Not to mention Bush, Megadeth, and Public Enemy. Last week we reported that the Nirvana frontman has been licensed as a videogame character, complete with Daniel Johnston t-shirt. Frances Bean’s rent isn’t gonna pay itself, ya know? The game, Guitar Hero 5, was released yesterday and now we know that you can unlock Kurt in Career Mode and make him do wacky things like play guitar right-handed, scream yeah boyyy, and sing Gavin Rossdale lyrics. That last indignity is probably why the uploader of this highlight reel tagged it “spinning graves kurt cobain courtney love is fucking bitch”?

No word yet on what the other rock star avatars (Johnny Cash, Shirley Manson, Carlos Santana, Matt Bellamy) do, but if I spend $60 on this, the e-Man in Black better know “Oxford Comma.”

Comments (69)
  1. Ryan  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    And dry-humping of his corpse continues.

  2. bev  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Best poster Stereogum has ever done.

  3. Someday I hope we can all look back on this and appreciate how truly, truly tasteless it is.

  4. Correct. This is the kind of tastelessness that deserves a round of applause, and a few tears. It is weird seeing the ghost of Kurt Cobain sing the exact kind of songs he helped dethrone a.k.a hair metal.

  5. Cory  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    this is fucking pathetic, next thing you know they’re gonna have a playable Stephen Malkmus and he’ll be singing “Cherry Pie”.

  6. Opposite Day  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Gavin Rossdale and Bush were a huge influence on Kurt.

  7. derek  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    This actually kind of makes me sick to my stomach and very sad

  8. chill_winstaan  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 -1

    get over yourselves you hipster casualties. this is hilarious and you know it. I hope they do include your little indie heroes like Malkmus so that I can make them dance for me.

    We all know Cobain would never have let this fly while he was alive, and whoever it was in Cobain’s estate that allowed this is one greedy motherfucker for sure. I can’t say I respect the people that instigated this, but hey, i’d say the damage was done the moment Kurt blew his brains out. “poor taste” – cry me a river.

    • sandinista79  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

      wow, you’re pretty tough, huh? you make me feel like such a pussy for hating bullshit like this and enjoying good music.

  9. johnnyboy  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    He probably wouldn’t sign off on this.. but I can bet that Kurt would laugh his ass off seeing this happen

    • drab  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

      yeah i’m sure he’d laugh, considering it was this type of bullshit that made him put a gun to his head.

      • tommy  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

        drab, im nominating your post for the “funniest comeback on stereogum in 2009.” christ, i was taking a sip of some iced tea and im lucky it didnt end up all over my macbook. fucking hilarious.

        • danny  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

          Woul’dve been convincing if you didn’t make the fatal flaw of using the word “hilarious.”

          • tommy  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 +1

            i know that we’re all big indie hipsters here and sarcasm runs rampant, but i actually was being serious. that was a truly funny comment.

  10. Zachra  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Really, a dig on his daughter? Like she has any say in how her mother (mis)handles her father’s estate.

    • Mich  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

      Agreed. The comment about Frances is about the only thing that made me cringe about this news.

    • I didn’t intend it that way, was clumsily worded. Obvs it’s Courtney’s call how to license Nirvana to pay the bills. And that’s fine. Except when it’s in bad taste.

  11. Taco Jack  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    I don’t know. That six-year old on lead guitar is pretty good. But Dave Grohl has lost a lot of weight.

  12. There’s already a video of Johnny Cash playing drums on a Montley Crue song. Basically Activision did a poor job at actually representing the characters in return for hilariously goofy positions for them.

    Here’s the vid:

  13. Chris  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    *in best apathetic Brian voice*: Aww…

  14. Andrew  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    They all went air instrument around 3:34.

  15. Next they’ll have Kurt playing songs he specifically said he hates.

  16. Craig Storm  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Kurt never sounded so good. It’s the drummer that I find more of a cultural offense. That’s him now, right?

  17. I hate to say this but, Bon Jovi > Nirvana

    • Radio Zero  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

      Blanky, it pains me just as much to say…

      a huge festering pile of rodent dung > Blanky

  18. Eric  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Well, I gotta say it was nice hearing Kurt sing a Bowie song other than Man Who Sold The World.

  19. Agreed. Above all else, we must strive to preserve the dignified legacies of young fathers who abandon their children in acts of cowardice…

    Kurt made some good music. But he forever gave up his claim on any respect, reverence, or dignity when he pulled that trigger and left his baby girl without a father.

    Being forced to sing hair metal in a video game is far lass than this coward deserves.

