GARDEN FIRE ‘WARNING’ SHOTS AT GREEN DAY

Cambridge-based group The Other Garden insist the US punksters are guilty of plagiarism...

THE OTHER GARDEN – the unsigned CAMBRIDGE band who are suing GREEN DAY for $100,000 for allegedly ripping off the bass riff and melody of one of their songs – have told NME.COM that they are stepping up their legal action.

The band have had no response so far since they contacted Warner Chappell Music (Green Day co-publishers in Los Angeles) and Warner Music UK Ltd (who released the track – ‘Warning’ – through their Reprise Records imprint in the UK) asking them to freeze royalties on the song, the title track on Green Day’s 2000 album, pending the copyright claim.

However, Alastair Nicholas, the lawyer representing The Other Garden, has told NME.COM that they are taking their fight to the States.

“They have yet to take or return any of our calls,” he said. “At present they’re not taking it terribly seriously, but fairly soon we will be appointing local counsel in LA who will be on the ground and better placed to deal with them. Besides, one tactic in these sort of cases is to drag everything out for as long as possible.”

Of the $100,000, Nicholas explained that it was the figure any artist whose album went Gold in the US (selling over 500,000 copies, as Green Day have with ‘Warning’) would hope to receive through publishing from one track on that album. This, he said, did not take into consideration any sales in other territories, or indeed sales of the single on its own.

Nicholas acknowledged that some observers may see The Other Garden as a band of unknowns out to make a quick buck.

“They are open to that claim,” he said. “But they are still a working band, looking for a deal and they were upset that one of their tracks (‘Never Got The Chance’) was lifted.”

To succeed in the action, Nicholas and The Other Garden have to firmly establish that Green Day could have heard the track.

“The key element is access. In this instance, people might rightly ask how Green Day would have heard a small Cambridge band. But the track was from a 1997 promo sent out to labels and radio stations throughout the country. It had airplay on at least 40 stations, including Radio 1, and was also played frequently on Avalon FM, the official station of the Glastonbury Festival, during 1998, ’99 and 2000. Green Day were here (in the UK) in 1998, we just have to establish exactly where and when.”

Green Day could not be reached for comment this afternoon (January 16).