|NFC News 12/2001|
Another year has passed and what a crazy one it has been. Of course, the events of September 11 stand above anything else. But also in the Nirvana community has there been somewhat significant events this year. For the first time ever (more or less) since Kurt's passing in 1994, Krist and Dave spoke directly about Nirvana to their fans. Even Kurt's mother, Wendy O' Connor, released a statement and thereby made an extremely rare appearance to the press.
Even Courtney Love spoke vividly about Cobain and Nirvana, in the form of message board posts, interviews and so forth. All this was due to a string of lawsuits that Courtney launched earlier in the year, to gain control of Nirvana's legacy. At the same time the much-anticipated Nirvana boxed set, which everyone had expected would be released this year, was delayed and sentenced to an uncertain future. The year 2001 also saw the release of the controversial Kurt Cobain biography "Heavier Than Heaven", launched around the same time as the 10-year anniversary of Nevermind. An event that brought upon Nirvana-mania in the media (if only for a while), most notably in the form of a lengthy Rolling Stone article. This site also experienced a boost in visitors, and the main page is now up to having had almost 5 million of them. Earlier in the year, the company supporting the site financially went bankrupt, and forced us to switch host. An event that passed, however, with no significant problems - apart from the fact that the site is now spread over five servers or so. The message board is also more active than ever, with almost 5.000 registered users, and a monthly average of some 35.000 new messages. More than 100.000 of the most "recent" ones can currently be found online.
Thanks to everyone who visited and contributed to this website in 2001. I'm sure 2002 (the year where NFC will celebrate it's 5-year anniversary) will also be quite eventful - perhaps it will even see the release of the fabled Nirvana boxed set and/or the song "You Know You're Right" ? In any case, don't forget that you can find the archive of all the Nirvana news of 2001 near the bottom of this page. Happy New Year! Maja Rasmussen, I love you!
Today, VH-1 in Europe aired their "100 Greatest Videos" (as voted for by the US viewers)
special. Nirvana landed on spot #4 with the video for "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Before they
played the video, there were some interesting interview clips with Kurt and Dave, talking about
the video. There was also a short clip with it's director, Sam Bayer. The chart was topped by
Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" at #3, Madonna's "Like a Prayer" at #2 and finally the legendary
Michael Jackson video "Thriller" as #1.
In the HMV 2001 poll for 'Best Book', the winner was the Kurt Cobain biography 'Heavier Than Heaven'.
It beat books about artists such as Bono, Robbie Williams and Madonna. Thanks to Adam Sampson.
Here is a pleasant little Christmas newsbit. On December 22 at 9 PM, former Nirvana drummer Chad Channing's baby Lucy Elizabeth Channing was put into this world. At 7 lbs. and 10 oz., the baby is fine and healthy - just as the proud parents, Chad and Daisy. Congratulations Chad! Thanks to the happy grandparents for the news.
MTV put up an interesting story about Nirvana; "In all the legal wrangling by Kurt Cobain's widow
and his former bandmates, what seems to be at stake is the future of Nirvana's music and who gets to control
it. With a band of Nirvana's magnitude and continuing appeal, however, such litigation and maneuvering
isn't surprising. But what's really vexed us about these recent lawsuits are some of the gross distortions
that are being applied to Nirvana in terms of the band's overall musical legacy. To get a better handle on
the scope of Nirvana's impact, one needs only to look at the massive sales achieved by the group's six
albums, all of which have surpassed the 1 million mark.
The dispute between the Cobain family and Krist Novoselic/Dave Grohl just reached a
new level of sickness today. Apparently, the mother of Kurt Cobain (Wendy O'Connor)
released the following statement to the press earlier today.
Today's top stories:
Finally, Nirvana's surviving members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl have started to fight Courtney Love's crusade to control Nirvana's legacy; "Rock star Courtney Love carved out a new identity for herself this year as an artist-rights activist, ranting about greedy corporations that she claimed cheat bands out of royalties and try to steal their music. But that crusader image suffered a blow Wednesday when the remaining members of the grunge band Nirvana sued Love, accusing the widow of bandmate Kurt Cobain of trying to seize control of the trio's recordings for her own financial gain.
'We'd have a lot easier time accepting this Joan of Arc music industry crusade if it wasn't coming from somebody trying so hard to hold the two of us down,' said Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, who with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against Love in King County Superior Court in Seattle. The legal action is a response to a suit Love filed in May seeking to take charge of Nirvana's catalog and block the future release of any Nirvana recordings by Novoselic, Grohl or Vivendi Universal, the French music conglomerate she is battling to break her own recording contract. Love's suit puts the brakes on a greatest hits package originally scheduled to hit stores during the Christmas season. 'Dealing with Courtney is like getting stuck on a mean street where somebody is always trying to pull a cheap hustle on you. It's an indignity,' Novoselic said in an interview. 'We're just holding our noses through this whole thing.'
