Where's The Beef?

Courtney, Dave, Krist, Activision Fight Over Guitar Hero’s Controversial Kurt Cartoon

By Amrit Singh / September 10, 2009

Who to believe, who to believe. As you know, Guitar Hero 5 features a playable Kurt Cobain avatar which you can unlock to have the Nirvana icon cover Bush, stunt like Flavor Flav, and roll over in his grave. Everybody’s coming down on Courtney Love for licensing this atrocity, so Courtney Love very calmly took to Twitter to call out Activision and threaten filing suit. In her words:

FOR THE RECORD I DID NOT APPROVE KURTS AVATAR FOR GUYITARHERO5. i think Kurt would despise this game alone let alone this avatar,” and “WE are going to sue the shit out of ACtivision we being the Trust the Estate the LLC the various LLCs Cobain Enterprises” (via P4K, because there is no way I was swimming through her twittershitter to find the relevant tweets)(oh and, a big sic on all of that).

So according to Courtney, Courtney is not so bad after all! According to Activision, though, she might need a new story. The company just sent a press release stating: “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.”

Courtney’s response, posted just minutes ago: “activision is fulllof shit they have a a contcrct called a deal memo that said upon approvale they could use an avatar i approved i .,” adding “and i never inteneded to aPPROVE this shit, they are doing a recall you can be sure o fthat. waita ew hours maybe tomorrow press and etc.

So either Activision will be recalling the game, or Courtney doesn’t understand the terms of the deal memo she signed. Tough call. More soon I’m sure.

UPDATE: Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl release a statement:

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