Not Neighborzly

Jay Crew: “How could you be in the most spiritually enlightened music and be that shady?”
  • Jay Crew: “How could you be in the most spiritually enlightened music and be that shady?”

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.

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This article is slandered so far to one side, Ken should be sued for defamation of character. Why would a writer, in the music section, not know the laws with regards to the rights to songs. You can't copyright a chord progression. Its all about who RECORDED the ENTIRE song with lyrics and ALL instruments. All it takes is under 1 minute to google search "iTunes Sunny Rude" and "iTunes Bad Neighborz" and you can clearly see the Sunny Rude album was released 4 months before the Bad Neighborz album. Sunny Rude- http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/live-at-winstons/id430529279 and Bad Neighborz- http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sunny-d/id453539243

Who is stealing who's songs?? Get your facts right, and do your research Ken, BEFORE you throw any Local, Hard working band under the bus.

Its absurd to think that a Bass player who quits a band, before any songs are recorded, can claim he has rights to songs that were just starting to be worked. Especially if he didn't right any lyrics... Jay's quote: "Erik wrote the lyrics...."

So if the hooks and lyrics to the 3 songs in question were written by Erik, why does Bad Neighborz think they have any rights to those lyrics.

Any musician should read this article and realize the absurd claims by Jay Crew and Bad Neighborz.

Either Jay Crew owns the copyright to the songs or he does not. He says he has hard proof that he does. The only thing you can copyright is the melody and the lyrics. The issue isn't who released it first. That's not what Crew said. He said he filed the songs with the copyright office in D.C. first. It doesn't seem that the guys in Sunny D bothered to do that. At any rate, if any of these songs are used on a commercial or a soundtrack or becomes a hit, that's when a court of law would have to sort out the copyright issue. I would agree it is not black and white.

Any musician reading this who is facing an issue like this (band breaks up, songwriters go different ways) needs to get legal advice as to how to protect their intellectual property. Crew never claimed that he wrote the lyrics, just most of the melody.

The "stealing" word did not come from me. I just quoted somebody.

Just because he played bass does not mean he can't write a song. Ever hear of Paul McCartney or Sting.

While I understand your reasoning Ken, I was surprised by the one sided stance that this article takes, without actually HAVING the facts or proof. I 100% agree with your statement: "Any musician reading this who is facing an issue like this (band breaks up, songwriters go different ways) needs to get legal advice as to how to protect their intellectual property."

I think the article could have been written from an unbiased point of view, especially since you said above that Jay Crew says he "has proof", yet you haven't seen this. You are basically defaming a band (Sunny Rude) that has worked hard to establish it's reputation, based upon the claims of a scorned ex-band member that QUIT the band. Really? That doesn't seem right or fair.

The next question I would ask you, is what did Jay Crew submit to the copyright office? A recording of the band at the time, with the Sunny Rude members playing the instruments? How would that recording be copyrighted only to Jay? Unless he submitted sheet music for each instrument, the copyright would belong to the entire band and the members playing the submitted recordings.

Wouldn't it make sense that Jay Crew, a scorned ex-band member, would be upset of the success of his old band(now Sunny Rude), and would approach you to write this article.

I do understand that you were approached or choose to write the article from the side of Bad Neighborz. But the bottom line is it very "gray" when a song is copyrighted. But in this case I would go with the facts/proof available(see the iTunes links above).

And yes I do know of Paul McCartney, Sting and Rush. Even locally The Devastators singer is their bassist, Ivan. It just seems strange that if Jay Crew was the person who wrote all the melodies, and was able to write music for guitar AND bass, couldn't he write lyrics too? Doesn't it makes much more sense if they all jammed, and once a good melody was played on bass or guitar, the singer, Erik, would write lyrics over it?

So a better article would have been about who owns the rights to music that is created as a band, and then the band splits or breaks up before recordings are released. If you quit a band, and THE BAND wrote all the songs together in band practice, can you take any of the BANDS songs with you?

Wouldn't it be prudent to either get all the proof and facts in front of you, before you write an article. Isn't a reporter supposed to be unbiased? Unless you have proof in your hands that I don't know about.

It seems that the iTunes links I provided above are the only proof that actually exists. Did you see those iTunes album release dates before or after you published your article?

Brett - Would you like to see a copy of Jay's copyright papers. If so, how would you like to see them. Instead of getting mad at me, it seems to me like you would demand that Jay show you his copyright papers. It is clear to me that you did not go through this process yourself since you are only mentioning iTunes. Both Crew and Trogisch admit they each contributed to the songwriting of these songs. Of course they both disagree on how much.

