Metal has had its fair share of oddities and curiosities, and more than once, as it happens, like a two-headed beast fighting over a shared body, we come upon two bands of the very same name, an unusual instance that often spawns tensions and lawsuits. TMO has gathered the 10 most prominent of these cases, looked into how they came to be, and then at whether or not a solution was ultimately found.
Norwegian black metal veterans Gorgoroth went through a rather confusing split between band founder Infernus on one side and Gaahl and King ov Hell on the other in 2007. King filed a trademark application for both name and logo of Gorgoroth with Norwegian authorities, which was approved in December of the year, while Infernus filed a counter lawsuit in September of 2008, resulting in two bands of the same name, both claiming to be the legitimate Gorgoroth. In March 2009 the two incarnations of Gorgoroth came to an end, when the court ruled that the trademark application was invalid, resulting in Gaahl and King ov Hell renaming their band into God Seed.
In 2013 Alex Hellid left the band, but a short time later announced that him, Uffe Cederlund and Nicke Andersson would be reuniting under the Entombed name to perform Clandestine in its entirety with a symphony orchestra. At the same time, the remainder of the band announced that their new album Back to the Front would be released under the name of Entombed A.D. and that neither member would be part of the shows using the name Entombed…
After leaving Saxon in 1986 and 1995 respectively, Steve Dawson and Graham Oliver registered the name Saxon as a trademark in 1999, claiming exclusive rights to the name. Current member Biff Byford countered to have the registration made invalid and it took until 2003 for the High Court declaring that Byford and the current members of Saxon owned the name of the band. Oliver and Dawson then renamed their band to Oliver/Dawson Saxon, releasing one album in 2012 so far.
In one of metal’s nastier splits, Seattle’s Queensrÿche saw now former vocalist Geoff Tate and the rest of the band originally walk separate ways, Tate working on his next solo album and the rest forming Rising West, playing older Queensrÿche material, with former Crimson Glory fronter Todd La Torre on the mic. After two highly successful shows, the band fired Tate and announced La Torre as new singer and continued with him under the Queensrÿche moniker.
Century Media quickly signed them and Tate filed a lawsuit that he was illegally fired and an injunction against the other band members still using the Queensrÿche name, which was defeated by the court and both parties were granted the right to use the name of Queensrÿche, which led to two albums released the same year, the self-titled album, Queensrÿche, by the now LaTorre fronted band and Tate’s version releasing Frequency Unknown (abbreviated F.U. on the cover, go figure), to highly different critical reception, with the latter getting mediocre to annihilating reviews throughout.
It took until April 2014 for a settlement to be reached, which awarded the brand Queensrÿche to Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson and in return Tate getting the exclusive rights to performing Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II in their entirety.
In 2007 Algy Ward on one side and Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans on the other went separate ways and instead of making music as Tank, they continued to make music under the monikers of Tank and Tank respectively. While both even use the exact same logo, so far there has been no word of any legal action from either side…
Polish Infernum split up due to internal problems, but a few years later founding member Anextiomarus formed a band called Infernum, while then-session members Rob Darken and Capricornus continued with the “original” Infernum, both releasing albums in 2005 and 2006 respectively, making this two bands of the same name from the same city even… After the suicide of Anextiomarus in 2004 the band members he had chosen to join him with his incarnation of Infernum continued with the band as his legacy.
In 2002, L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns left his band in favour of his other band Brides of Destruction, while the rest continued to record and tour as L.A. Guns. In 2006 Guns started the Tracii Guns Band to play old songs, but then changed the name to L.A. Guns as well. Six years of co-existence later he closed down his own version to move on…
In 1997 Ratt reunited without guitarist Robbin Crosby and bassist Juan Crocier. In 2000 singer Stephen Pearcy walked out and started his own version of Ratt. While the “other” Ratt continued to tour, Pearcy sued for the naming rights in 2001, but had his lawsuit dismissed. In 2007 he finally joined Ratt again officially.
In 2010 singer Jack Russell left Great White for surgery and recovery from the same, being replaced by XYZ’s Terry Ilous as singer. At the end of 2011 Russell decided to form his own version under the name of Jack Russell’s Great White, which lead to a lawsuit by the remaining members, who claimed that Russell does not have the rights, while he countersued them. In the end it took until 2013 for courts to decide that both parties can continue under their respective names.
In 2002 former Hawkwind saxophonist Nik Turner went on tour with several other former members of Hawkwind under the name of xhawkwind.com, which prompted a lawsuit by Dave Brock, Hawkwind singer and guitarist, who won.
In 2013 the original Hawkwind announced their first U.S. tour in many years and soon after a US tour by Nik Turner’s Space Ritual was announced as well. Shortly before the tour was supposed to begin, Turner filed for a U.S. trademark for the name of Nik Turner’s Hawkwind. Brock subsequently cancelled his tour, citing stress caused by the filing making him ill. The battle between the two gentlemen in their Seventies continues.