The J. Geils Band -- or at least the four members claiming to be that group -- are vowing to perform its planned late summer and late fall tour dates despite a lawsuit from J. Geils, the man, over who owns the name.
John Baruck, who manages the band, tells us that the quartet of Peter Wolf, Seth Justman, Magic Dick Salwitz and Danny Klein "is going out. It's the J. Geils Band playing the J. Geils hits with Peter Wolf out there in front dancing. This is all clear-cut. We're not stopping because of John Geils' allegations."
The guitarist filed for a trademark on the J. Geils Band name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2008 -- claiming he formed the group in 1967, with the other members joining subsequently -- and received it the following year.
He informed the group of his move in November of 2011, according to Baruck, and the other members felt the dispute "has hindered a working relationship" between them and Geils.
Baruck adds that "it was always a struggle to get J. into the fold" for the group's reunion concerts, which began in 1999 after breaking up in 1985. The group filed a challenge to Geils' trademark claim, citing a 1982 agreement limiting the guitarist's use of the band name or even his abbreviated J. Geils stage name outside of the group.
Geils and Francesca Records, the label he co-owns, responded with the suit in U.S. District Court in Boston by Geils and Francesca Records, the label he co-owns, alleging "trademark infringement and deceptive business practices."
Attorney Chuck Mead explains that Geils "wants the recognition that it's his name, that he has the right to perform under his name. He wants to perform as J. Geils. He has never gone out and tried to say he's the J. Geils Band, ever."
"If they want to perform as Peter Wolf or as 'formerly of the J. Geils Band,' much the same as 'Phil Collins, formerly of Genesis,' that's fine. Go off on your merry way and accurately represent to the public who's going to be performing at these venues -- not the J. Geils Band, but Peter Wolf, Seth Justman and whoever else is formerly of the J. Geils Band."
Geils has not yet filed for an injunction to stop the group from using its name when it hits the road on August 25 at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, with a second leg slated for after Thanksgiving.
Mead says he's "hoping reasonable heads will prevail" and that the issue will be settled out of court, though he adds that "Mr. Geils is not prepared to accept the idea that he can't be J. Geils. Hopefully creative minds can come up with a solution."
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