Category Archives: Music

misfits

Glenn Danzig Bitch Slapped by Judge: No Hot Topic Money for You!

The Hot Topic-Misfits war is finally over, and (SURPRISE) life just handed another bitter lemon to Glenn Danzig.

The former Misfits singer won’t be getting a single cent from that enormous Hot Topic merchandising deal — despite suing his former bandmate and arch nemesis Jerry Only for a chunk of the empire – because, as justice would have it, a judge has officially tossed Danzig’s lawsuit out of court.

(Check out Noisey’s full article on all the pathetic Misfits memorabilia currently being hawked by HT.)

danzig

RE-TOX broke the Glenn Danzig lawsuit story a couple months ago. Danzig sued Only in April, but on August 6th, a U.S. district judge in California dismissed Danzig’s lawsuit on grounds the suit was an embarrassing failure.

The primary failure, according to the court order, was that Danzig failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted (i.e. his arguments just weren’t up to snuff). Danzig had argued that Only violated the terms of a 1994 contract, in which Danzig, Jerry, and others agreed to share ownership of the Misfits trademarks (including the band’s iconic “Fiend Skull” logo) for merchandising purposes.

Danzig claimed Only also violated the agreement by threatening to withhold licensing rights from merchandisers if they did business with Danzig at all.

As a result, Danzig said Only owed him a fat check. Yadda yadda.

Unfortunately, according to the judge, Danzig failed to allege which terms of the 1994 agreement Only actually breached. In the ruling, the judge notes that the merchandise provision of the 1994 agreement grants each co-owner (Danzig, Only, whoever) the “non-exclusive right to conduct merchandising and to exploit other rights relating to the use and exploitation of the name Misfits.” AND that each will retain 100% of what each earns individually from exploiting these merchandising rights.

The best part: the agreement even states that neither Only nor Danzig has any obligation to pay the other person in the event one makes more money than the other.

Translation: Danzig doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

As for Danzig’s allegation that Only employed unsavory business tactics – threatening retailers to boycott Danzig — the judge was unsympathetic.

Danzig could still amend his complaint — and, who knows, he might — but for now it’s game, set, match.

jerryonly_large

Misfits’ Jerry Only Demands Dismissal of Danzig Lawsuit: He’ s Out of Touch with Reality

The merch war continues! Misfits bassist Jerry Only is taking Glenn Danzig to task — after the former Misfits singer sued Only for allegedly cutting him out of a lucrative merchandising deal with Hot Topic — claiming the Danzig lawsuit isn’t just too little too late, it has ZERO BASIS IN FACT.

Jerry (along with his company Cyclopian Music) filed the new legal documents in California district court last week, asking a judge to dismiss the Danzig lawsuit in its entirety with prejudice. In the process, Jerry suggests what many people have suspected for years: Danzig has utterly lost touch with reality.

RE-TOX broke the Danzig lawsuit story last month. Danzig sued Jerry Only for breach of contract, claiming Only registered trademarks for everything Misfits-related in 2000 behind Danzig’s back, misappropriating exclusive ownership over the marks for himself, including the band’s iconic “Fiend Skull” logo.

danzig

By doing so, Danzig — who describes himself in the lawsuit as the “creative heart of the Misfits” who first thought of using skeletal figures and motifs in the band’s performances – claims Jerry violated a 1994 contract, in which Danzig, Jerry, and others agreed to share ownership of the Misfits trademarks for merchandising purposes.

Despite the 1994 agreement, Danzig claims Only secretly entered into deals with various merchandisers, including Hot Topic, after registering the Misfits trademarks, and cut Danzig out of any potential profits in the process. Danzig says Jerry even threatened to withhold licensing rights from merchandisers if they did business with Danzig at all.

misfits

After Danzig’s lawsuit was filed, Only’s attorney issued a statement, claiming, “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.”

Now Jerry Only and his acrobatic lawyer have taken it one step further, filing legal documents that take issue with Danzig’s allegations for several reasons, namely: 1) Danzig waited too long to file his lawsuit, 2) Danzig never actually attempted to use the Misfits trademarks, and 3) Danzig pretty much made up all his arguments without providing anything even remotely resembling evidence.

