FLORENCE — “I was very nervous, but yesterday was so fun. These kids, in the heat, they were putting their heart and soul into it,” said Courtney Love, in a Diesel total black outfit, referring to Friday’s rehearsals of her exhibition as special guest at the “Rockin’ 1,000 That’s Live” concert. Taking place on Saturday night at Florence’s Artemio Franchi soccer stadium, the music event brings together 1,000 professional and nonprofessional international musicians on the same stage to perform a series of rock classics, including The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” among others.
Love was invited to perform at the charity concert — part of the proceeds will benefit the San Patrignano rehab community located in Rimini, in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region — by Arianna Alessi, vice president of Renzo Rosso’s Only the Brave Foundation, which is active in the development of a wide range of social responsibility projects.
“Arianna just asked me and I said yes. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I thought I was going to play four songs for fashion people, but then I realized what it actually was. I said to myself, ‘OMG…’ but it’s such a good cause,” said Love, who actually arrived at the stadium on Friday when the gigantic band, directed by Italian conductor Peppe Vessicchio, was playing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
“Tonight I have to walk through a soccer stadium with the microphone saying things…I’m not a comedian, I have to figure it out what I’m going to say,” Love said. “It’s a long walk with big spotlights. It’s a grand entrance. I’m singing three songs…I’m singing ‘Malibu,’ ‘Celebrity Skin’ and an old song called ‘Rock Star.’ Arianna picked ‘Rock Star.’ They seemed to like it a lot yesterday….I kind of forgot it…because I never play it, but I’ll figure it out. It’s an easy song. I wrote it in 10 minutes. It’s fantastic. I have never done something like this before.”
“I can’t wait to be at the concert. I’m extremely excited. I think it’s going to be deeply emotional and moving,” said Rosso, who established his Only the Brave Foundation after having met the Dalai Lama. “As an entrepreneur I feel that I have to do something for other people and this aspect is becoming more and more important for myself.”
Last May, Only the Brave Foundation and the Andrea Bocelli Foundation inaugurated a new middle school complex in Sarnano, a medieval village in Italy’s Marche region, which was hit by a 6.6-magnitude earthquake in August 2016. The project was financed by the two charity institutions, which organized several fundraising activities, including the “Andrea Bocelli Night” event hosted at Rome’s Colosseum in September and Diesel’s “Customized With Love” charity project.
Giving back is key also for Love, as she explained. “It keeps me balanced. I think giving back is the most important thing to show gratitude and it keeps me nice and not crazy,” she said, citing Buddhist chanting as another important pillar for her inner well-being.
While she is still evaluating the possibility of doing something with the Hole band, which she cofounded in 1989, Love is working on an autobiography.
“I signed with HarperCollins six years ago. I really didn’t want to do it. My manager was like, ‘You have to do a book. You have to reintroduce yourself to people. Do a book and then you can do a record.’ So I hired four writers but they didn’t work out. And then I found this fantastic ghost writer. He is very much into researching, he is meticulous, protective and respectful,” Love said. “But because I did a lot of drugs in the past — which is something nobody knows so please don’t tell anybody, it will ruin my reputation of American sweetheart — I forgot a lot of stuff. So he has been talking with a lot of my oldest friends,” she winked.
Describing the process of writing the book as a kind of Freudian therapy — “I’m on the couch, he is on the chair…and we talk” — Love revealed that the book will retrace a range of moments in her life marked by relevant personalities, including Kurt Cobain, Milos Forman and Edward Norton. “I’m not sure how to close it. But he [the ghost writer] has some ideas.”
And when the book is out in April 2019, Love will be able to finally focus on her passion: music. “They want a record,” she said, giving voice to her fans writing her via Instagram.