Bon Jovi weighs in on Cobain-Guitar Hero flap

While Guitar Hero 5 allows players to make Kurt Cobain rock out to any song on the game's 85-track setlist, the favored juxtaposition in press coverage since the game's launch has been the notion of the late grunge legend pantomiming Bon Jovi's hair metal hit, "You Give Love a Bad Name." With...

While Guitar Hero 5 allows players to make Kurt Cobain rock out to any song on the game's 85-track setlist, the favored juxtaposition in press coverage since the game's launch has been the notion of the late grunge legend pantomiming Bon Jovi's hair metal hit, "You Give Love a Bad Name." With Cobain's widow Courtney Love and old Nirvana bandmates making their thoughts on the matter clear, it was finally time for Jon Bon Jovi himself to speak up.

Speaking with the BBC, Bon Jovi said he had been approached by Activision about appearing in the game but didn't fully understand what the publisher wanted to do.

"I had the paperwork; they wanted me to be on that game, and I just passed," Bon Jovi said. "But no one even broached the subject with me that I would be singing other people's stuff. I don't know how I would have reacted to that. I don't know that I would have wanted it either."

While Love has threatened legal action against the publisher via Twitter, the singer's former bandmates are making a different sort of appeal to Activision. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, in a news post on the official site of one of Grohl's current bands, The Foo Fighters, said they were "dismayed and disappointed" in the use of Cobain's likeness in the game. Rather than threaten a suit, the pair asked Activision to update the game and "re-lock" the Cobain character so it can't be used with non-Nirvana songs.

For Activision's part, the publisher released a statement shortly after Love's threats, simply saying it had "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."

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100 comments
Teddy-Shah
Teddy-Shah

GH: Bon Jovi is one of my dream GH titles. since we already have GH:Metallica, i'd say next should be GH:Megadeth. or GH: Guns N' Roses..i really hope activision can make my wishes come true. Next GH title i'm getting, GH:Van Halen

TheRightToPlay
TheRightToPlay

Oh, and to add to what Kilaan said, let's not forget Molly's Lips by the Vaselines on their first album, Bleach. And Love Buzz by Shocking Blue. Nirvana is great, and while I think it would be somewhat bad to lock Cobain and only let him play Nirvana songs, I almost never use him for other songs, and I never use him as a vocalist for non-Nirvana songs.

dcisek
dcisek

They should have him singing "Suicide Solution" from Ozzy and then have an animation of Courtney Love shooting him in the face with a shotgun. Then dollar bills can rain from the sky and Courtney could light her crack pipe with them while she rolls around on the floor puking up all the food she ate that day.

kilaan
kilaan

@pshyco325 um yeah, Nirvana never did any covers at all, especially on MTV Unplugged..... Man Who Sold the World originally done by David Bowie Oh Me by Meat Puppets Lake of Fire by Meat Puppets Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Leadbelly I mean, he did a David Bowie cover for gods sake.

charlesworth89
charlesworth89

i cant help but get this giddy feeling whenever anyone attacks activision.

Ryking
Ryking

Nirvana has done covers actually, so I'm not really sure what you're talking about psycho35

Izmoid420
Izmoid420

Kurt gets used once again! Even if it was some groups, (activision's) extremely poor attempt at pretending to give any tribute to our friend(s) from/in Nirvana. They fail. Not Kurt. And I will never play this game, Ever. Have a good day!

psycho325
psycho325

if only some you ppl actually knew how he felt about the music. if he was still alive he wouldnt have put any of his songs on any of the rock bands or guitar heros. he was about origanality and even when he first started out in a garage band he refused to do covers on any songs but i guess that since no one really cares about the music anymore. the big problem is that courtney love is making money from cobain on stuff that he didnt want to be done. like his journal that she published. is there anyone out there who actually understands what the i'm trying to say

angelbless
angelbless

I would have liked to see Bon Jovi as a character :(

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

And maybe the reason we don't hear protests about other artists because they weren't as famously anti-celebrity as Cobain. I dunno.

CowboyHiphop
CowboyHiphop

I don't believe that a playable Cobain character performing to other types of music is as bad as some are making it out to be. Haven't we seen his likeness intentionally mocked in other mediums over the years. Why so sensitive now? The game wasn't crafted belittle what he or his music stood for (some may say his suicide did that. Or maybe his estate selling his likeness in the first place). At any rate, who knows how Kurt would have really felt about it. Oh well, whatever...you know the rest. BTW, beautifully written Necronaux. I'd nominate that one for comment of the week.