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Only claims Danzig offers zero facts to back up his ludicrous claims, such as the claim that he created the “Fiend Skull” logo. Moreover, Only says Danzig’s arguments are so vague and immaterial, they’re nearly impossible to respond to. Only uses the example of Danzig’s alleged deal with Hot Topic, which Danzig has accused Only of sabotaging. Only says Danzig never shows proof he even had a deal with Hot Topic in the works, or how Only played a role in it falling to pieces.

For Only’s part, he cites a 6-year statute of limitations in New York which alone would bar Danzig’s breach of contract claim (Cyclopian applied for Misfits trademarks in 2000 and 2004, meaning Danzig filed his lawsuit at least 4 years too late). Secondly, Jerry argues trademark ownership takes effect only when someone actually uses the trademarks, which Jerry plainly did and Danzig did not.

Those are three main arguments. Only makes a bunch more, but truthfully, they’re so rooted in legal technicalities, it’s hard to tell who’s actually screwing whom.

Nevertheless, both Only and Danzig have resorted to such legal pettiness that it pretty much doesn’t matter anymore. It’s hard to pick sides when they’re both assholes. Also, we can probably all agree that Hot Topic Misfits merch should be set aflame on principle alone.

No matter what, here’s hoping Danzig files a manic sternly-worded response. Because this is getting too good.

Juggalos Gang

Juggalos Gang Status Federal Mistake? FBI Admits It Never Investigated ICP Fan Base Before Placing It on Gang List

The FBI has just admitted it never formally investigated Insane Clown Posse‘s fan base — known as the Juggalos – before labeling the group a gang in 2011, an admission that raises serious questions about the reliability of its bi-annual “National Gang Threat Assessment” report.

Representing the FBI, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade wrote in her response to the lawsuit filed earlier this year by ICP, “There was no FBI investigation of the Juggalos for suspected gang activity in preparation for the 2011 [National Gang Intelligence Center] Report, and no FBI investigation otherwise underlying the decision to include the identification of the Juggalos as a gang in the 2011 NGIC Report.”

In the documents, filed in April in Michigan district court, McQuade adds, “The analyst who drafted the Juggalos section of the 2011 NGIC Report did not consider or rely on any FBI-generated investigative information or records. ”

ICP sued the FBI and the Department of Justice in January over the classification of Juggalos as a gang in the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, demanding the Federal agencies expunge the classification on grounds it unfairly characterized a large group of innocent people as violent criminals.

In the federal report, the Juggalos were labeled a “a loosely-organized hybrid gang” that is “rapidly expanding into many US communities.”

Juggalos are listed in the report alongside Mexican drug cartels and human traffickers.

ICP was livid over the classification, immediately criticizing the report in a news conference, saying, “We’re not a gang. We’re a family.”

Shortly after suing, the law firm representing ICP submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act to FBI Headquarters for all records regarding the investigation behind the FBI’s classification of Juggalos as a gang.

And this is where the FBI’s embarrassing response comes in.

In addition to McQuade’s admission that there actually was no FBI investigation behind the devastating “gang” classification, which allegedly led to endless unwarranted harassment of innocent Juggalos by law enforcement across the country, the U.S. Attorney lays out the shockingly willy-nilly information gathering that went into the 2011 federal gang report.

Here’s how McQuade describes the troubling functionality of the National Gang Intelligence Center, the FBI-established agency tasked with putting the report together:

“The NGIC receives gang-related information and intelligence from state, local, and other law enforcement partners on an ongoing basis. Based on the information and intelligence it receives in this regard, the NGIC identifies law enforcement trends to include in the bi-annual [National Gang Threat Assessment] reports.”

Ahem. “Trends.”

McQuade continues, “The purpose of the bi-annual reports is simply to report trends in intelligence and information that the NGIC receives from its law enforcement partners. It is not the purpose of the reports to affirm or negate the accumulated information and intelligence [emphasis added].”

In other words, according to McQuade, the National Gang Threat Assessment report, issued bi-annually under the banner of the FBI, is not obligated to provide verification for any of its unqualified, potentially reckless blanket statements — in this case, that a large population of mostly harmless social outcasts is a dangerous, criminal gang.

More troublingly, McQuade says the claims in the report are based exclusively on allegations from a relatively small number of disparate state and local law enforcement entities. According to the report, only 4 states even recognize the Juggalos as a gang (Utah, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Arizona).

McQuade writes, “The file [of Juggalo records] contained information from state and local law enforcement officials who reported that their jurisdictions did not officially recognize Juggalos as a gang, as well as information provided by state and local law enforcement officials whose jurisdictions recognized Juggalos as a gang.”

