Hole (band)

Hole (band)

The current line-up performing live in March 2010.
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Alternative rock, grunge, punk rock, noise rock, power pop
Years active 1989 (1989)–2002, 2009–present
Labels Sympathy for the Record Industry, Sub Pop, Caroline, DGC/Geffen, City Slang, Mercury
Associated acts Sugar Babydoll, Pagan Babies, Doll Squad, Babes In Toyland, Janitor Joe, Tinker, Rodney & the Tube Tops, The Smashing Pumpkins, RRIICCEE, MAdM, Bastard, The Chelsea, Larrikin Love, Ozric Tentacles
Website holerock.net
Courtney Love
Micko Larkin
Shawn Dailey
Stu Fisher
Past members
Eric Erlandson
Lisa Roberts
Caroline Rue
Mike Geisbrecht
Errol Stewart
Jill Emery
Patty Schemel
Leslie Hardy
Kristen Pfaff
Melissa Auf der Maur
Samantha Maloney

Hole is an American alternative rock band that originally formed in Los Angeles in 1989. The band is fronted by vocalist/songwriter and rhythm guitarist Courtney Love, who co-founded Hole with former songwriter/lead guitarist Eric Erlandson. Hole achieved considerable commercial and critical success throughout the 1990s.

The band made a splash in the underground rock scene in 1991 with their abrasive debut album, Pretty on the Inside, heavily influenced by noise rock and punk music.[1][2] Their second studio album, Live Through This (1994), which featured a more streamlined and grunge-oriented sound, received unanimous critical acclaim upon release and is perhaps the group's most notable work.

As the band progressed into the later 1990s, they incorporated elements of pop rock into their sound.[3] The band's third album, Celebrity Skin (1998), fused hard rock with various pop elements, contrasting to their previous styles. Celebrity Skin went on to be the band's most commercially successful album, garnering them immense critical attention as well as several Grammy nominations.

The group officially disbanded in 2002 and its members began solo careers and other projects. In 2009, Love announced she was reforming Hole with former Larrikin Love guitarist Micko Larkin. Erlandson, however, stated that no reunion could take place contractually without mutual involvement between Love and Erlandson. On January 1, 2010,[4] a website promoting Hole's latest release, Nobody's Daughter, was launched, with links to various social media pages including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace.

Despite the dispute between Erlandson and Love, the new Hole album was released in April 2010 and the band toured Europe and North America in support of the record.[5]




Hole formed in Los Angeles in August 1989 by its two central members, Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson.

Love had grown up in Oregon and had a fairly troubled childhood, bouncing between foster homes and juvenile systems due to her anti-authoritarian and often reckless behavior. Her parents were both fledgling hippies; her mother came from a wealthy adoptive family, and her father had been a roadie for The Grateful Dead in San Francisco in the late 1960s. Love became legally emancipated when she was 16 and traveled to England, Ireland, and Japan on a trust fund before returning to Oregon and falling in with Portland's punk scene in the 1980s. Throughout her teenage and early adult years, Love worked as a stripper in order to support herself and briefly attended several colleges intermittently. Fascinated by music, she had several unsuccessful attempts at starting bands, mostly with friend Kat Bjelland. She started two bands in her early adulthood, both of which were fruitless; firstly, Sugar Babydoll in Portland, and later, The Pagan Babies in San Francisco; she also briefly sang in Faith No More. Love made a slight break into the entertainment industry when she landed roles in two Alex Cox films, Sid & Nancy (1986) and Straight to Hell (1987), but was dissatisfied with the experience and eventually moved to Los Angeles, intent on forming a band. Love noted that the "cathartic" nature of music is what drew her to it, and also cited traumatic life experiences as being a motivation: "Start with day one and keep going. [My life was traumatic] from the exact moment of my birth and onward. I always wanted to be in a band. The concept of life just hit me one day."[6]

Erlandson was a California native and had grown up in San Pedro. He began playing music in his teenage years, and, like Love, noted that traumatic experiences also drew him to music, one of which was finding a dead body: "I was walking along the tide pools [in San Pedro], and I found a dead body. I thought they were filming a movie, it was this body that was pure white, it had been thrashed around a few days in the water, hitting the rocks. I walked up close to it and 'oh my God!'... then I saw Kiss and Aerosmith and it was all over. I don't know. I had to be a rock star."[6] Erlandson attended Loyola Marymount University where he studied economics and marketing, and then traveled to Europe in 1988, trying to figure out "what to do with his life". He was working as a royalties manager at Capitol Records when he met Love, managing the royalties of Paul McCartney and Tina Turner.[7]

Formation and early years

Flyer made by Courtney Love promoting a Hole show in Los Angeles, August 1991.

