Thursday, May 08, 2014

Glenn Danzig Sues Former Misfits Bandmate Jerry Only Over Merchandising

Glenn Danzig has had a long, contentious relationship with his ex-bandmates in the Misfits.

Danzig formed the band in 1977 and was with them until late-1983 when they disbanded. Glenn went on to form Samhain which eventually became Danzig, to much greater success than his original band but the Misfits legacy continued to grow.

The first legal conflict came in the late-80's when Danzig released two albums of previously unheard Misfits material on which he did some extensive overdubbing to avoid paying royalties to former band members. Jerry Only took Danzig to court in a case that lasted several years and was never settled but did lead to Only and his brother, Paul Caiafa (aka Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein) to seek songwriting credits, use of the band name and their Crimson Skull logo.

All of the parties reached a settlement in 1995 that gave Only and Doyle the rights but had led to a brand new lawsuit revolving around the merchandising of the name and the logo. That logo and the Misfits name was used in a merchandising deal with popular mall store Hot Topic and Danzig is claiming that he is due royalties from that deal.

Danzig claims that Only registered a number of trademarks around the Misfits' universe in 2000 without telling him, in effect cutting him out of all profits. He went on to say that the previous settlement said that the members would share the merchandising of the band.

Only is vehemently denying Danzig's allegation and has issued a statement through a representative with his side of the story (thank you to Re-Tox for the text of the statement):

In 1995, Misfits founding member Jerry Only secured the exclusive legal right to tour and record as the Misfits, and, in accordance with those legal rights, launched a licensing program through Cyclopian Music. At the same time, Glenn Anzalone—professionally known as Glenn Danzig (former co-founder and Misfits vocalist circa 1977 to 1983) —made clear that he wanted no public association with the Misfits or Cyclopian Music’s business endeavors.

Despite full knowledge of Cyclopian Music’s use of the Misfits’ name and logos for decades, Glenn Danzig curiously filed a lawsuit on April 3rd, 2014 seeking a portion of the proceeds from Cyclopian Music’s activities with which he has had no involvement whatsoever. Danzig’s lawsuit can only be described as a sour grapes tantrum based on outrageous allegations, the majority of which are completely false, while others are ill conceived and grossly misguided—and will be proven false in court. Reports of Glenn Danzig’s lawsuit and the falsehoods within it, however, have resulted in the dissemination of misinformation regarding the nature of Glenn Danzig’s baseless claims and Cyclopian Music’s rights.

For example, Jerry Only and Cyclopian are under no obligation, legal, contractual or otherwise, to obtain consent, or approvals of any kind, from former member Glenn Danzig in connection with their use of the Misfits name or logos. Apparently Danzig’s own product line doesn’t sell as well as he might like, but the fact of the matter remains that Jerry Only and Cyclopian Music’s Misfits licenses, business activity and merchandising endeavors are 100% lawful and consistent with their legal rights.

To be clear, Glenn Danzig has no legal right to, and no interest in, Cyclopian’s Misfits licenses or business ventures period. Danzig’s lawsuit is nothing more than a calculated attempt to unfairly and improperly enrich himself from revenue streams to which he is not entitled.

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