What a lawsuit is the stuff of legend

BLACK FLAG: Tour and Lawsuit

BLACK FLAG are on a club tour in Europe these days. On 6.8. The band around SST label boss and band founder Greg Ginn played with Ron Reyes as singer in Oberhausen, and after the appearance at the Ruhrpott Rodeo Festival, my expectations were, to put it mildly, mixed. Shortly before leaving, Ox colleague Kalle Stille wrote to me about this quote, "unspeakable cover ensemble": "Yesterday's concert is definitely in the top 5 of the worst concerts I've ever seen. I've seen drunk German punk bands, the Black Flag covered better than this fair group. "

My expectations were low, so was the audience in the compressed air - maybe 150 people were willing to pay the 28 Euro box office for BLACK FLAG and their own supporting act, which ultimately only differed in the singer. We're talking about GOOD FOR YOU, with Mike Valley (skateboarding legend and singer from REVOLUTION MOTHER and MIKE V AND THE RATS) singing. Both bands played heavy, complex rock, as it once determined the SST program in the form of bands such as WÜRM and GONE. And everyone who knows the edgy late work knows that the BLACK FLAG catalog does not only contain punk rock classics like "Six pack and" TV party. Greg Ginn did what it took, Ron Reyes tried to create a good mood , couldn't do that in the small club any more than on the festival stage, and when Ginn smiled at the hits, you didn't really know whether he was happy or laughed at the audience. That was only allowed to let off steam in front of the barrier with security - a Special request from the band to hold stage divers, and probably the first time that something like this was seen in the compressed air. A few people had fun, the rest stood around uninvolved. Fun is different, here a legend has been dismantled, and another Nobody needs a European tour of this band, after all: vinyl records and BLACK FLAG T-shirts were available for cheap 10 euros - cheaper than the bootleg shirts that various mail-orderers in this country have bumped into for years, as if by a couple r scene insiders smugly remarked on that evening ...

Or maybe Greg Ginn was just not quite there, distracted by a lawsuit filed by two attorneys in Central California District Court on Aug. 2. Plaintiffs are SST Records and Greg Ginn, Defendants Henry Garfield alias Henry Rollins, Keith Morris, Gary McDaniel alias Chuck Dukowski, Dennis Paul Cadena alias Dez Cadena, John William Stevenson alias Bill Stevenson, Stephen Patrick O'Reilly alias Stephen Egerton - ergo Henry Rollins on the one hand and Keith Morris and his "BLACK FLAG cover band" FLAG with various ex-BLACK FLAG musicians.

At its core, the lawsuit is a case of trademark infringement, it concerns the use of the name BLACK FLAG or the rights to the legendary "four-bar logo". As can be seen from the lawsuit, Morris and Co. are accused of using the BLACK FLAG logo or a variant of the same in the FLAG context - allegedly they also sold BLACK FLAG T-shirts at FLAG shows. In addition, they are accused of deceiving the public by appearing as "fake" BLACK FLAGs - an accusation that is of course difficult to maintain, as there is probably not a single FLAG concert-goer who did not know what and who to expect . Further appearances are to be prohibited from Morris and Co.

However, things get spicy when it comes to trademark law - and this is where my colleague Rollins comes in. On September 12, 2012, Garfield / Rollins and Morris registered both the figurative mark (i.e. the four bars) and the word mark BLACK FLAG in the US trademark register. A strong piece and a clear provocation towards Greg Ginn and SST, who has undisputedly managed the legacy of BLACK FLAG since the end of the band in 1986. It would be news to me that one of his ex-bandmates would have complained in all the years up to the reunion or the founding of the FLAG that he was treated unfairly. When registering the trademark, Rollins and Morris stated that they had used the trademark continuously since 1978 - an important aspect of establishing the legality of the registration. The plaintiff (Ginn) denies this.

The question arises as to why Ginn had not already registered the BLACK FLAG trademark himself. Fact: many bands / companies fail to do this, and under legally unclear circumstances you can also use it to wake "sleeping dogs". Ginn, it is said, only applied for trademark registration in June 2013. The lawsuit is about claims for damages against Rollins and FLAG, about the prohibition of further appearances, and one can assume that in the following process after the DEAD KENNEDYS another band legend will be completely dismantled, regardless of how the individual acts Actors may now evaluate in detail. Neither party is innocent or innocent.

By the way, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiff is Evan S. Cohen, whose main job is Manifesto Records - the label on which the DEAD KENNEDYS records were released after the ex-members' trial against Jello Biafra and Alternative Tentacles.

The application can also be downloaded here as a PDF:

Joachim Hiller



    © by Ox-Fanzine - Issue # 89 April / May 2010 and Joachim Hiller


    © by Ox-Fanzine - Issue # 107 April / May 2013 and Joachim Hiller


    © by Ox-Fanzine - Issue # 48 September / October / November 2002 and Ox

  • OFF!

    © by Ox-Fanzine - Issue # 102 June / July 2012 and Joachim Hiller

If you click on "Accept all cookies", you give your consent for cookies to be saved on your device. This turns on essential functions and analyzes the use of our site in order to be able to offer you the best possible surfing and shopping experience in the future. Privacy / Cookie NoticeImprint