Hole formed after Eric Erlandson replied to an advertisement placed by Courtney Love in punk rock fanzine Flipside. The advertisement simply read: "I want to start a band. My influences are Big Black, Sonic Youth, and Fleetwood Mac."[8] Love had several responses to the ad, but chose Erlandson. In retrospect, she said: "He had a Thurston [Moore] quality about him. He was tall, skinny, blonde. He dressed pretty cool, and he knew who Sonic Youth were... he's an intensely weird, good guitarist, and he's the glue that kept me together."[9]

Love has joked that she took the name for the band from "my husband's favorite drinking spot",[10] but this claim is dubious since she met Kurt Cobain, her second husband, the year after Hole was formed. Love, during in an interview on Later... with Jools Holland, claimed the name was inspired by a quote from Euripides' Medea which read "there's a hole that pierces my soul." Additionally, Love has cited a conversation with her mother as being a primary influence for the band's name. In an interview with Flipside magazine in fall 1990, Love said of the band's name: "the name came from my mom. She's like, a therapist, and I said "I had a really fucked childhood", and she said "Well Courtney, you can't walk around with a big hole inside of yourself about it.""[6]

The band's first rehearsal took place in Fortress Studios in Hollywood, where Love, Erlandson and original bassist Lisa Roberts "played something noisy" while "they [Courtney and Lisa] started screaming their poetry at the top of their lungs for two or three hours."[11] Initially, the band had no percussion, until Love met drummer Caroline Rue at a Gwar show.[6] They also recruited a third guitarist, Mike Geisbrecht, and began to perform live. Hole's first show took place at Raji's — a small club in Hollywood — in September 1989. The band played three more shows throughout 1989: at The Shamrock in Los Angeles on October 17, 1989, Nightmoves in Huntington Beach on November 11, 1989 and at Hollywood Live Club on November 17, 1989.

The band's early shows were notable for featuring lots of experimental playing, distortion, and guitar feedback— a style that would be heavily present in their eventual studio material— and Courtney Love interacting a lot with the audience. At the beginning of their third show at Nightmoves, the theme from Phantasm (1979) was played, and Love introduced the band, saying: "We're Hole. Some of you will like us, and some of you will hate us."[12] Several notable songs were performed at these shows, including the band's eventual debut single, "Retard Girl", as well as "Phonebill Song", "Berry", and "Turpentine", all of which would eventually make it onto studio recordings.

From the beginning, Hole was primarily influenced by punk, noise rock, and no wave music, which is evident from their earliest recordings. Both Love and Erlandson were big fans of the notorious LA punk band The Germs, and Love once had a "Germs burn" (a circular burn on the arm given to followers and members of the band) given to her by Germs guitarist Pat Smear, who would later play in Nirvana.[13] In a 1996 interview for a Germs tribute documentary, Erlandson said: "I think every band is based on one song, and our band was based on "Forming"... Courtney brought it into rehearsal, and she knew, like, three chords and it was the only punk rock song we could play."[13] Love also noted early on that the band was "heavily into lyrics", and that they were "the most important thing" to her.[6] The band's music also had a very pro-feminist stance, particularly from Love. In an interview on the topic, she referred to hair bands such as Poison as "drag queens" and said, "they dress up like women therefore they get to confront emotional issues. The whole feminization of men in heavy metal speaks for itself. Well, scratch that, because I want to transcend this whole 'chick thing'. Fuck this chick thing. The whole thing with music is that it's cathartic, and if it wasn't cathartic then I wouldn't want to play it."[6]

Before Hole began to develop a fanbase, guitarist Mike Geisbrecht left and was replaced briefly by Errol Stewart, who left a few weeks later. Roberts also left the group at some point in early 1990. After Geisbrecht and Roberts' departure, Hole recruited Jill Emery on bass and began recording studio material, as well as playing (and often headlining) local rock shows in Los Angeles. After several months of live performances, the band released their debut single: "Retard Girl" in 1990, and followed it with "Dicknail" in 1991, released on Sympathy for the Record Industry and Sub Pop, respectively. According to KROQ-FM disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer, Love would often "hang out" at a Denny's on Sunset Blvd. where he went for coffee in the mornings to try and convince him to play "Retard Girl" on his station.[14] Bingenheimer jokingly said that she would practically "stalk him" every morning.

