Great White Trademark Suit: Jack Russell Sues Former Bandmates Over Name
The name Great White will forever be associated with the Station nightclub fire of 2003, a tragedy that claimed 100 lives in Rhode Island, but that hasn't stopped singer Jack Russell from battling the rest of the group for use of the moniker.
As Metalinsider.net reports, Russell, 51, has filed a trademark infringement suit against his former bandmates, who continue to perform as Great White. Russell, meanwhile, leads a competing version known as Jack Russell's Great White -- a tag he came up with to avoid confusing fans, he says.
According to Russell's lawsuit, the trouble began in August 2010, when he was hospitalized with a life-threatening condition.
"While he recuperated from this surgery, other singers filled in for him during the band's live performances, however, it was undisputed that plaintiff's absence was temporary, and that he retained his position in the band's lineup and would resume singing with the band upon his recuperation," reads the complaint filed by Russell's lawyer.
Russell claims he was ready to rock again in December 2011, but that the band didn't want him back. He says they imposed a series of unfair requirements for his return, mandating that he abstain from taking anti-inflammatory pain medications, even though they'd been prescribed by his doctor. Meanwhile, they gave interviews saying that Russell was battling substance abuse, and that his addiction troubles were behind his ouster.
What's more, Russell alleges, his former cohorts "claimed to be the true owners of the 'Great White' trademark, and posted threats to litigate against any venue or promoter that booked plaintiff's band. Plaintiff has also been informed by various venues that defendants, by and through their agents, contacted bookers that had employed plaintiff's band and threatened litigation."
The Russell-less Great White has yet to respond to the suit, though they're reportedly gearing up for the May release of a new album called Elation with XYZ vocalist Terry Ilous in Russell's place.
Check Out Our Gallery of Bands Who Fought Over Their Name