A look at oddball musical lawsuits

REUTERS/WENN.com/QMI Agency Files

REUTERS/WENN.com/QMI Agency Files

Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:51 PM ET

Love may stink -- but it can't be much worse than relations in The J. Geils Band these days.

In one of those oddball lawsuits that continually crop up in music, guitarist John Geils is battling his estranged bandmates over the legal rights to his name. It seems Geils (the man) claims Geils (the band) "planned and conspired" to exclude the namesake picker from their upcoming tour and are unlawfully using the trademarked name of Geils (the band), which Geils (the man) owns. For their part, Geils (the band) claim that Geils (the man) -- who has issued several jazz albums since the Centerfold and Freeze Frame hitmakers split in the '80s -- has been reluctant to participate in previous reunions because Geils (the man) no longer likes playing rock 'n' roll or the music of Geils (the band).

Confused? Well, take heart. It makes about as much sense as some of these other ridiculous musical lawsuits:

Axl Rose v. Guitar Hero

In his continuing quest to eradicate Slash from the face of the Earth, Rose is suing the makers of Guitar Hero III -- which includes Guns N' Roses' Welcome to the Jungle -- for featuring his old bandmate on the video game's cover after supposedly promising he would not be included. Should Rose triumph, expect him to sue the Internet to remove the slash from all website addresses.

Geffen v. Neil Young

Shakey was in one of his moods back in the '80s, eschewing his usual sound for weirdness like the electronic Trans and the rockabilly tribute Everybody's Rockin. His label Geffen were not amused and took him to court for making "unrepresentative" albums. Which is to say: They sued him for not sounding like himself. Which begs the question: Had they not heard Young before?

Fantasy v. John Fogerty

Unlike Young, Fogerty was sued for sounding too much like himself. In 1985, his former Fantasy label head Saul Zaentz -- whom Fogerty had seemingly likened to a thieving pig in song -- claimed the CCR swamp-rocker had plagiarized Run Through the Jungle for The Old Man Down the Road. Fogerty ultimately won, but it derailed his career and his mojo for years. Thanks, Saul.

Riches v. Kanye & Kim Kardashian

You can't beat this: A man named Jonathan Lee Riches has accused Kanye West and Kim Kardashian of being terrorists, claiming he saw them at an Al-Qaida camp in West Virginia. The pair "burned the U.S. flag, stomped their feet on Barack Obama's picture, performed a concert for all Al-Qaida members and shot AK-47s in the air," he says. Well, it would explain a lot, wouldn't it?

Creed Fans v. Scott Stapp

When fans attack: After a disastrous 2002 gig in Chicago, four Creed fans filed a class-action suit demanding refunds. They claimed frontman Scott Stapp was "so intoxicated and/or medicated that he was unable to sing the lyrics of a single Creed song." Um, wouldn't that basically be a good thing? And seriously, you didn't know how much Creed sucked before you bought tickets?

Joe Satriani v. Coldplay

Weird plagiarism suits are a dime a dozen in rock, but this one was extra kooky. In 2008, chrome-domed guitar wanker Joe Satriani sued Coldplay, alleging the song Viva La Vida contained "substantial" portions of his 2004 tune If I Could Fly. Naturally. Stay tuned for Coldplay's next CD, based upon songs swiped from the canon of Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Adrian Belew.

Chet Baker v. Canadian Music Labels

Score one for the musicians: The estate of late junkie jazzman Chet Baker sued Canada's major labels for failing to pay for countless unauthorized reissues over the decades. Rather than face a potential $6 billion penalty in court, the labels settled for $47.5 million (for which at least one is now suing its insurer). But they can get it back -- after all, Young and Fogerty are still recording.


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