FDF Vol 1 Issue 89: Hole - Celebrity Skin
Album - Celebrity Skin
Artist - Hole
Key Players - Patty Schemel -drums*. Melissa Auf Der Maur - bass. Eric Erlandson - guitar. Courtney Love - guitar, vocals.
*Schemel is credited on the record and is on the cover but she did not play on the album, that was done by Samantha Maloney
Produced By - Michael Beinhorn
Release Date - September 1998
What caused me to blow off the dust? - I am not even really sure. Courtney Love must have done something to get in the news, thus causing me to think of her and the band once more.
Overview - Celebrity Skin was the third and final studio album from Hole. The bands second album was loved by fans and critics alike. Between that album and this release Kurt Cobain, Loves husband, committed suicide. Some refer to this album as the "widows" album but Love is quick to refute those claims. In the three years it took to finally get this album out the band had slowly grown apart and would thus dissolve, leaving some great rock songs in their wake.
FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Guitars crunch down, as "Celebrity Skin" wastes little time getting things started. It is easy to hear right away why this was one of the single, the guitar and vocals are the stand outs on this track. "Awful" was a little more shimmer in the guitar and Auf Der Maur has the bass line pushed up higher in the mix. As the chorus approaches the band really has a rather large and big sound. They are tight and focused on this track and Love pushes the track vocally without wavering. This is really a hidden gem on the record, see for yourself in the download section. A single, somewhat muted guitar brings up "Hit So Hard". The track is mellower musically than the previous two tracks. Its is a dark song, as the lyrics are about being hit and "seeing stars". The band shows their chops collectively with some vocal harmonies and tight musicianship. Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) also adds bass work to this track. Another radio single "Malibu" follows and its easy to hear why it was chosen. Just the right balance of rock and pop while still keeping a "band" sound. The punchy rock returns on "Reasons to be Beautiful". Love has a certain growl to her vocals on this track. "Dying" starts off with with what appears to be some in studio banter then a quiet guitar intro with whispery vocals. The song slowly builds and by the later parts of the second verse the guitar and drums come in, but we are not at a speedy pace either. The band settles to their collective grooves and allows the vocals to remain at the forefront. The bass takes the lead on "Use Once & Destroy". There is some great chug to the track and some keyboard fill over the top. The drums hit hard as the band joins late in the first verse. An acoustic guitar opens up "Northern Star" and shorty after Love begins the vocals. The track is largely acoustic based with a few light cymbal taps during the first chorus. String sections fill some of the gaps during the interludes between verse and chorus, but also add some fill during other portions. As the song nears the end Love gives it that one final hard vocal push before bringing it back down once more. The acoustic guitar remains on "Boys on the Radio" but it is played alongside the electrics. At the outset the track has a very alt-country feel to it. The guitar have a sort of twang to them, and the chorus has some decent harmonies. The guitar line is fuzzy and has a strong presence and punch to it. As the song title would suggest it is about Courtney and company looking for a fair shot in the industry that is dominated by males. Yet another strong guitar intro on "Heaven Tonight" offers a nice change. The song has a quick tempo, but is not really a "heavy" track per se. The chorus and verses have terrific sing along moments and the tambourine actually adds quite the shake to the track (sorry). A almost sitar sound opens "Playing Your Song" and it has a lot of heavy bottom to it. The bass and whack of the drum really stand out. Granted these last two songs would never be seen as radio singles, but they are great rock songs. The final track "Petals" slowly fades up and the band has mellowed some after the last two tracks. It is a good book end to the album, the bass line stands out to these ears and come the verse the band buckles down once more
Where are they now? - The band broke up via a message board post in 2002. Melissa Auf Der Maur went on the road with the Smashing Pumpkins and has released a solo record.. Eric Erlandson works as a session musician and produces.. Courtney Love continues to act in film and released a solo album "America's Sweetheart in 2004. She has battled addiction problems in the past but as of late seems to be keeping busy with other projects. Patty Schemel has worked in various bands and played on Love's America's Sweetheart. Samantha Maloney has worked with Motley Crue as well as Eagles of Death Metal in recent years. She is currently the drummer in Peaches band.
FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I only saw the band one time on July 25, 1995 as part of the Lollapalooza tour. I don't remember it really wow'ing me at the time. The band sang Happy Birthday to Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and did a cover of "Pennyroyal Tea" from Nirvana (which was odd)
Never saw them on the Celebrity Skin tour sadly.
FDF Overall Take - Courtney Love can be too much for many folks to take, but when she fronted Hole she really was in her element. She controlled her audiences and created some really good music along the way. Hopefully there is a reunion of sorts in the cards as each member, although busy, have yet to garner this type of success.
Courtney Love official site.
Courtney on myspace.
Melissa on myspace
Samantha Maloney official site.
Curious? Check out some MUSIC!
Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.