Born in New York, Kristen Pfaff picked up bass at Boston College and ended up studying women’s studies at the University of Minnesota. After graduation she founded and toured with a local trio called Janitor Joe.
While playing a club gig in California, Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson asked if she wanted to play bass for Hole, and after a few days she accepted. Kristin Pfaff moved to Seattle to be close with the band and almost immediately joined the band for the recording of Live Through This, Hole’s first major label debut. The record went platinum and many feel Pfaff’s bass playing, piano, and backup vocals that helped elevate the overall sound. Moving to Seattle was both good and bad: Pfaff became successful, but developed a heroin habit too (which she kicked for a while in 1993).
Pfaff was deeply affected by Cobain‘s suicide, whom she was friendly with, and decided to quit Hole and move back to Minneapolis where she had a new band lined up called Palm. Courtney Love supposedly didn’t take the news lightly. Kristin Pfaff was found dead in the bathtub from an apparent overdose the morning she was supposed to leave. Over the course of two months Love lost a husband and her band’s bass player. Conspiracy theories about Love’s supposed role in the deaths abound.