According to McQuade, only ONE local agency provided a police report about specific criminal activities involving Juggalos.

One.

Let us repeat. The decision to classify Juggalos nationally as a dangerous gang was based entirely on information from a small number of state and local law enforcement officials, by McQuade’s own admission: “The NGIC analyst considered and relied exclusively on [this information] in drafting the Juggalos portion of the 2011 Report.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the 2011 report also included this flagrantly fear-mongering photo.

juggalo

More like the Federal Bureau of Non-Investigation.

Whoop whoop.

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar House — Rapper Drops Totally Reasonable $524,000 On Un-Rappiest Crib in California

Kendrick Lamar, arguably the hottest rapper out right now, is starting a revolutionary new trend in hip hop: buying a house that doesn’t look like it was once owned by a billionaire drug lord.

According to official records, Lamar recently purchased a modest 4-bedroom home in Eastvale, CA for $523,500, a far cry from his hip hop brethren posted up in multimillion-dollar mansions in L.A.’s ritzy Bel Air neighborhood or Atlanta’s Buckhead.

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The lot where the house is located is listed at roughly 7,800 square feet, so the house is much smaller — and it’s also located a good hour east of Los Angeles, smack in the pleasantly affordable middle of nowhere (relatively speaking).

It’s a pretty big statement, even if Kendrick didn’t intend to make it. In the rap world, Kendrick stands virtually alone in his rejection of material temptations.

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Take Tyga for example. The 24-year-old reportedly purchased a 9,280 square foot mansion in L.A.’s wealthy Calabasas neighborhood for $6.5 MILLION in 2012. Tyga is two years younger than Kendrick, and on top of that, GQ never named Tyga “Rapper of the Year.”

And don’t even get us started on Rick Ross and his new “Rich Forever” chin tattoo, which has undoubtedly cursed him to be poor again very soon.

Rick Ross Chin Tattoo

Of course, Kendrick’s simple home purchase isn’t all that shocking. He has previously expressed indignation over unflattering rap stereotypes (the heavy drinking, the drugs, the womanizing, the ridiculous over-the-top lifestyles). Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, the head of Kendrick’s label TDE Records, even blasted the GQ “Rapper of the Year” article for dwelling upon rap stereotypes and the “drama” of hip hop instead of on Kendrick’s accomplishments. A fair point.

In his infamous “Control” verse, Kendrick criticizes his fellow rappers for losing their focus on music and obsessing over their image instead: “I’m uncoachable, I’m unsociable, fuck y’all clubs / Fuck y’all pictures, your Instagram can gobble these nuts” and later “I ain’t rockin’ no more designer shit / White T’s and Nike Cortez, this red Corvette’s anonymous.”

Kendrick (reportedly) doesn’t even drink or smoke, so it’s unsurprising his austere lifestyle choices would extent to his real estate investments.

Without even trying, Kendrick is setting a positive example for other rappers, but as long as rappers like Rick Ross keep spitting about Maybachs and drugging women before having sex with their unconscious bodies, Kendrick faces an uphill battle.

But one probably worth fighting. Click below for more pics of Kendrick’s new digs.

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dmx

DMX Bankruptcy Fiasco: Rapper Ordered to Pay $244,000 Over Botched Comeback Tour

Pay attention, kids. This is what happens when you screw up your bankruptcy: your creditors hunt you down in court with a vengeance and nail you for $244,000 that you pretty much definitely don’t have. Case in point, DMX. Poor, poor DMX.

According to new court documents, DMX was just ordered to pay the quarter-million dollar sum to a booking agency called Heavy Rotation, after the company sued the rapper in 2012 for torpedoing his own highly-anticipated international comeback tour.

According to HR’s lawsuit, DMX sabotaged the tour with his myriad legal problems (most notably, a passport lien stemming from unpaid child support). HR claimed it coughed up nearly $100,000 to help X deal with his issues, all so he could perform on the tour, but DMX continued to cause problems. Worst of all, DMX couldn’t get the lien lifted on his passport, so he was stuck in the U.S.

HR claimed it was subsequently forced to cancel the entire tour it had planned, a decision that cost the company $749,285, so it sued DMX for the full amount.

DMX then did what any broke person would do in that situation, he filed for bankruptcy last July. The HR lawsuit was placed on hold as a result. But not for long.

