That deliberately confusing title is fitting for what seems to be a deliberately stupid story, but that’s the nature of the 2011 offseason.
It seems John Elway has somehow learned of the existence of a little-known punk band that shares his name, and the Hall of Fame quarterback isn’t happy. His lawyer has sent the band a letter requesting they change their name. Elway guitarist/vocalist Tim Browne (thank goodness there’s an “e” on the end of that, otherwise he might be hearing from a famous Raiders receiver) offered this statement to the guys at Punknews.org:
At the request of our buddies at Punknews, and in response to the inquiries we’ve received in the past few days, we would like to say a few things about this situation with John Elway that has arisen.
Last Thursday we got an email from a lawyer who represents Mr. Elway in his various legal and business excursions. The letter basically said that John had become aware of our little punk rock band and, though we make no reference to him in our songs or artwork, he saw fit to dispatch his legal team to demand that we (again) change our band name. It is important to note that this letter is not a cease and desist and does not imply that we are being sued, it reads more like a flexing maneuver mired in legalese. Of course, any Coloradoan worth their salt might point out the absurdity of Mr. Elway’s insistence on legally strongarming a virtually unknown punk band rather than focusing his attention on mending the badly broken Denver Broncos, but that’s a whole different issue.
We have no intention of changing the name again. We love the name, regardless of what connotations are inferred by the listener. Surely, if the Dead Kennedys could become one of punk’s most popular bands without incurring litigation, Elway can keep their moniker and continue making so-so music for our dozens of fans to enjoy.
Elway may be able to claim that the band is violating trademark laws with that name, but Punknews.org staff writer John Gentile explains that “the band Elway might have a good argument that there is no confusion, mostly because there is likely little evidence of actual confusion, the goods produced by John Elway and the band Elway are entirely different, and the marketing channels of the two parties probably do not overlap.”
Now that this news has gone public, I doubt Elway (the human being) continues to pester Elway (the band), mainly because it just looks petty. The band isn’t raking in millions while using his name, so why bother? All he’ll do by pushing this is cost the band thousands of dollars in legal costs or force them to change a harmless name and go back to the drawing board.
In related news, it’s Day 73 of the lockout.