Nirvana members issue statement against Kurt Cobain’s Guitar Hero avatar

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Fans of Activision’s Guitar Hero game can master enough songs to unlock the likeness of Kurt Cobain to help them shred on songs that are way beneath Nirvana. Granted, Nirvana tunes weren’t exactly complex symphonies but do you think Cobain really wanted to be seen jamming on Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name?” Kurt’s sense of irony notwithstanding, me neither. And Krist Novaselic and Dave Grohl (Kurt’s bandmates in the seminal band) agree.

“This is a statement regarding Nirvana, Guitar Hero and the likeness of the late Kurt Cobain.

We want people to know that we are dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used in the Guitar Hero game. The name and likeness of Kurt Cobain are the sole property of his estate – we have no control whatsoever in that area.While we were aware of Kurt’s image being used with two Nirvana songs, we didn’t know players have the ability to unlock the character. This feature allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in “re-locking” Kurt’s character so that this won’t continue in the future.

It’s hard to watch an image of Kurt pantomiming other artists’ music alongside cartoon characters. Kurt Cobain wrote songs that hold a lot of meaning to people all over the world. We feel he deserves better.

Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl

[The Boston Herald]

I mentioned Bon Jovi specifically for a reason. The Widow Love’s lawyer has also released a statement declaring that the New Jersey rockers’ songs are way beneath even Kurt’s videogame likeness to have to play.

Love’s lawyer told us, “Activision is exploiting Kurt’s image in a manner anathema to the very essence of his music, spirit and essence.

I along with Ms. Cobain hope those who love Kurt’s music strongly voice their sentiments to Activision and demand his image not be debased by singing the songs of Bon Jovi.


Players on all gaming platforms for Guitar Hero 5 can unlock Kurt’s avatar when they reach the Nirvana songs. The other dismaying aspect of this for all Nirvana defenders against cheesiness is that once Cobain is unlocked, you can have him jumping around like an idiot while performing other people’s songs. Picture Kurt Cobain grrrl-powering around acting like Gwen Stefani singing “Just A Girl”.

Novoseloc and Grohl have been pretty strict on how Nirvana’s tunes are marketed and such, much to Cobain’s widow Courtney Love’s dismay. They have one thing in common, though. Disdain for Activision. Courtney’s official statement comes after she’s made plenty of batsh*t crazy tweets about the matter, including comparing playing the game with Kurt’s avatar to necrophilia and rape of her family. Love most recently tweeted that she met with the nerds over at Activision and was fairly blunt about how she felt about her dead husband’s likeness.

@sheruinsyou i think g hero is vile due to this “partner” he demanded i consider it i met with them i told them their avatar was a joke

im really grossed out that the people who forced me to do a “deal Memo:” withthese assholes at activision would lie well wait for my esq.

@sway5150 oh thank you and the rest of you, thois has really hurt and embarassed my teenager, he looks goofy and gross and he wasnt.


If you get a chance, subscribe to Courtney’s Tweets for a pretty interesting look at a woman on the edge. She types everything that is on her mind. Love apparently signed off on this, so the blame lies at her door. I feel for Frances Bean, though. Bad enough that her dad died in that manner and now he’s lame fodder for video games.

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29 Responses to “Nirvana members issue statement against Kurt Cobain’s Guitar Hero avatar”

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  1. GatsbyGal says:

    Guess what Dave Grohl? The person in charge on Kurt Cobain’s estate signed everything that was needed for Activision to make him a fully-fuctioning part of the game. Don’t like it? Go whine to Courtney Love about it because it’s her fault.

    I think it’s disgusting that only now, in light of the backlash, is Courtney Love trying to say that she had no part in this and that Cobain’s avatar looked goofy or whatever. ACTIVISION CONSULTED HER!

    Was she just so high that she doesn’t remember? POSSIBLE! Is she just that desperate for coke money that she will sign any piece of paper placed on front of her lolling, drooling head? PROBABLY! Does she have any legs to stand on in her lawsuit? LAUGHABLE!

  2. Megan says:

    yeah, a lot of ppl are gonna be pissed about this!

  3. Holly says:

    GatsbyGirl is right — Activision says not only did Courtney Love approve of the use of his likeness, she worked with the graphic designers to style his hair and pick his clothes.

  4. dude says:

    Courtney’s crack isnt going to pay for its self people! Hello!!