Love, the suit says, was not involved in, or in any way responsible for, the success of Nirvana. 'Frankly, we're sick of Courtney trying to paste herself into Nirvana's legacy,' Novoselic said. 'She doesn't have a clue how we worked together.' According to the suit, Cobain required Love to sign a prenuptial agreement before marrying her in 1992. Later that year, Love gave birth to Cobain's daughter, Frances-and inked her own recording deal with Geffen. Fronting a band called Hole, she soon became a rock star herself. The suit says Cobain's estate, including his interest in Nirvana, should have been distributed to his only child after his death. But Love, the suit says, launched legal action against the estate, successfully invalidated her prenuptial agreement and seized control over Cobain's estate from her child.
'There is only one reason that the box set never came out and her name is Courtney Love,' Novoselic said. 'It has nothing to do with the music. It's all about Courtney, the Hollywood mover and shaker, trying to exclude Dave and me to further her own future, to fuel her own career--at the expense of everything that Nirvana worked so hard to create.' Novoselic and Grohl say Love is using the band's legacy as a bargaining chip to increase leverage for her own personal gain. 'This is all about what benefits Courtney,' Novoselic said. 'She could care less about what happens to Nirvana or our fans.' " This interesting story was courtesy of Chuck Philips and the Los Angeles Times. Read the full story here.
To further explain the story above, Krist and Dave released the following statement to Nirvana's fans:
An Open Letter to Nirvana Fans
From Krist Novoselic and 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 didnšt 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 Nirvanašs 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
A press release with more info concerning the lawsuit was also published;
The Legacy of the Music of Nirvana at Stake in Washington Court Case
Musicians Grohl and Novoselic Answer Courtney Love's Claims in December 12 Filing
SEATTLE, Washington -- On December 12, 2001, Corr Cronin, LLP filed Defendants' Answer, Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims in response to Courtney Love Cobain v. David Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Nirvana L.L.C. (No. 01-2-13059-5SEA) filed on May 9, 2001. This answer was filed in the Superior Court of Washington for King County, Seattle, Washington before the Honorable Robert Alsdorf. Corr Cronin represents David Grohl and Krist Novoselic, surviving members of the music group Nirvana, and Nirvana, L.L.C., a Washington limited liability company formed in 1997 to continue to nourish the assets of the Nirvana legacy.
What is at issue is the management of the musical legacy of what is considered the most significant rock group of the 1990's. Another major issue is a boxed set of Nirvana music, which was set for release in the Fall, 2001. In Courtney Love's filing of May 9, she sought to terminate the Nirvana L.L.C.
In the Defendants' Answer, it is asserted that Nirvana L.L.C. has functioned effectively and professionally in releasing two critically acclaimed albums and in managing the reputation and assets of the band. The release of the boxed set was agreed upon by all members of the L.L.C. including Courtney Love. Through her actions, the Defendants Answer asserts that Love blocked the release of the boxed set thereby forcing the L.L.C. to breach its agreements with Geffen Records.
Defendants further assert iin their Answer that, "Faced with a waning recording and acting career, and in further violations of her obligations under the L.L.C. Agreement, Love is using her claims against the L.L.C. and the surviving Nirvana members to continue to further her own career goals, not to protect Cobain's legacy as she claims and not to fulfill her obligations as a member of the L.L.C."
First I'd like to post my own comments on the very interesting statement from Krist and Dave to Nirvana's fans. One of the more noticeable points is that they confirm that work on the box started as early as 1998 - roughly the same time that a section of this site dedicated to information about the box was opened. It also confirms that the boxed set was indeed scheduled to be released in conjunction with the 10-year anniversary of the Nevermind album, and would include "You Know You're Right". That Krist and Dave were "very busy promoting the release" is a gross exaggeration in my opinion. The fact is that neither have, to my knowledge, done a single interview solely on the subject. Only Dave has briefly commented on the set in various Foo Figthers interviews, mostly just stating that it would include "You Know You're Right". Otherwise, it is great to finally see Krist and Dave speak out against Courtney and take action to preserve Nirvana's music and aid the release of the long-awaited boxed set. We'll keep our fingers crossed and hope that they win their lawsuit.
In response to the above statement from Krist and Dave, the "Cobain Family" released the following on December 13:
Dear Kurt Cobain/Nirvana Fans.
What should have been a private business negotiation has become a very public lawsuit. There are many issues that were left unresolved after Kurt's death that we're finally trying to put in order.
Other parties have talked about finding "a personal sense of closure" with Nirvana's music.
That's exactly the opposite of what should happen. We want to celebrate Kurt's life and music and make sure Nirvana finds as large an audience as possible. We want future generations of music fans to give the band its rightful place alongside the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan.
Kurt's legacy should have impact for generations to come and we want the world to focus on his accomplishments and his gifts.