The band became known at the time for Love's wild onstage behavior, and her ability to really "rile up" the crowd.[9] As the group began to make decent money as an underground band, A&R reps and music labels started to appear at their shows. After one show, the band was approached by a major music label representative, who told Love they needed a more "full sound", to which she replied "fuck off".[9] The group played shows at several legendary rock bars during this time, particularly at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood and CBGB in New York.

Pretty on the Inside and tour

After nearly two years of live performances and making singles, the band began to consider their first studio album. In searching for a label to release the album, the group was approached by both Sub Pop and Sympathy for the Record Industry, who had previously released singles for them, but Love declined their offers. Instead, the band signed onto Caroline Records, and Love sought Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth to produce the album for her. Sending a letter, a Hello Kitty barrette, and copies of the band's early singles to Gordon, Love mentioned that the band greatly admired Gordon's work and appreciated "... the production of the SST record"[15] (either referring to Sonic Youth's album Sister or EVOL), also noting that they would "prefer to work with a woman" and would be "forever honored" should Gordon produce. Gordon agreed, and Gumball's Don Fleming assisted in production.

Hole released the debut album, titled Pretty on the Inside, in September 1991, to vast praise from underground critics, especially in the United Kingdom where the band did an extensive tour with Daisy Chainsaw, Mudhoney, and Therapy?. Hole also toured North America and the rest of Europe in support of the record. Upon the album's release, it was branded by underground music critics as "loud, ugly and deliberately shocking."[16] A 1991 review in Spin said that the album "revolves around a fascination of the repulsive aspects of L.A.— superficiality, sexism, violence, and drugs. Love is the embodiment of what drives the band: the dichotomy of pretty/ugly... The pretty/ugly dynamic also comes across in Hole's music... a song like "Teenage Whore" at first comes across like a ranting noisy rage, but underneath is a surprisingly lush melody."[9] Spin also ranked the album in their "20 Best Albums of the Year" list,[17] and it was voted album of the year by New York's Village Voice.[18] The album peaked at number 59 on the UK albums chart,[19] and sold well for an independent release.

1991 press release photo of the band. From left to right: Courtney Love, Caroline Rue, Eric Erlandson, and Jill Emery.

The album spawned one single, "Teenage Whore", which entered the UK Indie Chart at number one,[20] as well as the band's debut music video for the song "Garbadge Man". Musically and lyrically, the album was very abrasive, characterized by overt noise and feedback, chaotic guitar riffs, graphic lyrics, and a variation of Love's vocals ranging from whispers to guttural screaming.[21] The album also featured guitar riffs lifted verbatim from Neil Young and Bauhaus songs,[22] as well as a sample from Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon". In later years, Courtney Love referred to the album as "unlistenable", despite its critical accolades and eventual cult following.[23][24]

A fair amount of drama occurred during the band's tour to promote Pretty on the Inside, particularly during the last show of the tour on December 19, 1991 at the Whisky A Go Go, where Hole opened for The Smashing Pumpkins. Courtney Love infamously smashed her guitar onstage in a fit of anger after the audience failed to respond well to their set, and Erlandson "demolished" his instrument as well.[25] That same evening, roadie Joe Cole, who had attended the concert with friend Henry Rollins, was murdered in a robbery after arriving home.[26] Love was an acquaintance of Cole's,[26] and the band later dedicated their second album to him.

Another notable incident occurred while playing in London with Mudhoney, where Love had her clothes violently torn off of her while stage diving, an event that would later become the inspiration for the song "Asking for It". According to Love, after jumping off the stage, her dress and underwear were torn off of her by audience members, people "shoved their fingers inside of her", and she was "completely naked" when she got back onstage:[27] "I felt like Karen Finley. But the worst thing of all was that I saw a photograph of it later— someone took a picture of me right when this was happening, and I had this big smile on my face like I was pretending it wasn't happening. I can't compare it to rape because it's not the same. But in a way it was. I was raped by an audience— figuratively, literally, and yet, was I asking for it?"[27][28]

The band concluded their tour at the end of 1991, and, in 1992, Love met Kurt Cobain of Nirvana (the two had initially crossed paths in 1989 in Portland, Oregon), and became pregnant.

