Who Sued the Squirrel Nut Zippers?
Who sued the Squirrel Nut Zippers? The story is as fascinating as it is tragic. The band was formed without much fanfare and a song was written in just 15 minutes. The break-up was so quiet that it was not even known to the public until years later. The band sold millions of records and divorced. But despite the success and money, the band foundered in lawsuits and divorce, leaving behind bad blood that still lingers in the company.
New Orleans-based swing jazz band Squirrel Nut Zippers recently sued a clothing company over its suit against the company. The lawsuit stems from a 1993 recording by the group. Jim “Jimbo” Mathus and Katherine Whalen created a communal studio to attract musicians who had lost interest in their music. The creative hideaway was filled with an unusual array of artists. The result was a record that won a Grammy and won the group a national audience.
The band was originally named Squirrel Nut Zippers, and it was formed in 1993. The group had a number of hit singles, and the band was a part of the jump jive ‘n’ wail swing movement of the early ’90s. The group split in 1996, but reunited in 2003 after releasing the highly-acclaimed Hot. Eventually, Mathus divorced Whalen and drifted home to Mississippi.
The new owner of Squirrel Brand Corporation is suing the company that makes Squirrel Nut Zippers. The lawsuit was filed because the Zippers violated the trademark of the Squirrel Brand Corporation, a candy maker. Whalen said the Zippers’ marketing plan to advertise free candy was illegitimate. However, she did acknowledge that she appreciated the reactions from fans of the Zippers.
The name “Squirrel Nut Zippers” comes from the peanut and caramel candies that they resemble. These candies were once widely available and their playfulness evoked a sense of joy. But when money was involved, the relationship between the two companies got complicated. Whalen sued the company, which later settled out of court. She won a substantial legal settlement against the company.
This memoir by Tom Maxwell, a former member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, tells the story behind their hit song “Hell.” The band’s name derives from the chewy peanut caramel candy. Maxwell recalls the band’s rise to fame and subsequent breakup. He and bassist Ken Mosher have fought against squirrel nut zippers ever since.
In 2001, Maxwell and Mosher filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming a partnership agreement breach. They were successful at the arbitration, but they had little money left in the bank, so they decided to sue. In 2002, the band received more than $20 million from Disney, Bug Music, and Erik Selz. Their accountant, Burt Goldstein, refused to comply with the subpoena. The two were forced to sell the property they had rented in the Carrboro neighborhood to pay their lawyers. The sale of the property led to a restraining order, but Maxwell and Mosher won and were awarded the $18 million payout.
Squirrel Nut Caramels
Who sued the Squirrel Nut Zippers? The story is an unbelievable one, with the band achieving unprecedented success and an equally improbable demise. In addition to litigation, they suffered a broken marriage, and their former trumpet player Stacy Guess overdosed after being kicked out of the band. But that’s not all. After the band split up in 1999, Maxwell and Ken Mosher filed a lawsuit in order to get back their creative control.
The Squirrel Nut Zipper was originally made in Massachusetts and named after a Vermont drunk. In 1998, they relocated to Texas, but returned to their New England roots in 2002. In the 1920s, they were owned by Necco, a company that went under in 2008. They eventually survived as Charleston Chews and Junior Mints and were sold in bags. They were also a favored treat of Civil War soldiers.
Founded in 1994, the Squirrel Nut Zippers were a fusion of gypsy jazz, swing, and Delta blues. They merged these styles into one unique sound and became associated with the Swing Revival of the late 1990s. In addition to performing live, they’ve made appearances on TV shows like Prairie Home Companion and Conan O’Brien’s Late Night. The band broke up in the early 2000s.
The band started in Chapel Hill, N.C., and featured members from New Orleans. They embraced a gumbo of musical styles and genres, and were ridiculed as novelty acts in the ’90s. Although former members of the band have since moved on to other projects, their co-vocalist, Ingrid Lucia, is now leading the group. Before the Squirrel Nut Zippers broke up, Lucia and her guitarist Jimbo Mathus had fronted a jazz and street band.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.