Courtney Love and Nirvana in Lawsuit

ByABC News
June 29, 2001, 10:35 AM

June 29 -- The legal battle between Courtney Love and the surviving members of Nirvana over their previously unreleased material is getting ugly, and much of the band's dirty laundry is finally being aired in court papers.

In a pair of recent rulings, a Washington state court has enjoined drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic from delivering any previously unreleased Nirvana recordings to Universal Music for use in a planned Nirvana boxed set.

Specifically, Love has succeeded in preventing the inclusion of a song called "You Know You're Right," which is reportedly the last track Kurt Cobain ever recorded with Nirvana. Under their current partnership, Love and the remaining members of the Seattle grunge band must all consent when distributing previously unreleased material from the band's collection.

But at the root of the argument is an effort by Love to dissolve her partnership with Grohl and Novoselic, which would give her sole control of the Nirvana legacy. They have a trial date of Dec. 21, 2002, to resolve the dispute.

Nirvana: Trio or One-Man Band?

The legal papers in the case reveal just how nasty the fight over Nirvana has become.

The complaint by Love and her and Cobain's only daughter, Frances Bean, depicts Nirvana as a one-man show, reducing Novoselic and Grohl to little more than sidemen. It claims that the band "could never be a partnership because it was the living manifestation of the creative vision, personal will and life force of a single unique individual."

It goes on to assert that when the band's managers once drafted an agreement that would have made the three band members equal partners, Cobain took one look at it and threw it in the trash. And while Novoselic is described as "a long-term friend and supporter of Kurt," Grohl is written off as nothing more than the band's sixth drummer. Love also insists that Cobain had decided to break up Nirvana several months before his death in 1994.

The papers further allege that more than three years after Cobain's death, Grohl and Novoselic took advantage of Love's grief and coerced her into signing their current partnership agreement which gives the three equal control of Nirvana business. Since that time, she says the pair have interfered with a Kurt Cobain movie, prevented new Nirvana releases, and even threatened to destroy Nirvana recordings.