Skid Row Band Dispute Leads To Phil Varone Lawsuit
February 24, 2010
Matthew Belloni of HollywoodReporter.com reports: In what might be the strangest lawsuit of this young year, a drummer and self-professed sex addict who spent four years with the hair-metal band Skid Row is claiming his former bandmates are talking trash about him and preventing him from using the Skid Row name to promote himself.
Here’s the first paragraph of Phil Varone’s complaint against former Skid-mates David Sabo and James Southworth (aka Rachel Bolan), filed Friday in L.A. Superior Court:
“Plaintiff Varone is, first and foremost, a rock star. One can see that just by looking at him. He has the black hair, extensive tattoos and good looks of the world’s most popular rock and rollers.”
And it gets better from there.
Varone, who drummed for the ’80s glam rock band during its decidedly less glamorous period of 2000 to 2003, more recently has appeared on VH1’s “Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew,” where he claimed to have slept with more than 3,000 women. In the complaint, he alleges that his former Skid-mates “have embarked on a crusade to spread vicious lies about Varone in an effort to destroy his professional and personal reputation” and “to prevent him from truthfully describing his career history as the drummer for Skid Row, by contending that his use of the band name is trademark infringement.”
In addition, he claims Sabo and Southworth “had falsely informed people that Varone had slept with Sabo’s wife, that Varone is a cocaine addict and that Varone is a liar.” According to the complaint, Sabo, Southworth and their lawyer contacted night clubs and both Oprah Winfrey’s and Tyra Banks’ talk shows in advance of his appearance in connection with “Sex Rehab” and successfully prevented Varone from being identified as a former drummer of Skid Row.
“Its complete omission from a description of Varone’s professional experience deprives Varone from the benefits of his experience as a professional studio and live musician and rock star who toured the world, gave countless interviews, made hundreds of appearances and amassed thousands of fans worldwide,” the complaint reads. He even claims he lost a potential job performing in Vegas with a cover band called the “Sin City Sinners.”
Varone is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a declaration that his use of the Skid Row name doesn’t violate anybody’s trademark. He’s repped by Caroline Mankey of LA’s Cypress LLP, who should take a bow for drafting this fantastic complaint.