BLABBERMOUTH.NET has obtained a copy of the 13-page complaint filed by MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine against the group's former bassist, David Ellefson, alleging Ellefson used the name of the band without permission in an advertisement for musical equipment. [Download the document in PDF format at this location.]
The suit, filed Monday (July 25) in Superior Court by Mustaine, claims he and Ellefson entered into a settlement agreement in February that restricts the guitarist's use of the band name.
"Ellefson shall be permitted to identify as the former bassist of MEGADETH in his personal biography or resume, and in interviews. Ellefson shall not use, or authorize anyone else to use, the work or mark 'MEGADETH" to advertise, market or promote any person, band, company, organization, product or services without MEGADETH's prior express written permission," according to the lawsuit.
"… The Settlement Agreement permits Ellefson to mention only one time in any single interview that Ellefson is the 'former bassist of MEGADETH.' Plaintiffs contend that Ellefson may not otherwise use the word 'MEGADETH' in any way for any commercial purpose, pursuant to the express terms of . . . the Settlement Agreement."
Mustaine said an ad in this month's issue of Bass Player features Ellefson holding a pedal tuner for bass guitars and includes the names of several bands he is involved with — including MEGADETH.
"In violation of the clear and unambiguous terms contained in . . . the Settlement Agreement . . . Ellefson used and/or authorized others to use, the word and mark 'MEGADETH' in a full-page, full-color print advertisement in the July 2005 issue of Bass Player magazine, among other publications, to advertise and promote a company called Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc., and its product, a 'StroboStomp' pedal tuner for bass guitars," according to the lawsuit. "The advertisement also promotes and advertises Ellefson personally. The advertisement features, among other things, a large picture of Ellefson holding a large Peterson StroboStomp pedal tuner in his hand. Next to Ellefson's face is the text: 'An essential tool in the arsenal…' – David Ellefson, F5, SOULFLY, MEGADETH.'"
Mustaine is seeking unspecified compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages.
Formed in 1983, MEGADETH released a greatest hits album, "Back to the Start", last month, which has sold 44,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Ellefson appeared on albums from 1985 to 2002 until he got into a disagreement with Mustaine and refused to rejoin the band last year.