Mainstream success

Following the success of Pretty on the Inside, Hole began planning a second album in 1992. In the midst of this, Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain were married, and gave birth to their daughter, Frances, in the summer of that year. Love, at the time, had purportedly wanted to transition from Hole's grittier punk rock style to a more melodic, pop-influenced rock format on their next album, which bassist Jill Emery did not want to partake in. "Courtney wanted to be pop, she wanted to change. I don't mind changing, I love it, but I didn't want to go from A to Z— it just felt fake", said Emery.[29] Emery left the band shortly after Love married Kurt Cobain, and drummer Caroline Rue followed. In an advertisement to find a new bass player, Love wrote: "[I want] someone who can play ok, and stand in front of 30,000 people, take off her shirt and have 'fuck you' written on her tits. If you're not afraid of me and you're not afraid to fucking say it, send a letter. No more pussies, no more fake girls, I want a whore from hell."[15][30]

As a result of Pretty on the Inside's success and the furious press coverage around Courtney Love and husband Kurt Cobain, Hole was signed to Geffen Records with an eight-album contract in late 1992, around the time they recruited Janitor Joe bassist, Kristen Pfaff and drummer Patty Schemel. After another well-praised tour of Europe and the United States in 1993 – the first leg of which was for promotion of their single, "Beautiful Son" – Hole began work on their major label debut at Triclops Studios in Atlanta, Georgia in the fall of 1993.

In March 1994, Love and husband Kurt Cobain individually checked themselves into rehab clinics in Los Angeles for purported heroin addiction.[29] Cobain checked himself out of rehab shortly after arriving and returned to Seattle, just a week before the release of Hole's second album. The album, titled Live Through This, was released on April 12, 1994, and in tragic timing— four days prior to finding that Love's husband, Cobain, had committed suicide in their Seattle home. In the days following his death, Love mourned with fans outside their house, and a recording of her reading his suicide note was played at a memorial service in Seattle, where she arrived shortly after the ceremony to distribute some of his clothing to fans.[31]

Back cover art of Live Through This, exhibiting the mislabeled closing track "Rock Star". The photo on the left is of Courtney Love during her childhood in Oregon.

Cobain's suicide also stirred controversy surrounding the final track on Live Through This— "Rock Star"— which contained lyrics that read: "How'd you like to be Nirvana?/ So much fun to be Nirvana / A barrel of laughs to be Nirvana / Say you'd rather die". The song was inexplicably taken off of the album and replaced by an outtake titled "Olympia". It is widely believed that, because the song lyrics appeared inappropriate in the wake of Cobain's suicide, the song was replaced. However, by the time the decision to remove "Rock Star" was made, the artwork and inserts for the album had already been printed, so the title "Rock Star" remains the official title of the song.

Amidst the emotional impact and hysteria surrounding Cobain's death, Live Through This was a critical success, and spawned a slew of fairly popular singles: "Doll Parts", "Violet", "Miss World" and "Softer, Softest". The album went multi-platinum and was hailed "Album of the Year" by Spin magazine[32] and received unanimously rave reviews from major music periodicals.[33][34] NME called the album "a personal but secretive thrash-pop opera of urban nihilism and passionate dumbthinks",[35] and Rolling Stone said the album "may be the most potent blast of female insurgency ever committed to tape".[36]

Despite the critical praise for Live Through This, furious rumors circulated insinuating that Cobain had actually written the majority of the album, though the band vehemently denies this.[29] They did, however, state that Love convinced Cobain to provide backing vocals on "Asking for It" and "Softer, Softest" while visiting the studio, and music producers present during the recording sessions noted that Cobain seemed "completely unfamiliar" with the songs.[37] According to Rolling Stone rock journalist Gavin Edwards, Love and Cobain had written songs together in the past, but opted to not release them because it was "a bit too redolent of John and Yoko".[37] Incidentally, Love has revealed that the alternate mix of "Asking for It" featuring Cobain, was planned to be released as a single before his suicide occurred.

With Love mourning Cobain's death, the band pushed forward to prepare for a tour to promote the massively successful album, but it came to a halt when bassist Kristen Pfaff died that June of an apparent heroin overdose.[29] Hole pulled out of the upcoming Lollapalooza festival, which was also going to include Cobain's band, Nirvana. The band disappeared from the media spotlight in the summer of 1994, and on September 1, played their first headlining show since the album's release at the Phoenix Theatre in Toronto, dedicating it to Kristen. The band, now with Melissa Auf der Maur on bass, recruited by Love at Billy Corgan's suggestion, toured extensively throughout late 1994 and 1995, and the tour became notorious for its press coverage surrounding Love's fragile emotional state.

