Scraping Genius Off The Wheel


  • Gary Suarez

hey wait i got a new complaint

The Intarwebs have been buzzing and seething over the inclusion of Kurt Cobain as a playable character in Activision’s popular Guitar Hero video game, his digitized ghost forever doomed to perform Bon Jovi songs at the whim of teenage boys. Most rational people assumed that this perceived offense against the deceased grunge rocker was the fault of his widow Courtney Love, who would have had to sign off the creation of this virtual atrocity. When called out on this via Twitter, by British music journo and former Cobain family friend Everett True, the unflaggingly graceful Love took the usual high road and launched into an inscrutable six hour tweet seizure railing against, among other things, former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.

Anyone with a fucking brain in his skull (NO PUN INTENDED!) should immediately question the notion that Grohl has any control over Cobain’s likeness. Logically, that responsibility would rest with the executor of Cobain’s estate. But of course, we’re talkin’ about COURTNEY FUCKING LOVE here, so logic goes out the window from the start. Fortunately, Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic have formulated a much more coherent response to the growing outrage expressed by Nirvana’s sanctimonious fans, most of whom have grown up to be the type of corporate sellouts that Cobain so obviously disdained.

From their joint statement (emphasis added by me):

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.

Now it’s easy to read this quickly and reflexively assign all blame to Love, which is not entirely unfair. Yet assuredly, the statement suggests that the surviving members of Nirvana were at least aware of the Guitar Hero deal and in some capacity involved given the licensing of two of their songs for Cobain’s character to play. So now we need to ask ourselves the question: is it any less outrageous that Grohl and Novoselic participated in this evident cash-in if they only intended for the pixelated specter of their dead friend to play Nirvana songs?

Oh well, whatever. Nevermind. I’m still looking forward to that Bleach reissue.


[Gary Suarez killed your idols. He usually manages the consistently off-topic No Yoko No. Say, why don’t you follow him on Twitter?]

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