Hole are reforming, rekindling our fascination with Courtney Love
Fame-hungry, drug-crazed, a vulnerable romantic: the poster girl for 90s grunge continues to divide opinion. Now rock's most famous widow is 50 and back on tour. Compelling? That's something no one could argue with...
Courtney Love’s earliest memory doesn’t involve a cherished toy or family outing. Instead, as a three-year-old she remembers being driven through the Waldo Tunnel in San Francisco, putting her hand up to catch the rainbow painted around the entrance and wishing that one day the world would know her name. ‘I cannot remember ever not wanting to be famous,’ she says.
She fulfilled her dream, but fame Has come at a heavy price for Courtney, whose smeared make-up and ragged baby-doll dresses made her an icon of the 90s riot grrrl movement. Now 50, and 23 years after her band Hole’s debut album Pretty on the Inside was released, Courtney is back with a new solo career. Could this finally be her moment to shine?
Born Courtney Michelle Harrison in San Francisco on 9 July 1964, her childhood was tumultuous to say the least. Her parents, psychotherapist and author Linda Carroll and former Grateful Dead manager Hank Harrison, separated when she was a toddler and she was bounced between relations to live as her behaviour became increasingly intolerable.
In a 2006 memoir, Linda revealed she first took Courtney to see a therapist at the age of two. ‘I felt something was wrong,’ she said. ‘There were times when she would cry for hours and couldn’t be soothed. The first therapist I consulted said, “I don’t know what’s wrong. But I have a feeling it’s going to get worse, and there’s not anything we can do”’
He was right. By eight, Courtney was erupting in violent rages. She was prescribed sedatives for insomnia at ten. According to Linda, Courtney started self-harming and bingeing on alcohol at 12, and when she was sent to a juvenile detention centre in Oregon at 14 for shoplifting, said, ‘I’ve been on my way here my whole life.’ At 16 Courtney applied to be legally emancipated from her parents. Off the leash, she travelled the world, journeying as far as Japan, where she became a stripper.
Video: Unleashing the Winds, part 2 by Pr. Mark Finley
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