Kurt Cobain was Nirvana. He named the band, hired its members, played guitar, wrote the songs, fronted the band onstage and in interviews and took responsibility for the band's business decisions.
Kurt Cobain wrote almost all of Nirvana's music. Over 93% of the band's song copyrights are in his name.
There is a large trove of unreleased tapes that deserve a proper release, tapes that include several songs that neither Krist nor Dave have ever heard.
Krist and Dave made an enormous musical contribution to Nirvana's success and they have been exceptionally well paid for that contribution and will continue to earn royalties from the catalog's success.
Kurt Cobain refused to sign a partnership agreement with the other members of Nirvana when he was alive, so any claims that the band was a "partnership" are at best revisionist history.
The partnership agreement that exists now was forced upon Kurt's heirs. The family signed it after attorneys threatened them with a Washington law that supposedly would have required the family to turn over all interest in Nirvana to Krist and Dave. That assertion was untrue, but the threat was used to deprive the family of its rights to manage Kurt's legacy.
The "partnership" has proved to be unworkable and we're addressing the situation now to make sure the next Nirvana releases are of the quality the fans deserve and that future generations of Kurt's family have control of the family name.
In their press release, Krist and Dave have distorted the real issues with unwarranted and spurious personal attacks. Under United States law, Kurt's interests pass to his heirs who then have the responsibility for overseeing his interests.
Finally, we'd like to offer very sincere and heartfelt advice to everyone who's in a band: Take care of your business. Make sure you know what the contracts say and that your copyrights are in order. Remember that the lawyers and the managers and the accountants are your employees and that their job is to represent your interests.
We look forward to many years of great releases from Kurt and Nirvana. We wish Krist and Dave great success in their current careers and hope they will soon leave control of Kurt's legacy to his rightful heirs.
Thanks for your support and your patience.
The Family of Kurt Cobain
Additional news stories have been put up, concerning Krist and Dave's lawsuit. Here are some of them; NME, E! Online, Rolling Stone, Associated Press, JAM! Music, AllStar News, Chicago Tribune, LAUNCH.com and Reuters. Thanks to John Williams, Mathias and others for the links. In a poll on the JAM! website, they ask the following question; "Courtney Love and the surviving members of Nirvana, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, are suing each other over control of the influential grunge rock group. Who do you think should control the rights to Nirvana's material?" After 1403 votes, 88% had voted for Krist and Dave while only 2% voted for Courtney. If you would like to discuss the lawsuit, try this thread on the NFC Board.
In the wake of Courtney's actions and the lawsuit launched by Krist and Dave, several petitions have been put online. One of them was launched by Chris Hickman - an NFC Moderator - who argues that Courtney should "stop propping [her] never-was music and film career with the urn of a dead person." You may sign it here.
The 'NFC Member Awards' is now running. Click here for more info.
Apparently, this past weekend the Canadian MuchMusic have been airing a Grunge special, featuring
Nirvana clips. The special should also be aired next weekend - so keep an eye out for that. Thanks
to James for the news. Marko added this; "[It was] a whole show describing grunge.
It featured short clips and pictures of many bands like Nirvana, Mudhoney, Sonic Youth, Foo Fighters, Bush,
Silverchair, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins and Hole. There were many interviews with some of these bands and other
people that were involved in the grunge scene."
In the latest issue of the British NME there is an interview with Courtney Love
and some comments on the unreleased Nirvana song "You Know You're Right", as mentioned
here earlier. Here are some quotes from the printed article on the song;
"Courtney Love has given the NME world exclusive access to the unreleased Nirvana track 'You Know
You're Right'. After the release of 'In Utero', Kurt Cobain is said to have recorded 4 or 5 songs
in various locations, and some of these sessions didn't feature Grohl and Novoselic. He
definately recorded with Eric and Patty from Hole, as well as Pat Smear, an additional
guitarist in the final days of Nirvana. Cobain is reported to have told several people in
late 93/early 94 that he planned to make the next Nirvana record with other musicians.
The dispute seems to centre on control of Nirvana's legacy rather than an earlier claim
that Love wanted to block the song because of unflattering lyrics. Nirvana performed the
song live in 93 - an mp3 of which has been available for some time - and the lyrics are:
'I just don't think it's worth it/I don't really love her/I don't think I want her/Ain't
going to take to love again/It's the way your love hurts/It's the way you're made again.'
Having heard the studio version, NME can reveal that the lyrics are substantially different
and - as Love and Barber [Courtney's manager] claim- the song contains the line 'Things have
never been so swell/And I have never felt this well'. When she contacted NME in September,
Love wrote: 'There's so much of it [Cobain's material] and I want the public to hear it,
just not at the cost of the same asshole managers and lawyers making the same vast amout
of cash out of a person they all hated.' "
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