Courtney Love: “Lana And Kurt Are The Only Two True Musical Geniuses I’ve Ever Known”
Courtney Love was the latest guest on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast. She discussed her forthcoming album, drill music, her dad dosing her with LSD when she was four, 12-step recovery, Lana Del Rey, Kanye West, Nirvana, and more. After an hour, Maron concluded that his guest was a “walking mythology.”
Love worked on her new album, her first since Hole’s Nobody’s Daughter in 2010, with Lana Del Rey collaborator Justin Parker and Anthony Rossomando (the Dirty Pretty Things guitarist who co-wrote Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow”). The former Hole frontwoman said it’s not rock (“because people aren’t really doing rock anymore … rock’s not a thing”), but she and her co-writers did produce two “fucked-up guitar songs” in the sessions. “Kill Fuck Marry,” slated as the opening track, was apparently inspired by the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial. Another one (that Love calls “an earworm and a half”) will be left off the LP because “it would swallow the entire narrative.” That one’s titled “Justice For Kurt” and addresses conspiracists that claim she was responsible for her husband’s death.
She also brought up her ex, current Glass Onion star Edward Norton, saying their biggest fight related to a proposed Nirvana movie and “the first time Kurt [got] used as a chit.” In the late ’90s, after she had starred in The People Vs. Larry Flynt, Love said she was officially cast in the role of Marla in Fight Club opposite Norton. Around that time she got a call from Gus Van Sant and Brad Pitt, who wanted to do a music movie about Kurt Cobain. (She clarified that this was not Last Days, Van Sant’s eventual 2005 drama loosely based on the Nirvana frontman.) Love said she “went nuclear” on them, a decision she now regrets, and as a result director David Fincher fired her from Fight Club because “I wouldn’t let Brad play Kurt.” She added that as recently as 2020 she reconnected with Pitt because his Plan B Entertainment wanted to produce a Cobain biopic, an idea she also rejected. “I don’t know if I trust you and I don’t know that your movies are for profit,” she told him. “If you don’t get me, you kinda don’t Kurt, and I don’t feel like you do, Brad.” She said there will be a Cobain biopic at some point, but she wants it produced by Warner Bros’ Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy “because they know how to make a fucking movie.” She added, “My friend Cameron Crowe [told me] Brad Pitt was put on this earth to stalk you for Kurt, which has been going on since ’96.”
The interview took place at a hotel in London, where Love now lives having escaped the “overculture” of LA. There, she has become a fan of drill. “The drill here, which is like a genre of hip-hop that I actually really like — it’s melodic, it’s almost like Joy Division do gangsta rap. There’s all this like, minor sevenths and depressing things in drill. It started in Chicago, but I like the UK drill.”
“Overculture,” she said, is a term she learned from Lana Del Rey, who got it from author Clarissa Estés. “Now, when you get famous… some kid like Doja Cat, or whatever, it’s a 360 degree. Like, they see every—, up your panties, everything bad you ever said, that whole Chinese ‘one person one file,’ yeah the kids’ll know.”
Elsewhere, Love had high praise for her one-time tourmate Lana Del Rey, who has become “an actual true, great friend.” “Lana and Kurt are the only two true musical geniuses I’ve ever known,” Love said. “And by that I mean they can Spielberg anything.” She compared LDR reciting Allen Ginsberg’s Howl to Nirvana covering the Meat Puppets on MTV Unplugged In New York: they “Spielberged” it.
“She’s a genius, too. She’s got the integrity that Kurt had. The only two people I know that I can say… By the way, Stipe? Bono? Yes, these are people that I know and love. Billie Joe, sure. But Lana? She’s got a magic thing. And she’s not even fucked up!”
Love also claimed she introduced Lana Del Rey to the music of Joni Mitchell. “She described a record she wanted to make to me, and I’m like, ‘Oh you mean Hissing Of Summer Lawns,’ which, I don’t even like that record. She’s like, ‘what’s that?’ I’m like, ‘It’s a Joni Mitchell record.’ She’s like, ‘Who’s that?'” “Wow,” Maron interjects. Love: “I know.” Love said that she got her friend “all the Joni” vinyl at a Portland record store after which Lana “changed her fucking whole thing.” “My boomer rock critic friends are calling after Norman Rockwell, ‘Hey your friend, she’s pretty good…’ And I said to her, ‘Welcome to the Thunderdome, Ms. Del Rey.’ Even Springsteen! He goes, ‘She’s our greatest songwriter.'” Love told her, “don’t go insane” and Lana hasn’t because “she got out of the overculture. She deleted all her social. Fuck that shit.”
Throughout the interview, Love referenced Nick Cave a bunch of times as a model of integrity. One of her new maxims, she said, is, “If you wouldn’t ask Nick Cave, don’t ask me.” Later, explaining why she’s “offline,” she offered, “If Nick Cave isn’t doing it, I’m not doing it. I’m loud girl Nick Cave with more Wings choruses.”
Love said she’s cool with the Nirvana guys these days: “Our kids are gonna be doing business together, their kids are gonna be doing business…” Lamenting her unfair “Yoko” reputation among Nirvana fans, she says Dave Grohl will have to correct the record (“he’s got the male privilege”). She also described how current Foo Fighter Pat Smear came to join Nirvana: “I remember Kurt being like, ‘Do you know anybody happy that can be in my band?'” At which point she suggested the former Germs guitarist. “He’s maybe not the world’s best guitar player… but he’s really happy.” Now “he’s in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame,” she gloated.
She described a conversation she recently had with Kanye West in which she tried to convince him to have dinner with “the Democrat power” instead of the Kushners. “I think Kanye’s doing it all wrong,” she explained. “I had a little one-on-one with him last week … and he didn’t listen to a fucking word I said. … He thinks he’s gonna be safe over at MAGA.”
In addition to her new album, there’s a documentary shot by Trevor Murphy on the way; Love referenced Nick Cave’s 20,000 Days On Earth when describing it. And she completed her memoir, The Girl With The Most Cake, over the summer “after a fucking DECADE of dragging my ass.” That’s coming soon via Harper Collins.
Love concluded the chat with some advice: “If you ever wanna ruin your life, trust me, do crack for nine months.”
UPDATE: In a statement shared Dec 30, Courtney Love expanded on her comments about Brad Pitt getting her fired from Fight Club.
Check out the episode below.