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Violent Femmes Are Blistered by the Sum

An internal battle between two punk-rock band members winds up in federal court with "accounting" problems cited as one of the charges.
Marie LeoneAugust 16, 2007

Accounting improprieties have been cited in a federal lawsuit involving members of the 1980s punk rock band the Violent Femmes. In the civil suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, bass player Brian Ritchie accused lead singer Gordon Gano of cheating him out of credit for some of the band’s songs, and of improperly accounting for earnings, reported the Associated Press.

The self-proclaimed “grandfathers of folk-punk,” who launched their catchy brand of minimalist music in Milwaukee, are probably best known for their hit Blister in the Sun which was recently used in a Wendy’s commercial, and is at the crux of the law suit. In the suit, Ritchie claims that Gano sullied the band’s reputation by allowing the hit tune to be used in the fast-food commercial, noted the wire service.

The accusations reportedly took Gano by surprise, according to the Associated Press. Indeed, just days before the action was filed, the band wrapped up a South African tour. They are scheduled to launch a string of U.S. appearances starting in September, beginning with performances at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino. Whether the lawsuit will affect their upcoming concert dates is unclear. CFO.com could not immediately reach the band’s manager, Craig Allen, for comment.

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According to the court documents, the suit is a “culmination of an ongoing intra-band dispute” rooted in Gano’s alleged “misappropriation and misadministration of Ritchie’s interests in the jointly owned songs and assets of the band . . . improper accounting and nonpayment of royalties.” Ritchie is seeking a ruling that declares him half owner of the band’s songs, as well as an itemization of the past and future royalties, says the AP.

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