    • Limeade  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

      I wonder if you would say the same thing if it were your family member or friend that killed themselves. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure you would be prepared to punch the lights out of anyone who would say such a thing about someone that loved who committed suicide. You don’t know why he killed himself or the demons he had, so don’t judge. And who made you God? Who are you to decide who gets respect and reverence based on how they died? It’s clear you don’t deserve any yourself based on your ignorance.

      • I love my brother dearly. But if he killed himself, leaving behind a fatherless 20-month old baby, with the note: “I haven’t felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music, along with really writing . . . for too many years now”, then I’d be the first person to call him a selfish asshole.

        Here’s how life works: When you don’t have children, you get to have all the demons and tragedy you like. When you have a baby, you become an adult, and you give up the luxury of such self-centered activity.

        • discordinoffice  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

          While morally true, reality rarely aligns with this kind of absolutism. Life does not work that way far more often than when it does, because situations are rarely as simplistic as to be motivated completely by selfishness. Kurt struggled with substance abuse, and chronic mental health issues (whether this is corroborated or not, it is likely true), that no doubt contributed to his brash decision. Having a child is not a panacea for these problems; it does not correct imbalanced brain chemistry, and it will not turn a fractured family into a Norman Rockwell painting.

          With that said suicide is not justified. His primary responsibility?to himself and to his family?was to seek professional help (for substance abuse and depression) and commit to treatment. It was clear (even to him) that he had problems that required this kind of action?which he ultimately failed at, but was never able to attempt again due to that pesky suicide thing. If you wish to fault him for something, fault him for his inability to seek and commit to treatment, and not for the culmination of his issues. It isn?t fair to condemn somebody who wasn?t truly there.

  20. Finally we get to see Kurt Cobain doing an impression of Gavin Rossdale’s Kurt Cobain impression.

  21. Greg  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Agreed about the greedy motherfucker at the Cobain estate. Unbelievable.

    Let’s get John Lennon doing the Humpty Dance in Guitar Hero 6.

  22. Pwlsn  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    I think beatles rock band is more shite than just an unlockable character.

  23. Mike The Teacher  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    C- to whomever edited this damn thing.

  24. skelter bones  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    I GUARANTEE you that if this had happened in Beatles Rock Band, there would be riots from all four corners of the globe. The people who make Rock Band would be receiving death threats by the truckload. And rightfully so. This is not about Kurt Cobain, it’s about the game maker’s complete and utter lack of respect for musicians in general, especially dead musicians. I just saw the video of Matt Bellamy, Carlos Santana and Kurt himself rocking out to Motley Crue, and I couldn’t help but think how the people who designed this got a kick out of making a mockery of those fellas.

  25. jamie  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    this is truly disturbing.

  26. You guys really aren’t looking at this through a game developer’s standpoint. The inclusion of Kurt was made for the purpose of him playing HIS OWN song. The ability for you to choose him for playing other songs, and act along to them, is only possible because it’s an option available for ALL characters in the game… real or fake, alive or dead. It wouldn’t make much sense to have Kurt only available for his own song and then be switched out for another character, so to not be offensive. Yes the imagery may be pretty offensive, but take the creative process of video game into consideration before you hate-comment this post to death.

  27. Anonymous  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

    So crass. Let the man rest in peace.

    “Self appointed judges judge, more than they have sold…”
    Scentless Apprentice, Kurt Cobain.

  28. Seymour Butts  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

    Hee Haw= cock

  29. Luke Griffiths  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

    This is fucking sick, oh god, just filth, and as well, I don’t think Kurt killed himself, but even if he did, who are you to judge? I know someone who killed them self, and let me tell you, I hate it when people disrespect it, it’s dark and disturbing, so fuck you, none of you knew him, I didn’t either, but I am not judging him.

  30. Re-hashing the suicide is of ZERO importance at this point. And the other former members of Nirvana tried REALLY HARD to stop all this shit from happening. They lost, in a court of law. That’s why Nirvana songs are now heard in commercials. That’s why everything that Kurt believed in is getting shit on by his ex. How about licensing Hole songs, Courtney? How about you singing shit songs and looking like a fool in one of the most popular video games of all time? What’s that? Nobody cares about Hole and your likeness would cause most people to return the game? Too fuckin’ bad. Fuck you to infinity infinite times Courtney Love. You suck. Get off your ass and do some work. You make Yoko look like an angel.

