In case you don’t know, Josh Homme sued Kyuss Lives!, John Garcia and Brant Bjork for trademark infringement on Friday. We’re pretty lawyer’d up over here at the City of Devils. We find this stuff interesting in a clinical sort of way. Sadly, however, if you’ve ever been involved in the court system, you know it’s not entertaining for the participants. Lawsuits can result in a lot of wasted effort and money. We hate to see bands and musicians we respect get wrapped up in the courts. It doesn’t help creativity, and it usually ends relationships.
This dispute looks particularly messy because everyone seemed to be getting along until Homme learned that the Kyuss Lives! guys had filed trademark applications on Kyuss and Kyuss Lives! without telling him. Kyuss Lives! has a lot to lose. Shows have been booked, dealers in several cities are ready, and Nick Oliveri has been fitted with a restraining collar that works on European voltage. But despite their apparent authority (and nice bond paper), trademark registrations are useless against senior users of a trademark still using the mark in a way that could cause confusion with the new registrant. “Kyuss” would seem to have value as an ongoing mark and call into serious doubt these new registrations. In other words, we don’t think filing them was a smart or strong move. The applications could have been opposed or canceled in the trademark office, but Homme went the extra mile and filed suit for infringement and false advertising before Kyuss Lives! goes on tour. Kyuss Lives! is going to learn that it’s never a good idea to poke the tiger, but if you’re gonna do it, use a stick – not your right arm.
Meanwhile back at Inbred Scene Central, good luck to anyone figuring out the real story here. Bassist Scott Reeder is part of the “Original Partnership” of Kyuss and has played with Kyuss Lives!, but he appears to be taking Homme’s side on this one. Brant Bjork, the original Kyuss drummer, is apparently not part of the partnership and is a defendant. Finally, actual original bassist Nick Oliveri is nowhere to be found in the complaint or the Original Partnership.
So, without taking sides and getting too much into it, we can safely say that the lawyers could be the big winners here. These guys have all known each other forever, and this is all part of some bigger history between them. Hopefully, Homme hasn’t opened too big a can of worms. Kyuss Lives! should take this opportunity to come to the table for a little chit chat, and everyone should move on with new deals and names in place. To solidify the deal, I suggest calling Scott Hill of Fu Manchu and going on a group BMX bike ride down to the beach for a barbecue. It’s a far better use of time.