Sadly, just when the J. Geils Band were in the middle of a nice little uptick in popularity, playing occasional gigs for their rabid fans (especially in Geils hotspots such as Detroit), the group has been riven by a lawsuit filed by guitarist John Geils — the “J.” in “J. Geils.”
In the lawsuit, filed Wednesday, Geils, charges bandmates Peter Wolf, Seth Justman, Magic Dick, and Danny Klein with trademark infringement and deceptive business practices. According to Boston.com, Geils applied for a patent on the name “J. Geils Band” in 2008, without telling his bandmates, and got it, a year later.
Even the most casual JGB fan has to wonder what Geils has in mind. Sure, it was his name the band was organized under in 1967-8, when they were a blues band playing frat parties around Boston. (Singer Peter Wolf and keyboard player Seth Justman joined in 1969).
But Geils’ fame is is far eclipsed by most of the other band members – especially Wolf with his inimitable, frontman shenanigans; Justman and harmonica king Magic Dick.
Additionally, Wolf and Justman are the band’s principal songwriters.
Geils’ attorney told Boston.com that Wolf, Justman and the rest are perfectly free to bill themselves as “formerly of the J. Geils Band.”
Stay tuned. Apparently Geils signed a document some years back preventing any one member of the band from hijacking the “J. Geils Band” name, so it could be less than a slam dunk.