Metallica makes peace with tribute band over cease-and-desist order

A heavy metal drummer who calls Sudbury home says a recent scuffle with a lawyer for Metallica has ended on a positive note.

Legal notice over trademark unexpectedly paying dividends in free publicity for both Sandman and Metallica

Metallica tribute band Sandman is made up of Paul Fonseca (bass/vocals), Rickferd Van Dyk (vocals/guitar), Brent Niemi (drums) and Joe Di Taranto (guitar/vocals). (Facebook/Fernando Goulart)
Brent Niemi is the drummer for the Metallica tribute band Sandman and the former drummer of the band Helix. He is from Sudbury. (Facebook)
A heavy metal drummer who calls Sudbury home says a recent scuffle with a lawyer for Metallica has ended on a positive note.

Brent Niemi, who plays with the Metallica tribute band, Sandman, said the group was shocked to be handed a cease-and-desist order recently from Metallica's lawyer.

Niemi said it was 41-pages long, and detailed claims of trademark infringement over a logo, the lawyer said was too similar to the one used on a 2003 Metallica album.

Niemi said the band posted the logo on their website, but have since taken it down.

The matter got the attention of the drummer of the real Metallica, Lars Ulrich.

"Lars, he really couldn't explain it," Niemi told CBC News.

"He just said the lawyer might be taking a really long ice-fishing trip up in Alaska as retribution for it."

The tribute band has Metallica's blessing to carry on, Niemi said.

Sudbury's Brent Niemi and his band-mates were named in a 41 page letter from the lawyer for the real Metallica. It told them they couldn't use their long-time logos due to trademark infringement. The matter was dropped.

Publicity over the matter, including coverage in Rolling Stone, has raised Sandman's profile.

Niemi the warning of trademark infringement was a bit of a surprise, considering the band promotes Metallica's music.

"I remember being in Sudbury in my bedroom at 16 years old, listening to Master Puppets on vinyl going, 'Wow,' and looking at the album cover and going, 'Wowww. What is this?' It was a game changer for me for sure," Niemi said.

Ulrich said told the Canadian musicians to throw the legal notice away — but odds are he might just stash it with those old vinyl Metallica records.

Sudbury's Brent Niemi is the drummer for the Metalicca tribute band Sandman. The band was contacted by Metallica's lawyer over trademark infringements for the Sandman logo. We spoke with Brent about how the issue came up and how was resolved. 5:56


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