I was a writer and editor at Billboard for four years and I met a lot of well-known musicians. The vast majority were perfectly lovely people who just wanted to make my job and their lives easy and give me some good quotes before moving on to something more fun. Some were sleazebags (one well known musician asked me if I’d ever been a stripper); some were boring; most of the time it was all pretty run of the mill.
Until I interviewed Courtney Love at SXSW.
I was a huge fan when I was was younger and this was kind of a dream come true. I had to wait an hour in the hotel lobby for her to be ready, but when the publicist finally showed me up to her room, I was pretty stoked. I should have seen it coming when the flack shut me inside and closed the door.
Now, when I say I was held hostage I’m being dramatic; Love never tied me up for anything. But she talked. And talked. And smoked. And talked, smoked, and peed with the door open as I sat there. She showed me a bunch of files on an old laptop that somehow added up to Kurt’s money being stolen. She tried on outfits and solicited my advice. She tried to play me her new album and called the front desk four times to fix a broken speaker before realizing her iPod battery was dead. She brought her guitarist over and they learned a “Big Star” song in front of me.
I kept asking if I should leave so she could get ready. She told me to stay. “I like you, kid,” she said.
I was there for five or six hours but it felt much longer. It was weird and fascinating and I felt my own grip on reality loosening. When she finally left to play her show, I walked through the streets of Austin in daze, not quite sure what had just happened.