    • Salmon folk  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

      Damn straight. That bitch could never get off her ass to work anyway because she’s too far in a coke-induced stupor. I’m pretty sure if Kurt wasn’t doing drugs himself he’d be smarter than to hook up with her. They were the Sid and Nancy of the 90s. Their daughter Frances seems like a stable human being, I hope she remains that way.

  31. dropkick  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

    guitar hero is such a waste of time and makes people think they are great at playing instruments. why people think it’s cool to ruin not only the songs featured but to also insult the skill of playing instruments is something i will never understand. Now that there is already highly indulgent versions of the game for fans of Metallica and other groups looking to cash in, it’s not so surprising that insulting the musicians as much as possible is the next step. Only in America do people obsess over ways to destroy artistic legacies and find ways for pseudo musicians to feel cool as long as it makes someone money

    • solidunit  |   Posted on Sep 4th, 2009 0

      christ, chill the fuck out. these games are fun, disposable entertainment. learning how to play guitar is a long process that does not involve instant gratification or high scores; big difference

  32. Everybody's Fool  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

    You know what would make this more ironic? If Kurt were singing “Everybody’s Fool” by Evanescence. That song and video basically epitomizes what this GH fiasco is about. But I guess Kurt singing “Sweating Bullets” with two other Kurts is irony enough.

  33. You can make the FAKE Kurt sing any song you want. It is just an avatar to give the song (and point of the game ie a real band playing) more substance. The developers chose someone with a storied past and it so happens that who they chose is dead. Why is there not the same uproar over Johnny Cash? You can make Johnny sing any song in the game. They are both gone. It doesn’t matter what you make the FAKE, NONLIVING characters do. Its a game with a huge selling point: play as Kurt Cobain. That is just it…you PLAY as them and nothing more needs to be said about it.

    • First of all, my mouse gets wonky sometimes and it gave you a positive response on accident. Nyaa! lol Second, this wasn’t a story about Johnny Cash. If it was, I’m sure people would be pissed off about that, too. The point, however, is that Johnny might have approved of this kind of thing when he was alive. “Its a game with a huge selling point: play as Kurt Cobain” – would simply never have happened if Kurt was still alive. Notice that Dave and Krist do not have likenesses in the game looking like bufoons? Fake has nothing to do with it. I’m pretty sure that at least, like, 90% of the people playing video games realize they’re fake. lol

  34. Tw  |   Posted on Sep 4th, 2009 0

    His new band rocks! So diverse musically.

  35. Craig  |   Posted on Sep 5th, 2009 0


  36. ed  |   Posted on Sep 7th, 2009 0

    and that’s what you get for putting a bullet in your head going out like an coward. Kurt if you didn’t want to become something you hate, wow buddy, look at yourself now.

  37. Samantha  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    Um, no! It’s not his fault he is being exploited for money…

  38. JP  |   Posted on Sep 8th, 2009 0

    In Guitar Hero 4, you can have Ozzy Osbourne, Ted Nugent, Sting, and Travis Barker rock out to Rise Against, Michael Jackson’s Beat It, and La Bamba. (And if you download it, Low by Flo Rida) I don’t think this is any worse.

  39. I’ve dreamt weirder.

  40. josie  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

    I don’t really care much for Kurt Cobain. My favorite album from Nirvana is Bleach but other than that I don’t care. It’s just that screen shot and that video make me cringe. I don’t know why but it’s just creepy. The way he moves and the look in his eye just make not want to play. It’s like he’s possessed for something. And Frances is still a minor so she really doesn’t have a say in how his image is used.

  41. Sean  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

    They should include some Nirvana songs on the next Guitar Hero! No wait, they are too easy even for toy guitarists :P

  42. nirvana is sucked nyway that dude was a druggy

  43. I just wanted to let the author know that while seeing who had embedded my ‘Guitar Hero 5 Kurt Cobain ‘Love Gives Kurt Bad Name’ Impossible Mash’ – – video on YouTube, I clicked on the top link with 250 referrals and was subsequently taken to a Polish Blog, which I then translated with my handy Google English browser button, only to find that I was reading a reprint of this article. I’ll try and come back and post the translation when I get it out of my email. Also thought you’d like to see my 30-second ‘Guitar Hero 5 Kurt Cobain – Love Gives Kurt Bad Name’ Impossible Mash’ – – vid which as an article has written is: “causing stir in Cobain Enterprises LLC-Land”


  44. greg  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 0

    I can’t believe nobody has mentioned the fact the Kurt was a sellout. Don’t believe me, check the facts. He allowed Wal-Mart to alter the album art and track listing for In Utero. Instead of rolling in his grave, he’s eating this up.

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