Heart Alumni Sue Rock and Rock Hall of Fame for Defamation
Bassist Mark Andes and drummer Denny Carmassi, members of Heart during the band’s mid-’80s resurgence, have filed a lawsuit against the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for using their likenesses in promoting the band’s 2013 induction — even though they themselves were not inducted.
Billboard quotes from the filing, which says it “is an action to protect the rights, reputations, and likenesses of Mark Andes and Dennis Carmassi through the causes of actions false light invasion of privacy, misappropriation of name and likeness invasion of privacy, injurious falsehood, libel, slander, and right of attribution falsification of rock and roll history for Defendants’ wilful and unauthorized use of Plaintiffs’ images and likenesses.”
Describing the plaintiffs as being “humiliated” after it became clear that only Heart’s original lineup would be inducted, the complaint adds that “Although induction to the Rock Hall is normally a positive thing, to be knowingly and/or recklessly placed in such a position by Defendants is highly offensive to a reasonable person when being placed in that position requires having to continually correct the record on an issue of such personal importance.”
Deciding which members are inducted and which aren’t has become a thorny PR problem for the Hall in recent years, most notably courtesy of Kiss, who refused to perform at the ceremony because the Hall refused to induct non-original members. It wasn’t quite as much of a sore point for Heart, although bandleaders Ann and Nancy Wilson publicly campaigned for Andes and Carmassi’s inclusion — and as the lawsuit points out, their snubbing was a subject of behind-the-scenes conversation in the days leading up to the ceremony.
Billboard’s report includes a portion of the suit that quotes an email from Hall of Fame CEO Joel Peresman, who responded to Andes and Carmassi’s demand for an explanation by saying, “We have a group of people who are very focused on these things and collaborate on the various areas of their expertise. As we do every year we went very carefully over all of the history and the members of Heart that were are [sic] being inducted besides Ann and Nancy [Wilson] were the ones everyone felt should be inducted. I am sorry if these others feel this isn’t right but this is the final decision of our committee.”
Although Andes and Carmassi’s complaint stresses that they aren’t asking to be inducted, there’s certainly a reasonable argument that they should have been — their 1982-’93 tenure coincided with the once-moribund band’s commercial comeback, and both of them notched several co-writing credits on bestselling Heart records such as ‘Bad Animals’ and ‘Brigade.’ The Hall hasn’t issued any public comment on the lawsuit, but you can bet plenty of other bands will be watching the outcome closely.
Finally, it’s worth noting that this is the second time in the last week that Andes has been named as the plaintiff in a lawsuit. As we previously reported, the bassist — who was a founding member of Spirit before he joined Heart — is also suing Led Zeppelin, claiming that the introduction to ‘Stairway to Heaven‘ was lifted from the Spirit song ‘Taurus.’