Jay told me he was disheartened because he simply asked for a good natured, friendly cooperative agreement between each band, where the two bands would simply acknowledge the other band in print on the CD. He says that Trogisch harshly rejected that idea of cooperation.

So where is the slander? Your new CD says that the current members of Sunny Rude solely wrote all these songs. Crew says that is not true and he has the copyright papers to prove it. Where is the slander? Is it the word "stealing?" If that is what is upsetting to you, please understand that even if Crew owns the songs by virtue of his copyright status, Sunny Rude can record those songs or any songs they wish. No one can prevent any one else from recording their songs. But if it can be proved in court that he really does have an ownership, it seems to me that it was the fact that you did not list him as a co-writer on your new CD that caused him to use that word. According to your CD label copy, you are saying that he had no part in creating them. I don't think that is true.

Did you have copyright papers sent back to you? I don't think so. You are only citing iTunes. Crew actually did the official thing to protect himself, right or wrong.

Just because your recording of those songs appeared on such a date, has no bearing at all as to who wrote them.

You need to understand that just because you play bass, doesn't mean you can't write songs. Plus you say that just because Jay could write melodies, doesn't it mean he could write lyrics too? Huh? No it doesn't. Plenty of songwriter teams were made up of one lyricist, and one music writer. Jay never said he wrote lyrics. What's your point?

I would encourage potential fans of both bands go see them play at both of their shows. I would hope Crew brings his papers with him to prove to anyone who may want to see them.

By the way, who is Brett Benito? You aren't in the band. You know who I am. Who are you really?

I am asking Crew to post his serial number from his copyright papers on this blog. While he hates the drama, he says he understands that you have to stand up for what's right.

I would love to read what an attorney may have to say about this. Surely there are a few out there who could comment.

Bret get your facts straight those songs were copywritten back in 2010 and recorded. Just because an album came out sooner doesn't mean the song wasn't created earlier.

I'll await the serial number on Jay's copyright of the songs. I am interested to see how he copyrighted them.

Ken, I am Brett Benito. I helped manage Sunny Rude for awhile. I have been involved in music, playing BASS in several bands, and managing for over 20 years. I have come across a similar situation a couple times.

I'll wait patiently to see Jay's copyright serial number.

Caleb Bad Neighborz here. I am the so called "professional singer" whom J Crew Bad Neighborz "split to find". Check out an article with D Wolf at RollinSD dot com to learn more about how I met J Crew and my involvement in Bad Neighborz. CLICK http://rollinsd.com/d-wolf-sat-down-with-caleb-and-j-crew-of-bad-neighborz/

Ohh yeah and about the BAD NEIGHBORZ / SUNNY RUDE DRAMA,

Its been a while it seems...but only a year actually this month, that I have been in Bad Neighborz with J Crew. I joined into the drama with the Sunny Rude band. J is only asking for credit where credit is due.

If you weren't thinking about only yourselves we would of worked this out by now...



(yeah I said it.)




Caleb Wilborn Bad Neighborz http://www.facebook.com/caleb.badneighborz

Brett, I have the copyright serial numbers and certificate of registration anytime you wanna see them. I'm not sure it is smart for me to paste them here legally or what not, but due to the constant slander of Bad Neighborz and disrespect to what I wrote and contributed, the letters are being sent.

Hey Brett - I am trying to convince Jay that he has nothing to lose by posting his copyright registration number. Please stand by. At any rate, he says he will gladly show you (or anyone else) these papers in person. If he doesn't, get back with me. I repeat: everyone interested in this should see your show and then go see Bad Neighborz' show and see who can produce the copyright papers on these songs. Jay has said he will bring them with him. Will you bring yours?

So let me get this straight...if songwriters who are interested in this struggle (and it certainly is a legitimate problem that would concern many others) show up to see Bad Neighborz, Jay is going to show them his copyright registration receipt. If they come to the Sunny Rude show, the band is going to say "But we had a recording of it first on iTunes first..."....hmmmm...

Anyway Brett Benito, I sure hope you weren't the manager of Sunny Rude when it came time for them to protect their songwriting copyrights. Because if you told them (as you say now in your blog posts) that all you have to do is put them up on iTunes, then I would say you have a lot to account for.

