Melissa Auf der Maur (pronounced /ˌɔːf dər ˈmaʊər/; born March 17, 1972) is a Canadian rock musician from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Her career has included 5 years as bassist with the band Hole and she later toured with The Smashing Pumpkins for their 2000 tour. Her second solo album, Out of Our Minds, was released on March 30, 2010. She is also a published photographer.
Auf der Maur was born to journalist and politician Nick Auf der Maur and literary translator Linda Gaboriau. Because Nick Auf der Maur was Canadian and Linda Gaboriau was born in the U.S., Melissa holds dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship. Contrary to recent comments claiming Auf der Maur's surname refers to a Swiss river, it translates to 'On the Wall'. This is because 'Maur' was derived from the German word for 'wall', 'Mauer', and it is not a direct translation. Melissa is adamant about 'On the Wall', as her grandmother, Theresia Schaelin-Auf der Maur, was "always pounding my heritage down my throat", and was very proud of the name, which is on the brink of extinction.
Her native language is English, though she also speaks French. She spent some of her early childhood in Kenya with her mother, but after several bouts with malaria returned to Montreal, where she attended F.A.C.E. School, a performing arts high school, and then Concordia University as a photography major.
Auf der Maur became friends with Billy Corgan after apologizing for a friend who had thrown a beer bottle at the band during one of The Smashing Pumpkins' first Canadian concert dates at Montreal nightclub Les Foufounes Électriques (which translates to "Electric Buttocks"). Her band, Tinker, opened for The Smashing Pumpkins in Montreal in 1993. In 1994, when Hole was in need of a new bassist after the death of Kristen Pfaff, Corgan recommended Auf der Maur to Courtney Love. Auf der Maur at first turned the job down, but later she reconsidered. Auf der Maur joined Hole two weeks before the Reading Festival and recorded the album Celebrity Skin with the band, ultimately leaving on October 20, 1999, after her 5-year contract with the band had come to an end.
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