The keen eye may have noticed that female singer Bishop is now going by Bishop Briggs, or at least the surname-addendum transformation has begun. And, no, Bishop isn’t tacking on Briggs because her first name got lonesome, and no Briggs isn’t even her real last name. In fact, Bishopbriggs is a town in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland, from where Bishop allegedly derives. We say allegedly because not much is known about Bishop Briggs as she has no official website, no Wikipedia page, and her publicist, manager and attorney ignored repeated requests for comment for this story.
And the real story is that Bishop—most known for the come-hither alt-hit “Wild Horses,” also featured in an Acura commercial—is becoming Bishop Briggs for no other reason than another Bishop—a hard-rock trio from upstate New York—threatened to file an injunction against the band if the female Bishop didn’t make a change. You see, the group Bishop—which has a website, four albums to their credit and a Woodstock’ 99 gig on their resume—didn’t take kindly to the confusion the new Bishop has caused so they reached out to the female Bishop’s camp to find a resolution.
At first, an attorney for the female Bishop offered the trio Bishop—who trademarked the name about 15 years ago—a paltry $5,000 to change their name. They passed. As is often the case, there was a period of silence between the two parties, this as “Wild Horses” was moving up the alt-charts and limiting the female Bishop’s negotiating power. “Everything has a price,” drummer Rocco Semeraro said prior to threatening an injunction.
That said, Semeraro actually suggested to the other Bishop’s camp that they save their money, tack on Briggs and be done with it. “[Briggs] is actually better,” Semeraro says. Nevertheless, the negotiations continued. At one point, bassist Vinny Padula—who, incidentally is brothers with Semeraro and singer Tom Semeraro—said one of Bishop’s lawyers “basically told us we were just some ‘little metal band’ with ‘no money’ and that we should simply comply with their demands and [change our name].”
The female Bishop’s camp eventually came up with another dollar figure that well exceeded the original $5,000 offer, but the band balked at that, too. Fed up, Bishop began the process of filing cease and desist orders with every music service under the sun, as well as some radio stations. Spotify and Soundcloud immediately complied, which forced Bishop Briggs to take to Twitter and partially explain the reason:
So, in the end, Bishop, the band, won, albeit without receiving restitution for the months of confusion and misappropriation of the Bishop name. “We have no problem with the artist herself,” Padula says. “We hope that she is going to have a great career and be a big star. Our problem is with her management and the way that they tried to steamroll us into giving up our name to them. It seems to me like they rely so much on the marketing side, and having a one word name such as ‘Bishop’ is more important than the music itself.”
Bishop (the band):