NO LOVE LOST BETWEEN NIRVANA AND COURTNEY

A superior court judge rules that Love has a "clear legal right" to withold her consent to a song written by her late husband Kurt Cobain shortly before his suicide...

A superior court judge in SEATTLE has ruled that COURTNEY LOVE has “a clear legal right” to withhold her consent to a song written by her late husband KURT COBAIN shortly before his suicide being included on a NIRVANA box set, which was originally slated for release this autumn to mark the tenth anniversary of the release of ‘NEVERMIND’.

As previously reported, Love and former Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic are embroiled in a legal wrangle over whether the song, written in January 1994, three months before Cobain committed suicide, can be included on the 45-trackcollection. Granting a temporary injunction to prevent the song being included, the judge said that if a resolution is not reached, the case will go to trial on December 31, 2002.

The song ‘On The Mountain’ was performed live by Nirvana once. Hole also performed the song, under the title ‘You’ve Got No Right’, during their ‘MTV Unplugged’ set. It is now referred to as ‘You Know You’re Right’.

Grohl and Novoselic’s attorney Warren Rheaume commented: “The fight is over control of Nirvana. Hopefully Krist, Dave and Courtney will be able to work something out.”

If they fail to reach an agreement, it will come to trial in Seattle in December 2002.

Love’s manager claimed that a release featuring the track could sell 15 million copies worldwide, whereas sales without it could be one-fifth of that amount.

As widely reported in the US, the song features the lyrics “I just don’t think it’s worth it/ I don’t really love her/ I don’t think I want her/ Ain’t gonna take to love again/ It’s the way your love hurts/ It’s the way you’re mad again”.

The two sides have agreed not to discuss the case in the media, but according to Sonicnet.com, the crux of the argument is that Love claims under copyright law that she has “exclusive ownership of the right of publication for all unpublished songs of Kurt Cobain”, and that she was not consulted in the compiling of the box set tracklisting.

Grohl and Novoselic, however, have claimed that she “maliciously” used the song to block the release.

Love’s lawsuit, also filed on behalf of her daughter with Cobain, Frances Bean, states: “The parties have fundamentally different concepts of how to manage the musical and artistic legacy of Kurt Cobain, resulting in a stalemate of decision making that threatens existing recordings, has stopped new releases from the Nirvana catalogue.” The lawsuit also claims that the stalemate prevented the creation of a movie about Kurt Cobain’s life.

Love is also attempting to have a company that was formed with Novoselic and Grohl in 1997 to manage the band’s assets, such as unreleased music and images, dissolved. No major decisions can be undertaken without a unanimous vote.

Sonicnet reports that Love’s lawsuit claims that Nirvana “was conceived, created and sustained by Kurt Cobain. He gave the band its name, wrote the songs, played lead guitar and was lead singer.”

Her complaint identifies Grohl as the group’s sixth drummer and downplays his and Novoselic’s roles in the group, stating: “The artistic and commercial output of Nirvana was the creation of Kurt Cobain; and the general public and audience for Nirvana make no distinction between Nirvana and Kurt Cobain.”

Grohl and Novoselic’s papers say they “helped create Nirvana‘s music and artistic vision.” In the documents, they describe Love as “a complete alien to [the band’s] music and success” who is trying to deny them “any commercial exploitation of the music they created.”

“The real point here is that Courtney was never a member of Nirvana,” Novoselic says in one document.

He also said that Love’s claims that the band’s break-up was “anticipated and there was little chance that Cobain, Grohl and Novoselic would ever perform together again” dishonour Nirvana and “dishonour the memory of her husband.”

In a poll run through an unofficial fan site, www.nirvanaclub.com, 76% of fans said that they were on the side of Grohl and Novoselic, while only six per cent said they were on Love’s side in the dispute.

The site also has an audio clip of the song. To listen, go to www.nirvanaclub.com.