it come to this? Eddie Van Halen is suing Nike because the popular
sneaks maker is promoting a line of red and black tennis shoes. And,
you know, because Eddie's famed Frankenstrat guitar is red and black,
and all. According to the Guardian UK, ELVH, the guitarist's company, claims the shoe giant's design “infringes on the aesthetics” of the famed ax, whose Less Than Zero look was copyrighted by the band in 2001.
The Ax: Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstrat
But wait a minute — the new line of $90 Dunk Lows sorta does resemble the guitar, which Van Halen built from a Fender and Gibson in the late 1970s. A Wikipedia entry describes how Van Halen arrived at its distinctive appearance: “Eddie painted the guitar black. After it was dry he put strips of
masking tape on the body and
painted it white. This would be the black
and white “classic” version of the Frankenstrat. In 1979, Eddie put
more tape on the body and painted over that with Red Schwinn Bicycle
The Shoe: Nike's Dunk Low
In L.A. Superior Court, Van Halen's company is seeking not only damages
and the seizure of Nike profits from the shoe, but the destruction of
all inventory. Not surprisingly, Nike pooh-poohs Van Halen's allegations.
Some may say that as much as we fondly remember Van Halen the group
(and may harbor secretly fond memories of the 1980s), most of the
generation who'll be wearing the Dunk Lows couldn't tell you if Eddie played a guitar or washboard for a living. Others will cry Sacrilege! as loudly as though Nike had marketed Shroud of Turin washcloths.
What do you think, O Winged Reader? Please send your comments our way!