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:
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…
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.
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.