he wrote are so beautiful. And I'm gonna give one to Iggy, cause that's what he wanted to do. And I'm gonna give one to Lanegan. And I figure since he screwed me over by splitting, I'm switching. Cause Iggy'll get a hit anyway, and it is a hit, the song's a hit. But Lanegan is so great, and Kurt loved Lanegan so much, that I'm gonna give him "Opinion". And then Iggy I'll give "Talk to Me", which is on the Italian bootleg, and it's real Devo, it's cool, and Iggy'll like it. You know? And the other one, the last one, is so weird because it's so damn beautiful, and it's so ironic cause it's so happy. It's very white-album. It deserves to not be given to anybody, and it's just lo-fi, and, I'll just let them put it out at the appropriate time.
KL: Did he realize that any of this stuff was any good? I mean, did he know it?
CL: Yeah, he knew he was the shit, but he had no rock star ego. And he needed a little. The funnest time he had as a rock star was when we went to Brazil, and we had a bodyguard, and we HAD to have a limo cause that's all they had, and, and he had such a great time. And, we got these insane great meals, and he got $250,000 for one show, and it was the full, W. Axl Rose--sorry, Brend--treatment. You know? It was... And he had the best time that I saw him have. But, admit it. You know, when I've seen other people, or when I'm just seeing the way that, like, Trent is treated, or seeing the way, like, the Smashing Pumpkins are treated. You know? I was on the Smashing Pumpkins' bus from one city to another, and I didn't have to carry my bag in. And it was insane. And Kurt, would carry his bag up cobbled Parisian streets. You know, and he was scrawny, carried this huge suitcase because everything had to be punk.
CL: I don't think Kurt wants to be standing in a Bar-do at the Gate as the patron saint of drugs, ...
KL: Beautiful losers...
CL: ...beautiful losers, suicide, and heroin. I don't think Kurt wants to be there. I know that wherever he is, a lot's dissipated, but there's a major guilt left behind. And he's got to have his dignity restored, and his true self. And he could be a real grumpy bastard, but that was part of his power. You know, without saying a word he could make the whole room feel like shit. You know? And he also had an intense narcissism like, "You're coming to me." But he also didn't have one ATOM of rock star ego, and he needed it. He didn't give himself enough credit. I mean, he knew he was the shit. At the same time he didn't give himself... I mean, he prayed every night. He taught our daughter how to pray. One thing that... when I would, verbally we would pray out loud, is for him to love himself.
KL: Why couldn't he, do you suppose?
CL: Maybe he was terminally pouting, I don't know. You know, I don't know. I don't know.
CL: I resent being a role model for marrying a rock star. I wanna slap girls when they do that to me, I really do. That's disgusting. You know?
KL: Do people come up and say that to you?
CL: They write me letters about it, yeah, and they say it. Or they'll say, "You're my hero," and I'll be, "Why?" "Cause you have everything. You're a Cosmopolitan dream."
KL: And look what it did. And, great.
CL: Yeah, well, I mean, I think that it looked like it was headed for doom
anyway. But it didn't feel like it was headed for doom, on a daily basis.
You know, we went mountain biking. You know, I mean, we would go camping.
We were damn normal.