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."