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Grohl, Novoselic Didn't Approve Cobain's "Guitar Hero" Avatar

September 10, 2009 5:08 PM ET

By now you've seen the clip of a digitized Kurt Cobain rocking his way through Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" on Guitar Hero 5. It's an image so bizarre, it not only freaked out Rolling Stone, but sent Courtney Love into a Twitter rampage as she began responding to critics arguing she sold Kurt out with the GH5 avatar. In one colorful Tweet, Love essentially blames Dave Grohl for the playable Cobain, writing to someone who accosted her on Twitter, "you can assrape dave he was always a bad seed and is stillriding the shit while i take bullets if theres a hell hes going. im not."

In a statement issued this afternoon, Grohl and Novoselic say they are "dismayed and very disappointed in the way a facsimile of Kurt is used in the Guitar Hero game," adding, "The name and likeness of Kurt Cobain are the sole property of his estate — we have no control whatsoever in that area." The pair ask Activision to "re-lock" the Cobain character and state, "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." Their full statements are after the jump.

Look back at Cobain's remarkable career in photos, interviews, reviews and more from the RS archives.

In an statement released slightly earlier today, Grohl and Novoselic said, "Activision is responding to queries regarding the usage of Kurt Cobain's likeness in Guitar Hero 5 with the following statement 'Guitar Hero secured the necessary licensing rights from the Cobain estate in a written agreement signed by Courtney Love to use Kurt Cobain's likeness as a fully playable character in Guitar Hero 5.' Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, the two surviving members of Nirvana, have no say whatsoever in the usage of Kurt Cobain's likeness."

Look back at Cobain's rare photos, artwork and journal entries.

While the remaining Nirvana members needed to grant permission for GH5 to use "Lithium" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit," it appears Love acted alone in approving the avatar. However, Courtney herself wrote during her Twitter explosion, "i dragged my ass and never signed [off] on the avatar, let alone this fucking 'feature'."

Love's recent "comments" on Twitter seem to negate everything Activision's Tim Riley told RS when we talked to him about the Cobain avatar on GH5. "Courtney supplied us with photos and videos and knew exactly what she wanted Kurt to look like," Riley told RS. "She picked the wardrobe and hair style, which turned out to be the 'Teen Spirit' look, then we went back and forth over changes — some subtle, some not so subtle… She was actually great to work with. She got back with comments pretty quickly."

So it appears that, regardless of what Love has Twittered in the past 48 hours, she did sign off on the Cobain avatar and either 1) forgot she did, 2) is reacting defensively to the current backlash or 3) as Love insinuates, her ever-growing parade of lawyers and financial wizards signed off without her knowing. Either way, if you have two hours to kill, you might want to read the last two days of Courtney Love's Twitter for a bewildering, stream-of-conscious look at the Hole singer.

 

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

 

Related Stories:
Kurt Cobain's "Guitar Hero 5" Nightmare: Live Through This
Kurt Cobain Joins "Guitar Hero 5": How Nirvana Came to the Game

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