The Girl with the Most Cake: Courtney Love Is in Charge

In theory, the idea of speaking with Courtney Love is an intimidating prospect, due to the Hole front woman's notorious history of verbal confrontation.

In reality, however, an interview is actually the perfect arena for Love. She gets to talk about herself, exclusively, for a fixed amount of time.

Now 49, Love is less keen on confrontation these days. Instead, she's tackling several creative ventures simultaneously, and eager to promote them all. She's currently on a 19-city "small clubs" solo tour, and preparing to release a personally penned memoir via HarperCollins. She's also the face of fashion powerhouse Saint Laurent Paris's new ad campaign and designer of her own fashion line, Never the Bride.

Love is also recording a new album, but is determined to keep its contents under wraps until its release.

"We're not debuting new material on this tour," Love says by phone, correcting her own official press release that had mistakenly promised "brand-new unreleased music."

"We can't play new songs," she clarifies, adding dramatically, "If they leak to YouTube, then we're done."

Love speaks with inflated confidence and calculated strategy, as if her vast public demand requires especially heightened foresight.

"My book comes out on HarperCollins at Christmastime," she continues, "and it will be HarperCollins's major Christmastime book. I'll put the new record out then, too."

Earlier this summer, Love was hoping to find a "chick bass player" to add to her current lineup, and posted on Craigslist to find one.

"I didn't know it was a slow news day," she complains, referring to the press's mocking her ad. "I just don't understand why it was, like, everywhere.

"I don't understand why what I wear sometimes is everywhere," she continues.

You'd think, as a fashion designer, Love would consider this interest in her style a plus.

"I haven't been controversial in over a year, yet they'll still find something to write about," she says.

It's as if Love truly believes that we still, after all these years, don't know that she actually relishes the attention.

She perks up as we discuss Never the Bride, which she labels "repurposed Edwardian with an edge."

"I've been collecting vintage clothes my whole life," she explains of the inspiration behind her new line.

"I started making clothes to wear onstage for the last record — dyeing them, hiring a seamstress," she says. "Russian Vogue just did two pages of my clothes. I also did 12 pages in a magazine called Garage, which is very, very ­influential.

"In November, I'm going to Milan, and I'm walking a runway for the first time," she boasts. "I've never done that before!

"Actually," she adds, at this point responding to herself, "what I weigh right now is fine, but for runway, I have to lose, like, 15 pounds."

Regardless of what we're discussing — music, books, fashion — Love is a sudden pro. In her mind, she is not a musician who also dabbles in other crafts; instead, she's the musician. She's the author. She's the designer. She's the model. To Love, she is everything, all the time, and she does it the very best.

Love calls herself a New Yorker these days and says she looks forward to playing Texas — as long as it's nothing like the "mortifying" time she played at Dallas's Edgefest back in 2010.

"We played at a place called Pizza Hut Park," she recalls. "We played at noon, and there were, like, hundreds of Juggalos, or whatever the hell they are, waiting to see Limp Bizkit and 30 Seconds to Mars.

"We opened for them," she's quick to clarify, "because we had to get to London, where we were playing four nights at Brixton Academy."

Leave it to Love to one-up her peers. Longtime Hole fans will be pleased to hear the inclusion of some "deep cuts" on this tour, including "Jennifer's Body" and "Credit in the Straight World."

"I'll dig into my old material to find stuff that's interesting and compelling to me," she says. "I don't want to walk out there and play 'Doll Parts' and 'Celebrity Skin' every night — that's boring. I'd go nuts."

Once you sift through the facade, Love is relatively easy to peg. When opportunities are present, she quickly grabs for them; when they're not, she creates them. In her mind, there's nothing she can't do. She's strong and unabashedly in charge.

Now Love is who she's always wanted to be — the girl with the most cake.

Courtney Love and special guest Starred perform Friday, August 2, at House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, 888-402-5837. Doors open at 7 p.m.

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Neph Basedow
Contact: Neph Basedow