Courtney Love forever: ‘No one gets to tell my story but me’
As candid as ever, the singer-songwriter chats to Soho House about her media blackout, life lessons from Adam Sandler, and her best piece of advice
Friday 20 May 2022 By Jonathan Heaf Photography by Andrew Woffindon Videography by Trevor Murphy Homeware styling by Matt Mills
Describe your interiors style.
‘Porous borders, outside of a definitive aesthetic.’
Who will save rock ‘n’ roll?
‘Have you met me?’
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
‘I brew some rare tea (speedy English breakfast) and down my smoothie (containing cistus, Viennese peat, probiotic, algae, chlorella, coriander), and a shot of raw kefir. I feed the animals, then I hit my knees and chant Daimoku to my gohonzon in my altar room for 20 to 45 minutes. After which, I’ll face the day.’
What’s the last book you read and would recommend?
‘Gore Vidal, United States: Essays. I cannot quit it. It’s like deliciously evil candy – that man’s pen was a razor. Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider. Again, delicious. I’m very late to the poet, goddess, genius Lorde world. I don’t know, with such a beautiful name I thought it was going to be “eat your vegetables”. It’s not. I’m obsessed. It was given to me recently on a visit from Belgium by the glorious Stark sisters (Samantha, the Emmy-nominated director of The New York Times’ Framing Britney Spears – you know, the ones that freed her – and her sister Whitney, a professor in Amsterdam of intersectional queer, quantum science.) The takeaway? There’s no such thing as “alpha males” in the animal kingdom, that’s not a thing. They’re just the dads.’
Tell us what you can about your new music that’s coming...
‘1. Don’t bore us, get to the chorus. 2. It’s been so long that every note counts. Language really is ineffective. Melody elevates every conversation. 3. It’s all in the songs so that… 4. I remain on a media blackout – i.e. no one gets to tell my story but me. Zero exceptions. (Save your breathless pitches, media. Not for all the tea in China is anyone “interpreting” me ever again.) And you will hear what I’ve crafted from the depths of my experience, strength, hope and a generous dollop of arch, snark. FYI, fun fact: Adam Sandler has never, ever given one interview. I know Sandler pretty well and he’s one happy guy. Learn from Sandler.’
Who or what inspires you to continue to create?
‘I’m promiscuous in my search for inspiration. I’ve got too much lost time to make up for and the floodgates are open now – peak curiosity. I’m no longer online. Nor do I plan to be. Being offline inspires me. It’s night and day; they know their algorithms are destroying our mental health and they don’t care.’
Can you create art anywhere or do you need a controlled environment?
‘Maybe you could, but I could certainly not excel in an oppressive, lawless, predatory environment such as the 30-mile zone of Los Angeles or Manhattan. And well, Cézanne was a very late bloomer. It took him most of his life to figure it out.’
Talk to us about your favourite work of art?
‘I love my [William] Eggleston.’
How do you feel about 1990s fashion coming back?
‘It “comes back” every 10 minutes – I don’t keep track. I never defined myself by an era – 1920s to 1940s maybe – but hack off the hems. I accidentally started some trends, as did people I know. We were just poor and trying our best to look cool and keep warm. I’ve always had a penchant for the things I still have a penchant for. I did see some Juicy Couture fuchsia/ orange tracksuits on mannequins in Selfridges and it made me giggle. I also loved Simone Rocha’s dad John, and I love what she’s doing. I tried to go to Japan and load up on gothic Lolita pieces and try to wear it, and I couldn’t. She’s taken gothic Lolita Shinjuku style and elevated it in a way that everyone can wear it.’
Last time you spoke to an officer of the law?
‘When I dialled 999 three weeks ago because someone out of their mind (on drugs?) kicked in my door. I asked my local police round the following day to ask them “WTF?” He was very nice and pointed out to me …. mic drop … that there’s no guns in the UK. That is amazing. Although I immediately installed a security system. No guns. Wow. That’s great. One forgets.’
What’s the world’s greatest misconception about you?
‘Ha! Not biting that old chestnut.’
The last song you listened to on Spotify?
‘That algorithm is ridiculous and thinks it knows my taste and it does not. I look up Girl in Red and it hurls 700 other Nordic bedroom indie-pop girls at me. Plus the fact that they pay artists nothing, forcing musicians into ridiculous situations, such as fashion campaigns for unethical companies, just to eat. Or corporate gigs (my idea of a true hellscape – corporate gigs in Vegas. Never again) for a bunch of tech bros and rich pistachio farmers who could care less. It reminds me a lot of stripping, actually, and that’s if they’re lucky.’
What do you love about London so much?
‘Laws. No guns. Four seasons. Discourse. You stan a middle-aged woman far better. Discretion.’
Who would you trust with a secret?
‘The last place I’d reveal that to, is to you here in the public square. Although I’m betting Queen Elizabeth can keep shtum. I will give you one piece of free advice, passed onto me by one of the richest people on the planet, albeit miserable… Get offline.’
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