Japanese production company behind Godzilla franchise force British band to change name

Nottingham-based Baby Godzilla will now be known as Heck

Nottingham band Baby Godzilla have changed their name to Heck following legal pressure from the Japanese production company who own the rights to the giant monster’s movie franchise.

Baby Godzilla have been inactive since late May with their social media accounts disabled and their music taken off iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. However, they are now back under the new name Heck and with a statement explaining how pressure from Japanse firm Toho forced them to change their name.

In a statement the band said, “This may seem abrupt but following some fairly conclusive and forceful instructions it is time we instigated a change. We; the collective of Matt Reynolds, Jonny Hall, Tom Marsh and Paul Shelley, will from now on and henceforth be known as Heck.”

“This news is not presented with regret and although this wasn’t ultimately our long-term plan we are looking at this as an exciting new chapter.”

Heck remain optimistic about their band, insisting “this is still us”. Alongside the name change, they have announced that they will be releasing their debut album this autumn and have updated their website with new, re-branded merchandise.

NMECarla Mundy

Toho are known for their litigious behaviour and have filed hundreds of lawsuits against anyone seen to be cashing in on their creation’s features, name or theme music. This has seen them take action against Hollywood studios, toy manufacturers, book publishers, national food chains, record labels and bloggers to name a few.

“I think they have got litigation in their reptilian DNA,” Jonathan Handel, a Hollywood IP lawyer, told Wired in 2008. “They’re afraid that their intellectual property rights will suffer the same fate that Tokyo has in many Godzilla movies.”

Formed in late 2009, Baby Godzilla/ Heck released their first EP, ‘NPAG’, in February 2010. Since then the band have released mini-album ‘Roche’, and an EP ‘Knockout Machine’. Their latest release was a record day split single with God Damn.

The band are set to play four UK festival shows this year, before heading to Europe for more festival dates.