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

Comments (82)
  1. or Courtney doesn’t remember.

  2. ev  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 -1

    is it just me or is courtney love like really hot?

  3. tommy  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 0


    well, courtney, you did approve it for GUITAR HERO 5. theyre two separate things, so what are you getting so fucking crazy about? this is just a simple misunderstanding, obviously.

  4. Activision should recall the game and replace the Kurt avatar with a Courtney one.

  5. I’m big on the Guitar Hero games, or Activision for that matter, but god I hope Courtney Love drops dead tomorrow.

  6. Candace  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 0

    I doubt very seriously that a big company with a big legal department like Activision would go ahead without approval. She either didn’t read or understand what she was signing, orrrr…she agreed to it and now doesn’t like that Kurt is yelling out “Yeaahhhh Boyyyyyy” singing Flavor Flav lyrics. She’ll run her mouth over anything that gets her attention, and wants to milk every cent she can out of anything to do with Kurt, so none of this is surprising.

  7. Anonymous  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 0

    I don’t put anything past anyone anymore, especially any type of entity with big legal departments.

  8. nick  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 +1

    Courtney’s just trying to save face among the music crowd because she knows how much everyone hates this thing. If there wasn’t an uproar she wouldn’t have said shit because she allowed this to happen and she knows it. This is like when Coolio allowed Weird Al to parody his song and then claimed that he didn’t to save his cred, since the gangster rap brooding thing was all the craze then. You may now minus me for mentioning something from a Behind the Music episode.

  9. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! It’s just music! Get the fuck over it! The people who made this game clearly are fans, otherwise they wouldn’t give a shit to include any part of Nirvana. Human beings make me sick. No one is THAT fucking important. Ants.

    • Grand  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 -1

      Agreed. What the fuck is the big deal here? Pretty unbelievable that anyone would be mad about this.

    • No one is saying that Kurt Cobain is super-important, just that it’s very disrespectful to his memory to use his image in a way that goes against almost everything he stood for. It’s great that Activision are fans and tried to include Nirvana somehow, but not so great that “Kurt Cobain” performs songs by Bon Jovi and Flava Flav. Maybe they should work on that.

      • youk  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 -1

        Everything he stood for?

        He signed to a major label… he played enormous festivals… he had a sense of humor… something tells me that this wouldn’t be on his top ten pet peeves list.

      • Grand  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 -1

        God, it’s a video game. When did everyone get so fucking serious? “He deserves better” than being in a video game? Absolutely nothing about this makes sense.

      • Maybe Activision should just make a Nirvana game that shows all their songs, especially the ones that were good and real that nobody seemed to listen to? Then maybe everybody could stop bitching? I don’t really think it’s that disrespectful though, I don’t think Kurt would have such a stick up his ass about it, it’s more disrespectful to put the man up on such a high pedistal. It’s MUSIC, IT’S A GAME! Chill out!

    • Lance  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 +1

      The people who made this game are fans of MONEY. Not necessarily Kurt.

      • Grand  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 -1

        Wait, so this is not ok because the people who made it just want money, but slapping his face all over t-shirts that are sold in mall chain stores all over the US is just fine? That is absurd.

        There is no outrage here.

        • Lance  |   Posted on Sep 14th, 2009 +1

          I was not implying that there was anything wrong with making money. That was not the point. The comment I replied to assumed that Activision is a fan of Kurt, which I disagree with. They made the game to make money, not honor Kurt Cobain.

  10. matt  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 +1

    dave and krist are the best

  11. joe smith  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 +1

    I hope one day my avatar is an unlockable character on some crazy game.

  12. Plastic surgery and heroin dont pay for themselves. The skank has to get the $ from somewhere. It’s not like anyone buys her records.

  13. wow  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 0

    good to know that the misogyny of “real music fans” is alive and well.

  14. Maybe she’ll blame this on Ryan Adams too.

  15. Michael  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 +1

    People are always going to call Courtney a bitch, even when she is trying to do the right thing, so I am not even going to bother arguing with anyone about that. What I will say is, the 2 major lawsuits Courtney has filed, first being the lawsuit against Universal for locking Hole into a contract and the second being the Nirvana box set debacle against Grohl and Novaselic, Courtney has WON. Also, Courtney has had far worse press about her handling of the Cobain Estate, people were just as angry at her for allowing Kurts diaries to be published and the whole Box Set thing pissed everyone off, so I doubt she is trying to avoid an “uproar”. It will be interesting to see how all of this unfolds regardless.

