Wednesday, 23 December 2015
Oliver: Hole - Violet/Doll Parts [Peel Session] (5 January 1992)
In the 60s, Peel often used to claim that he got a kick out of winding people up by making them believe that he thought Donovan was better than Bob Dylan. Had I been aware of the issue at the time, I may have tried to update this by telling people that Hole were better than Nirvana, though I guess if I had really wanted to provoke a reaction, I'd have swopped Hole for Pearl Jam. But listening back to the session that Courtney and co recorded for Peel which was broadcast on 5/1/92, I'm starting to think that this would have been an argument I would have genuinely advocated.
Due to the vagaries of my listening pattern with the recording of the show, I only heard the two tracks presented here. I missed out on Drown Soda with its spine chilling refrain of "Just you wait till everyone is hooked", quite possibly the best performance of the lot. However, Violet comes close to that accolade. Propelled along by an incendiary guitar line and with Love in her finest succubus/she-dragon form, it comes on like a turbo-charged update of Good Sister/Bad Sister but it's the Cobain like "Everything"s which catch the ear. Even at 100mph, she was doing Kurt better than Kurt. But it's Doll Parts which comes on most uniquely Hole-like. Unlike her husband, Love never seemed to have any qualms about meeting the image of a rock star head-on. She understood the commodification of the artist and seemed resigned but unperturbed about being plastic onto which different looks and images could be hung off, but that seemed a worthy sacrifice to become to girl with "the most cake" even though this would ultimately extract a high price, both within Love's musical vision and her personal life. The willingness to ride the pop hammerhead shark head-on perhaps meant it was inevitable that Love and Hole would find themselves swapping Caroline and Sympathy for the Record Industry for David Geffen. As Peel himself remarked after playing Violet, "Like that did you? You, me and Madonna it seems". Indeed, it's not fanciful to suggest that in another musical universe, Love and Hole became as big and as uncompromising in their way as Madonna did in hers.
The session was fascinating, comprising tracks which didn't surface for over 2 years and which, when they did, were recorded by a new rhythm section in Hole. This is a fascinating snapshot of the original Hole line-up including Jill Emery on bass and Caroline Rue on drums. The full Peel Session
is also available
Merry Christmas to you all and my special Christmas wishes to all those who have provided clips for this blog and the shows which I can make selections from.
Videos courtesy of Vibracobra23redux and Bow Down To Me.