Throwback Thursday: H is for Hole

 

Formed in 1989, Hole was a grunge band that gained notoriety as one of the most successful female-fronted rock bands of all time. And unless you’ve been living in a hole (I don’t even care if you laugh at that, that joke was for me), you know who was the female front in this group.

Yup, this hot mess.
Yup, this hot mess.

Courtney Love formed the band with lead guitarist Eric Erlandson after he responded to her ad that simply said, “I want to start a band. My influences are Big Black, Sonic Youth, and Fleetwood Mac.” Supposedly, he met her and at first completely regretted his decision to respond to the add because Courtney Love is Courtney Love. But then Erlandson got over that and they formed a band (and also dated for the band’s first year). Originally, Love wanted to name the band Sweet Baby Crystal Powered by God but she was overruled in favor of the name Hole.

One guess as to how she came up with the first name.
One guess as to how she came up with the first name.

I’m mocking Courtney Love a lot because she’s an easy target, but it’s also important to remember the cultural impact she actually had in the 90s. In addition to being the lead in one of the most successful female-fronted bands of all time, she often sang openly feminist lyrics about survival in the face of pain and suffering and adversity and used her music and her appearance as a means to subvert popular opinion about the way a woman should look, sound, and act. There’s something pretty empowering about a woman who just doesn’t give a fuck if you think she’s pretty or ladylike or overstepping her bounds just because she happens to be female. Love her (ha!) or hate her, she is who she is regardless of if she has anyone’s approval. Courtney Love is also commonly cited by modern female singers as a significant influence on their own music, including artists such as Tegan and Sara and Lana Del Rey.

Del Rey also has some weird fixation on Kurt Cobain so maybe she's not the best example.
Del Rey also has some weird fixation on Kurt Cobain
so maybe she’s not the best example.

After 13 singles, 6 Grammy nominations, 3 LPs, 10 music videos, and one compilation album, Hole disbanded in 1999. In 2009, Love announced a Hole reunion, much to the surprise of her former bandmates who had no idea what the fuck she was talking about. It caused a little bit of tension for a while when Erlandson started making statements about how Courtney Love couldn’t reform Hole without him due to a contract of some kind. But then the following year, Hole released a single so apparently when Courtney Love says, “Jump!”, everyone else asks, “How high?”

"Did someone say 'high?'"
“Did someone say ‘high?'”

The band’s new album, Nobody’s Daughter, was released in 2010 and it was received with tepid enthusiasm. It seemed like the critics really wanted to like it, but it’s as if they were hoping for John Lennon and ended up with Ringo.

Sorry, man. But you know it's true.
Sorry, man.
But you know it’s true.

Possibly due to the mediocre reception, the returning band members kind of half-assed their commitment to the group. Earlier this year, most of Hole’s members made statements to the effect of “yeah, we’re just not that into it” but each time they say things like this, Courtney Love posts a selfie with them and hints at yet another Hole reunion because as we’ve learned, Courtney gets what Courtney wants.

"Goddamn right."
“Goddamn right.”

In closing, please enjoy my favorite Hole song:

If you were hoping I’d share a different one, you’re welcome to complain about it in the comments or just go on YouTube and listen to whatever you want.

Don't be offended by the photo. It's what Courtney would want.
Don’t be offended by the photo.
It’s what Courtney would want.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

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Emily Regan is the author of several books, including "What's an Adult?: No One Knows Anything and We're All Going to Die." She is an avid fan of reality TV, an unironic Hanson fan, and currently resides in Arizona with her family.

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