Appearances included the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas, Saturday Night Live, the Big Day Out festival, MTV Unplugged, the Reading Festival, and Lollapalooza 1995. Perhaps most infamously, the band was asked to play at MTV Video Music Awards, where they were nominated for the "Doll Parts" music video.[38] They also performed "Violet" at the awards show. Before the song, a clearly distraught Love dedicated the performance to Cobain, Pfaff, Joe Cole, and River Phoenix, all of whom had recently died. Love ended the performance by chanting "God bless your soul", throwing her guitar into the air, pushing over a microphone stand into the audience, and knocking over stereo equipment before exiting the stage.[39]

During this time period, Love's stage antics had grown wild, garnering much attention from the press. At Lollapalooza on July 4, 1995, in George, Washington, Love punched Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna in the face and pelted her with candy and a burning cigarette, after Hanna had allegedly made a drug joke about Love's two-year-old daughter.[40][41] Love went to court over the case and was sentenced to anger management classes. More controversy was stirred at a Pittsburgh Lollapalooza concert in the fall of 1995, when Love stormed offstage with the band in tears after an audience member threw shotgun shells at her,[42] referencing unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that she may have been involved in husband Kurt Cobain's death.[43] A similar event had happened several months prior— at an April 1995 show at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Love cursed at an audience member for throwing things at her, and eventually stormed off the stage with the band after playing only four songs.

Toward the end of the tour to promote Live Through This, the band released their first EP, titled Ask for It, in September 1995; it featured 1991 Peel session recordings of "Doll Parts" and "Violet", as well as covers of The Wipers' "Over the Edge" and "Pale Blue Eyes" by The Velvet Underground. After the band's tours in 1995, a final music video for the album was filmed for "Violet", and Hole entered the studio to begin work on a new album. There were multiple attempts to record Hole's third album, and one such attempt was in New Orleans in winter 1995. Interviews with Erlandson have confirmed the authenticity of this session, and the style is thought to have been a transition between the alternative style of Live Through This and the band's later pop-influenced sound, however no material from the sessions has surfaced.

Hiatus and retrospective releases

Hole was thought to be on hiatus in 1996, due to Love's rising movie career which skyrocketed when she landed a lead role in The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996). Despite the reported hiatus and Love's acting career, the band recorded and released a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman" for The Crow: City of Angels (1996), the band's first studio song to feature Melissa Auf der Maur on bass.

During the supposed hiatus, Hole released two retrospective albums: firstly, their second EP, titled The First Session (1997), which was composed of a complete version of the band's first recording session at Rudy's Rising Star in Los Angeles in March 1990, some of which had been bootlegged widely years prior. It featured the group's first ever recorded track, "Turpentine", which had previously been unreleased to the public, as well as their first single, "Retard Girl", and its two b-sides.

The same year, the band released their first compilation album, My Body, The Hand Grenade (1997), which was produced chiefly by Eric Erlandson; Love designed the packaging and artwork on the album.[44] The album was composed as a retrospective on the band's career, featuring early singles, mid-period b-sides and recent live tracks, illustrating their path from a "tiny L.A. basement studio into alternative rock superstardom".[44] One outtake from the Live Through This recording sessions which was included on this release was the controversial song, "Old Age". The history and writer of this song was the subject of controversy among Courtney Love detractors who believed Kurt Cobain had written Hole's second album, an allegation for which no evidence has ever surfaced. It was eventually learned "Old Age" had been written by Kurt Cobain for the Nevermind sessions in 1991, then given to Hole, whereupon its lyrics were rewritten by Love, who "tried to make it goth".[45] Another song featured on the album was "20 Years in the Dakota", which discussed Yoko Ono's struggles as John Lennon's wife, a position which Love herself has been frequently compared to, due to the perception that Ono drew Lennon away from The Beatles and that Love drew Cobain away from Nirvana. The album also featured a demo version of "Miss World", as well as recordings from a 1995 MTV Unplugged performance.

Although Hole as a band did not perform during 1996 and 1997, members of Hole performed separately, including Love's guest appearance at a Smashing Pumpkins' show in February 1996, at which she performed "Silverfuck" and "Farewell and Goodnight", with Smashing Pumpkins' frontman, and former boyfriend, Billy Corgan. Auf der Maur and Schemel also performed a show in Toronto in July 1996. Erlandson also collaborated with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and director Dave Markey in the short-lived project, Rodney & the Tube Tops, with whom he released one single.

Celebrity Skin and disbandment

Hole's third studio album, Celebrity Skin (1998) adopted a complete new sound for the band, which had become known for its grunge and punk rock roots. Featuring a more pop-oriented sound, Celebrity Skin was a critical success with strong sales and successful singles, including the title track, "Celebrity Skin", "Malibu", and "Awful". Eric Erlandson told Rolling Stone, "I still think a lot of Celebrity Skin is my Johnny Thunders influence coming up – which Courtney just fucking hates."[46]

The album was recorded in Conway Recording Studios in Los Angeles throughout 1997, after many "fruitless attempts" in Miami, London and New York. Although Patty Schemel is listed as drummer in the liner notes of the record, she did not actually appear on the record as she had left the band prior to the main recording sessions and was in turn replaced by a session drummer (the band would eventually recruit drummer Samantha Maloney for the tour). The studio work on Celebrity Skin took almost a year and a half— according to Erlandson, Courtney was more focused on song-writing and singing and "did not care about her instrument". Eric also noted that Billy Corgan, who co-wrote a large portion of the album, played bass on "Hit So Hard".