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

Though I'd probably say the same thing if I were his friend and former bandmate, I don't like the idea of a patch that removes features of a game. Even though I hope the game stays unchanged, I think Grohl and Novoselic's statement shows that they're good friends and don't want to see him strung up like a ridiculous puppet. Still, I bet if Cobain were alive, he'd have a sense of humor about it. He did wear a dress on a magazine cover. I mean, he was capable of making fun of himself.

necronaux
necronaux

Oh, well then. Now that Jon Bon Jovi has spoken we can all rest easy. The one thing that was missing in this whole matter was Bon Jovi speaking out. Case settled.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

Why are people making such a big deal of this? Nobody complains about the Jesus Mii. Then again I can't use Hitler Mii online in Mario Kart for some reason, that sucks.

BoomStickJonny
BoomStickJonny

Seriously dont understand why people care so much. Its like saying that no one is allowed to cover a Nirvana song EVER! How retarded would that be?

fon1988
fon1988

Wtf is wrong with people? Who cares that Kurt Cobain is in the game? Just because he is dead doesn't mean he is some untouchable God that shouldn't be disturbed. Stop griping and enjoy his presence in the game.

BrokenAngels
BrokenAngels

I agree with you WinterSlodier, Bon Jovi is an awesome band! I hope they got a guitar hero game for themselves one day!

WinterSlodier
WinterSlodier

screw you guys bon jovi rocks and activison is a souless conglomorate that wnats to eat your children.

McDog3
McDog3

Meh, it's already bad enough to play Bon Jovi's music in the game, I wouldn't want him diminishing other bands reputation by having him as the singer!

Wallenstein_155
Wallenstein_155

I don't remember anyone getting upset when Ozzy or Sting were in the previous Guitar Hero, so why are people making a big deal with this?

marthinuss
marthinuss

Musicians should realise they are there for the sole purpose of entertaining us. Othet than that they have no rights and they mean nothing.

Chizaqui
Chizaqui

I've unlocked Cobain, and have used him since I unlocked him. Of the four of us that play, I am the drummer-and I was quite stoked that I could play as Cobain (being the only Nirvana fan of the group) while our lead singer is playing as Cash, our lead guitar-Cash, and our bass as Manson. Hell, even though I've played Rush with Cobain, it's not damaging to his image at all, seeing's how all the songs selected were all great songs-as he was a great artist. Activision should ignore the actions-counter sue if possible. This fiasco has become ridiculous, and ignorant to the fans out there. It's great just seeing him behind the drumset damnit!!!

TheCadaver
TheCadaver

i didn't think it'd be such a big deal it's an avatar, a playable character. no one seemed mad that xavier was practically a twin to Jimi Hendrix and he can sing any song but if anything, Activision should really clear the rights with the character avatar but again i don't think it should be that controversial

Linkman0714
Linkman0714

courtney love is a moron plain and simple.

HaVoC_DX
HaVoC_DX

AAHH!!! For gods sakes just live Kurt alone .... I don't know whats wrong with Courtney , but if she is really the one who gave the permission for keeping Kurt's likeness in GH 5 for keeping his fame alive... then i think what she did is wrong because Kurt's a Legend he lives for ever and so does Nirvana , they don't need to be in a Video Game for making people remember them.

bbyboy69us
bbyboy69us

Perhaps you all should get a life and mind your own business. Who cares what Activision did. It's just a f#$%#n video game. Nothing is real. Just play the damm game and chill. I really don't give a s#$% what artist comes out in the game. I only care about the songs that are eligible to play. Even a f#$%#n clown could be more entertaining.

JERMINITIS
JERMINITIS

I'm fine with Kurt being 'locked' from being used on other songs. But, and this is a biggie, Activision has got to give me Courtney Love as an avatar when I play Crack Hero, lol.

HardcoreBunni
HardcoreBunni

I think Dave and Krist's request should be respected, there is no way Kurt Cobain would ever want to be in a videogame in the first place, but since his retarded widow sold his resemblance to Activision they should at least restrict his character to the Nirvana songs as a show of respect to one of the most iconic rock stars of all time.

in2DarKneSs
in2DarKneSs

If it is true that Courtney Love signed the rights and recieved whatever she was promised therein, she has no claim. I do agree with Dave Grohl and others who just want Cobain for the Nirvana songs, he was their friend and they want to keep his honor intact.

DP1130
DP1130

Courtny Love has to hang on to something to stay in the fame light. She's absolutly NOTHING without cobain. I'm not suprised she acted this way. She's a freak of nature, no talent, fugly and this makes a great opitunity to get attention. Kinda like "Hey! I'm still here."

