Courtney Love: she’s back. Well, she’s never really been away, not from the news, anyway — but this month sees her touring for the first time in ages, and she’s also got an album due out at some point this year, along with a book and some sort of mysterious TV gig about which she’s been keeping mum thus far. In conversation, Love is pretty much as you’d expect — clearly very intelligent, very voluble, and entirely unpredictable, given to going off on lengthy tangents that rarely have a great deal to do with the question that’s been asked but are generally highly entertaining. Case in point: I called to ask about her new solo album and upcoming tour. We ended up talking about her upcoming memoir, how she got Russell Brand started in America, and what to do about Amanda Bynes. So it goes.
Flavorwire: What can you tell me about the music you’ve been working on? It’s a solo album?
Courtney Love: Yeah. It’s not coming out until Christmas, though.
But you’re touring now — are you going to be playing some of the new material?
No. I’m not. I can’t. I don’t want it to leak. And my book’s coming out at Christmas, too, so it just makes the most sense [to release the album then]. [The book] is coming out on Harper Collins, and they’re really determined to give it a huge push. I actually have a huge writing session with them in about 20 minutes. And it’ll be out by Christmas the way they’re pushing me… It’s like, today we’re going to deal with my emancipation, tomorrow we’re going to deal with this funeral, and the next funeral, and the next funeral, and tomorrow we’re gonna deal with Frances, and today with Michael Stipe. And today fashion. Fashion stuff is fun. I did that yesterday.
It’s an autobiography, then?
It’s a memoir. It’s not salacious in the sense of… if you look at my Wiki it looks like I’ve had sex twice. I’m trying to keep that myth going. You know, my stuff with other people — that thing — is really nobody’s business. I made that really clear with Harper Collins from the beginning, that there was going to be no malarkey, no name-dropping like that. I mean, it’s super important to keep my private life discreet — the few times that’s been breached, it’s never been a good thing. Edward Norton and I dated [but] you never saw us on a red carpet together. Other than personal snapshots there’s very few photos of us together. It’s not public, and I like it like that.
How does one go about writing a memoir without talking about one’s private life?
Well, my life has been extremely exciting and I’ve done plenty of salacious things on my own, so if you want salacious you can have it. There’s plenty of lovely, classy things in there. There’s plenty of middle-ground things, [and] there’s really dark, dark things. I mean, the point is, really — I read Tallulah Bankhead’s memoir, Thirties, and then I read Russell Brand’s My Booky Wook, which is a terrible title but a really phenomenal book. I’m sort of modeling [my book] on Tallulah Bankhead meets Russell Brand.
Yeah, I’m close with Russell Brand in the sense that we’re two people who text each other not that often, but when he first came to Hollywood I threw him the party that got him the job. I mean, he was working within 48 hours, and I called the director of film at Universal, Ron Meyer, I called the relevant lawyers, I called the relevant agents. I’m a good talent-spotter, so they always take my call. And I never call with something bogus. You know, it’s like if I’m calling Bryan Lourd, it’ll be with an important thing. It’s not like I’m calling asking, “Can you take me back and put me in Weeds?” I made those calls for Russell and he’s done really, really well. So when I see him, I see him. We share a bodyguard — I don’t need a bodyguard in New York, obviously, but I do in certain parts of the UK, Europe, and Japan. So yeah, we share a bodyguard we’re both very close to, we share an accountant. We share a lot of stuff. I’d say I’m close to Russell Brand without having daily contact with him. Did you see what he did with those MSNBC people the other day?
Yeah, I did. It was awesome.
I was so, so impressed with it. I don’t know if I have the acumen — something like that happened to me on The Today Show, and I just took off my mic and walked off… The way Russell just flipped that shit — those people were asses, so it’s easy, but I don’t know if I could’ve done it. I mean they were vermin with him. And I watched it four times just marveling at how he’s all grown up. I’m just so impressed with him. I mean, he would’ve been able to pull that off even… when did he stay at my house? 2007? That’s when I threw that party — well, it was a dinner party, a dinner at the Chateau [Marmont, presumably — LA Bon Vivant Ed.]. It was good because he was on an Adam Sandler movie within the next day, then he got Forgetting Sarah Marshall, so it was good, he had great results. I tried the same thing with a similar comedian from the UK, Noel Fielding, but Noel’s more interested in editing the NME and playing Rock Band. All Russell wanted was to be famous, and he got his wish. And he’s using it as a really good platform — I really, really like what he’s doing with his celebrity. He works an awesome program in terms of AA and his spiritual life; he works a really awesome program.
I thought the MSNBC thing was kind of indicative of how people always want to portray certain celebrities as crazy, which is obviously something you’ve also had to deal with.
Well, they were totally just taking in his look. Which is retarded, you know? And talking about him in the third person. And he just flipped it so effectively. It was like he knew it was coming — this was just going nowhere. I saw him on Chelsea Handler years ago and he flipped her, too. You know, because what she does is kinda rank people, and he just flipped it, but he didn’t insult her. He ended up the victor. So, I’ve seen him do it a few times but never quite as effectively as the MSNBC thing — it was just brilliant. To be honest, I’m quite covetous of how brilliant it was. I’m not sure I could do that.
But you’re absolutely right, they were trying to judge him based on his appearance and trying to make him seem crazy. And, you know, had he not been so up on current events, he couldn’t have taken the pencil and talked about Snowden, etc., so I can’t even say I could’ve done what he did. I mean, what he did was pretty phenomenal. And I’m going to be taking those same things in November and December for the press on the book, so I should study those things every day.
Why do you think people are so vindictive about celebrities?
Well, it depends on the celebrity. If you’re a movie star no one’s vindictive about you.
There’s been all this stuff with Amanda Bynes lately, for instance, though. People seem keen to sink the boot into her.
Amanda Bynes is kind of a special case. You know, I don’t think vindictive is what people need to be with her, people need to be understanding that there is obviously something more than just, you know… I think, as the daughter of a psychologist, I kind of think I know what’s going on. I don’t want to speculate — I’m a layman — but it’s not just drugs, it’s something else, and people should just give her a wide berth and help her out. Her parents are obviously very caring, she’s made really good investments. She’s not broke. I mean, she can take care of herself. If there’s some rumor that she’s broke, she’s not broke. Somebody, a friend of hers, contacted me and they wanted me to help her and I said, “Yeah, I’m not really equipped to do that.” And then a friend of mine spoke to her parents, who’s a drug counselor, and they were just… nice. The guy’s a dentist, the mom’s normal. I don’t think being vindictive is going to help her.
No, I agree, I just think that’s something people want to do. They will laugh at celebrities who are obviously having problems.
Well, when you walk around with a crazy wig… I mean, when I was in court with a strapless dress on looking like a wild-eyed maniac in 2005, I knew what I was going to get. And you know, this whole year I’ve remained very controversy free. I’ve gotten rid of all my legal problems, slowly but surely, they’re just all gone. Hopefully I don’t have any other problems. And that’s the way I want to remain. There’s a great Flaubert quote which I live by, actually — it really moved me when I heard it, I think John Malkovich told it to me — it was: “Wild in my work, bourgeois in my life.”
I like that.
And that’s a good place to end.