STAY AWAY: ON KURT COBAIN’S GUITAR HERO APPEARANCE


9.1.2009

Brandon Boyer

9 Replies

There’s a good chance you’ve already seen this by now, as it’s been making the tear-stained rounds for the past couple days, and I’ve only held off in posting it because I still can’t quite put my finger on why it’s as depressing as it is (can you?).

I don’t have much personal emotional stock in Cobain’s death — as tragic as it was — and the co-opting of dead entertainers for advertising, promotional, and otherwise ‘estate-of’ toe-curling purposes has its own long and storied history.

I suppose it’s just that Cobain himself never got to reach/steadfastly rose above the point of self-parody that makes MJ and EP so ripe for posthumous caricature, and it’s probably got a lot to do with how clearly lovingly the ‘Unplugged’ sessions avatar was created straight down to the last thread of his Jeremiah the Innocent T-shirt (and it seems worth noting here that even Daniel Johnston’s own tortured struggles are now yours to purchase in vinyl toy and fanny-pack form, though at least Johnston has lived to give what stamp of approval he can).

Either way, this is an image-control warning shot for all future performers. Read the fine print before you consent.

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COMMENTS

  1. Leaving aside the masturbatory game of “Kurt wouldn’t have wanted this” (though I don’t think such a sentiment would be incorrect) for now.

    The real problem is that that avatar may look like Kurt Cobain but it moves and acts just like any other GH character. Seeing him waving his arms and dancing around, rather than swaying back and forth with his shoulders hunched, somehow makes this sort of digital zombie puppetry just that much creepier.


  2. I was dropping in to call Dead Kurt something like a scary muppet, but now I’m going to reiterate King above me: “digital zombie puppetry.” Exactly. That is so it.

    It’s like if some horrible, malevolent demon reanimated your great-grandmother and made her dance the Macarena. I mean, sort of.



  3. I don’t play guitar hero so I don’t know how it works…do the developers create these avatars, or can I create them in game? Can I have GG Allen run out on stage naked, sing a few lines of “You give love a bad name”, take a dump and beat up the audience?

    Because I would buy that game.




  4. I’m finding it a little odd that, some quarter-century-odd after Howard Chaykin created his vastly-underappreciated comic American Flagg! that featured a protagonist that had lost the rights to his digital likeness that was being used in porn, people are shocked, shocked that it’s happened to someone that they admired. Someday, your great-grandmother will dance the Macarena, unless you keep those old daguerreotypes locked up.


  5. Huh?
    I’ve not followed Guitar Hero myself, but does this response to a zombie turning up mean that they are NOT already doing Jim Morrison, Freddy Mercury, Jimi Hendrix and um, Beatles knock-offs?

    How dull. I thought playing as some of the late great rockers was part of the attraction of the game.


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