Registration number SRu 989-678 are for both titles of work for Songs sunny D and californiyay, registered back in 2010 for sound recording, production music, lyrics and notes. Registration number SRu 1-017-095 for song "once you got it" or their version they "stole" without approval and or credit for "red eye" for the same sound recording performance, production, music, lyrics and notes.

What's next? Lawsuit? Band off? both? Cause it could have all been squashed with respect and credit for one another. Not bad mouthing or claiming i "stole" what i actually wrote. So let's lower ourselves and sue for songs. Either way I'm down to protect my hard work and protect my music that I put my heart and passion in.

Really this is funny!!!! I'll give it all to Sr then Bn. I'm play music also, heard both bands and by far Sr. Kills Bn. And to make a point that mr crew didn't say!!!! The guitar player from sunny rude has the copyright to the name "bad neighbors " or how ever your want to spell it and I know this for a fact!! Ya Wana go about some songs who ever wrote! It's all about the person who wrote the lyrics!!! Funk if you came up with some other way to sing it ! Dude your stealing some thing you didn't write. Get over your self. And the songs you think are being stolen sorry , mr j crew. You play the same bass lines that Dan from sr plays then talk smack. Your jazz fender bass sucks and upgrade douche!!! And to the reader come watch a show before you post things! For real people that know. Make the reader not worth reading !!!!!!!!

Haha nice bias comments, I wonder who "thatonewhoknows" is? Come to our next show and show your face and we'll see if youre not in the band sunny rude. Haha I guess ill remind you that I created the bass lines, guitar melodies etc way before Dan came in, which is clearly written in copywrites over a year ago, and spelled out here in this article. You can't read? Thanks for making yourself look foolish.

So where we are now is that Jay Crew will show anybody who wants to see, his copyright registration papers. He just wrote the serial numbers for those papers. So Brett Benito what do you have to say now? Where's the slander? Nothing I wrote was wrong. I quoted two members of Sunny Rude and Crew. I think the "douche" remark in your recent blog post pretty much sums up where you guys are coming from. The sad thing is, not everybody in Sunny Rude is like that.

I hope that Jay Crew tells every musician who asks, how to copyright and protect your songs. It's very easy and not very expensive.

I also hope that Brett Benito or anyone who tries to act as a "manager," should make sure that the songwriters in the band he is supposed to helping, needs to protect their work.

After reading all the biased comments from both sides, i thought it might be smart of me to give unbiased thoughts first, then add my own commentary

First of all this is a fight between Erik and Jay. This really doesnt have anything to do with the music, since Piers (guitarist) was in both BN with jay and Caleb, and in SR with myself and erik (we can leave drummers out of this argument) Piers played with BN at the same time as SR for about 3-4 months, during which the songs in question were being written. This shows that members of both bands had a hand in creating both songs. (Piers still owns the name BN, which can be found on the SD countys copyright website)

Secondly If both Erik and Jay would have been more diplomatic in their approach to creating a means of peace, this problem wouldn't even exist. I can tell you first hand that most of the guys in both bands don't really care about the situation(Caleb& Mikey- Myself& Kevin)Jay didn't really take the "Jah" approach in contacting us, and erik didn't do a good job in reacting to Jays aggressive behavior, thus creating biased, emotionally scared lines of communication that would be difficult to overcome. To combat this, jay tried to bring in myself and others into the argument, which really is about the hatred that these two men have for each other. reacting to this negatively was eriks approach, not necessarily the views of all of the band, which created a snowball effect of emails to myself from Jay, and more shit talking by both bands.

now for my 2 cents..... lets start with bass: i had not met any of either band members prior to this. I had not heard jays bass lines, or any of BN songs until i played a show with them in my side project. The way jay acted towards me at this show, was disrespectful, and very egotistical. I had to approach him to say hello, at which time he made some weak comments to me and acted negatively. Where's the reggae love you claim jay?

I play a 5 string, and jay plays a 4 which creates different ways to write bass lines over chord progressions. to get a bit technical, on sunshine, i utilize a minor 11th to get to the 3rd chord in the progression, and i use the minor 3rd 2nd and root note to emphasize the last chord, with another minor 11th to loop the progression together. jay uses consistent 5ths on each progression, with no scale deviation. so before you talk about MY bass lines listen to them first. I write all my lines myself. after listening to both songs there are definite similarities to both, but for the most part its basic chord progs. and lyrics. at no point are any of our bass lines similar, so leave my bass playing out of this.

