Krist Novoselic & Dave Grohl take the battle to Courtney over the release of an anniversary Nirvana boxed set, and the whole future of the band's back catalogue
Over the last few days, Legal papers filed at Seattle's Superior Court Of Washington have launched an action seeking to overturn an earlier court order allowing Courtney Love the widow of Kurt Cobain to block the release of a special edition box-set. Also, court papers read, at issue is "the management of the musical legacy of what is considered the most significant rock group of the 1990s"
As usual, press releases and legal papers are being thrown around like leaves, with many reports quoting the 'letter to fans' from ex-Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, so here's that letter in full.
An Open Letter to Nirvana Fans
From Krist Novoselic Dave Grohl
December 12, 2001
Dear Nirvana Fans,
We are writing with a sense of appreciation and thanks to all of you for your support and enthusiasm over the last decade. As many of you know, for this Christmas, we had planned to give our fans a wonderful gift -- a boxed set of the best of Nirvana’s music. Released to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Nevermind, the set was going to include “You Know You’re Right,” recorded in 1994 just before Kurt’s death. This project had been in the works for nearly five years. But this collection never came out. And there is only one reason: Courtney Love.
Today, our attorneys went into a Seattle court to stop Courtney from trying to take control of the legacy of Nirvana. We had no choice but to respond to her misguided campaign and lawsuits to appropriate the music of Nirvana.
We have been mostly silent for the last few years as she filed lawsuits, waged a continuous negative campaign in the media, and tried to rewrite history. It is now time to act and speak out. Here is some background.
When Kurt was alive, Nirvana was an equal partnership of the three of us. After Kurt’s death in 1994, the partnership continued and we fulfilled what we saw as our obligation to preserve the legacy of Nirvana’s music. We oversaw the releases of Live in New York and From the Muddy Banks of Wishkah, both of which were critical and commercial successes. We enhanced rather than exploited the memory and image of Nirvana.
In September, 1997, we decided to set down some rules by which we could make decisions together. We formed Nirvana L.L.C. (‘limited liability corporation’), with equal representation from Dave, Krist and the Cobain Estate, ultimately represented by Courtney. Our agreement is structured so that each of the members can voice his or her opinion on any matter. Courtney’s interest in the L.L.C. is that of representative of the Estate of Kurt Cobain. The fact is that Nirvana L.L.C. makes the decisions about the band, not Courtney nor any other individual. Our agreement has served all three parties well.
In 1998, we decided together to produce a great boxed set and include “You Know You’re Right.” All of the members of Nirvana, including Courtney, made and signed a deal with Geffen Records for its release. This February, Courtney filed the first of multiple lawsuits against her and Nirvana’s label (Geffen Records / Universal Music Group) over her personal recording contract for the group Hole.
As for the boxed set, everything was on track, we were very excited and were busy promoting the release to coincide with the tenth anniversary of Nevermind. Then, in May, Courtney filed a lawsuit to take over control of Nirvana, then went to court to block the release of the never before released track, “You Know You’re Right”. Courtney claims that her lawsuit is concerned with the proper management and revitalization of Kurt’s legacy. In truth, her actions are only about the revitalization of her career motivated solely by her blind self-interest. She couldn’t care less about Nirvana fans. She is using Nirvana’s music as a bargaining chip to increase leverage for her personal gain, without any regard for the Nirvana legacy. Our music is just a pawn in her endless legal battles and her obsessive need for publicity and attention.
Courtney talks and talks about her “valuable career.” As far as we are concerned, her career is her own affair and of no interest to us. Our concern is when she pastes herself into music she didn't write or perform. By her actions, the Nirvana legacy is becoming tangled up in her own ambitious agenda. We have a simple challenge for Courtney -- play your own music for people.
We miss our dear friend Kurt. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such a gifted artist. We hope that our actions, in regards to Nirvana, are befitting of the stature that so many people have granted us. We will always be proud of the music we made with Nirvana. We were looking forward to releasing unheard Nirvana material for our personal sense of closure. As the cycle of life moves forward, we are each living our own lives and moving on to new things. We only wanted to go on with the assurance of knowing that all of Nirvana¹s music is where it really belongs; in the hearts and minds of millions of people in the world.
We hope that the music of Nirvana will be immortal and, with fans like you, we are confident our hopes will be realized.
Krist Novoselic & Dave Grohl