  16. al  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 0

    Thinking that Courtney Love is a talentless junkie douchebag doesn’t make someone a misogynist it makes them a reasonable thinking person.

  17. Gary  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 0

    Oh jeez. Who cares. I love Kurt but seriously, I don’t care whether Guitar Hero 5 has him mouthing Living On a Prayer, Swallowed, or Puff the freakin Dragon. It’ll never change the fact that he wrote Teen Spirit, In Bloom and Heart Shaped Box. Let’s all calm down and count to 10.

  18. I think she may need to start READING what she signs. I am sure she has no case!
    BUT,she is still a hottie either way!

  19. I don’t think that kurt’s likeness would be in the game without some kind of approval from his estate. I have to side with Activision on this one. It would take a lengthy amount of time to get everything needed to get Kurt in the game like motion capture, etc. All of this could not happen without the approval of the head of Cobain’s estate which is Courtney Love, unfortunately. She needs to get a grip on reality and realize that she did make the decision. Personally, I think she is just blowing smoke on a non-issue, although i sympathize with those that dislike the options of the Kurt avatar in the game.

  20. It’s sad when the only way music survives today is only through a stupid lame-ass video-game.

    • tomboy jersey  |   Posted on Sep 10th, 2009 0

      Yeah, well what are you gonna do? Nobody buys records anymore, everyone downloads songs (and mostly illegally), the music industry is at its lowest low, there once was a time where it was the weird, quirky yet innovative bands that got all the attention from record labels but not anymore. It’s just a sign o’ the times, buddy.

    • If it gets some younger kids to explore a lot of those artists, then it can’t be all bad.

  21. So, she honestly believed that she signed an agreement saying that someday she could descided whether or not she agreed with the agreement? In her defense, her Twitter posts show that she doesn’t have the ability to read and write the english language, so we should cut her some slack.

    Of course, this whole fiasco has given all party more than their fair share of advertisements, so free drinks all around behind closed doors when this is all settled in a few weeks and everyone is happy again.

  22. Cory  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    OMG because Nirvana is so hip and much too underground for Public Enemy…but wait, she DID sign that thing, and people act like Kurt Cobain is this late great poet, to be honest, Nirvana kind of sucks. I mean yeah they’re cool when you’re 13 or 14, but after that it all seems too similar and annoying(much like most of the grunge movement).

    • Jenn  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

      The reason I think people make such a big deal about Nirvana is not because their music was the best music ever made but because they made such a huge impact on the music scene and the world. Before Nirvana alternative music was nonexistant in popular culture, some people like the effect they made and enjoy having alternative music being more accessable while others don’t like their effect and considered it selling out. IMO their music still stands up to the music that is coming out currently. You may not like their music but you can’t deny the impact they had, and because of that impact and the fact that you are dealing with a person who can’t speak for himself people tend to get a little touchy when it comes to using their image and their body of work. I do think that if Kurt were around he wouldn’t be mad about his image being used this way (he did have a good sense of humor), but it’s not him making the decision so people have to be a little bit more careful.

      • Kasey B.  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

        Really? Before NIrvana, alternative music was nonexistent in popular culture, Jenn? Alternative and Popular are mutually exclusive – how can you be both? Nirvana popularized the grunge movement which pretty much ruined alternative music for years by associating with the classification. Nirvana itself was fine, but all that happened in their wake makes me wish I’d done enough drugs in the 90s to forget anything I ever heard on the radio. Furthermore, if Guitar Hero 5 can’t use the Kurt avatar, I’d be more than happy to let them use me. I might have a big zero in the musical pedigree dept., but I guarantee I can be bought. And pretty cheap. Mama’s got bills.

  23. I honestly think she’s doing this to boost sales of the game. Besides all the extra headlines, people will run out thinking it’s going to get recalled/ it may become somewhat unique. Which it won’t because Courtney remembers signing it off.

    On the one hand, it is a pretty low-rent thing to do in general sticking someone’s image and work on a video game when they’re not around to decide for themselves. But on the other- it’s a harmless MUSIC-based video game that will get younger kids into a great band. So he looks goofy singing Bon Jovi. I love Dave and Krist but its like- don’t you guys have better things to worry about?

  24. Anonymous  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    Looks more like Stephen Baldwin than K.Cobain

    • Mark  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

      IT DOES!!!

      Its a video game, whatever.

      I just hate how courtney love is the offical spokeswomen for kurt kobain. Had he been alive, you think they would even still be together?

      More than likely, shes probably just trying to milk some cash and get everybody all wound up to win her case.

