And second of all, yes, I mean what I wrote: Hole’s early material rocks. Live Through This never appealed to me; I didn’t care for the slicked-up vocals or the rather obvious reference to Kurt Cobain’s suicide in the title (and probably elsewhere on the record) or the songs or the hype. And the few tracks I heard from Celebrity Skin sounded pretty dismal. Those records, however, represented Love at the peak of her mainstream fame: Courtney Love of Versace ads and Milos Foreman movies, Courtney Love of ACLU awards, affairs with Edward Norton, and Golden Globes.
A friend-of-lamestain knew guitarist Eric Erlandson in the mid-80s, before Hole, when he was “pretty shy, straight-laced . . fresh-faced and innocent.” The earliest shows sounded completely shambolic—an inept bassist (not on any of their records) who would periodically scream in the microphone, a third guitarist who generated massive amounts of feedback, etc. He reports that Hole attempted to channel “the NYC, lower east side, scuz rock kinda thing,” even to the point that they had hoped to recruit ex-Sonic Youth/Pussy Galore member Bob Bert for drums. Whatever ambitions the band may have had at the time, they certainly didn’t involve photos in Karl Lagerfeld clothes.
Their first single and LP (“Retard Girl” and Pretty on the Inside, respectively) capture the band midway through their trip from scuz rock to radio rock, when the songwriting had sharpened a bit and the band members had figured out how to play off each other. It still amazes me, however, that Love would later achieve such red-carpet success, considering how reckless and wrecked Pretty on the Inside sounded at the time—or even sounds now, for that matter. Some annoying LA-isms pop up here and there (for example, a phone message of Love saying, “Your reputation is shit in this town” gets repeated a couple of times), and I always skip the track in which the band bangs out the chords of “Cinnamon Girl” repeatedly, but overall, it’s a fine record.
(I confess that I didn’t own this record until recently. I picked it up from amazon.com after revisiting the Garbadge [sic] Man video on YouTube, although I certainly knew the music from way back when.)
Some things to clarify about Hole:
4) Hole released a single on Sub Pop, “Dicknail,” between “Retard Girl” and Pretty on the Inside. It’s pretty good, but we don’t own it.
johnnies in the bathroom
And the .zip file is here.
P.S. Coverage of Geezerfest will be up soon!