Day one of our extract from NME's exclusive interview with Courtney Love and Michael Stipe together for the first time...

You join us at Courtney Love‘s home, high in the Hollywood Hills. Courtney and Michael discuss make-up.

She wants to know if he has any left over from the Velvet Goldmine shoot.

He says he has some great lip gloss she can have because his lips never chap.


Courtney and Michael have some history. They go back a long way to the extent that, famously, in the bad old days Courtney once told an interviewer that, while her husband, KURT COBAIN, was still alive, she tried to get him off with Michael.

They’re going out for dinner together, so we get started.

related Courtney & Michael

Part 2 NME: It’s said that stars often make friends with other stars because they’re the only people they can trust, the only ones who are unlikely to be on the make.

MICHAEL STIPE: “Well, we’re both equally conniving!”

Courtney Love: “Haha. We’re not conniving. I think we both enjoy being famous and we’re both good at it and have fun at it. We’ve never discussed this but did you know that in that really gross, sleazy documentary (Nick Broomfield‘s Kurt And Courtney) there’s a thing where an ex-boyfriend of mine reads a list I made and number one on the list is make friends with you?! How genius is that?!”


MS: “I was honoured and thrilled. I was in San Francisco when they had the premiere. I was gonna go just to fuck with them but I couldn’t go for some reason so I haven’t seen it myself.”

CL: “I was thinking about it the other day and, well, why not? Who else was there to make friends with? Of course I put you on my list. Someone was telling me that there’s some poetry in there too but that’s fake. I would never write poetry that ridiculous. But I loved that meeting you was number one on my list.”

NME: You’ve said in the past that you got kicked out of bands for liking REM.

CL: “It’s true, I did. There was a time before I was in Hole when I was living in San Francisco and I had a real pop sensibility – I played the Peter Buck D chord with the pinky. And in the first band, which was called Sugar Babylon, with Kat Bjelland and Jennifer Finch, literally the verbatim was, ‘You like REM too much. You wanna be REM too much’ because I’d just be listening to ‘Reckoning’ all the time. And I was thrown out of Babes In Toyland and Faith No More for that literal exact reason.

“And it’s still there. The other night I was onstage and I didn’t know what to do so I just shape-shifted into a Michael pose…”

MS: “I can’t believe that!”

CL: “I did! I did! And then I got up on the monitors just like you…”

MS: “No, see, I copped that from you… one leg on the monitor…”

CL: “You did? That’s hackneyed. Maybe you advanced on my mine.”

MS: “Yeah, I took yours and… put a dick on it.”

CL: “I didn’t know what to do without a guitar so I did some Jaggers and Michael doing Elvis – y’know, the Kaufman Michael Elvis surfer thing… Y’know, I have a place to go when I’m lost and that place is Michael. Michael‘s a really great role model.”

MS: “That thing’s a two-way street there because, in the same way, being a southern man and soft-spoken and ultimately shy, uh, to have experience in New York and know how to confront and attack when you need to was invaluable to me. Being friends with Courtney took the New York thing one step further. I can use that when I need it. I don’t like to but I don’t walk away from it as easily as she can. It’s invaluable.”

NME: When did you actually meet?

MS: “I Remember Hole came through Athens, Georgia and played around the time of their first record…”

CL: “Yeah, and we didn’t get invited to Peter Buck’s house, which was always the sign. However, Michael did come to our show.”

MS: “I was eating in a restaurant and these three people came up to me and introduced themselves. We started talking and they said, ‘We’re playing the 40 Watt Club tonight, come down if you want to’ and I didn’t think twice about it because they were really friendly people…”

CL: “And we looked cool!”

MS: “Yeah, they looked cool, the whole band, which is hard to do in Athens because everybody there looks cool. It’s hard to stand out and have a different look and they looked great. I proceeded then to get incredibly drunk… I don’t know why, I don’t know what was going on that night but I got really drunk and I stumbled down to the 40 Watt Club and there were about… I’m gonna do you a big favour here… there were about 15 people there in the whole place and it’s cavernous, huge. It’s Tuesday night, y’know, students were studying, nobody had ever heard of this band before. And I stood there and I was completely blown away. And I think I told someone… I didn’t reach you that night, did I? You were on the phone in the backroom the whole time, chatting with Kurt.”

CL: “So this is ’91? This is the second time at the 40 Watt?”

MS: “Yeah. And I felt like I was watching The Cramps in ’79. I had not seen a band like this in a long, long time. And then we were in Seattle making a record and Kris Novoselic and Shelley, his wife, threw a party and…”

CL: “…Me and Kurt came over.”

MS: “You came really, really late and you had some flowers and his contact lenses were bothering him.”

CL: “His contact lenses? Oh, I remember. He was trying to have brown eyes. He had this weird phase where he bought brown contact lenses because he didn’t wanna be recognised, but they weren’t working.”

MS: “Anyway, that was the first time we really met although we didn’t get to talk that much. We spent most of our time in the basement…”

CL: “…With the jukebox.”

More of this interview tomorrow when they discuss movies, fame and work.

A meeting of great minds or a mutual ego-masturbation session? Have your say. Post a message on Angst!

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