  25. Tatto  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    This like plastering fidel castro on a starbucks coffee mug or lbj on vietnam t shirts

  26. stk  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    Kurt Cobain was also a marginal guitarist, maybe this could explain all the controversy?

    • Dave  |   Posted on Sep 12th, 2009 0

      Being an amazing guitar player doesn’t really mean shit, does it? There are a lot of great musicians sitting at Guitar Center right now playing Metallica solos but they can’t write a song anyone cares about.

  27. Diego  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    I actually think Courtney is more reliable than Activision, right?

  28. I understand Novoselic’s and Grohl’s standpoint. Then of course if Courtney Love is in charge of these things nothing good can come out of it. She’s always looking for attention one way or the other and money when she runs out of booze and drugs.

  29. monkeynuts  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    Kurt deserves better?
    Fuck right off.
    The moment he blew his brains out and handed them on piece of plasterboard to his junkie wife was the moment he lost any rights to any kind of dignity.
    And i bet he would say the same thing himself (maybe not in those words though).
    Its not like he ever gave two fucks about selling out.

  30. A lot of fuss over nothing if you ask me. For all their faults, Activision aren’t stupid, I’d be amazed if they didn’t make sure they were sorted on the legal front before putting Kurt in the game.

  31. after you unlock the Kurt avatar, how long until you can unlock the shotgun?

  32. Seymour Butts  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    Bob, Monkey nuts & Cory= Cocks

  33. Anonymous  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    When did Kurt Cobain get Lil Wayne teeth?

  34. nirvana182  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    happy something might be done about this it’s disgraceful

  35. i hate how Kurt Cobain is held up to such a high standard. “Oh no, not Kurt! We can’t tarnish his LEGACY!” We’ve been using Hendrix’s image on everything under the sun, Bob Dylan’s image is mashed up with fucking Will I.Am a douchebag to sell Pepsi to us…fuck Kurt Cobain in the big picture. we shouldn’t give this much of a shit.

    • horses  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

      Jimi Hendrix’s character in GH3 couldn’t be unlocked to play non-Hendrix songs and Bob Dylan is still alive, so he controls how his image is used. This isn’t just about Kurt Cobain, the reaction would’ve been the same if were any other dead rock star, perhaps even bigger depending on who it was. If this happened in Beatles Rock Band, the outrage would’ve been far, FAR worse, because they have a much bigger and dedicated fan base and therefore the backlash would’ve been bad enough to warrant a recall of the game. The problem is that Activision has virtually no respect for the dead.

  36. burndownradio  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 -1

    Guitar Hero is GAY. Its played by those taking the easy way out. How gay do you look when u strap on that otrocity? LAME.

  37. D.  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2009 0

    Why does it look like that’s a Tele neck on a Mustang? Am I missing something? I never saw him playing with a Tele neck.
    Can’t they do anything right?

  38. xeroj  |   Posted on Sep 12th, 2009 0

    The guitar issue is a little strange. I think that maybe a game called guitar hero should have the rights or try hard to get the rights to fender guitars. Fender should sue them for the likeness before courtney love. Maybe it is just a new tele-stang they are about to release.

  39. Rob S.  |   Posted on Sep 12th, 2009 0

    Alternative existed before Nirvana. Billboard had even created a the modern rock charts to track left of center bands that were getting airplay on college rock and alternative stations. I mean shit, Depeche Mode, The Cure, and R.E.M. were all scoring mainstream success by the late ’80s. The Dead Milkmen were on MTV. 120 Minutes was created so MTV didn’t have to infest their usually shitty playlist of pop stars and hair metal goofs with something resembling talent. If that’s not alternative music charting in the mainstream, I don’t know what is.

    What Nirvana did wasn’t to bring alternative music to the mainstream, it was already there. They just forced radio and MTV to open their doors in regular rotation to stuff that didn’t entirely revolve around dudes with bad perms singing in falsettos over “heavy” guitars. It’s a shame that Nirvana got labeled grunge because in their wake for the first few months it seemed like anything would get played on mainstream radio because people were clueless as to what kids wanted to hear so you’d get really weird stuff ranging from Mudhoney to Sonic Youth. The fucking Flaming Lips even scored a mainstream hit. Granted, it was over two years after Nirvana broke but that’s still kind of crazy to imagine and probably wouldn’t have happened if not in part because Nirvana made mainstream labels, radio, and television seriously fucking confused.

  40. Zach  |   Posted on Sep 12th, 2009 0

    Nirvana’s overrated. Grohl was the most talented one in the bunch. Not a fan of Foo Fighters, but Foo Fighters are much better than Nirvana ever was.

