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Music / Hole

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The classic mid-90s lineup. Left to right: Patty Schemel, Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson, Kristen Pfaff.
Oh the boys, on the radio,
They crash and burn they fold and fade so slow,
In your endless summer night I'll be on the other side,
When you're beautiful and dying all the world that you've denied,
When the water is too deep, you can close your eyes and really sleep tonight...
"Boys on the Radio"

Hole was an American Alternative Rock band founded in Los Angeles, California in 1989 by lead singer Courtney Love and guitarist Eric Erlandson, in the wake of Erlandson answering Love’s classified ad wanting to start a band. Inspired by Los Angeles' punk rock scene, their first album, Pretty on the Inside, was produced by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, and attracted critical interest from British and American alternative press. Their second album, Live Through This, was produced three years later and featured less aggressive melodies and lyrics, and went on to achieve platinum status within a year. Their third album, Celebrity Skin, marked a notable departure from their earlier punk influences, boasting a more commercially viable sound; the album sold around 2 million copies worldwide, and earned them significant critical acclaim. They disbanded in 2002, their individual members exploring independent projects, only for Love to reform the band with all new members. The reformed band released the album Nobodys Daughter (2010), which had originally been conceived as Love's second solo album. In 2013, Love retired the Hole name, releasing new material and touring as a solo artist.

  • Courtney Love – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1989–2002, 2010–2012)
  • Eric Erlandson – lead guitar (1989–2002, 2012)
  • Mike Geisbrecht – rhythm guitar (1989–1990)
  • Lisa Roberts – bass (1989–1990)
  • Caroline Rue – drums (1989–1992)
  • Jill Emery – bass (1990–1992)
  • Leslie Hardy – bass (1992–1993)
  • Kristen Pfaff – bass, backing vocals (1993–1994, died 1994)
  • Patty Schemel – drums (1992–1998, 2012)
  • Melissa Auf der Maur – bass, backing vocals (1994–1999, 2012)
  • Samantha Maloney – drums (1998–2000)
  • Micko Larkin – lead guitar (2010–2012)
  • Shawn Dailey – bass (2010–2012)
  • Stu Fisher – drums (2010–2011)
  • Scott Lipps – drums (2011–2012)


"Someday, you will trope like I trope":

  • Album Title Drop: Live Through This is named for a line in "Asking For It" ("If you live through this with me, I swear that I would die for you").
  • Arc Words: The word "milk" is repeated several times throughout Live Through This.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: "I Think That I Would Die" from Live Through This is a a pretty slow and melancholy song, however it just makes the vitriol when she screams all the more powerful.
  • Careful with That Axe: "Violet" and the entire album of Pretty on the Inside are the go-to examples of this.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Could be seen as one to Nirvana due to both bands being part of the early 90s grunge scene and their respective lead singers being married.
  • Drone of Dread: Pretty frequently. "Pretty on the Inside/Clouds" comes to mind, but it happens a lot.
  • Football Fight Song: Invoked in "Be a Man."
  • Grief Song: "Reasons to be Beautiful" and "Malibu", about her husband's death.
  • Harsh Vocals: Apparently Courtney was gargling whiskey while recording "Pretty on the Inside" for this effect. Her vocals later evolved into this more naturally over the years (bordering on Vocal Decay), especially on Nobody's Daughter.
  • I Am the Band: Hole has had at least 15 members, with Courtney Love being the only constant. Then, Eric Erlandson said the name can't be used without him, but Love ignored him by saying it was her band.
  • Image Song: "Letter to God".
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: When Courtney isn't screaming or genuinely singing, she gets to this. Though on Pretty on the Inside, it's mostly the fault of the production.
  • Lighter and Softer: Celebrity Skin was very much this, almost borderline on being pop music, reflective of the calm and stable state of Courtney's life in the late 1990s.
  • Live Album: Grease Your Hips
  • Misogyny Song: Songs like "Babydoll" and "Samantha" feel like this. Courtney has said the latter is about herself though.
  • New Sound Album: Celebrity Skin is much more pop than the Grunge Live Through This and the Noise Rock Pretty on the Inside.
  • The One Guy: Throughout the original incarnation, Eric Erlandson was the only male member.
  • Only Sane Man: Erlandson in the Live Through This line up, purely by default of being the only one who wasn't on heroin at the time.
  • Record Producer: Rather influential for the albums' overall sounds — Kim Gordon and Don Fleming's work on Pretty on the Inside is more Noise Rock-oriented and harsh, Sean Slade and Paul Kolderie gave Live Through This a more straightforward Grunge sound, and Michael Beinhorn contributed to Celebrity Skin's more pop leanings.
    • Beinhorn also counts as an Acrimony Producer: in a retrospective documentary on Celebrity Skin, Love called Beinhorn a "Nazi" and Schemel accused him of forcing her out of the band in favour of working with a session drummer.
  • Revolving Door Band: As noted above, 15 people have been band members at various points. The only constant member was Love — they cycled through drummers and bassists at a pretty fast rate (with the odd bandmate death, such as Kristen Pfaff's heroin overdose).
  • Rock Star Song: The original version of "Awful", which was several pages long, included things like this.
  • Slut-Shaming: A major theme in "Teenage Whore" and to a lesser extent, "Dicknail".
  • The Smurfette Principle: Inverted up to the first breakup, as Eric was the only male member, but played straight with the Nobody's Daughter lineup, with Courtney, of course, as the only female member.
  • To the Tune of...: Pretty on the Inside's "Starbelly" borrows its riff from Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl".