When people started asking Other Garden vocalist Colin Merry, “Have you heard this Green Day song?,” they weren’t recommending he listen for pleasure — they were suggesting he sue the Berkeley, California, rockers for plagiarism.
Now the obscure Cambridge, England, band is planning to sue Green Day for breach of copyright over the alleged similarity between Merry’s song “Never Got the Chance” — which he said he wrote in 1992 and was on the band’s 1997 EP (titled EP) — and “Warning” , the title cut of Green Day’s latest album, which Merry said he believes is a “reworked” version of his song. The band has contacted Green Day’s music publisher, Warner Chappell, and requested that all royalties from “Warning” be frozen.
“People started coming up to us, saying, ’Have you heard this Green Day song?,’ ” Merry said. “They said, ’You should look into this legally.’ I first heard [’Warning’] when it was on MTV.” That was in the fall.
Both songs, however, revolve around a circling bass riff very much like that of the Kinks’ “Picture Book” , from their 1968 album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. Merry said he recognizes a similarity between the Kinks tune — which he said he had never heard of until last week — and “Never Got the Chance,” but he said he doesn’t think there is as “striking” a similarity between those songs as that between the Green Day song and his.
Green Day had no comment on the matter Thursday, although www.greenday.com offers a link to www.theothergarden.co.uk, which contains an MP3 excerpt of “Never Got the Chance.”
“It looks like the little bloke is going to get shafted, from my end,” Merry said.