In reaction to public speculation that Kurt Cobain had written the band's second album, Celebrity Skin's liner notes listed explicitly every musician's contribution to the record, specifying authorship for every song. Love wrote a comprehensive amount of the lyrics, while Erlandson, assistant-producing alongside Michael Beinhorn, had a hand in every song. Co-songwriters on the album also included Melissa Auf der Maur, Patty Schemel, Jordon Zadorozny of Blinker the Star, and Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's, each contributing pieces to a number of songs, however the most notable contributor was Billy Corgan, who co-wrote five of the twelve songs on the album.

Nonetheless, as with the rumors surrounding the writing credits on Live Through This, unwarranted controversy stirred over the authorship of the songs. Upon its release, Corgan made references that he should have "been given credit" for writing the entire album.[47] Eric Erlandson responded to Corgan's statements in a Rolling Stone interview, commenting: "We were working on all the stuff that Courtney and I had already written. Billy really facilitated things, in a way... I would bring in the music, Courtney would start coming up with lyrics right away, and [Billy] would help map it all out." Erlandson also stated: "Courtney writes all her own lyrics. Nobody else is writing those lyrics and nobody ever has."[46]

One journalist took note of the controversy when reviewing the album, stating: "Back in 1994, the acclaim for Live Through This was undercut by whispers that Love's late husband wrote the album. Combine those conspiracy theories with the unfounded but persistent rumor that Cobain was actually murdered, and it is no surprise that, in the song "Celebrity Skin", Love calls herself a walking study in demonology."[47]

The album received unanimously positive reviews, with praise from music periodicals such as Rolling Stone, NME, and Blender,[48][49] as well as a four-star review from the Los Angeles Times,[50] calling it a "wild emotional ride" sure to be "one of the most dissected and debated collections of the year."[50] The album charted incredibly well, peaking at number 9 on the Billboard 200, and garnering the band its first and only number 1 single, "Celebrity Skin", which topped the Modern Rock Tracks. "Malibu" was the album's second successful single, making it to number 3 on the Modern Rock Tracks. Commercially speaking, Celebrity Skin went on to be the band's greatest success.

Marilyn Manson and subsequent tours

In the winter of 1998, Hole went on tour to promote Celebrity Skin, and made further appearances at festivals throughout 1999 after an extensive American and European tour. Hole and Marilyn Manson toured together, with Manson promoting his then-recent album, Mechanical Animals (1998) on the "Beautiful Monsters Tour". The tour turned into a publicity magnet, and Hole dropped out of the tour nine dates in, due to both the majority of the fans being Manson's, who were not very interested in the Hole performances, and the financial arrangement for the bands (50/50 cost and revenue splitting) as a reason for discontinuing the tour (Hole had relatively little production costs and ending up paying a large amount for Manson's high cost production).[51] Manson and Love often mocked one another onstage as well, and Love attacked Manson's stage antics, which included tearing up a Bible during performances: "You know, whenever somebody rips up the Bible in front of 40,000 people, I think it's a big deal," she said during a 1999 interview.[14] The band played one last show on the tour after a poorly-received concert at Portland's Rose Garden Arena, which ended with Manson fans booing the band and Love dropping her guitar and walking offstage after a 45-minute set.[52]

Nonetheless, Melissa Auf der Maur considered the tour "the best [we] ever were as a live band", and documented the Celebrity Skin concerts by taking photographs, several of which were featured in National Geographic music editorials.[53] As noted by Auf der Maur, it was a "daily event" for Love to invite audience members onstage to sing with her for the last song at nearly every concert performed during the tour.[53]

On June 18, 1999 during Hole's set at the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden, a 19-year old girl died after being crushed by the mosh pit behind the mixing board. The band did not comment on her death.[54] Hole played its final show at Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver on July 14, 1999. A few months later, Auf der Maur quit Hole and went on to become a touring bassist for The Smashing Pumpkins. Despite being the only two remaining members of the group, Love and Erlandson still continued with Hole. The band's final release was a single for the movie Any Given Sunday (1999). "Be a Man", released in March 2000, was an outtake from the Celebrity Skin sessions, and was another song co-written and included bass-work by Corgan.

