Members of Poison have been hit with a lawsuit claiming that four of their songs were stolen from another band.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Illinois federal court, isn’t over recently created work, but rather over old hits, including “Talk Dirty To Me,” “I Won’t Forget You,” “Fallen Angel” and “Ride the Wind.”
The plaintiffs in this new case are Billy McCarthy and James Stonich, who were members of a Chicago band known as Kid Rocker. This band was formerly signed to Atlantic Records and is said to have been a favorite on the Hollywood club scene in the early-1980s. During those years, they created a number of songs, including “Hit and Run” and “Wham Bam Slammin’ Romance,” which are said to have later been incorporated by Poison in their own work.
According to the plaintiffs, in 1984, before guitarist C.C. DeVille joined Poison, he auditioned for Kid Rocker. During this time, he allegedly was shown completed and formatted songs and was lent master-recorded studio tapes. Kid Rocker disbanded that year, but McCarthy purportedly presented songs for DeVille’s use as a member of another band, Screamin’ Mimis. Then DeVille joined Poison, and the rest is history. In 2004 McCarthy was asked by Sleaze Roxx how much of a hand he had in writing “Talk Dirty To Me” and replied, “I was the only hand in the arrangement–which Poison karaoke’d off Screamin Mimi’s version. If others differ, I’m waiting to hear or see it.” Poison became one of the stars of the glam era as their debut album, Look What the Cat Dragged In, sold approximately 4 million copies.
Now, 25 years later, McCarthy and Stonich are suing members of Poison plus Capitol Records and EMI Music for allegedly infringing the copyright on their songs. The plaintiffs are demanding disgorgement of all profits from the songs in question, statutory damages for willful infringement, and an injunction that prevents Poison and Michaels from performing this allegedly stolen material.