The judge in DMX’s bankruptcy eventually dismissed the rapper’s filing at the request of U.S. Trustee Tracy Hope Davis, citing legal noncompliance. Davis’ office accused Simmons of “obvious inconsistencies regarding his income and assets, rendering it impossible to ascertain his financial affairs.” Translation: DMX botched his paperwork.

HR didn’t miss a beat, pouncing on DMX as soon as the coast was clear. DMX failed to respond to HR’s renewed legal overtures, so the judge finally issued a default judgment against the rapper earlier this month for $244,325.60. And all of it could have been avoided if he just filed for bankruptcy correctly.

And that’s why you hire good lawyers, kids.

The irony of ironies: DMX is now touring internationally.

fuckupthefun

Diplo & Azealia Banks Sued for Stealing ‘Fuck Up the Fun’ Beat: Diplo’s a Liar, We Never Collaborated, and We’re Not ‘Homies’

The gloves are off now. A Dutch music producer has just filed a lawsuit against Diplo and rapper Azealia Banks, claiming Diplo flat-out stole his beat to use on Banks’ 2012 song “Fuck Up the Fun” and even had the audacity to pass it off as his own work.

MasterD — a DJ well-known in the underground Dutch “bubbling” scene – filed the suit in Missouri, alleging Diplo knew the beat wasn’t his creation, but used it anyway without permission.

Diplo and Banks released “Fuck Up the Fun” in 2012, with Diplo taking sole producer credit, and the public backlash was swift in coming. People across the Internet immediately recognized the similarities between “Fuck Up the Fun” and MasterD’s “Mad Drumz,” and slammed Diplo as a beat stealer.

In response to the 2012 accusations, Diplo emailed Pitchfork, claiming “Fuck Up the Fun” was actually a collaboration between him and MasterD. Diplo wrote, “These guys [MasterD and friends] are my homies. If anyone can really help break these underground movements it’s a young artist like Azealia Banks.”

Diplo called his sole producer credit a mistake and quickly bestowed a co-producer title on MasterD, but according to MasterD’s lawsuit, he and Diplo are the opposite of “homies.”

diploazealia

MasterD claims he produced and copyrighted “Mad Drumz” in 2008, and four years later, Diplo released the same exact beat on Banks’ track under his own name. MasterD insists he was never contacted for permission to use his beat on “Fuck Up the Fun” prior to its release, and he most definitely didn’t “collaborate” on it.

Once “Fuck Up the Fun” came out, and Diplo started getting heat from MasterD fans, MasterD claims Diplo reached out to him in a desperate last-minute attempt to get permission to use the beat, but no deal was struck. MasterD claims Diplo and Banks then brazenly continued to sell and perform “Fuck Up the Fun,” despite having zero permission to do so.

MasterD claims “Fuck Up the Fun” earned Diplo and Banks hundreds of thousands of digital downloads and even more video views, resulting in astronomical losses for MasterD.

MasterD claims he even sent Diplo and Banks a cease-and-desist letter, demanding they stop stealing his track, but it went unanswered.

In addition to Diplo (real name Thomas Pentz) and Banks, MasterD is suing Universal Music Group as well as all the retailers that allegedly distributed Banks’ “Fantasea” mix tape, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Overstock.com, and Best Buy. MasterD wants unspecified damages, as well as an injunction blocking Diplo and Banks from using his beat ever again.

Interestingly, the same day Diplo emailed Pitchfork with his “collaboration” excuse, he tweeted @DJMasterD1 in an obvious attempt to extend an olive branch. So much for that.

As for Diplo and Azealia Banks, they also have a spotted history.  Banks publicly turned on Diplo last year, accusing him of unfairly blocking the release of her “Harlem Shake” remix because Diplo wanted Juicy J to rap on it instead.

Banks called him a “snake,” and said, “”You owe M.I.A. everything you have.” (M.I.A. arguably put Diplo on the map with her song “Paper Planes,” which Diplo produced.)

Banks’ tweets have since been deleted, so maybe she and Diplo are cool again. Which is a lot more than we can say for Diplo and MasterD.

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misfits

Misfits Singer Glenn Danzig Sues Over Hot Topic Deal, Claims Ex-Bandmate Cut Him Out Completely

Original Misfits singer Glenn Danzig claims he got zero from a lucrative merchandising deal with Hot Topic, potentially worth millions, and he’s blaming his former bandmate for cutting him out.