Post-tour and breakup

Love and Erlandson officially disbanded Hole via a message posted on the band's website in 2002. After the split, the four musicians each took on projects of their own. Erlandson continued to work as a producer and session musician, eventually forming the experimental group RRIICCEE with controversial artist, Vincent Gallo and Love began a solo career, releasing her debut, America's Sweetheart in 2004. Melissa Auf der Maur also embarked on a solo career, and released her self-titled debut album in 2004, which also included Erlandson on lead guitar on the track, "Would If I Could." Her second album, Out of Our Minds, was released on March 30, 2010.

Hole's original body of work includes thirteen singles, six Grammy nominations, three LPs, three EPs, one compilation album and 10 music videos.

Reformation, Nobody's Daughter to present

Courtney Love and guitarist Micko Larkin performing at Bumbershoot in Seattle, Washington in September 2010.

On June 17, 2009, NME posted two in-depth blogs, and links to two interviews, of Courtney Love announcing the reunion of Hole. The article was primarily focused on Love's upcoming solo release, Nobody's Daughter, yet it claimed with the "rock Courtney back in action, this music could only come out under one name, Hole". According to the blog post, Melissa Auf der Maur would once again be bassist, with Micko Larkin replacing Eric Erlandson, and a drummer was not mentioned. There was also mention of "tours next year".[55] However, days later, Melissa Auf der Maur, interviewed in Toronto where she was appearing at the North by Northeast music festival, said she had "no clue" about the band's reported reunion and denied the NME claim she had, or was asked to, contribute vocals to the album or had been asked to tour with the purportedly reunited band saying, "I actually don't know [about the reunion]...I arrived at [the music festival in Toronto] and I heard that Hole were getting back together from people sending me links," she said. Auf der Maur did, however, state that she had been asked by Love to do harmonies on the album, but nothing else.[56]

Eric Erlandson stated in a Spin magazine that contractually no reunion can take place without his involvement, therefore Nobody's Daughter would remain Love's solo record, as opposed to a "Hole" record. Erlandson stated that he and Love "have a contract",[57] which was later revealed to be a contract preventing either from reforming Hole without mutual involvement. Love then responded to Erlandson's comments in a Twitter post, claiming that "he's out of his mind, Hole is my band, my name, and my Trademark". Shortly after this quarrel Love began posting new Hole logos, stage ideas, and guitar pick ideas on her Facebook page, implying, though not confirming, that Hole had reformed. In a later interview, just days before the expected release of Hole's Nobody's Daughter, Erlandson explained how "[Courtney's] management convinced me that it was all hot air and that she would never be able to finish her album. Now I'm left in an uncomfortable position."[58]

In December 2009, three upcoming shows were announced in New York, Milan and Amsterdam, at The Standard Hotel's Boom Boom Room, the Magazzini Generali and Paradiso respectively,[59][60] though flyers from the New York show credit the performer solely as Courtney Love. The official Paradiso website issued a press release the same month stating Melissa Auf der Maur would partake in the show, but when asked by a fan on her official Facebook fan page, Auf der Maur claimed that "[this] mysterious press release is news to me [...] putting my detective hat on now [...] more on this soon." The Paradiso's website claimed in January 2010 that "many quarrels are settled."[60]

Auf der Maur stated in an interview with New York Magazine in April, 2010: "Even in rock and roll, I believe there's a right and wrong. I'm still close friends with Eric, and he's the only one who can do anything on his end about it. He's a peaceful man who has made great efforts in his own life to find peace. I feel protective of the legacy of Hole and my memories in it. It wasn't even so much about doing a reunion. I told Courtney, 'I support the retrospective of everything done in that time. If and when you're ready to look at that, I'll support it.' What's so funny is that she can come out and say that I asked her to do a reunion. That's not exactly what was said. What I said was that I think a retrospective would be incredibly valuable right now and that's obviously not where she's at. I've always wished the best for her. I want her to be happy. I want her to be musical. I care about her well-being. When she gets an idea in her mind, that's what she stays with regardless of what other people think or feel."[61]

Hole launched a new website, and an official Facebook page on January 1, 2010. The band played its first performance since the reunion on February 12, 2010 on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross playing "Samantha". On February 17, 2010 they played a full set at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, with support from Little Fish.[62] Further shows were performed at 02 Academy Brixton and SPIN's annual SXSW music festival, with further dates being added for the United States and United Kingdom in April and May 2010. Television appearances, in efforts to promote the upcoming album, include performing on Late Show with David Letterman on April 27, Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 29 and on Later with Jools Holland on the 4th of May. On March 16, the first Hole single in ten years, and first from Nobody's Daughter was released, titled "Skinny Little Bitch". It was the most added song on alternative radio and the second most added song on active rock in early March in the United States, debuting at #32 on Billboard's Alternative Singles Chart.

