Saturday, December 3, 2022 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Black Flag Founder Sues Former Bandmates

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Hardcore punk band Black Flag's guitarist and his record label sued other members of the band, claiming they violated trademark by using the band's name and distinctive four-bar logo.

Gregory Ginn and SST Records sued the band's front man Henry Rollins and the other five members of the band, most of whom, including Rollins, use professional names.

In his federal lawsuit, Ginn claims that Rollins (given name Henry Garfield) and former front man Keith Morris defrauded the trademark office in 2012 by registering the Black Flag name and logo, using as evidence record covers owned by SST and bootleg apparel.

Ginn seeks an injunction against his ex-bandmates: bassist Gary McDaniel aka Chuck Dukowski, guitarist Dennis Cadena aka Dez Cadena, drummer John William Stevenson aka Bill Stevenson, Stephen O'Reilly aka Stephen Egerton, and Morris.

Ginn claims all those former members, except Rollins, have performed under the band name Flag this year, and are using the Black Flag logo to promote the concerts and merchandise on Facebook.

Ginn has been touring and recording with Black Flag, Rolling Stone magazine reported this week.

Ginn claims his record label has owned the trademarks since 1978.

Morris was the first Black Flag vocalist, before leaving to join the band Circle Jerks.

Rollins fronted the band from 1981 until 1986. He moved on to form The Rollins Band, and a career as a spoken word artist, journalist, and radio and television host. He has appeared in several films and TV shows, including a role in the FX series, "Sons of Anarchy."

According to the lawsuit, founding member and bassist McDaniel in 2007 took legal action against Ginn and the label for a share of Black Flag revenue and for use of the band's logo.

Ginn and SST say that case was settled. They claim McDaniel agreed he would never perform under the band's name or use the logo for profit.

But McDaniel and his bandmates performed in their version of the band for the first time in May this year, and are scheduled to end their tour in Austin, Texas in November, according to the Rolling Stone's Aug. 5 issue.

Ginn claims in his lawsuit that Rollins "either intends to join in the infringing activities of the other defendants, or has already done so, with regard to the manufacture of items of clothing with the marks."

In addition to putting the brakes on the Flag tour, Ginn asked the court to enjoin Rollins and his ex-bandmates from infringing on the name and logo. SST seeks any profits reaped from the marks, and actual and punitive damages and costs.

Black Flag released its first studio album, "Damaged," in 1981. Rolling Stone rated it No. 340 on a list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Ginn and SST are represented by Cheryl Hodgson with Hodgson Legal of Santa Monica.

(For the record: Rolling Stone ranked The Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" No. 1, and the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" No. 2.)

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.