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Love at War/Schmitsville 

Courtney Love/Call and response

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Love at War

Last week's Village Voice "Rockbeat" column asked "Is Courtney Love a racist?" The paper cited a New York radio station event in December and a concert in Wisconsin last October at which Love led the crowds in a "call and response" chant of naughty words, including "nigger." The paper said both audiences met her remarks with "stunned silence." It also reported that Hole won't play at Lollapalooza this year because Love refuses to appear with Snoop Doggy Dogg or Cypress Hill. The Voice reported that Love's spokespeople denied she was racist, but concluded, "The fact remains that she did use the N-word--and she did it at least twice."

The item sparked discussion in an America Online folder devoted to "industry dirt." Love soon weighed in in her inimitable on-line mix of sense, nonsense, obscenity, and froth, reproduced here just as she wrote it.

"Cute,oh yeah projecting your fantasies as to my ID is a great vituperative hostile envy aerobix for you,but,dont FUCK with my grammar man. Wich brings me to my obvious point....gleefully,Madison Square Gardens can yell "BITCH","SLUT"<"CUNT",but oh my, a liberal using the word "NIGGER"--how ungleeful!

"n.p. 'Breakfast in America.'"

("n.p."--for "now playing"--is a dirt folder device in which participants name- drop the hip disc in their CD players; Love nicely punctures the pretentious practice by mentioning a 1979 Supertramp LP.)

The Voice's tut-tutting seems misplaced: Love is obviously taking on a double standard that makes allowances for certain prejudices--in this case, Lollapalooza's benign attitude toward some of its gangsta-rap participants' virulent sexism--but not others; the Voice item, of course, merely proves her point. Hitsville ran into Love in cyberspace, and over the course of an interesting, if occasionally incomprehensible, conversation quizzed her on the incident. Here's her version (with screen name changed) of what she said onstage that night:

Love: i said

Love: everyone on 3 say bitch

Love: ooooooh what a roar

Love: everyone on three..just get it out...say cunt

Love: the ceiling nearly blew off

Love: ok now kids on three,you know you want to say nigger!

Love: it was actaully quite loud

Love: happy

Love: hows Billy Pumpkin

Love: ha

Regarding her announcement that Hole won't play at Lollapalooza, Love says that while the Voice item quoted her as defiantly saying, "Does that make me a racist?" she actually said, "Does that make me a racist--or a feminist?" She also noted part of her purpose was to rile the crowd: "we got fucked on the bill it was full of Bon Jovi fans Im a freak to them,might as well get on my broomstick." When asked specifically what her thinking was behind the outbursts, she responded with a sublime, compact, almost nihilistic statement of purpose:

Love: yeah well ok maybe but christ ive got a stage shouldnt i use it?

Hitsville took the opportunity to ask about her life generally: Is she happy?

Love: NO im not happy wedve sold shitloads more records without my fucking

projected persona

Love: and actaully accomplished something gender wise

Love: instead of it allbeing reduced to the madonna personajunkywhorebadgirlhag etc

Does she feel in control of her life?

Love: no i dont its insane

Schmitsville

Hitsville two weeks ago made a big deal out of the Sun-Times and Tribune's running big stories on the Grammys without mentioning the date or time of the broadcast; he owes an apology to the Trib's Greg Kot, who did mention that the awards show was that Wednesday night....Veruca Salt's second single, "Number One Blind," is getting airplay everywhere but MTV--what's the problem? Turns out that the band didn't like the completed video and refused to release it. A compromise was reached whereby the clip will appear only a few times on the channel's 120 Minutes. It debuts this week; the show starts at 11 PM Sunday. The band is taping a few live songs for inclusion on the March 26 edition of the program as well....

Robert Gordon will be in town to talk about his book, It Came From Memphis, a long-awaited shadow history of the sounds the city produced beneath the glare of Elvis, Sun, and Stax. It's Tuesday at the Michigan Avenue Waterstone's at 7 PM. The number is 587-8080.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Marty Perez.

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