In Defense of Courtney

It's not her, Seattle, it's you.

It's often been posited that the people who make the best music aren't necessarily the most likable. I figured that one out at 14, when I realized that although Appetite for Destruction was the ultimate record in my high-haired universe, Axl Rose was the kind of guy who could break more than a girl's heart. That he'd go home and write "Sweet Child o' Mine" for her didn't make it any better.

If you're an original Seattleite or been here long enough, you've heard or have your own juicy Courtney Love story. The Green River Killer has a better Northwest reputation. And maybe she has been: a jerk, a bad parent (a trait male rockers are rarely called to task for), an addict, completely Fruit Loops, and the maker of a record so bad it may be the most successful at sucking ever. But she's also made two good albums—including her latest, Nobody's Daughter—one great one, and another as next to perfect as it can be.

For me, Hole's Live Through This was a life-changer. The rallying cry that inspired me to get out of my 800-person town in North Dakota. And for all you shouting that "She didn't write that record!", I say prove it and/or fuck it. I don't really care. I, and a lot of other girls, needed to hear those words come out of that mouth at that time in our lives. And I'm grateful enough to forgive her crimes, the worst of which is being a self-saboteur, and learn from them. Lesson one: While reveling in addiction, do not, under any circumstances, let someone near your face with a scalpel.

Seattle will never be a Courtney town for the same reason it will always struggle to have a successful sports franchise: It shuns the embrace of excess. Seattle teams strive to be just good enough to keep up attendance, but they never shell out the "Yankee Cash" or tolerate the superstar-type players it takes to win. And if Courtney Love is anything, she is too much. Too loud, too blonde, too opinionated, too damaged, too wasted, and the ultimate Seatown taboo: too ambitious.

Everyone knows that if Emerald City success should come your way, don't act like you want or like it, lest a scarlet "S" for "sellout" be tattooed on your forehead. It's a sentiment that transcends music, forcing tech millionaires to sport Old Navy polo shirts and rich girls to shop Pacific Place in pajamas. In cities like New York or L.A., where too much applies only to the number on the scale, opinions of Love are more favorable.

So go see her headline the 'Shoot hoping for disaster, ready to snicker safely in the crowd and talk smack you'd never say to her face. Why? Because women as smart and crazy as Courtney have been scaring the pants off people since the beginning of time. But be warned, if caught, you'll likely get punched in your shit-talking face.

music@seattleweekly.com

 
comments powered by Disqus