Courtney Love’s introduction to the Virgin Prunes

Courtney Love introduced the Virgin Prunes at the ‘Gavin Friday and Friends’ event in Carnegie Hall on October 4th. She did so eloquently and passionately, explaining how she came to know of them and what they meant to her life. What follows is a close approximation of what she said and it includes a brief introduction by U2’s manager Paul McGuinness:

Paul McGuinness

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I’ve known Gavin and his band the Virgin Prunes for as long as I’ve known U2 and for quite a while in the early days the Virgin Prunes were the obligatory opening act for U2, so I saw them many times. Perhaps more often than I liked. And on one occasion… the Virgin Prunes had some extreme theories: Dada, Theatre of Cruelty, things like that, which didn’t always mix with the… the rock and roll. But on one occasion I do remember after the performance, excellent performance, given by the Virgin Prunes, Bono arrived in time for the U2 gig and he said to me: Why are the audience in such a bad mood? And I said: Well, Bono, it might have something to do with the fact that your friend Gavin has just been throwing pigs entrails over them. They were a very unusual band and one of their earliest fans was Ms Courtney Love…

Courtney Love

Hi. I’ve never actually even been inside Carnegie Hall. I wasn’t asked to do this show, I demanded to do this show.

I didn’t expect the task of introducing one of the most important precious figures and bands and siren call that framed my rock and roll life for better or for worse. Nor do I have any idea of who I am speaking to, so I will just simply speak my truth about Virgin Prunes and about Gavin Friday.

Courtney Love - by Wout-er

Courtney Love - by Wout-er

I was a pudgy 15-year-old from San Francisco who thought randomly and maybe… I just, I don’t know to just go to Ireland and blag my way into Trinity College and become a theologian, seriously, and I would maybe get to meet that guy with the angelic voice that sung I will follow. Why I picked Ireland? I don’t know, accident or intelligent design… random, I don’t know, but it was one of my life’s great experiences. I saw the band with the singer with the angelic voice and the guitar player who I just knew from the I will follow riff was beyond words in their return of their station wagon tour of the States to do their show at Punchestown.

It was excellent, however a few nights later at a pub called McGonagles I had my ass truly handed to me. They were magnificent. Can I curse? Anyway, un- ff-ing genius they were, they would obviously take over the world. Swagger, charisma, shamanism, fury. I had never seen and have rarely ever seen since so much sex, snarl, poetry, evil, restraint, grace, filth, raw power and the very essence of rock and roll which was [ ? ] that night by the Virgin Prunes. The storm that raged on that stage astonished me. At that time their reputation was on a par with my own – minus the stuff that we should all just forget.

I loathe, I seriously hate this concept that rock musicians are somehow vulgar and stupid, idiots and that we’ve never read a book – and some of us haven’t – that we haven’t read Middlemarch or that we don’t know that Shakespeare’s last play was [ ? ]. The Virgin Prunes are geniuses. Lucifer; arch and cunning to U2’s Gabriel; angelic and gorgeous, I can honestly stand here and truthfully say U2 gave me lashes of love and inspiration and a few nights later the Virgin Prunes fucked. Me. Up.

So for the first time in 20 years from the council estate of Ballymun to the most prestigious venue in the world where one brings ones diamonds, I am so proud to present for the first time in many years per incendia ut astrum – which means through the fire to the stars: The Virgin Prunes.

After Courtney’s introduction, the original members of the band: Gavin, Guggi, Dik were joined by J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus) to perform two classic Prunes songs: “Sweethomeunderwhiteclouds” and “Caucasian Walk”. Later during the show, Courtney and Gavin sang Magazine’s “The Light Pours Out Of Me” together.


  1. Cecilia on October 12, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Well, I never before imagined I would share a page with the Lady of Grunge. Talk about angels and devils… Gavin, I guess this is your versatility reflecting in pure 3-dimensional form! ; ))))

