Courtney Love Sues For Control Of Nirvana's Master Recordings

She insists label band signed with no longer exists.

Courtney Love has struck again. The Hole singer has filed another lawsuit against Universal Music Group and remaining Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, this time for control of Nirvana's master recordings.

Her suit, filed Friday in Superior Court in Los Angeles, claims that Geffen Records is not the same label Nirvana signed to in 1991, due to its acquisition by Vivendi Universal, and that therefore the band's contract is void. Love also alleges that Universal cheated Nirvana out of $3.1 million in royalties.

"In or about January 1999, ... Geffen, the unique entity with whom Nirvana had originally contracted, literally ceased to exist," the suit states. "With [Universal], Geffen's contractual obligations were purportedly assigned to Interscope, which had no rock expertise or commitment."

Love's suit is also filed on behalf of Frances Bean Cobain, her daughter with late Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain. She and Frances are the principal beneficiaries of Cobain's estate.

"This is not a case against [Dave and Krist]," a spokesperson for Love said Monday. "They're only named for technical legal reasons because they didn't participate in the suit."

Warren Rheaume, attorney for Grohl and Novoselic, said the suit "is not going to change Dave and Krist’s objective to get Nirvana’s music in the hands of their fans." A spokesperson for Universal said the company had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

The suit also claims that Universal released and distributed a song by the German dance act Balloon that featured an unauthorized sample of Nirvana's breakthrough hit "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The cover of the "Monstersound" single featured a skinhead holding a shotgun.

Love claims the song "debased and devalued one of the most influential rock recordings in music history."

She was already embroiled in a legal battle with Universal over her own band Hole's contract, and in that suit she alleges that major labels force artists to sign unfair contracts.

In June she filed a lawsuit in Seattle to dissolve Nirvana LLC, the limited liability company she formed with Grohl and Novoselic in 1997. The business partnership controls such band assets as unreleased music and images and requires a unanimous vote on major decisions.

Both Nirvana suits downplay Grohl's and Novoselic's roles in the group, suggesting that Nirvana was more of a solo project than a band, and the June complaint effectively stalled the fall release of a proposed Nirvana box set commemorating the 10th anniversary of Nevermind. The set was to include several previously unreleased recordings, including the band's final completed track, "You Know You're Right" (see "Courtney Love Sues Grohl And Novoselic, Blocks Nirvana Rarity"). UMG/Universal has since given notice that Nirvana are in breach of contract for failing to deliver the box set by June 30.

"[Krist and Dave] formed an LLC when I was stoned, so I had to remove the LLC, which I'm in the process of doing and will succeed at," Love said recently. "This isn't about taking their money away or anything else, but the reason you have no [new] Nirvana material is we can't function."