The NME awards event in June 2009 brought with it a plague of rumours that attention-grabbing grunge-pop act Hole would be reuniting with a brand new lineup, album and world tour. If you’re thinking ‘who the hell are Hole, what is Hole music!?’, fear not as you’ll probably remember them as the brooding brainchild of Kurt Cobain’s controversial widow, Courtney Love.
If not, anybody who got caught up in the glut of teen movies which filled our cinemas at the start of this millennium will surely be (subconsciously) aware of Hole’s music which influenced and characterised the ‘angry-girl’ genre which became so popular among those movies’ soundtracks.
In any case, there have been rumours circulating around rock forums suggesting that co-founding member Eric Erlandson is uninterested in a reunion at this point and a 2002 contract forbids the use of ‘Hole’ without his involvement. Cue the violins, everybody. The question is simple; do we need Hole or do we need Courtney Love’s return like a hole in the head?
Hole music first came to the fore in Los Angeles, 1989 with critical acclaim from the underground for the band’s first full-length album, Pretty on the Inside. Hole would tour non-stop in support of this album while singer/guitarist Courtney Love was married to grunge god Kurt Cobain. The widespread publicity which came hand in hand with the alternative celebrity couple was great for Hole who soon signed an eight-album deal with global unit-shifters Geffen Records.
Hole’s music hit hard times in April, 1994 with the suicide of Courtney Love’s husband just one week prior to the release of their ground-breaking major label debut, Live Through This. The album received rave reviews from rock critics across the globe before bassist Kristen Pfaff died tragically of an overdose. The band replaced Kristen with the now-iconic Melissa Auf der Maur and dedicated their first headline tour show to Pfaff.
A few years later, fans could get their black-nail-polished little mitts on more Hole music in the form of the b-side, live and unreleased recordings compilation My Body, The Hand Grenade. Courtney Love placed one of her baby-doll dresses in a glass case for some of the famed artwork which accompanied this release.
Late in 1998, Hole released their eagerly awaited (and most successful to date) third album, Celebrity Skin. This alternative pop style record represented the best vocal takes Courtney Love had ever recorded and took the band in a new direction which gained them schools of new fans but alienated Hole’s more hardcore listeners.
The title track featured thick rich bass sounds and poppy backing vocals from Auf der Maur, trebly power chords from Erlandson, Courtney Love’s vocals hitting home with ‘I’m glad I came here with your pound of flesh’. Apparently the drums were supplied by a session player and not band drummer, Patty Schemel. This album took Hole music to a new level that would see them cited as influences of grungey girl-led bands like The Donnas and Letters to Cleo.
Hole music stopped officially in 2002 when the band decided to part ways. Erlandson continued producing for other bands while Auf der Maur toured with Smashing Pumpkins and released a solo album which received applause among the darker corners of the alternative grunge-derived scene. Courtney Love released her solo debut America’s Sweethearts in 2004 and is currently working on a follow-up album.
So, do we need more Hole music? Do we want Courtney Love eating up column space again? In this writer’s opinion, we do, we need them both! I’d far sooner be hearing Hole’s latest single, admiring the classic-goth beauty of Melissa Auf der Maur before reading another word about the trashy pop acts we have today like Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse.
At least with Hole’s music, you were getting something with a bit of balls without it being balls altogether! With that anti-music-establishment sentiment, it seems that I should retreat from my soapbox and cue up some Hole on the iPod!