BattleSword1
BattleSword1

Courtney = fail. Kanye = fail. Britney = fail. Musicians are starting to piss me off.

majere613
majere613

@Harerazor: If you read what JBJ says, whatever paperwork he was given didn't tell him that the contract allowed Activision to do what they did. That doesn't necessarilty mean that what he had was the final contract, but I suspect it's buried deep in the small print. This isn't about musicians hating on the music-game genre, some do, some don't. It's also not about royalty payments. What this is about is quite simply whether Activision made it clear how they were going to use the image rights of the musicians in the game. It's looking increasingly like they were vague about it or the people who were supposed to translate the contract from legalese to plain English failed to do so. And once again to those people who think this whole thing is 'funny'- how would you feel if the image of your dead best friend or husband/wife were turned into a marionette for other people's amusement?

tonyf55
tonyf55

I agree with Harerazer, its her own fault for not reading the contract. Bon Jovi did.

Harerazer
Harerazer

Just because you're not a Cobain fan (neither am I but...) doesn't make this less relevant. If it were your fave band you'd agree. I juts feel IF Activision secured the rights (and paid whatever was asked to whoever) to use Kurt as a "fully playable character" then that's that. I mean, what about "fully playable character" can't you understand? And when will musicians finally get it that music games are a fully viable media form for promoting and distributing your music now. It's not just videogames anymore, this is business. Read your damn contract.

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

bon jovi is mom rock... lame..... plus Courtney love probably didn't read the contract because she had too much coke that day.

Phooey442
Phooey442

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

EzioVenezie
EzioVenezie

Courtney Love is just being a B!4TCH... I would be happy if I would be singing wildly in worlds most famous music game.

Xaviersx
Xaviersx

One, I believe Activision should patch the game to restrict Cobain to Nirvana titles, in a nod to fans and family, as a good PR move in this one crap storm case, but still keep to the ground that Courtney and/or her attorneys may have signed on the dotted line for vague or specific uses Kobain's likeness. As for any living artist, they can weigh in on whether they would or would not allow, they are alive to say so. And any artist in the music industry by now should always have a good lawyer fully read any contracts . . . the standard contract has been the reason so many music artists have been screwed over in per album sales for decades so why treat the gaming industry any lighter / more trusting. And I highly doubt as rumored elsewhere that Activision would fully lock Corbain. They wouldn't box him out of spite, the codes there and the effort done. Patch and save Activision.

gameweasl
gameweasl

I have always found it weird to see Ozzy singing Beat It. Artists should sing their songs only...

rpgisforme
rpgisforme

awww man, Jon Bon Jovi passed? I guess this means I'll never get my GH Bon Jovi.... I've been prayin for since the announcement of bandcentric games. I'm gonna go sulk now.

Pseudoart
Pseudoart

It's a game. When you are playing, you don't even have time to look at the character - you could swap it with a potato, and noone would notice for minutes. Seriously, noone would be debating this unless Courney Love were always looking for trouble.

DethSkematik
DethSkematik

What Bon Jovi says is true. You don't want your likeness playing ridiculous and unreal parts in other people's songs. It's not a created character where anything goes. It's a real, respected artist, and I think stuff like that should be approached differently. IMO, there's nothing really wrong with that, just very disrespectful. It doesn't necessarily warrant a lawsuit, just a real low blow from Activision to the fans.

MetalZombieII
MetalZombieII

Give me a break, he was a man not a god, hell he wasn't even a good roll model, he allowed himself to become a product, sold himself for money (if anyone thinks differently, you're a moron), he killed himself and then left the rights to his moron wife, who saw big fat dollar signs when Activision approached her. Activision purchased the rights to use his image and that's what they did, end of story.

ECWMANIAC
ECWMANIAC

I don't care if I can only use Cobaine for Nirvana songs, as long as he's still in the game then I'm happy. I'm hoping to get the game for Christmas.

GCwasthebestsys
GCwasthebestsys

they act like they care in public but really they just wanted the $bank$ from activision

GCwasthebestsys
GCwasthebestsys

Wow, if you don't understand that you should read contracts before you sign them you are, well, like bon jon bovi (or a brick). LOL at people treating kurt cobain like some sort of sacred religious icon. he realized he couldn't give more than a few albums and poof.

WTFitsPauL
WTFitsPauL

Update sounds cool other than a law-suit, Money hungry Courtney!

wiiplay1
wiiplay1

@Bad_Ass_Dr_Funk I would.