US alternative rock band fronted by the effervescent Courtney Love (Courtney Michelle Harrison, 9 July 1964, San Francisco, California, USA; vocals/guitar). An ex-stripper and actress, who had minor roles in Alex Coxs Sid And Nancy and Straight To Hell, and participated in formative line-ups of Babes In Toyland and Faith No More in an incarnation that only reached the rehearsal stage, Love formed Hole in 1989 with Caroline Rue (drums), Jill Emery (bass) and Eric Erlandson (b. 9 January 1963, Los Angeles, California, USA; guitar), following encouragement from Sonic Youths Kim Gordon. The band quickly produced a trio of fine singles; Retard Girl, Dicknail, and Teenage Whore, which were pointed and unsettling dirges, set in a grimly sexual lyrical environment. Favourable UK press coverage, in particular from the Melody Makers Everett True, helped make Hole one of the most promising new bands of 1991.
Equally impressive was a debut album, Pretty On The Inside, produced by Don Fleming and Kim Gordon, followed by massive exposure supporting Mudhoney throughout Europe. It was on this jaunt that Love achieved further notoriety by being the first woman musician to trash her guitar on stage in the UK. In February 1992, Love married Nirvana singer/guitarist Kurt Cobain. The following month bass player Emery departed from the line-up, with Rue following shortly afterwards. Loves domestic travails continued to dominate coverage of her musical project, with Cobains death on the eve of the release of Live Through This practically obliterating that albums impact. This served to do the much-maligned Love a genuine disservice, as the album contained another startling collection of songs, written with intellect as well as invective. It included I Think That I Would Die, co-written with old friend and sparring partner Kat Bjelland, as well as a cover version of the Young Marble Giants Credit In The Straight World.
Replacements for Emery and Rue had been found in Kristen Pfaff (b. 26 May 1967, Buffalo, New York, USA, d. 16 June 1994, Seattle, Washington, USA; bass) and Patty Schemel (b. 24 April 1967, Seattle, Washington, USA; drums), though tragedy again followed Love when Pfaff was found dead from a heroin overdose in her bathtub shortly after the albums release, and just two months after Cobains death. She was replaced by Melissa Auf Der Maur (b. 17 March 1972, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) for Holes 1994 tour, which extended into the following year with stays in Australasia and Europe. These dates again saw Love dominate headlines with violent and/or inflammatory stage behaviour. In 1997, she moved back into acting with a starring role in The People Vs Larry Flynt. The next Hole release My Body The Hand Grenade was a compilation of rare and unreleased material from the bands early days, compiled by Erlandson that served as a stopgap for the eagerly awaited Celebrity Skin. Lacking the raw abrasiveness of Live Through This, the album was ultimately a disappointingly mainstream work, although maybe this was not surprising considering Loves new media friendly image. Auf Der Maur left the band the following year to join the Smashing Pumpkins, while Samantha Maloney (b. 11 December 1975, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA) replaced Schemel as drummer.
Love made the headlines again in February 2001 when she issued a countersuit against her record company, Universal, who sued the singer the previous month for allegedly backing out of her recording contract. Love argued that not only was her own contract unfair but that the major music labels act together as an illegal trust which forces artists to sign unfair contracts. Love and Erlandson elected to disband Hole while the lawsuit was still being processed.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.