  5. Kimberly says:

    Yes the Grohl and the other guy including Courtney love had a hand in replicating Kurt for the video game but he was supposed to be a LOCKED character . That where activision fucked it up at .

  6. hatsumomo says:

    yeah, but Novoselic and Grohl always butted heads over what to do with the mucis lisense of Cobain. Much like the Beatles/Ono dispute. One hand, those are his bandmates and best friends. On the other hand, that is Cobain’s wife and legal executor of his property. So really who has more clout over what to sell-out? I do believe Love is more… do I say it?…liberal with marketing his image. Which his bandmates are still committed to, after all these years, protecting.

  7. GatsbyGal says:

    Kimberly – no, he wasn’t supposed to be a ‘locked’ character, or else Courtney would’ve signed something to that effect. She signed the piece of paper that said Cobain would be a fully-fuctioning part of the game. It’s not like everybody agreed Cobain would be locked and then Activision went behind Courtney’s back. She obviously does not remember or did not understand what she signed, and that is her fault.

  8. Salina says:

    It would be a disgrace to him and what he accomplished in the little time he was around, to have him prancing aroung in the game singing anything other than Nirvana.
    I am a guitar hero fan, and was excited to hear he was on NO. 5, but when I heard his avatar was avalible for songs other than his own, I got just as upset as Ms. Love.

    – There’s just some things you dont F*ck with, and Kurt’s image is one of them. Simple solution, Activison should just lock his avatar for his songs only.

  9. Salina says:

    @ GadsbyGal- I didn’t know you were at the meeting with love and Activision. According to all your comments, one assumes you were actually there.

    Please give us more deets, your holding out on us. *eye roll*

  10. Munkey says:

    I think it’s fairly safe to assume that Courtney Love would struggle to remember things she said/did/signed ten minutes ago, let alone recall when and how this deal was done. That isn’t a valid excuse, of course, but the woman is a goddamn mess, so nothing is too far fetched when it comes to her behavior.

  11. GatsbyGal says:

    Salina – are you equally just as upset over Johnny Cash’s avatar being used the same way in that game?

    …I will never understand the appeal of Kurt Cobain.

  12. darnit says:

    I’d also like to point out (without meaning any disrespect to the memory of Cobain)that it’s pretty arrogant of anyone (much more so some lawyer) to use words as “debase” when talking about other people’s music. So playing Bon Jovi/ Bush would be below Cobain? I’m pretty sure a hardcore/ punk/ metal avatar might feel the same about playing Nirvana songs.
    However, a living rockstar can always appeciate for himself whether he wants to be a game avatar.

  13. skilo says:

    I think it’s offensive that they are as snotty towards Bon Jovi’s music as they are maybe that wasn’t Curt’s style but a lot of people liked both groups, and they shouldn’t be so dismissive of other artists work.If Curt hadn’t been an addict who blew his brains out he’d be here to have control over how his likeness is used, but instead his addict widow sold him out.

  14. No Sensi says:

    actually as a pretty hardcore Nirvana fan, I have to admit I’d totally use the Kurt avatar. I could imagine Kurt might also take glee in seeing himself doing Bon Jovi songs, but I think he would be pissed he was in the whole sellout thing in the first place.

  15. gg says:

    Maybe I’m alone here, but I think it’s SICK to use anybody that is deceased in this way, and much, much sicker to use somebody who committed suicide in this way. Disgusting.

  16. Spoonman55 says:

    Courtney Love has tried to bastardize and flog the Nirvana legacy since Nirvana disbanded in 1995. She has taken over Kurt Cobain’s voting rights and has in a sense stopped Nirvana from releasing rare footage and other band related stuff over the years.
    I applaud Grohl and Novestic for sticking up for the legacy of their band mate and friend Kurt Cobain when his junkie mainly crazy ex-wife has no clue or class!

  17. Lita says:

    The point of the emotional aspect of this is not whether someone likes nirvana and bon jovi – the relevant argument is that kurt himself hated that style of music and derided those that make or like it, that he was completely depressed by the massive hoopla publicity of the “nirvana beast” and was about as anti commercialisation as they come. Furthermore, IMO, I think that a game that glorifies the wank aspect of throwing rock star moves without any desire to play an instrument or express an original musical thought, would have (rightly) earned his scorn.

