Ask for It

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Ask for It
EP by Hole
Released September 8, 1995 (1995-09-08)
Recorded November 19, 1991 at Maida Vale Studios, London, February 11, 1992 at Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood, and March 1992 at Boyle residence, Hollywood
Genre Alternative rock, punk rock
Length 19:04
Label Caroline
Producer Mike Robinson
Hole chronology
Live Through This
(1994)
Ask For It
(1995)
The First Session
(1997)

Ask for It EP by alternative rock band Hole, released on September 8, 1995. It was the band's second and last release on Caroline Records, the first being their debut album Pretty on the Inside (1991). Although the EP was released after 1994's platinum-selling Live Through This, its contents were recorded by an earlier lineup of the band between 1991 and 1992. The EP is composed of three songs by Hole as well as several cover versions of songs by the Wipers, Beat Happening, The Velvet Underground, and The Germs.

The recordings on the EP come from various performances, including a November 19, 1991 John Peel session for the BBC, a March 1992 studio recording session for a Wipers tribute album, and a live performance at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood on February 11, 1992.

Recording history[edit]

Ask for It featured songs recorded from several different sources; only one song on the EP was a studio recording, while the rest were from live performances with John Peel and at the Whisky A Go Go.

November 19, 1991

Hole's first radio session, one of the famous John Peel Sessions, was recorded prior to their second UK tour with Daisy Chainsaw and Therapy?. The session took place at Studio 4 and was first broadcast on January 5, 1992.[1] Hole frontwoman Courtney Love had written John Peel two letters previously, thanking him for airing "Retard Girl" on his radio show, which was the reason for Hole's sturdy fanbase in England at the time.[2] During the session, live versions of "Doll Parts", "Violet", "Drown Soda" and "Forming/Hot Chocolate Boy" were recorded.[3]

February 11, 1992

The band's live performance at the Whisky a Go Go on February 11, 1992 was recorded by Carlos Nuñez. The show included covers of The Beatles' "Cry, Baby, Cry", and "Pale Blue Eyes" by The Velvet Underground. According to Courtney Love, the band had only played "Pale Blue Eyes" once prior at the Whisky A Go Go, at a show on December 19, 1991. Footage of this performance had been recorded by Love's friend Joe Cole, a road manager who attended the show with Henry Rollins. Cole was murdered in a robbery on the way home after the concert, and the footage was given to the band after his death.[4] During that performance, Love also stated that Kurt Cobain, whom she had then just began dating, walked into the club right as the band began performing the song, and described his entrance into the crowd as "the sea parting".[4] This show marked the final performances of drummer Caroline Rue and bassist Jill Emery, as they left the band after this concert.

March 1992

In 1992, Hole recorded a cover version of "Over the Edge" by Portland punk band the Wipers for a tribute album titled Fourteen Songs for Greg Sage and the Wipers (1993). Several other bands— many from Portland and the outlying area— recorded covers of Wipers songs, including Nirvana, Poison Idea, Calamity Jane, Dharma Bums, and M99.

Although Hole had been based in Los Angeles, Love had lived in Portland on and off between 1972 and 1985, and was part of the city's punk scene during the height of the Wipers' career.[5][6] The recording session for "Over the Edge" took place at producer and engineer Jimmy Boyle's residence in Hollywood in 1992. At the end of the song, Love added the lyrics, "You, go to Portland / You might take him with you / You, go to Portland".[7]

Packaging and artwork[edit]

The front cover of the EP features a woman's outstretched arms side-by-side over a tile floor with slash marks on her wrists, alluding to self mutilation. The cover concept was designed by Courtney Love.[8] The interior artwork features two black and white promotional shots of the band in 1991 among the liner notes.

Critical reception[edit]

The EP received a fairly positive reaction from critics. Robert Christgau gave the album a three-star honorable mention,[9] and Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B+ rating, noting that the band's rendition of "Pale Blue Eyes" was "eerily compelling". The magazine also stated that "the cover image of a pair of wrists, decorated with newly healed scars, screams 'desperate cry for help' louder than any song on here."[10]

The album received a 2.5 out of 5 stars from Allmusic,[11] and in 2004, The Rolling Stone Album Guide gave it three out of five stars.[12]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Over the Edge"   Greg Sage 2:47
2. "Pale Blue Eyes"   Lou Reed 3:56
3. "Drown Soda"   Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson, Jill Emery, Caroline Rue 3:51
4. "Doll Parts"   Love 2:21
5. "Violet"   Love, Erlandson 3:36
6. "Forming/Hot Chocolate Boy"   Bobby Pyn/Beat Happening 1:32
  • Though the track is listed as "Forming/Hot Chocolate Boy", "Hot Chocolate Boy" is actually performed first and merges in with "Forming."

Chart position[edit]

The EP has sold about 150,000 copies in the U.S. to date.

Year Chart Peak Position
1995 The Billboard 200 (U.S.) 172

Personnel[edit]

Hole
Technical personnel
Art personnel
  • Courtney Love – cover concept
  • Scott Jones – cover photography
  • Michael Lavine – photography
  • Tom Bejgrowicz – design
  • Peter Ciccone – design, layout
  • Vincent Li – typography

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donohoe, Martin. Hole Studio Chronology | v.2 | November 19, 1991, Maida Vale Studios, London, United Kingdom. http://holestudiochronology.eu.pn/november-19-1991.htm Retrieved on April 12, 2010.
  2. ^ Love, Courtney. Dirty Blonde, The Diaries Of Courtney Love. (Picador; Great Britain edition, 2006) ISBN 978-0-330-44546-7. pg.92 and 93
  3. ^ Thompson, Dave (1 November 2000). Alternative rock. Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 417. ISBN 978-0-87930-607-6. In fact, "Violet" and "Doll Parts"— two of three hits culled from Live Through This— had been around long before Love met Cobain. They were originally recorded for a BBC John Peel session in November 1991 during Hole's first UK tour. 
  4. ^ a b "Courtney Love Recollects Her Glory Years". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-09.  (Excision from Sunset Strip: The Movie documentary).
  5. ^ Brite, Poppy Z. (1997). Courtney Love: The Real Story. Simon & Schuster. 
  6. ^ "Courtney Love: Super Rock Interview". MTV. 1995. 
  7. ^ "Letras de canciones: Hole — Ask For It - Over the Edge". PubliSpain.com. Retrieved 2011-03-26. 
  8. ^ Ask For It liner notes: "Cover concept by Courtney Love". 1995. Caroline Records.
  9. ^ Robert Christgau: CG: Hole
  10. ^ Romero, Michele (20 October 1995). "Ask For It Review". Entertainment Weekly: 66–67. 
  11. ^ "Ask for It - Hole". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 381. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.