The New York Post reported that this NY singer was being sued for 10 Million Dollars because she was not talented enough and not good looking enough to front a Pink Tribute band. (Read the Article in the NY POST Here). But to be more specific, the real story is a bit more involved. It seems that Attorney Charles Bonfante III, who also is a drummer on Long Island NY, had decided to create a Pink Tribute band with Bassist Rik Nevone (Also from Long Island). Rik Nevone hired Manhattan based singer Collette McLafferty to front the band, which did not sit well with Mr Bonfante. When the relationship Between Mr. Nevone and Mr. Bonfante soared, Rik Nevone continued with his plans to create the tribute band along with Ms. McLafferty and and guitar player John Rodriguez, not really thinking that this would be a problem. This apparently angered Mr. Bonfante, and since he was an attorney, it seems that Mr. Bonfante decided to file a lawsuit in the Suffolk County Supreme Court (in the state of NY) alleging a wide variety of ills caused by Rik Nevone, John Rodriguez and Ms. McLafferty because they went ahead and created a Pink Tribute band without him. The suit also claims that he was seeking damages of $10 million. He then had the lawsuit papers served to the group just prior to their first gig, during rehearsal at EKO Studios in Deer Park, NY. Though the NY Post article centered on Ms McLafferty, obviously there are more parties and issues involved then her talent and looks. But lets start by looking at this story from the top.
Ms. McLafferty is a professional musician/Singer in the NY City area with extensive credits and achievements both as an individual artist and as a lead singer of the band EdibleRed. EdibleRed was featured on MTV’s “Buzzworthy” (Click HERE to view). The Lawsuit claims that Ms. McLafferty is Untalented and “Subpar” and was not able to front a Pink Tribute band. I have supplied, below the article, some youtube video’s of Ms McLafferty .. and since such a claim is a subjective call, I want the reader to able to judge for themselves. Also I was able to interview Ms McLafferty about the lawsuit and what lead up to it in a “Making A Scene” exclusive interview! Listen below.[audio:Collette.mp3]
Rather than rely on what someone may tell you about the lawsuit, You can read the actual complaint filing made by Mr. Bonfante by
NOTE: Rik Nevone, and John Rodriguez are part time musicians who look at music as a hobby and a passion. This is not their profession nor were they looking to leave their day jobs to pursue a career as members of a tribute band. Much like a lot of part time musicians with jobs, families and a love for playing music, these musicians kept their passion alive by playing in various cover bands and tribute bands. Playing weekend gigs, not for the financial gain, but for the love of playing for people. For the most part, it is these musicians that form the backbone of the any local music scene.
It should be noted that Both of these musicians are being represented by Attorney Rima Nayberg (718) 459.2600 in these issues.
As I read through the complaint, Besides the close to 100 paragraphs on how professional and good Mr. Bonfante claims he is, I was struck by the some troubling precedents that could be set if it was given merit in the NY court system. In the complaint it states that Rik Nevone, John Rodriguez and Collette McLafferty should be restricted from forming or performing in any Pink Tribute Band, EVER!! Think about this for a second. An independent part time musician, who does this more for the fun (with the exception of Collette McLafferty who is a professional Musician/Singer), can be told by a court of law what kind of music he/she can perform based on a claim by another independent part time musician that he owns the idea to play that kind of (cover) music. And to top it off, Mr Bonfante claims, that in such a limited market as Long Island NY, that he sustained damages to the tune of $10 Million?! The way I see it the pure fact that you are establishing a “Tribute” Band negates any claim to originality. According to Mr. Nevone, Mr. Bonfante has also filed for a registered trademark on the Names “Reservoir Dogs” and “Funhouse” (the names that Mr. Nevone had used for his band) one being a CD Title from the original band Pink and of course Reservoir Dogs a Movie Title. The Irony is, there are bands using these names and who have used these names long before this issue began, and they predate any trademark filings by Mr. Bonfante. But, he is still claiming that Mr. Nevone and the others in his band cannot use those names and according to Mr. Nevone. Because Mr. Bonfonte has filed for trademark protection (not that he actually has the trademark) Mr Nevone and the band were served two cease and desist orders claiming that Mr. Bonfonte owns those names. I am curious if the other bands using those names also were served as well?
As of the writing of this article Mr. Bonfante had released Mr Rodriguez from the lawsuit, but not before he had expended considerable funds to secure an attorney. In return for his release from the lawsuit, Mr. Bonafante has made Mr. Rodriguez sign a paper stating that he would never play in any Pink tribute or Pink cover band with Rik Nevone. I’m sorry but this alone is a dangerous precedent.
According to both Mr. Nevone and Ms. McLafferty they have been put in a critical financial situation because of this lawsuit. Mr. Nevone states the funds he was going to use to help his child with college tuition had to go to legal fees, to fight this lawsuit. This is not a profession for Mr. Nevone, as he states, “It’s Like Lightning in a bottle being able to get on stage and play some music I love as a hobby”. Unfortunately he states that Mr. Rodriguez has vowed to never play his guitar again because of the lawsuit. What a travesty that would be. Mr. Nevone has also indicated that Mr. Bonfante has also filed a libel suit against him, based on comments on Mr. Nevone’s Facebook page. Just another suit that he now has to defend himself against.
Collette McLafferty has started a fund for her defense and is using the #justice4collette on twitter to help her find support. For Information on how to donate to the legal defense fund for both artists see below.
It should be noted that she is represented by attorney Martin Kera of Kera and Graubard (212) 681-1600.
This story is starting to gain media attention, it has been placed on the AP wire service and is sure to start being picked up wherever there is a slow news day. Since the NY Post story, I have found at least a half of Dozen articles on the internet on this story. I do believe the more attention this story gets in the media the more outrage it will start to garner among the music community. Myself, I decided to not go with the route that most of the stories took, centering on Ms. McLafferty, whether she was talented enough, good looking enough to front a Pink Tribute band, Just because it plays better. My intent is to bring more of the full story to light, so you can see it for what it is.
The precedent that could be set by this lawsuit could have a long term effect on any young Jimmy or Jane musician in their garage, as they look over the restrictions on whose music they can cover and whose music they cannot because some other musician in town had the idea to cover it first. I mean really .. they don’t want to get sued for playing Pink songs because someone else had the idea of covering her music. Now do they?!
I would really love to hear what members of “Pink” would have to say about this lawsuit, since they are the ones that “Truly” had the original idea to start with.
Editor NOTE: Mr. Bonfante did not return our calls for an interview or statement on this issue.
As you can imagine this Lawsuit has put a financial strain on both of these artists, and any help you can give them would be greatly appreciated!
To Donate to Rik Nevone’s Legal Defense fund you can send funds through Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
To Donate to Collette McLafferty’s Legal Defense Fund you can do so by CLICKING HERE
Collette has setup a new campaine to help raise funds for her defense .. you can check that out here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/p-nk-tribute-legal-defense-fund
Collette also created a song and video to help raise funds for her defense Check out the video Below
Video’s of Collette McLafferty
Here is a video/audio of the Pink Tribute Band rehearsal right after they were served with the Lawsuit.
Collette McLafferty Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/littleredcollette?fref=ts
Rik Navone Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Harper2.0?fref=ts
Other Coverage on this Story