    Add these things up and I really think kurt would have hated the whole GH concept, even before you add in that his avatar appears to look like it has downs syndrome and can play music he despised. Same for Johnny Cash (someone asked above)? I don’t know enough about him – I can imagine some musicians would love to be in GH; guess it’s down to the individual.

    Of course, Courtney legally owns the rights to his image and does what she damned well pleases. What I don’t get though is how they can use nirvana’s song recordings? Sure she’d own the publishing but not the performances I would have thought. I assume they haven’t rerecorded the songs – ?

  18. Vermithrax says:

    Flat out snobbery and sell-outery.

  19. blr says:

    i can’t really deal with this one it makes me sick and pissed and i am not going to say anything else because i could write a book on how i feel on this subject and of kurt himself

  20. Buddler says:

    I think its funny as hell that people are upset about Kurt singing someone else’s songs. Don’t get me wrong but we all the the truth behind who pulled the trigger, it was dearest LOVE herself. Kurt was good but you people are lost in making him sound like he could be put into a category of one of the greats.

  21. Michelle says:

    That ignorant, batshit-crazy waste of oxygen Courtney Love had the audacity to scream and whine and pitch a fit over this, claiming it was unauthorized and unfair use of Kurt’s image. She created such a shitstorm, and put on her heaviest victim complex (standard operating procedure for Courtney, of course.) and claimed that the company were trying to make money off of Kurt’s memory.

    Something she knows all about- she’s done just that for the last fifteen years now.

    Anyhow, the day after her all her inane tweets and rants, Activision provided a link to the contract which very clearly explained everything that Kurt’s likeness would and could be used for in the game- a contract that had been previously discussed and then authorized and signed by Love herself- who holds claim to Cobain’s estate and therefore has final say on all things related.

    It’s pretty low that she would say things like “Kurt would never sing Bon Jovi” yet she’s the one who gave them permission to make his likeness do just that. I try to have good karma and not wish bad things upon others, but with her I just can’t. She’s nothing more than a marginally-talented, gold digging starf*cker. Always has been, always will be.

  22. Some GUy says:

    He’s dead. Who cares.

    You know what will result from this? A bunch of kids who never listened to Nirvana will see Kurt, hear his music, and buy (download) his music and the circle of life/money making will continue.

  23. crazybitch says:

    She is always blaming others for shit she’s done, I really don’t know what goes on in her head. I don’t believe she wants to do wrong by him but i think the money is just too alluring for her to pass up.
    Kurt Cobain converse collection anyone?
    It’s NOT MY fault – Everyones tkging advantage of me, I didn’t do it! i would NEVER let this happen!!! ILL SUE!! YES I signed the contract bt ..*conveniently illegible rambling*.

    I just don’t even know. If it were me, he would have never been on GH in the first place, it would be a straight up NO.

  24. princess pea says:

    Everyone needs to relax and get the hell over it. We smear dead people’s faces all over things, regardless of how they might have felt about it.

    You think Che Guevara would’ve signed off on all those T-shirts for hipsters and teens who think they’re revolutionary?

  25. Coutrney should shut the hell up b/c she signed off on this. I’m sure Kurt Cobain is rolling over in his grave at the thought of a Kurt avatar playing Bon Jovi songs, but I think the members of Nirvana could have come up with a way to express that with out trashing Bon Jovi (& I’m not saying that just b/c I’m from Jersey). Is poor little Frances Bean going to take over as executrix when she comes of age?

  26. tonyboy says:

    If this is the worst you have to complain about, fan or not, simple solution, DON’T BUY OR PLAY THE GAME!!!If you’re a hardcore fan, don’t give Activision your money. Play Rockband if GH isn’t to your liking, Courtney had to choose, maybe badly, so do you.

  27. Carlos says:

    I think its cool but I it would be better if he was like the last character and that he could only sing his songs not bon frieking jovi. You know what could be cool if guitar hero makes a game just about them just featuring there songs.

  28. gg says:

    It’s a shame you have to learn to be adept at this game to advance, yet it teaches you absolutely zip on how to play a guitar.

    @ pirate cuervo – Kurt’s estate has already been probated, which means there is no need for an “executrix”, which is the name for somebody who is in charge of probating the will (which has been wrapped up for many years). In charge of the estate’s holdings is Love, but I doubt in her state the title is “executor/executrix”. I could be wrong but that’s how it is in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

  29. Pam says:

    He deserves so much better than this.