Danzig has filed suit against Misfits bassist Jerry Only — real name Gerrard Caiafa — claiming Jerry registered trademarks for everything Misfits-related in 2000 behind Danzig’s back, misappropriating exclusive ownership over the marks for himself, including the band’s iconic “Fiend Skull” logo.

By doing so, Danzig claims Jerry violated a 1994 contract, in which Danzig, Jerry, and others agreed to share ownership of the Misfits trademarks for merchandising purposes.

danzig

After registering the trademarks, Danzig alleges Jerry then secretly entered into deals with various merchandisers, including Hot Topic, and cut Danzig out of any potential profits in the process. Danzig claims Jerry even threatened to withhold licensing rights from merchandisers if they did business with Danzig at all.

Danzig — who left The Misfits in 1983 — is suing for breach of contract and more. He insists he’s solely responsible for the Misfits fame as a founding member of the group, and deserves his fair share of merchandising profits.

Fun fact: Jerry Only is the creator of the Devilock hairdo.

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UPDATE: A representative for The Misfits and Jerry Only has issued a statement, calling Danzig’s lawsuit “a sour grapes tantrum based on outrageous allegations, the majority of which are completely false.”

Read the full statement below:

“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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jayz

Prisoner Sues Jay Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Rihanna, Chris Brown for $2.4 Billion: They Used Satellites to Steal My Songs!

Well, this is fantastic. A California prisoner has just filed a $2.4 billion lawsuit against Beyonce, Jay Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Chris Brown, claiming the music icons colluded with law enforcement to steal lyrics he’s been writing from behind bars.

Richard Dupree — who’s currently locked up in California State Prison, Corcoran — filed the suit in district court last week.

Dupree claims Jay Z and Beyonce have been working with law enforcement for the last 3-4 years (including CIA, FBI, and Homeland Security) to spy on him via satellites in order to steal his lyrics. Really. He alleges Chris Brown, Rihanna, and Kanye West conspired with them to commit the crimes.

According to his lawsuit, Dupree believes Jay and the rest extracted roughly 3,000 songs from him via satellites and in the process “robbed [him] for hundreds of millions, even billions, in the satellite organization.” Whatever that means.

Dupree wants justice in the form of $2.4 billion dollars.

Oh yes. He also demands immediate freedom from prison.

springsteen

Bruce Springsteen Fans Sue Live Nation Over Expensive Tickets

A Bruce Springsteen fan has just filed a $5 million class action lawsuit against concert promoting giant Live Nation, claiming concertgoers at the Boss’s 2012 Wrecking Ball tour were unfairly ripped off at the box office.

Marilyn Frost claims she and other fans were forced to pay exorbitant prices for Wrecking Ball concert tickets at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey because of Live Nation’s illegal side deals with ticket brokers.

According to Frost’s lawsuit, Live Nation withheld 5% of MetLife’s tickets in order to sell them to ticket brokers,who in turn charge higher prices for the same seats. Frost claims Live Nation’s deals with ticket brokers are a violation of the NJ Fraud Act.

She wants $5 million in damages on behalf of herself and all the other fans who couldn’t afford tickets, or who paid too much.

If the lawsuit sounds familiar, that’s because a Justin Bieber fan filed a nearly identical lawsuit against AEG last month for the same reason.

drake_owl

Drake Blasts Jewelry Designer: For $40,000 a Month, I Own You

The legal war rages on between Drake and the jeweler who designed the rapper’s famous $50,000 owl pendant. Drake now claims he paid the jeweler so much money — around $40,000 per month — that he owns ALL the jeweler’s designs by default.

New York-based jeweler Michael Raphael of Baden Baden, Inc. sued Drake last year, claiming he created the diamond-studded platinum owl pendant for the rapper,  based on a logo Michael’s been using for years, and Drake made knock-off replicas without the designer’s permission.

Drake responded, claiming the owl logo is a well-known Egyptian owl hieroglyph, so the designer can’t copyright it.

Michael disagreed, and Drake has now responded again, claiming copyright be damned. Drake says he paid Michael so much money during the course of his employment in 2012 (roughly $40,000 per month) that Drake owns the rights to ALL Michael’s work during that period, owl included.

Drake wants a judge to void Michael’s copyright and throw out the designer’s lawsuit.

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