Egan handed me off to Johnson, who would show me to the dressing room where Love would do the interview. As we walked to the back of the bar, Johnson whispered, "How did you get involved in all this?" I explained that I asked Love's publicist if I could do an interview and he put me in touch with her manager. "So where does that one come in?" he asked, gesturing to Egan.
Me: "She said she's Courtney's friend and she's finding her and Rob."
Johnson: "Well, she's crazy. Stay away from her." Then he pointed his finger to his head like a gun.
First, Johnson opened the door to the liquor closet. "Well, there's this," he said. I asked if this was where Love was going to get ready. "Of course not!" he laughed. The liquor closet was quieter than the dressing room. If I wanted to interview Love in a cave of Jack Daniels and Grey Goose, that was ostensibly a possibility.
The dressing room was next to the stage. A tiny, dingy space, it had a leather loveseat and two smaller armchairs. A moving blanket was duct taped over the single window in place of a curtain. But the room's pièce de résistance was the bodegalike stock of food and vegetables laid out over two folding tables and, because those didn't have enough room, the floor. Sundries included Thomas' bagels, Cool Ranch Doritos, Kettle Cooked Lays, Arnold's sliced bread (two varieties), Agave sweetener, a tower of individually wrapped candies, a juicer, and a cooler of kale.
But there was no coffee, and that was about to be a major issue.
* * *
When I first saw Love, she was on stage, at the mic her guitarist had so heartily been screaming into. Her voice, softer than his, draped the bar with a chilling beauty. She wore a long green cardigan, torn jeans and a handful of necklaces. Her fingers played host to an assortment of crystal-studded flower rings. Her hair was uncombed.
After one song, her manager, a slim, stylish man in leather pants and studded black boots, ushered her back to her dressing room for the interview. She wasn't happy.
"There's someone in my eyeline that's really f**king me," she said to Hoffman. "It creeps me out, alright?" Hoffman tried to calm her down but Love was adamant that the creepy people not watch her soundcheck: "Tell them I have a terrible case of stage fright. The worst. I hate people watching soundchecks." She turned to me: "I don't actually have stage fright." No one on earth thought she did.
There was a bigger problem. "I need some coffee really, really badly," Love wailed. After going to rehab for a "very gnarly drug problem" in the early '00s, Love has insisted she's been sober since 2007, and her substance of choice is now caffeine. "What the f**k with the coffee? This is a nightmare. Everywhere I go in the world, and I don't even drink, there's no coffee, please. …"
Hoffman: "Courtney, we just walked in, do the interview, I'll get you your coffee, please --"
Love: "You'll get me the coffee right now."
Hoffman left, shutting the door behind him. Love slumped onto the couch. I had been told to ask Love about her book. Her appearance at Sundance didn't make a lot of sense -- she wasn't promoting a movie or looking to buy one. But, according to her publicist, her book was her latest project. What was it about?
"Well, what do you think it's about?" she shot back.