The mother of Kurt Cobain, the late singer of grunge rock group Nirvana, says she is “shocked and disgusted” by the two surviving band members’ attempts to oust his widow, Courtney Love, from a board controlling the band’s musical legacy.
Wendy Fradenburg Cobain O’Connor’s comments stem from a bitter court battle between her son’s widow, rocker and actress Courtney Love, and surviving Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, over a boxed set of the band’s greatest hits.
The set was planned for release in October – to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the band’s chart-topping “Nevermind” album – but in June Love in obtained an injunction in King County Superior Court in Seattle blocking its release.
Last week Novoselic and Grohl counter-sued Love in Seattle Superior Court, claiming Love was incapable of handling her obligations to their three-way partnership controlling the band’s music, which was formed after Cobain’s 1994 suicide.
Attorneys for Love, bassist Novoselic and drummer Grohl were not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.
O’Connor, who said she has been receiving financial support from Love, issued a lengthy statement Wednesday calling Novoselic and Grohl “liars and crooks” who were “despised” by her son in the years prior to his death.
She said Cobain told her before his death that he was worried Novoselic and Grohl were trying to rip him off financially and that they were conducting band business while he was seeking medical help for depression.
“It’s never been in my nature to take advantage of my son’s stunning success,” O’Connor said, “but I know that my son would want me to stand up for him and his family in this moment of what I can only describe as total betrayal.”
In their counter-suit, Novoselic and Grohl called Love, the lead singer of the band “Hole,” a greedy, volatile prima donna for trying to control the release of a previously unreleased song that had been included in the blocked boxed set.
The song, “You Know You’re Right,” recorded by Nirvana just months before Cobain’s death, is a potential hit, they claimed, which Love has performed publicly despite her refusal to allow the release of Nirvana’s original version.
Love may also be using the boxed set to bargain with Nirvana’s record company, Universal Music Group/Geffen, which she is also suing, the band members said. Universal Music is part of media giant Vivendi Universal.
While band members conceded that Cobain was a gifted songwriter, they said they had formed an equal partnership with him and worked on their music for long hours with little pay before hitting the big time.
But O’Connor said Novoselic and Grohl “never wrote a Nirvana song in their lives. For them to have (claimed) an equal partnership… is ridiculous beyond comprehension.”