Outside of KISS and maybe the Rolling Stones, no band’s logo is used more indiscriminately, slapped on more random crap with less quality control, than that of the Misfits. A couple weeks ago, Noisey compiled a gallery of some of the most egregiously hideous garbage to which the Misfits have lent their brand — a story that led to a further revelation courtesy of Re-Tox: The Misfits-Hot Topic merchandising deal cut by the band’s bassist Jerry Only allegedly did not include original Misfits frontman Glenn Danzig. And now, Danzig is suing Only (legal name: Gerrard Caiafa) for breach of contract, among other things.

According to Re-Tox, Danzig is claiming that 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.

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.

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.

The suit was filed on April 3, 2014, kind of a long time to wait if the initial infraction occurred in 2000. But maybe it took till now for Danzig to recognize just how much garbage bore the Misfits’ brand? It really is astonishing. Check out this shit:

Horror business, indeed! For a bunch more, check Noisey’s original post, which still only captures a small fraction of the vast universe of landfill-swelling inessentials you can currently purchase to show your “allegiance” to the Misfits.

UPDATE: The Misfits/Jerry Only have released a statement in response to Glenn Danzig’s lawsuit. Their basic contention is that Danzig signed away his rights to the brand 20 years ago, and is now trying to horn his way back in because he wants a piece of the pie. That would make sense, considering Danzig’s delay in filing such a suit. The truth is, Danzig’s voice made the Misfits, and Danzig’s post-Misfits material crushes any of the Misfit’s post-Danzig material. But if he walked away as the band contends, then he’s rightly shit out of luck here. Anyway, here’s statement:

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.

(Via Noisey)

Comments (21)
  1. I just got to the chapter in American Hardcore about the Misfits, and it surprised me to read that Danzig’s legal battling with his old Misfits ‘mates were pretty justifiable considering all we hear about him is that he is a dickish rock star: He just didn’t want to see the band’s name dragged through the mud for the worst after he left, but if they were going to do it, might as well make some money off of it.

    Case in point right here.

  2. This is great. I wouldn’t want my band’s logo on a bunch of this tacky shit…other than the bikinis…those are alright.

  3. Misfits are one of those weird bands that are overrated and underrated at the same time.

    • That comment means nothing.

      • Nah, I think it’s true. There are lots of bands that become iconic for one reason or another, such that their imagery and maybe one or two of their songs are ubiquitous – prompting everyone to act like they LOVE this band/artist – but that does not entail anyone engaging with a body of work that is challenging, uneven, occasionally great. I’d put the Beatles, Bob Marley, and the Clash in the same category. The music IS great, but it’s also not the whole story of why their shit is literally everywhere even though most people are not familiar with their work beyond the culture-saturating omnipresent stuff.

        • you explained it better than i could have. overrated because everybody knows who they are, thanks to their iconography being omnipresent in malls across america. underrated because if you sit down and listen to it, some of their music is actually really good.

  4. gotta love them bikinis

  5. False. Bob Marley’s image is used without permission more than the 3 mentioned combined. The Marley family has been fighting for over a decade to correct it. Although he is top 3 in merch sales year after year, his family almost never receives any royalties. Damn Hot Topic.

    • That’s possibly/probably true, but KISS, the Stones, and the Misfits actively license their brands willingly. It was just an anecdotal observation anyway; in reality there’s probably more random One Direction merch than that produced by the rest of the music industry combined.

    • False. My Richard Hell lunchbox and toothbrush beg to differ.

  6. It should be noted that the Misfits mascot itself was directly lifted from a 1946 serial “The Crimson Ghost.”

    • where do any of these guidos get off claiming ownership of that skull? there has to be someone out there that really owns that image that could sue danzig, jerry only and whoever for every penny they have.

      • yes, however the image they used was taken from some public domain place. it was originally from the crimson ghost. tho i dont think paramount gives a shit, they have never returned jerry onlys calls. so i think they dont really care

  7. Don’t quote me but I think I’ve seen Misfits merch at Forever 21 right along with Wu Tang and Nirvana. Because every 16 year old is hip to that.

  8. Dan Nancarrow  |   Posted on May 7th, 2014 +4

    Sorry, but that shower curtain is hilarious. Who wouldn’t have that in their bathroom tempting fate that a Janet Leigh style murder might occur?

  9. I had a Misfits diaper bag. I feel so dirty.

  10. Tacky article by a hack writer.

  11. Censorship reigns!

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