“This tour is really an ‘I’m still alive’ tour,” says Courtney Love in between a series of radio shows and meetings. Was there ever any doubt? She’s busier than ever, and our brief conversation with her is stuffed with quick-fire anecdotes, a fondness for discussing her recently-read list of books from a personal library she has very carefully cultivated, and a long, long list of upcoming projects. A new album and memoir are slated to come out this year. She was witty, funny, unafraid to speak her mind, and engaging. She was Courtney Love, basically. Very much alive.
Catch Courtney Love with special guest Starred at Warsaw tonight.
With the tour and all these upcoming projects, what’s a typical day like for you?
I’m not releasing these new things until the end of the year. These things are recorded. It’s like having a really really big secret that you really really want to play on stage, but you can’t. That kind of, you know, sucks, but maybe it airs an air of mystery to me that I don’t know is there. My average day is to keep my nose to the grindstone, work really hard, maybe watch a few 30 Rock reruns, and to love a lot.
Are you based in New York currently?
Yeah! I’ve lived in New York since 2009, early. It’s been five years, living here for five years.
I feel like I always associate you with L.A. though, especially since you have songs like “Malibu” and “Pacific Coast Highway”….
I wrote another one! I have a new single coming out called “California.” Straight up.
What’s with the attraction to writing about California?
I don’t know what’s with it. It’s a thing I can’t get out of my system. It’s my thing. I consider myself kind of tri-coastal. I live in New York the majority of the time, but I go to London where I have a lot of friends and a good infrastructure. I go to L.A. where I don’t have as much of an infrastructure. There’s nothing for me to really do in L.A. It’s like what am I going to do? Just hang around until someone gives me an acting job? I don’t think so.
What have you loved about New York? What’s something that’s kept you here for such a long period of time?
After I’ve worked some stuff out with Page Six and sat down with their editors, it’s like well-dressed guest, please? You know, I’ve had a very non-controversial year, and they’ve been really respectful. Other than that–it can be really annoying when they’re on you–I think it’s a city where you really can keep your privacy. You can keep your romances as discrete as you’d like. You can keep your private life as discrete as you would like. There’s still going to be paparazzi shots that are invasive, but not very often.
Do you have any favorite spots in New York, that you like to go?
I love being in the Village. I love it. I’ve lived in SoHo and the Village, and I don’t want to live in SoHo again.
What kind of music are you currently listening to? What are some of the top played songs on your iPod?
Nothing, actually, right now? I was listening to some old Birthday Party for a while. I’ve been into really old stuff right now like 1000 Homo DJs, kind of industrial. The first Big Black record called Atomizer. The Avett Brothers because I’m 48, of course I listen to the Avett Brothers. It’s what women my age do.
They’re great. I love the Avett Brothers.
Oh, I do too. They’re beautiful. Beautiful, beautiful music. Really pure.
I don’t know. I’m not hip and cool. There’s a band called Dead Canyon. They’re two sisters from California, kind of like White Stripes meets death metal. We have a band on tour called Starred I really like. I think you just did a really big piece on them, but I did tell Liza [Thorn] that I love Marianne [Faithful] but she’s like my daughter’s kooky bohemian grandmother. Do not compare me to Marianne. She’s like “oh, I think it’s right!” and she’s totally arguing with me. I’m like I don’t care if you compare me to anyone, just don’t compare me to Marianne! I mean, just don’t do it. It’s a trap. There’s no offense to Marianne, whom I adore despite the fact that she did get my daughter drunk for the first time. But hey, if someone’s going to get you drunk for the first time, it should be Marianne Faithful and on Petrus and and at the Ritz Hotel.
That’s a pretty good story to have.
Yeah! I had given Frances the black card, and I saw this check for it in April of ’08, and it was like $14,000. I went over to Carrie Fisher’s house because Carrie had been with them, and I was like what the hell! [Carrie said] “Oh, Marianne and Frances ordered Petrus!” Off Frances’ card? I guess Frances was the richest person in the group so she offered to buy [laughs]. But it was wine, and it was damn good wine, and I’m fine with it. But anyway, my point is that I don’t see the comparison at all. I love Marianne. I adore her as a person. We’re friends. Good friends. But it’s not the right comparison. I don’t think it should be made.
What are some other musicians you feel would be a better comparison for you?
Me. Seriously! I think that everyone is unique and the best compliment I’ve received in my life about my music is somebody played me a band with guys singing and said “Oh God, this band sounds like Hole.” It had nothing to do with whether there was a female singing or not. It was the sonic aesthetic that I’ve slaved and sweated and bled over to put into the actual sound of what we do. It doesn’t matter if it’s a woman or a man. It matters what the aesthetic sonic is, and to me, that was the highest compliment anyone has ever given me. I don’t get that much. I get, like, style icon. Sometimes I’ll get credit for lyrics, which I slave over more than anyone I know. To not get credit for the aesthetic or the sound of it is, I think, a sexist thing. I’m not playing that card to play that card, I think that’s what it is. I’m sure credit will end up where credit is due.
I totally understand that. Actually, I first learned the word ‘feminist’ from Live Through This.
Really?! Was it the lyric “I am not a feminist”?!
Yeah! I was like “what does that mean?”
You know where I got that lyric from?
[In an interview] with Julia Roberts, she said “I am not a feminist.”
I cut and pasted it! [Singing] “…she said ‘I am not a feminist.'”
Oh my God, I never knew that!
Nobody ever knew that! You’re the first person to have ever found that out from me.
I’m honored. What do you feel about musicians, especially female musicians, who refuse to call themselves feminists?
No one wants to call themselves a feminist because the word’s been sullied to such a great degree that people equate it with nothing attracted to men. I propose a new word! Let’s just make it more French, make it sexier! Call it feministe!
You’ve stated that you still use rage as your metier. What do you think is the source of that rage today, especially with the new record coming out? What incites you so much that it inspires you?
The old shit: sex, death, hate, love, state of the economy. Nothing changes really.