Bassist Jay Crew says he walked out of reggae band Bad Neighborz last year because lead singer Erik Trogisch was mangling his songs. “Erik screams in the mic. He has no dynamic control. Erik would say, ‘You can’t tell me how to sing.’ So, I just left. I took what I wrote and split to find a professional singer.”
Bad Neighborz took on a new bassist, changed its drummer, and renamed itself Sunny Rude. Crew took the discarded Bad Neighborz name for his new three-piece.
Now there is a custody battle over three songs that Crew says he cowrote.
“I wrote the melody, choruses, and guitar and bass parts,” says Crew. “Erik wrote the lyrics.... I suggested each band give the other band credit for these three songs on their records.”
Bad Neighborz credited Sunny Rude on the initial printings of their CD (coincidentally called Sunny D), but Sunny Rude will not credit the Neighborz on their soon-to-be-released Rudimentary. (The three songs have different titles on each album.)
“They disrespectfully declined,” says Crew. “Erik continues to disrespect Bad Neighborz to fans and promoters. He rejected a fair proposal for us to feature each other. How could you be in the most spiritually enlightened genre of music and be that shady?”
“He doesn’t write the songs, that’s my job,” says Trogisch. “That’s ludicrous. He’s the bassist. He’s stealing my work.”
“Stealing?!” says Crew. “I spent hours writing the melodies to make good choruses, guitar, and bass.”
Sunny Rude’s bassist, Dan Millican, is also the band’s manager. “Our versions are completely different. Nothing was recorded when he left the band. The songs were in their infant stages. He quit the band. He relinquishes any rights to songs they were working on.”
Bad Neighborz appears October 19 at the Typhoon Saloon. Sunny Rude appears at RT’s Longboard on October 20.