Ive wondered recently why this was such a big deal to jay and erik. is it really about "stealing" or is it about you two acting like girls, and not dealing with this like adults. you both look like egoistical a**holes that wont let your hatred for each other go. How are either of you going to be ambassadors to reggae music when you cant even get along with other musicians?

what do you mean to accomplish by a law suit? money? fame? something to feed your ego? do you plan on asking for money from us? throwing around those words because your pissed doesnt help your side, it just makes you look emotional.

what do you plan on achieving through a "band off" this will NEVER happen because neither band will be able to agree on a venue, time, or who a "winner" is. Is this a way to prove something? I would really hate for one band to get butt hurt because they didnt have enough people at the show, or some other excuse that would come out of either bands mouth if they lost.

My old bands still play the songs that i helped write, and guess what I DONT CARE! in 99.9% of music cases it is the whole band that writes arranges and plays their songs. even in Stings case, there were others who helped him with his vision.

As for this article, only 2 people should be ashamed of themselves. Ken did a good job in playing both sides of the argument, but i guarantee because of space, and time it took to write the article, things had to be omitted.

finally, you know as well as i do jay that our bass lines arent even close, so leave that part out of your argument, but if you like i can give you lessons on how to play your bass, since i am classically trained on a collegian level. ive seen first hand your style and technique on your beginner bass, and with a few adjustments, you might become a decent bass player. So before you drag me into this, make sure you know what your talking about, because my bass theory, bass line composition, experience, and time on stage cannot be compared to you. we arent in the same ballpark as bass players, not even close bud.

This whole thread was great way to speak opinions and release some truth to the whole subject that we are clearly not grown up enough to face in person. So, Dan I'm glad you can give your opinion as well. But let me remind you to reread the comments. I never once said you took my bass lines or anythig negative about them. It was clearly this "knowbest" that claimed i was using your bass lines. My comments were to remind ya'll that shit was already written before you came in so please re-read that.

2nd, your "old bands still play the songs that i helped write"...cool...but did you just write the bass line or actually write the melody of the choruses, verses, chord structures that are the foundation of a song? Or just a bass line? Clearly thats different. And that's where my problem arises.

About your "classically trained" bass playing, thats pretty cool actually man, I can respect that 100%. However your beginner "let me train you comments" just lowered yourself way down. Who wants to learn from someone like that except little kids. Go teach little kids, but were grown ass men who can respect each other on the "same level" of a maturity standpoint.

Lastly and most important, I dont pride myself or just consider myself a bass player. I actually went to school for music production playing multiple instruments. I pride myself in songwriting, singing, creating harmonies, piano, guitar, bass, performing, entertaining, producing (reason, mpc, engineering, protools, working in studio with artists), etc. Im stoked for you that you are such a great bass player but from what ive seen, thats all you are. I could care less about being JUST a bass player. I actually decided to play the bass primarily live because I can sing and play bass at the same time. This is something I'm sure you know how difficult it can be. It's considered harder than playing any other instrument while singing. ...Now its time to lower myself ...So actually with my "collegian trained" producing skills if in fact you would like some lessons yourself on writing melodies, performing, producing, guitar composition, singing, which arent anywhere on my level, why dont you let me know. Maybe we can trade lessons. Or rather we can trade amateur comments back and forth.

I'm Sorry that you regarded my handshake and ONLY a simple "hello" as "disrespectful, and very egotistical." Honestly, I apologize if it came that way when I just said hello and nothing more or less. All bullS*** aside I appreciate you dealing with all this in any healthy way you can. I hope that next time we run into each other we can have a better conversion and get to know each other completely outside of this subject.

if you read your comment after this unknown persons post you will see you actually do say you wrote the bass lines, which was the prompt for me to write this. I did write a lot of chord progressions in stone senses, which they still use today. The fact of the matter, for me, is credit should be given on both sides of the fence. There is no doubt that the three of you contributed to these three songs. You know as well as I do that Piers helped you form these songs in both bands, and erik had a hand in creating the vocals. Obviously what hand each of you had in this is where the discrepency is. For me its simple: give both bands credit for 3 songs, shake hands and call it a day. Neither side has been able to do this so this is where the conflict arises. Ive never had any problems with you, yet the feeling of disrespect has always been there. Like i told the guys "chill the eff out and move on" these songs are just a small part of our catalog now, as i assume is for you. to me we have better, harder hitting, face melting songs other than those three. we have moved on musically as a band, and i hope you guys have to

I would like to apologize formly to Bad Neighborz and Im glad we were able to come to an understanding with one another. Again great show guys and hopefully we can jam together soon! Erik (SUNNY RUDE)

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