  2. James on October 13, 2009 at 11:11 am

    So, it has been a week now, and I think it is begining to ‘settle in’…the Man did play NYC, at Carnegie Hall. Fitting. I had grown in an apathy state of disillusion on ever seeing Gavin perform again…it had been, 16 years for me.
    We kept missing one another in 96….had tix for Montreol, and missed it. Missed him in Fla…by 3 blocks, 2 days, and 7 hours….
    missed him in Phil/NY, by a week, and I know we passed one another on the i-state95…
    he heading south…me heading north, before my ‘ New Mexico, desert retreat…exploration of the beast within.
    we passed one another on that as well..he in Co, me one state below…
    was not meant to be…????
    SO, it was well worth the wait..
    Hal told me it would be the ‘greatest show on earth’ the week before at MAarianne’s concert..
    I had taken his word, however, he did not prepare me for the ‘mind blwoing’ expereince..
    I was in good company in the front row, dead center…nice energy flowing all around, next to, and behind me…
    Gavin’s friends/family…were so warm, comfortable to be around…
    wish I had gone back stage…to say ‘thanks’and Happy Birthday.
    security was tight, however, I know I could have just dropped in…
    and sadly did not ‘crash’ the party…not my style..if not invited. HOwever in this case, I may have tried, just was too blown away, and respectful to the party. I did need to speak to HAL, so I did have an excuse. No regrets. I wish I had covered the man in RED ROSES….AFTER BLOOD ON THE BRUISE..
    I ran out of time getting in/to the show…
    just made it on time..I was told that other fans did have flowers to give, but could not get down to the stage to deleiver them. I do regret with the seats I was in, that I did not have them with me….the stage deserved to be covered!!!
    So, to all there… THIS SHOW, was a great gift he gave to the fans, and if were there for ‘others’ as some were…I know they are now investigating, and checking out this ‘cat’ known as Friday…I spoke to a few of them after the show. You got the attention of new fans!!
    Gavin if you read these, and I WONDER…
    please know this show meant a great deal to me for many reason..many of my closest frieds, and even family were tied to you in some way..and are now, ‘over the rainbow’…it was an ’emotional powerful trip’…and I had to make Dennis aware of this fact…HE LOVED THE SHOW AS WELL….BLEW HIM AWAY…
    what nice frieds you have…keep them always close to your heart..I know you will…
    and who knows, perhaps one day…next year on the 2010 tour..will run into you and say ‘Hello’..and will finally have your flowers for you…better late, and from the heart if that helps my carelessness…I was told by that ‘inner voice’….get the Man flowers…
    I did the 50 ting this year…’life goes on’, and man…what ever you are doing..keep up the great work…I am into anti-aging/energy medicine…have my grad degree in this…
    you seem to have stumbled onto something that is working well, or you were blessed with great genetix…maybe both.
    Please know,that even your older fans…with the complications of life, in this dark period of man, have never forgoton you..nor the ‘timelessness of your art’…
    It was an honor to have been there, in the place where the ‘angles’ arranged for me to be seated.
    I am still sending the ‘feather of light’ from the cosmos…it will find you, if it has not already, and one touch of it, and you will know…where you are..
    All you need to do is give permission for it to come..and it shall.
    Stay well, and best wishes for a great 50th year!
    Hope to see you on tour next year…
    Hal is a genius…pure and simple…Hope to see him for a future project we spoke about, that he is going to work on…It will be another in MADhattan…
    I will let him release the details, as it all unfolds..It is a group, that many will travel for as they did for you…and they are as you, artist of integrity…so rare these days..
    Glad that the window opened,and ‘art fuck’ as well as your style of ‘torch’ flew in….was always there, now, all know the secret of your great hidden talent…It is your call what you choose to do with it…
    I do not really even recall them, in my heart there were none….
    THE SHOW….WAS PURRFUCK!! MEOW’S & BRAVO!!The show made me as Wilde states in his ‘De Profundis’ when one comes in contact with the soul, it makes one simple as a child, as Christ said one should be….and so I am for a have made me a bit of a child again, the Majik, is still upon me for the moment…and I hope shall last a little longer…until the next release.The jade, has new luster. The scars are there, just not feeling them…the hope for ‘art’ to come back has me spell do make a difference, on the scene not just as ‘MASTER POPtician’…unless that is what makes you happy…seeing your input helping others grow in their art, and that is a wonderful ting to do. WE ALL KNOW YOU ARE MUCH MORE THAN THAT!!
    Not sure what else to say, except a heartfelt
    thanks…for all the years, and 10/4/2009…under a full moon, looking down, and smiling… I shall never forget it…blessings to you, and all who helped in the warm intimite setting…just like an empty beautiful church….same feeling…I know you understand what I mean….
    God Bless,

  3. Cecilia on October 13, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    The seed lay hidden, well beneath the soil. The sun was out, and I was blinded by it´s light. Heavy clouds came rolling in, and my mind darkened – would I ever see the ray of sunshine again? Heavy rain fell, and I thought – this is the end, of a story long gone. But – after the the rain had passed by – I spotted a stem, rapidly growing before my very eyes. What was this unknown? Was it a weed – was it a rose – was it a cucumber??? A huge bud suddenly appeared, and within moments, all it´s petals unfolded – revealing the most wonderful flower, with colours of every nuance, the most spectacular thing you could ever see. So here it is, in full bloom – for everyone to witness.

  4. emhb on June 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Unfortunetly I never saw the real Virgin Prunes live. I saw them just after Gavin Friday left the band, I saw the Prunes too, and I saw Gavin Friday 2 times live…it was great and for sure their music definitly change my life and was a big inspiration for my own music in my bands Les Tetines Noires/LTNO ! Thanks a lot !