No, seriously, I hear you man ... we came up with the name Playing Dead in 2004, and just in the last year or so, there was a band in Western Mass. that decided to call themselves Play Dead, and then try to book gigs in the clubs we were playing out that way. We asked them nicely to change their name -- they had just started -- and the lead guitarist decided to be a prick about it ... fortunately, one of our drummers is a lawyer. That got his attention ... so he changed the band's name to Shakedown. Never mind that JeffM's band in CT has been Shakedown forever, and they play in Western Mass. sometimes, too.
Now there's another band in VT called Play Dead, and they came and played the same Mass. festival Playing Dead's done a few times before ... people get confused ("hey, we thought it was you guys on the bill!"). Plus Playing Dead's done the Killington VT festival for years, played at the Higher Ground in Burlington, Mt. Snow up in VT... etc.
But what can you do? No one owns this music, or the catch phrases associated with it. All you can do is hope people will be kind about things like names and gigs that have been established by someone else ... sometimes they are cool about it. Sometimes they are not.
It's nothing new ... I played in UJB in Tampa for years, and we booked a gig in Key West, and UJB from S. Fla. tried to actually show up and play instead of us. Can't win for trying, sometimes.
yeah, we were doing Wormtown and saw "Play Dead" on the bill too and I went looking for you, so they even fooled me and I am usually pretty up to date on that stuff. And yes they did change their name to Shakedown (shit, we have only been at it 23 years now as some of our fans ended up at one of their gigs and were not happy. We haven't and won't probably do anything about it (what could we do anyway) but it's just silly. Like you said, nobody owns the catch phrases. However if someone takes the name of another band in the same area (like say 100 miles), that kind of crosses the line for me. For example both Connecticut and Colorado "Shakedown's" get along fine, have shared members in the past, and laugh when Colorado heads are back east and East coasters are in CO. and think they are going to see the same band (it happens at least a couple times a year believe it or not).
You think it is coincidence that this band for all the names went from Play Dead to Shakedown? Or maybe it has to do something with trying to pick off 2 bands with some of the better draws in the region? Pretty sleazy if that was the intent. My only thing is if we go after them. they will then change their name to Fennario (or maybe they will spell it Phennario and call it "original" haha).
I think Big Rhythm Wine has the right idea, nobody can claim that name as common Dead song property.
Was the name of the Bar that the two UJB's showed up at "Bob's country Bunker" by any chance?