HOLE – LIVE THROUGH THIS
Released April 12, 1994 – 22 years ago
Hole’s second release met near-unanimous critical acclaim, and came on the heels of Kurt Cobain’s suicide. Markedly different from the band’s debut, rumors circulated Cobain acted as ghostwriter. While these rumors have never been substantiated, there’s no denying Nirvana’s start-stop dynamics, gripping hooks, and visceral lyrics positively influenced Courtney Love here.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4pm M-F on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar and curated by Kris Kerry. Each Monday at 4pm Kris stops by KXCI’s studio to give us insight on this classic album at 91.3FM and kxci.org.
Hole formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1989 by singer and rhythm guitarist Courtney Love and lead guitarist Eric Erlandson. Over the years it had a revolving line-up of bassists and drummers.
Hole collaborated with Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon (co-producer) on their debut album, Pretty on the Inside (1991), followed by the release of Live Through This, which was much more commercially and critically successful, reaching platinum status within a year of its release (eventually multi-platinum). Hole’s third, Celebrity Skin (1998), garnered them four Grammy nominations, although many critics didn’t think it came close artistically to their previous two releases. Hole released a fourth album in 2010 titled Nobody’s Daughter.
Hole was most associated with grunge, a sub-genera of alternative rock that emerged during the mid 1980s in and around Seattle, Washington. Grunge became hugely successful commercially in the early 1990s, due mainly to the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991). Some of the other bands associated with grunge include: Peral Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, and Hole.
While not one of the acts most associated with the Riot Grrrl movement, Hole should probably be considered Riot Grrrl to some degree. Riot Grrrl began as an underground punk movement developing along with grunge in the Pacific Northwest. Lyrically there was a focus on female empowerment, sexuality, and other feminist issues. Most notable Riot Grrrl bands include: Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre, and Bratmobile.
Courtney Love’s lyrics, which explicitly discussed issues of body image, identity and sexual exploitation, propelled Hole into the spotlight. She also garnered considerable media attention due to her reckless, sometimes disturbing, live performances.
Love was born in 1964 (now 51). She grew up in southern California and Oregon. She had been briefly married for a few months in 1989 and had also dated Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins prior to meeting Kurt Cobain. Cobain and Love had a whirlwind romance. They began dating in the fall of 1991 and were married by February 1992. Six months later, the couple’s only child, Frances Bean Cobain, was born.
Love & Cobain’s drug abuse was also a whirlwind romance; both were heavily abusing several drugs, most notably heroine. Both had entered a Los Angeles rehab facility in March of 1994. Cobain soon left rehab, returning to Seattle. Cobain, also suffering from chronic pain and serious depression, committed suicide on April 5, 1994, just one week prior to the Release of Live Through This.
Following the release of Live Through This, rumors began circulating that Cobain had written all or most of the album. In response to these rumors, band members stated that Love indeed was the songwriter.
Live Through This was recorded in late 1993 at Triclops Sound Studios in Marietta, Georgia, on the recommendation of Smashing Pumpkins who had recorded Siamese Dream there earlier that year.
The album was produced and engineered by Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie. Slade and Kolderie are a production-engineering team whose résumé reads like a “who’s who” of late 80s/early 90s alternative rock. They’ve produced and engineered albums by Radiohead, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., Uncle Tupelo, Morphine, Lush, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Buffalo Tom, The Connells, fIREHOSE, Tanya Donelly, Throwing Muses, Yo La Tengo, Julianna Hatfield, King Missle, The Lemmonheads, and many others.