In 1999 Red Hot Chili Peppers released what some would consider their comeback album with Californication.. After dominating the 90’s with 1991’s with Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the band toured the world, they were all over MTV and they blew up in a major way but they would also be hit by internal strife. Guitarist john Frusciante would depart the group in 1992 and I’ve done a whole video on his departure, the link is down below.
Following his departure, the band went through several more guitarists and released the underwhelming album 1995’s One hot minute. By 1999 Frusciante was back with the band and the Chili Peppers were back on top once again. Californication would sell over 14 million copies worldwide and got a grammy nomination for best rock album. 8 years after their so called comeback album, Show time premiered a new show starring actor David Duchovny of the X-files fame who plays a novelist. Set in los angeles the show focuses on the seedy side of the the city including sex drugs and rock n’ roll something the Chili Peppers are familiar with.
The show is sprinkled with numerous rock n’ roll references and cameos. Henry Rollins guest starred in the first season and Duchovny’s character wrote several novels, which happened to be named after Slayer albums The Chili Peppers soon slapped the show with a lawsuit. But, what happened stay tuned to find out? Several months after Californication premiered in the summer of 2007 on showtime, the Red Hot Chili Peppers filed a lawsuit against Showtime Networks, show creators/executive producer Tom Kapinos as well as two production companies. The band claimed the tv show’s name caused confusion. The aim of the legal action was to get the show to change its name and pay the band an undisclosed amount of money.
Of course showtime didn’t approach the band to use the title in the first place because generally band’s do not own the title or names of their albums or songs. Not only did the Chili Peppers take issue with the name of the show, but actress Rachel Miner who played a secretary named Dani California, which is the name of a Chili Peppers song found on their 2006 album as well as a character whose been referenced on several of the group’s other songs as well. It would be ironic that the Chili Peppers song Dani California was accused by some of ripping off the Tom Petty song Mary Jane’s last dance, which came out 13 years prior. Both songs were produced by Rick Rubin. Interestingly enough, I’ve done a whole video on the similarity.
The link is below! The Chili peppers lawsuit alleged unfair competition, dilution of the value of the name and unjust enrichment with Frontman Anthony Keidis claiming that the title is and i quote “inherintly distinctive, famous and immediately associated in the mind of the consumer. For some TV Show to come along and steal our identity is not right. ” The lawsuit also claimed that at the time if people searched itunes using the word californication the store retrieves the band’s music and TV show’s compilation albums. So where did the shows title even come from? Well according to the show’s creator Tom Kapinos he claimed he first heard the word californication in reference to the state of Oregon.
According to the Associated Press Kapinos claimed “Apparently in the 70’s there was a bumper stick that said ‘Don’t californicate oregon’ because californians were coming up there and i just thought it was a great, great title for the show” . Looking at what’s going on now with people leaving california in droves for other states like nevada or texas and given that my brother live in houston i’ve heard similar things being thrown around these days. Showtime also claimed that the band never created the term pointing to a Time Magazine issue in 1972 with the headline The Great Wild Californicated West. The Canadian band Rheostatics also released an album called Whale Music in 1992 with a song called California Dreamline. In that song the word californication appears in the lyrics. You’re maybe wondering so can bands actually trademark their albums or songs? So a general rule is that names of songs or bands can’t be trademarked, but there are exceptions.