Courtney Love has changed. She's just waiting for the world to notice.
In the aftermath of the death of her husband, Kurt Cobain, Love grieved very publicly, acting erratically and struggling with addiction for several years, while leading her band Hole and nurturing an acting career that landed her a best actress Golden Globe nomination for "The People vs. Larry Flynt" in 1996.
"I don't really care what people think about me on a certain level," Love says, calling from her home in Greenwich Village. "But when it hurts my capacity to function ... To get a rental, say, 'We want first year and last year' — not 'first month and last month' rent. Two years' rent! It's hard core some of the stuff that goes along with having this reputation."
Love is looking to "clean that up." She's already been chosen to represent French designer Yves Saint Laurent's latest Saint Laurent line. She's working on a memoir that's set to be released by HarperCollins by Christmas. She's also set to be part of a TV series that she says she really can't discuss yet. "I need someone to just vacuum up the nonsense that's been out there about me since like '04," she says. "Why is this stuff still going around? Why is everyone still calling me 'crazy,' making inferences that I'm still on drugs, when that hasn't gone on since '04?"
And, maybe most importantly, Love is working on new music that she is eager to show off, starting with a short tour that stops at Warsaw in Brooklyn Wednesday and the Paramount in Huntington Saturday.
"This is a really small tour — an itty-bitty tour, like Asbury Park, the House of Blues," she says. "It ain't the Garden. But it's show biz — it goes up and it goes down. And I am just so freaking bored of not touring."
Love says that she has had an album completed for nine months and is just waiting for her new label to finish work on Prince's release so that her album — billed as Courtney Love, not Hole — can come out.
"I didn't really think I'd be touring without new music out," she says. "But that's the way it seems to be shaping up."
Love says she doesn't want to play too much of her new music on this tour because she doesn't want it all to end up on YouTube before the record company is ready.
Of course, Love has plenty of older material to choose from, including the alternative rock classic "Live Through This," as well as her underappreciated solo album "America's Sweetheart."
However, some new songs will likely make their way into the set.
"I can't stand not playing new songs — it drives me nuts," she says, adding that she will throw in some covers. "It's the whole point. It's the whole purpose of what I do. I'm not going to join the oldies circuit. I'd rather retire than do that — it's just not my thing."
And don't look for a Hole reunion tour any time soon. "I'm not going to play with (Hole guitarist) Eric Erlandson," Love says, adding that she has received numerous offers to reunite the band for a "greatest hits" tour. "I don't like him. I've been playing with Micko Larkin for eight years now, which is as long as I played with Eric, and we've never had a fight, let alone 10 fights a day."
Love says she recently spent a week in Montauk, N.Y., with Larkin, writing new songs and playing a surprise acoustic show at sunset with him at The Surf Lodge just because it felt right.
"It was a nice week," Love says. "We wrote a lot. We saw a few friends who live out there. We bicycled around. I got my version of a tan — which is nothing."
Love says she's looking forward to people getting the chance to see what she is really like these days. "I think the people of Lubbock, Texas, or Peoria or wherever would be well-served and I think I would be well-served if my reputation didn't suffer these slings and arrows that actually harm my capacity to function," she says.
She says she believes her prospective TV series may go a long way toward reintroducing her to a lot of people.
"The thing about these shows is that they're unflinching," she says. "If you have a good demeanor and you're in a good place, then what can people say?"