The Comsat Angels, C.S. Angels, The Headhunters, Dream Command...  All this & more

Don't Look Now - But Someone's watching You

Sounds 24/7/82

THE COMSAT ANGELS have had to change their name in America after some heavy legal pressure from the Communication Satellite Corporation of America, who appear to have gained knowledge of the band's touring plans within minutes of the contracts being signed.

The Sheffield four-piece band, who've already released two albums on Polydor, originally chose their name from the short story The Comsat Angels by J G Ballard. A year ago the band's management received a letter from lawyers representing the Communication Satellite Corporation, who also do a lot of secret military work for the Pentagon, saying that the word Comsat was a registered trade mark in America and that the group had no authority to use the name.

The correspondence between the group and the corporation lawyers continued for a couple of months before dying away, but last month the band began preparing their first American tour to begin in mid-July. On Friday July 2 the final list of dates was telephoned and telexed from America to England and contracts for the whole tour were agreed at 5pm. At 5.30pm the group's manager received a telephone call from lawyers from the Communication Satellite Corporation saying that if the group used the name Comsat Angels they would injunct every single club where the band were due to play across America to prevent them playing. And just to prove they meant business, they reeled off the complete list of dates the band had agreed to half an hour earlier.

The band then took advice from Polydor's American lawyers, who reckoned that they could win any court case but that it would cost up to 20,000 dollars to do so and they’d have to go to court in every state of America in which they were playing. This was clearly impracticable from a financial point of view and so negotiations began over an alternative name which the band could use in America.

They certainly have no intention of changing it in any other country. After the Cosmic Angels received a thumbs down from the band, they eventually agreed on CSA (formerly The Comsat Angels), although they will only be able to use the brackets for this tour.

What's intriguing is how the Corporation managed to find out the complete group itinerary within minutes of it being finalised.

Readers may like to ponder upon ways in which a leading communications satellite company specialising in military work might discover such information.

As part of the deal worked out between the band and the company, the band are only allowed to give an objective statement about the whole affair to any journalist who might ask. But Sounds can reveal that personally, the members of The Comsat Angels are not amused.

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