Stuka Squadron have just returned from a massively enjoyable and highly successful tour of England and Wales – and now it is time for a fresh chapter in the band history. Just before we fired our former bassist Graham Cushway in September, he proceeded to trademark the band name claiming sole ownership and creation of everything that the band has achieved since its inception. Cushway, known as Lord Pyre, was actually a co-founder of the band alongside James ‘Duke Fang’ Begley, but has since claimed that he wrote everything on the debut EP and first album (a ‘fact’ not borne out by either reality or the official credits listed on the album) and was responsible for every aspect of the band’s development, including all goodwill generated by the band, up until his dismissal. We were not informed of his Trademarking, but simply happened upon it by chance. He also threatened us with libel action because we said ‘he resigned’. We did not. And he did not. So, to clarify the point that he wanted clarified: He was fired after the remaining band members considered that he repeatedly failed to measure up to many of his band obligations.
Following several lengthy emails from Graham Cushway detailing his demands and conditions in regard to the band continuing under the name Stuka Squadron, threatening legal action at every possible turn, we of course opted to contest his assertions. However, trademark and copyright law is extremely complex and difficult to prove, despite the facts being categorically listed and known to the band members. Legal counsel – who helped navigate a minefield of jargon – were compelled to point out that the proof that was available did not necessarily show the reality of events: much of the band’s early business being run in an extremely informal way. Indeed, the trademark will not even become confirmed until 28 November as it is still listed as ‘Advertised’ not ‘Registered’ and within the two month contestable period, yet already Cushway has had several images of ours removed from Facebook citing ‘copyright violation’; Facebook replying to our queries with information about the complainant but also the fact that they immediately react to complaints rather than check the facts of the matter.
During our tour we continued to receive emails from Cushway threatening us with all manner of legal action regarding the premature breach of his not-yet-enforceable Trademark. We were warned by him to immediately cease all shows under the name Stuka Squadron. Needless to say, the gigs were superb!
This whole sorry episode will serve no purpose other than to get between the band and its growing legion of headbanging hardcore metalhead fans. This is a situation we cannot allow to continue. With the band moving steadily forward, an excellent new bass player (and even an excellent substitute bass player who deputised for the recent tour!) we have decided to start a new chapter and not fund this bottomless legal money pit. Thus the Stuka Squadron is reborn. We have been promoted. We are no longer merely a Squadron…we are the IRON KNIGHTS…and under this banner we will continue to move forward. Despite Graham Cushway’s attempts to prevent our new album release (an album he did not play on), and his interference with the label and in turn the distributors who are handling this release, it will merely be postponed by a week and will emerge under the new band name: Iron Knights. Stuka Squadron is no more – but the Iron Knights are now unstoppable.
The release of the album ‘New Sound Of War’ will be postponed from the original release date of 19 November 2012 to 26 November 2012 and it will be an Iron Knights album.
The new website is www.ironknightsband.com and will be live imminently.