March 25, 2008 / 8:21 PM / 10 years ago

Smashing Pumpkins sue Virgin Records over Pepsi ads

<p>Billy Corgan, lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, performs with his band during the Live Earth New York concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey July 7, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The alternative-rock band Smashing Pumpkins have sued Virgin Records, saying their former record label damaged the Grammy-winning band’s image and reputation for artistic integrity by using it in a worldwide promotional campaign.

The Pumpkins claim in their breach-of-contract lawsuit, filed on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, that Virgin used the band’s name, music and image without its permission in a “Pepsi Stuff Promotion” to market the soft drink and Amazon.

“Its a frustrating situation honestly to be treated so poorly by a label where we had so much success,” the band’s singer, Billy Corgan, said in a written statement.

“Recently they have ignored our pleas to give our fans special editions of our old albums, telling us they weren’t interested so there is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy involved with them turning around and using us like this,” Corgan said

The lawsuit asserts that Smashing Pumpkins “worked hard for over two decades” to build goodwill with fans damaged by Virgin’s use of its music and image in the campaign.

<p>Billy Corgan, lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins, performs with his band during the Live Earth New York concert in New Jersey, July 7, 2007. The Smashing Pumpkins have sued Virgin Records, saying their former record label damaged the Grammy-winning band's image and reputation for artistic integrity by using it in a worldwide promotional campaign. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>

“Virgin has deceived and confused the public into believing that (the Pumpkins were) affiliated with the promotion,” the lawsuit says.

A spokeswoman for Virgin, now a boutique label that forms part of closely held EMI Group’s Capitol Music Group, has been at odds with the band over the years and no longer releases its material, declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing a policy against discussing pending litigation.

The civil complaint seeks unspecified damages and an injunction against Virgin from using its name or material in future promotions.

The Pumpkins, which formed in Chicago in the late 1980s, achieved mainstream success with such albums as “Siamese Dream” and “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.” The band won Grammy awards for best hard rock performance in 1996 and 1997.

Pepsi, marketed by PepsiCo, is based in Purchase, New York. Amazon.com, an Internet-based business specializing in the sale of books, CDs, DVDs and video games, is based in Seattle.

Editing by Todd Eastham

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