Brian Ritchie

In 2007, Gordon Gano (the frontman to the Violent Femmes) surprised many long-time fans by selling advertising rights for the classic “Blister in the Sun” to Wendy’s Hamburgers.

Although nearly all of the band’s songs, including Blister in the Sun, credit Gano as the sole songwriter, Ritchie (the bassist) responded to the use of the song in the commercial by saying:

“For the fans who rightfully are complaining about the Wendy’s burger advertisement featuring Blister in the Sun, Gordon Gano is the publisher of the song and Warners is the record company. When they agree to use it there’s nothing the rest of the band can do about it, because we don’t own the song or the recording. That’s showbiz. Therefore when you see dubious or in this case disgusting uses of our music you can thank the greed, insensitivity and poor taste of Gordon Gano, it is his karma that he lost his songwriting ability many years ago, probably due to his own lack of self-respect as his willingness to prostitute our songs demonstrates. Neither Gordon (vegetarian) nor me (gourmet) eat garbage like Wendy’s burgers. I can’t endorse them because I disagree with corporate food on culinary, political, health, economic and environmental grounds. However, I see my life’s work trivialized at the hands of my business partner over and over again, although I have raised my objections numerous times. As disgusted as you are I am more so.”

Ritchie filed a lawsuit against Gano in August 2007, seeking half ownership of the Femmes’ music and access to royalty accounting. Many speculated this would lead to the band’s breakup. However, on June 17, 2008 the band released a cover of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley who had previously covered “Gone Daddy Gone”. used to be an amazing site that had in depth interviews and had documented his legal battles with corporations using his songs or likeness to sell their products and they were worth some good laughs.

One I could remember was in regards of Michael Jackson starring in ads for pepsi in the early 90s he said, “if he wants to work for pepsi, he should just go ahead and get a desk, an office, and the whole deal if that’s who he wants to work for…”

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