  41. chris price  |   Posted on Sep 12th, 2009 0

    honestly, who gives a s**t about this? do any of you really find it to be that earth shatteringly horrible that there’s a cartoon of a rock star (dead or alive) miming songs? seriously, there’s so many other things you could be upset about. like the fact that courtney love still gets mentioned in the press.

  42. Guitar Hero is just a game. It’s casual, the songs are not picked because of their historical importance or critical quality: their picked because their well known or just plain fun to play, this is so the game sell copies. This goes the same for the use of Mr.Cobain’s avatar, he is well-known and iconic, he is used in the same way that Hendrix and Cash are used, their famous and they help to emulate the feeling of being a rock star. We didn’t complain nearly as much when they were included, the only difference is that they don’t have Courtney making a big deal about it. Worse things have happened to a rock star’s image.

  43. someone  |   Posted on Sep 14th, 2009 0

    Everyone in the world should sue Activision for ever inventing Guitar Hero. It is mindless shit that gives kids the wrong idea that they have talent.

    • Wow, unnecessary anger is unnecessary, and to be fair, being able to coordinate rapid finger movements on both hands with some kind of rhythmic beat is talent of some sort I suppose. Also Activision didn’t invent Guitar Hero, that would be RedOctane and Harmonix, it’s called the internets people, it’s full of fun facts and open 24/7!

  44. Kurt Nobrain  |   Posted on Sep 14th, 2009 0

    It seems like they are covering their asses after the negative backlash…

  45. Anonymous  |   Posted on Sep 14th, 2009 0

    Wow, triple post…oh, and classy name there.. You’re even more of a douche than the people that flamed above.. lern2play n00b… Also, opinions are like assholes ppl..

  46. Like I said…

  47. timysho  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 0

    They should have an unlockable avatar with his head half blown off, or have him hold his stomach in severe stomach pain as he plays. lulz. OOOH or they can have him make that dumb face he makes as he groans and moans into the mic, like he did in real life. That pittiful depressive crap he called “music.”

    see how she likes taht one.

  48. Gery O'stum  |   Posted on Sep 15th, 2009 0

    Activision are a bunch of total whores. However stoned Courtney Love is, activision are just a bunch of whores. The most entertaining progeny of Guitar Hero was that Youtube video of the guy doing Rush’s XYY and singing along with it. And now, after years of watching MTV ignore acts like Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley until they die, people think that pop music is something substantial, and not just whore-bait, and are going to take Activision’s word over the objections of the rest of Nirvana and the proprietor of Kurdt’s estate? How about Kurdt Cobain’s Pro-Frontman? You all know it’s called Activision-Blizzard now, right?

  49. This video-game has and will always do more harm than good. What it really comes down to is basically this: guitar-hero is nothing but a quick way for big-suit douche-bags to bank on music guaranteed to sell. Young kids will never learn to play a real guitar because they’ll feel it’s not as fun as playing the video-game. Bands will therefore never be as good as those from the 20th century. We will be forced to listen to the same thing over and over and there won’t be another band like Beatles… or another Zeppelin and we will definitely not have another Hendrix. The guitar-hero generation will be nothing but a bunch of couch-potatoes too lazy to learn to play a real guitar.

    • Charles  |   Posted on Sep 16th, 2009 0

      Why is that such a bad thing? I’d rather kids play music on video games than try to start a band and emulate everything they hear on blogs. Indie rock, while i was a fan, is so dull and boring. Every new band sounds just like the last one. Music, today, is saturated with marginally talented D-bags that the music biz needs a break. Too much mediocrity. Besides, the guitar is boring.

  50. First of all, I’m in agreement with those siding with Krist and Dave. Kurt was a god to the outsiders and still means alot to the world. The very idea of his likeness playing music that he never had anything to do with, and probably dispised, makes mensick to my stomach. He did sign with a huge record company, but only because he wanted to let his music touch people. Even when he was at the height of his fame, he never sold his soul to the corporate-rock music scene. When he got rich, he still went to thrift stores and bought used clothes… He deserves better… And if the CEO’s at activision sill want to use his likeness, let’s compromise… Take his likeness out of this shit, and devote an entire game to Nirvana. Let the player play all the way through his music career; from Pen Cap Chew in highschool, to the very end of Nirvana in 1994.
    Also, Courtney Love probably didn’t have any idea what she was signing. She’s a mess!
    Activision, I hope you go bankrupt. Rockband is better.

    And Charles, let me ask you a question. Who do you think gets laid more; someone with the high-score on “through fire and flames”; or someone who can do the real thing on a guitar that has strings?

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