RATT guitarist Warren DeMartini has filed a lawsuit against the band's drummer, Bobby Blotzer, claiming that Blotzer is falsely advertising his "tribute band" as the real thing.
Blotzer announced on September 23 that he was taking control of the RATT name and was planning to hit the road with a new version of the group, which played shows earlier in the year under the name BOBBY BLOTZER'S RATT EXPERIENCE.
WBS, Inc., the company which manages the business and operations related to RATT, was originally formed by Blotzer, DeMartini and singer Stephen Pearcy. Pearcy lost his share of the name in court after splitting with the group in 2000. He returned to the band in 2006 but exited again last year. Blotzer has since expressed his desire to keep RATT alive with a new singer, but explained that DeMartini did not want to tour as RATT without Pearcy.
"This case arises from the drummer of the rock band RATT trying to take over the band and pawn himself and a cast of substitutes off as the genuine article," DeMartini's lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, September 29 in in Los Angeles Superior Court, reads.
"The four remaining members of RATT currently disagree on whether the band should continue to tour together. Certain of the members, including defendant Blotzer, have toured with substitute musicians in 'tribute' bands," the lawsuit, which was obtained by BLABBERMOUTH.NET, adds.
"There is nothing illegal in touring with a tribute band. Mr. Blotzer, however, has recently voiced his desire to use the name 'RATT' and promote his tribute band as if it was the actual band. In essence, Blotzer wants to hijack the name and tour under the name RATT. Defendant Blotzer intends to fool RATT's fans by touring with himself, a drummer, and a group of imposters calling themselves RATT. None of the actual creators of the music of RATT would be participating. Needless to say, plaintiff DeMartini's position is diametrically opposed.
"DeMartini fully asserts that touring with inferior substitutes would dilute the value of the band, produce low revenue and damage the credibility of the band in the future."
According to the lawsuit, Blotzer held an annual WBS shareholder meeting on September 3 at Jerry's Famous Deli in Studio City, California in which he elected himself chairman of the board and president in place of DeMartini while DeMartini was elected "vice president of guitars."
On or about September 6, Blotzer's attorney sent a letter informing DeMartini that because DeMartini "no longer wishe[d] to tour, record, or otherwise make personal appearances," the guitarist's shares in WBS were "immediately [converted] into non-voting shares," though DeMartini is still entitled to receive dividends from WBS. Blotzer's attorney wrote to DeMartini: "Therefore, you no longer have any say in the direction or track of the business of WBS, as the directors and officers of any corporation are obligated to follow and operate a corporation according to the wishes and determinations of its shareholders by and through the votes of those shareholders. As such, though you will still share in WBS' profits and can voice your opinion, your ability to affect the business of WBS as a shareholder is terminated until such time as Mr. Blotzer refuses to tour, record, or make personal appearances."
On September 10, DeMartini's attorney sent a letter to Blotzer's lawyer claiming that the shareholder meeting held a week earlier was "defectively noticed" and insisting that all action taken at the meeting is "null and void."
According to DeMartini's lawsuit, Blotzer filed an unauthorized trademark infringement action against RATT bassist Juan Croucier claiming that Croucier "formed a band which tours around the world under the name Juan Croucier's RATT's [sic] and plays the songs of RATT." Blotzer also objected to Croucier referring to himself "for marketing, promotions, advertising and for general purposes as 'The Other Voice of RATT," explaining that "Croucier was never the lead singer of RATT" and that "all members of [RATT] sang and sing harmony vocals during live shows and on records."
DeMartini is seeking damages and attorneys' fees. He is also requesting "a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctions restraining and enjoining" Blotzer and others from "taking any action in the name of WBS or RATT, representing to any party that Blotzer controls WBS or RATT, and filing any claims in the name of RATT."
Warren DeMartini photo credit: Nadine Joy
Pictured below: Bobby Blotzer's new "RATT"