Can the J. Geils Band really tour without J. Geils? The man whose band bears his name says “No,” based on a lawsuit from attorneys representing John Geils Jr. against members of the band. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday at Boston’s U.S. District Court, accuses the band of trademark infringement and deceptive business practices after they recently announced plans to tour without Geils while keeping the band name, the rights to which Geils claims ownership.
“Mr. Geils has this trademark and never transferred it to anybody,” Geils’ attorney Chuck Grimes told the Boston Globe. “These guys performed in Mr. Geils’s band, but that doesn’t give them the right to grab the name.” WZLX reached out to the band’s representative James Weinberger, who declined to comment. According to the suit, Geils apparently trademarked the name “J. Geils Band” back in 2008 himself without telling the other members of the band, which Weinberger called “a pretty strong affront.” It also says Geils tried to quit the band in the early ’80s and felt pressured to sign a contract stating that no “shareholders” would use the name for commercial purposes without involving everyone together. The important details of the suit would indicate that Geils has a big legal advantage.
Since he already owns the trademarks and it is his name, it would be tough for Peter Wolf and the rest of the band to prove they can legally tour under the name “J. Geils Band” without J. Geils himself. Looked at from another angle, it’s hard to imagine the members of Santana touring without Carlos Santana, or The Steve Miller Band minus Miller himself.
– Matt Dolloff, 100.7 WZLX