They’re rock stars from two of the most high profile bands in the world. They’re known heroin addicts & drug users, violent, tough and promiscuous. They’re counter-culture icons. They’re still famous even though they’ve been accused of murdering their own lover. They’re Sid Vicious and Courtney Love. Yet somehow Sid Vicious is revered as a punk rock icon while Courtney is seen as a pariah. Lets compare the two.
Sid Vicious: Couldn’t play his instrument. Lemmy tried to teach him and gave up. The bass parts on the Sex Pistols only album were all performed by Mick Jones, the guitarist. He was sponsored by a clothing store & threw up on an old lady at the airport. The U.S. tour got as far as New York before he got hooked on junk and his girlfriend was found dead of a stab wound. He was arrested and released on bail. Then he attacked Patti Smith’s brother. Then he went to “rehab” on Riker’s island and OD’ed the night he got out. Sid Vicious is still considered a rock and roll icon today, even though he was more of a fashion model.
Courtney Love was bullied at school and abused at home. Spent time as a teenage prostitute and model before starting the influential grunge band Hole, in which she wrote the lyrics to and performed on all of their songs over the course of five LPs and one EP. She also wrote and played the rhythm guitar parts for all of their songs. Like most rock stars she was promiscuous, she fooled around with Billy Corgan while she was with Kurt, joining Johnny Cash, Elvis, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Iggy Pop & practically every other rock musician who ever went on tour. Led Zeppelin fucked an underage girl with a herring and basically kept her captive until she turned 18 once they realized she was underage. Mick Jagger wrote a Stones song about having a threesome with two underage girls in Stray Cat Blues. In contrast Courtney Love wrote about abuse, feminism, body image issues, and addiction. Not to mention that Live Through This was one of the best albums to come out of the grunge period. It certainly beat the hell out of Pearl Jam & Soundgarden’s releases. America’s Sweetheart was a solid album, lyrically complex & catchy without losing Love’s trademark sarcasm and hard rock edge.
If she were a man Courtney Love would be a typical rockstar. Even if she did supposedly kill Kurt Cobain (which I highly doubt and is disbelieved by the people close to Kurt as well as cruel to their daughter, Frances) she still isn’t as revered as Sid Vicious, who couldn’t play his instrument, write a decent song and was actually charged with murder. If Courtney Love were a man she’d be revered as an icon, but because she’s a woman she is treated like a pariah. The same is true for avant grade musician and artist Yoko Ono. Its time to stop treating them like trash because they’re women and recognize them as the innovators they are while they’re still alive.
PS: This is not a forum for discussing whether or not Courtney killed Kurt or Sid killed Nancy, if your comment is about either subject I’ll just delete it. This is about how misogyny shapes our perceptions of female and male rock musicians.