Nobody's Daughter was released on April 26 and 27, 2010 worldwide through Mercury Records, and was received by music critics with moderately positive acclaim.[63] Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars, but noted "[while Love] was an absolute monster vocalist in the nineties, the greatest era ever for rock singers... She doesn't have that power in her lungs anymore — barely a trace. But at least she remembers, and that means something in itself." The magazine also referred to the album as "not a true success", but a "noble effort".[64] Love's voice, which had been noticeably raspier (likely due to years of scream-singing, drug abuse, and smoking) was compared to the likes of Bob Dylan.[65]

NME, however, gave the album a 6/10 rating, and Robert Christgau rated it an "A-", saying, "Thing is, I can use some new punk rage in my life, and unless you're a fan of Goldman Sachs and BP Petroleum, so can you. What's more, better it come from a 45-year-old woman who knows how to throw her weight around than from the zitty newbies and tattooed road dogs who churn most of it out these days. I know--for her, BP Petroleum is just something else to pretend about. But the emotion fueling her pretense is cathartic nevertheless."[66]

On March 28, 2011, Love, Erlandson, Patty Schemel and Auf der Maur appeared at the New York screening of Schemel's documentary Hit So Hard: The Life & Near Death Story of Patty Schemel at the Museum of Modern Art.[67] The appearance was first time in thirteen years that all four members appeared together in public. Schemel has expressed a desire to record with Love, Erlandson and Auf der Maur stating "nothing has been discussed, but I have a feeling."[67] After the screening, the four took part in a Q&A session where Courtney Love stated: "For me, as much as I love playing with Patty — and I would play with her in five seconds again, and everyone onstage — if it's not moving forward, I don't wanna do it. That's just my thing. There's rumblings; there's always bloody rumblings. But if it's not miserable and it's going forward and I'm happy with it… that's all I have to say about that question."[68]

In May 2011, a video for "Samantha" was shot. It was the first promotional video for Nobody's Daughter, over a year after its release, and Hole's first official music video in eleven years since "Be a Man" in 2000.


Current lineup

  • Courtney Love – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1989–2002, 2009–present)
  • Micko Larkin – lead guitar (2009–present)
  • Shawn Dailey – bass (2009–present)
  • Stu Fisher – drums, percussion (2009–present)

Former members



Studio albums
Compilation albums

Chart positions

US & Canada Billboard Album Chart peak positions

Year Album Chart Peak position
1994 "Live Through This" US Billboard 200 52
1995 "Ask For It" US Billboard 200 172
1998 "Celebrity Skin" US Billboard 200 9
1998 "Celebrity Skin" Top Canadian Albums 3
2010 "Nobody's Daughter" US Billboard 200 15
2010 "Nobody's Daughter" Top Canadian Albums 11
2010 "Nobody's Daughter" Alternative Albums 2
2010 "Nobody's Daughter" Rock Albums 6
2010 "Nobody's Daughter" Digital Albums 8

US & Canada Billboard Singles Chart peak positions

Year Single Chart Peak position
1994 "Doll Parts" US Billboard Alternative Songs 4
1994 "Miss World" US Billboard Alternative Songs 13
1995 "Violet" US Billboard Alternative Songs 29
1995 "Softer, Softest" US Billboard Alternative Songs 32
1995 "Asking For It" US Billboard Alternative Songs 36
1995 "Doll Parts" US Billboard Hot 100 58
1996 "Gold Dust Woman" (cover) US Billboard Alternative Songs 31
1998 "Malibu" US Billboard Hot 100 81
1998 "Celebrity Skin" US Billboard Hot 100 85
1998 "Celebrity Skin" US Billboard Alternative Songs 1
1998 "Malibu" US Billboard Alternative Songs 3
1998 "Awful" US Billboard Alternative Songs 13
1999 "Malibu" US Billboard Adult Pop Songs 37
2010 "Skinny Little Bitch" US Billboard Rock Songs 29
2010 "Skinny Little Bitch" US Billboard Alternative Songs 19

Awards and nominations

Grammy Award

Year Nominated work Award Result
1999 Celebrity Skin Best Rock Album Nominated
1999 Celebrity Skin Best Rock Song Nominated
1999 Celebrity Skin Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group Nominated
2000 Malibu Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group Nominated

MTV Video Music Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1995 Doll Parts Best Alternative Video Nominated
1999 Malibu Best Cinematography in a Video Nominated


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