9 July 2016

FAITH NO MORE | Courtney Love Sings 1984



Regardless of your opinion of grunge queen Courtney Love she had her part to play in the history of Faith No More, in fact it's hard to find an article written about the band's 33 year history without a reference to her time as singer. And as FNM's story is one that is soaked with rebellious angst, a character such as Love plays her part well. 






Bill Gould | Mojo | 2015
 "She was very extroverted," grins Gould. "She would get up in the audience's faces. She was not passive at all — people hated her! And we loved it."
Bill Gould | The Real Story | 1994
"We really wanted to be agressive, make ambient music that was totally agressive. This girl Courtney came along, she saw us play and made the huge pitch about knowing what we wanted and being able to do it. She stayed for about 3 or 4 shows and she was good because she was as annoying as hell and really agressive."
We have all heard the story that Love once was the singer of FNM, and yes it is true, Love sang with an early incarnation of the band for about eight shows from February to June 1984. At this time FNM were, Mike Bordin, Billy Gould and Roddy Bottum with the addition of Mark Bowen on guitar, depending on the night various singers would join them including Love, Paula Frazer and in this year finally Chuck Mosley became a permanent fixture. 

Roddy | Reflex | 1992
"She was around for six months or so--quite a while, considering that we were switching around singers a whole lot at that point. [The music] was kinda along the lines of what we did on the first record. We would just play riffs over and over again-- we thought we were *so* inventive, [laughs] because we thought it was so driving and so heavy. But she was really good. She did a lot of screaming stuff, and we had a lot of slow melody stuff too. When she sang with us, she was punk rock; now she says she's always been punk rock, which is not true at all. After she left our band she was totally into--I mean, with a sense of humor, but really hardcore pop sorta stuff. We all were at that point--we used to do a cover of Van Halen's 'Jump.'"




In Love's own words she turned up to a show wearing a wedding dress and persuaded FNM to give her the job, but it would seem she had already met Roddy at a Lydia Lunch show where she had sealed the deal. It has be noted however FNM never really saw Love as their permanent vocalist, rather an occasional volunteer from the club audience. 
In a the book 'Courtney Love : The Real Story' there is reference to a review of one show that found the band "unremarkable except the lead singer"! The text also goes on to describe Love's performance at a particular show where she smashed a bottle, rolled around in the broken glass, and set her hair on fire as a tribute to Iggy Pop.

Courtney Love's last show was on June 17th at the famous Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, this was also this was the last FNM show with Mark Bowen, after this she was fired from the band.

Bill Gould | The Real Story | 1994
"It got to this point where things were just too much. Courtney's not the sort of person you could jut be an equal with in bands, she's got to lead and tell people what's what. She was the dictator, and in our band things were democratic."
Roddy | Washington Times | 2015
"I think our musical voice is way more sort of male-driven. We’re way more of a dude band. Courtney is awesome and she’s powerful, but I think having a male singer was the route we needed to go."
However Roddy had struck up a friendship with Love that would endure over the years, in fact Roddy still refers to her as his best friend.  According to both they began as lovers but this was short lived. Through this friendship Roddy also became close to Kurt Cobain, and in 1994 during the months leading up to Kurt's death Roddy flew to Seattle from San Francisco to care for Kurt while he suffered from depression. This of course was at a time when Roddy was battling demons of his own, and when Kurt took his own life it hit Roddy hard. 

Roddy | Select | 1995
"I knew the situation was bad, they were arguing a lot. I went to seem him a week before he killed himself, hoping there was something I could do to help. When it became clear that there really wasn't, I left. Knowing...knowing what would happen. It was clear where he was going. The last thing I said to him was, You're going to die. I felt pretty guilty, but there was nothing I could do. When somebody really wants to die there's really nothing you can do to stop them."

I'm 2005 Roddy and Love worked together again when he called upon her vocal services for a song on the soundtrack to the  movie Adam and Steve, on the song 'Love, Love, Love'.

Roddy | Billboard | 2005
"Recording was a piece of cake. Courtney and I have been friends for over 20 years and we have a mutual respect for each other's craft. The song is a '40s big band sort of sound, not something you'd immediately associate with her style of singing. Courtney and I had done a project a couple years ago that involved reworking old jazz standards so when I approached her about this song I was able to reference what we'd done before and she understood. She's a total professional and compulsively fixates on a project until it's perfect."

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