Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic yesterday (Dec. 12) filed a countersuit against Courtney Love, Billboard Bulletin reports. The case involves the release of material by Nirvana, the band that comprised Grohl, Novoselic, and Love’s late husband, Kurt Cobain. The new claim, filed in Superior Court of Washington for King County, is in response to an action Love filed in September against Grohl, Novoselic, and Universal Music Group (UMG), seeking a declaration that Nirvana’s contract with the company is void and that all rights pertaining to the band revert to her.
According to the countersuit, Grohl, Novoselic, Love, and Geffen Records agreed in 1996 to compile a boxed set of Nirvana recordings, timed for release around Christmas 2001, the 10-year anniversary of the band’s landmark major-label debut album “Nevermind.” However, earlier this year, Love obtained an injunction blocking the set, based on its inclusion of the previously unreleased Cobain-written song “You Know You’re Right.”
The countersuit says Love “[exploited] the cache surrounding Cobain’s death” by performing “You Know You’re Right” on MTV. “Despite her husband’s having completed a recording of the song with Novoselic and Grohl,” it says, “the only version of the song that Love has allowed the public to hear is her own.”
Love is embroiled in a separate suit against UMG over her recording contract. Grohl and Novoselic say she has “thwarted negotiations” with Geffen over the release of a Nirvana hits set because she is “attempting to force Geffen and UMG into modifying her personal recording agreement.” The action adds that “in her professional dealings, Love is irrational, mercurial, self-centered, unmanageable, inconsistent, and unpredictable.”
The action’s allegations include tortious interference with contract, related to the failure to deliver the boxed set; abuse of process; and trademark infringement, regarding rights to the nirvana.com domain name. The action seeks dismissal of Love’s complaint, court costs, and damages to be determined at trial.
Love’s attorney, Yale Lewis, denies Grohl and Novoselic’s “perception that they were full partners in Nirvana,” which he says “seems to be the thrust of their counterclaim.” Of the action’s remarks to Love’s competence, Lewis says, “She has a career that I am confident has been significantly more successful than that of either Mr. Grohl or Mr. Novoselic.” Lewis also denies the allegations that Love is thwarting talks with UMG, saying, “She is actively involved in attempting to put together an agreement with Universal that will, in her view, best protect and enhance the Cobain legacy.”
In an open letter to fans, Grohl and Novoselic reiterated that “there is only one reason” the boxed set has yet to be released: “Courtney Love. 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.”
Continuing, the artists claim “[Love’s] 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.”
Reflecting further on Nirvana’s legacy, the pair said, “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 Nirvana’s 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.”