“This is MY party!” veteran singer, songwriter, and producer Linda Perry declared at West Hollywood’s No Name last night. “I have one important thing to tell you. Everything you’re eating tonight is vegan. I’m a vegan and tonight I’m throwing a party for…vegan…ism.” She continued with a twinkle in her eye, “If you support veganism, you will be helping fight the zombie apocalypse.” Everyone in the crowd, myself included, laughed, because, while the idea of the looming zombie apocalypse is terrifyingly poetic, we were all perfectly clear about the mission behind her party. And it had nothing to do with vegetables or zombies.
Last night I had the privilege of attending Linda Perry’s VIP Oscar campaign party. A privilege because I’m a 90s grunge-child, and, well…4 Non Blondes…yeah, you get it. Campaigning for her song “Hands of Love,” featuring Miley Cyrus, from the film Freeheld to gain an Oscar nomination (which it deserves!!), Perry left no stone unturned. Jam-packed into a small but tres-hip venue, every Hollywood royal and their dog had been invited: Toby McGuire, Perry’s wife, Sarah Gilbert, Jessica Simpson, Donald Faison. But Perry’s ultimate trump-card was her “show.” Accompanied by a five-piece rock band (my fiancé was playing keys!), after opening with Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown,” Perry progressively invited her “friends” onstage to take the mic. First was Juliette Lewis who manically rocked it out with “AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” Things were then taken up a notch when Courtney Love graced the stage—hazy, underwear baring, barefoot ‘n’ all—and sang Radiohead’s “Creep.” And then, for the die-hard rockers in the crowd, The Cult frontman, Ian Astbury, took the stage and sang two hits: David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” and “Break On Through” by The Doors.
Effortlessly switching gears between host and rockstar, Perry sang two other Zeppelin hits: “Immigrant Song” and “Rock and Roll.” And, just when the audience (and band) were ready for a breather, Perry invited female producer extraordinaire Stacy Sher to join her (Sher’s husband, Kerry Brown, was playing drums in the band!). While this moment may not have held the same weight to the musos in the crowd, for me, Sher was a highlight. With films such as Django Unchained, Erin Brockovich, Pulp Fiction, and Reality Bites to boast, Sher is literally one of my heroes. She also produced Freeheld and so appropriately promoted “Hands of Love”—since Perry had been too modest to do so.
Perry’s ultimate reveal, however, was when she invited pop sensation and her long-time “creative collaborator” Christina Aguilera to the stage. Inarguably the most relevant of the all artists present—albeit the least rock-theme-appropriate—Aguilera sang John Lennon’s “Mother,” in all her vocally aerobatic glory.
Perry’s choice to not play “Hands of Love,” her song-in-question, and instead entertain her party guests with blazing, badass rock, was well, fucking badass. Her thinking: If you want to hear the song, YouTube it. Six million others already have. And her rock choice? Well, in the face of a time in the music industry where rock has temporarily been outvoted by a clean-cut, digital fashion (even rock radio no longer plays actual rock), for Perry to dominate Hollywood’s (arguably) hottest party of 2016 thus far with it, was, I think, both a wink to her roots and a prediction of the genre’s imminent reprise.
While there was A LOT to feast my eyes and ears on last night, surprisingly, for me, it was Courtney Love who stuck like glue. I’ve never considered her a great musician or singer. And her relevancy today has indeed waned. However, as a poster girl of the 90s rrriot girl movement, the ever-present, blisteringly raw reminder of the Nirvana era, and the antithesis to the sanitized artists who grace our TVs and arenas today, Love’s dirty potency was gigantic. And Perry’s party, a raving success. May she win that nomination, fair and square.
Feature image courtesy of the wrap.com