Minimum Gauge: Run-DMC sue retailers for jacking their brand

Run-DMC says unauthorized use of its brand by various retailers has cost the band millions; Superchunk's Mac McCaughan looks on the bright side, reminds us that Prince can't die again; who's the real Ratt?

Jan 4, 2017 at 11:53 am

HOT: Retailers Accused of Illin’

If you’ve ever looked for your favorite musicians’ merchandise online and ended up anywhere other than an official artist page, you know there are often more “unauthorized” shirts, hats and otherbrandeditems than there are official ones. Hip Hop legends Run-DMC have also noticed, and the group is finally doing something about it, recently filing a major lawsuit against several retailers, including Amazon and Wal-Mart. The suit says the unauthorized use of the act’s name has hurt the Run-DMC brand, which (the lawsuit says) has generated $100 million in revenue since the early ’80s. The group wants $50 million.

WARM: Mr. Brightside

Mac McCaughan, singer/guitarist for veteran Indie Rock band Superchunk, wanted to find something positive to look forward to in the New Year, after what he called “the disaster that was this one” (referring to 2016). While he didn’t find much, he put 2017 in the best light possible in an end-of-the-year song posted on his Bandcamp page titled “Happy New Year (Prince Can’t Die Again)."

COLD: Name Fight Goes Round and Round

In the latest in an ongoing battle over squeezing the final dollars out of a band name, fans that went to see Night Ranger play a casino in Michigan recently were deprived of their chance to see ’80s Metal crew Ratt open the show. Though the version of Ratt they were going to see — featuring the band’s drummer, Bobby Blotzer, and no other “classic lineup” players — was barely Ratt anyway. The other peak-era Ratt musicians (including singer Stephen Pearcy) are trying to use the Ratt name for their forthcoming dates, but Blotzer insists they don’t have the legal right to and the case is stuck in court limbo. The court tie-up apparently goes both ways — citing a “cease and desist” letter, at the last minute, the Michigan casino canceled the performance by Blotzer’s Ratt, which probably just meant an extra long version of “Sister Christian” for Night Ranger fans.