Rock star's ire is more than a feeling -- it's a lawsuit
Friday, January 12, 2007

By Brian Kladko
Boston Business Journal

Tom Scholz, founder of the band Boston, unleashed a screed against hardball business tactics in a 2003 song, telling corporate America, "You can take your bottom line and shove it."

But Scholz, 59, is hardly a pussycat when it comes to his own business.

Scholz has filed a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court against one of his more recent band members, accusing him of violating a band participation agreement by touting his past affiliation with the classic rock legend.

The agreement between Scholz and Anthony Migliaccio, whose stage name is Anthony Cosmo, requires him to perform "in such places and at such times as Scholz may designate." It also forbids him from playing with any other member of the band.

The agreement expires in March but some restrictions continue in perpetuity, including a provision forbidding him from using the name "Boston" in promoting himself. For example, it prevents Migliaccio from disseminating news stories or articles, books or other publicity materials that connect him to Boston.

Migliaccio also sold to Scholz 100 percent of his interest in five compositions he wrote either himself or with his father, Francis Migliaccio, who also played in the band.

In return, Migliaccio received compensation, according to Scholz' attorney, Susan Stenger. She would not say how much Migliaccio received.

But the restrictions apparently wore on Migliaccio, a native of Utica, N.Y., who was brought into the band in 1997 through his father.

Migliaccio's agent, Anthony Messina of Philadelphia, wrote to Scholz in November, declaring that the agreement "is now considered terminated and void," according to the lawsuit. The declaration was prompted by an e-mail from Scholz that he didn't have the money to include Migliaccio on future tours.

Scholz quickly responded in writing that the agreement remained in effect. The lawsuit, filed late last month, seeks to enforce it, but does not seek any specific damages beyond legal fees.

 Migliaccio "stated absolutely no basis for declaring it void," said Stenger, of Burns & Levinson LLP. "Tom Scholz owns the trademark, the name, and there's a lot of value to that, and he wants to protect that value." Scholz could not be reached for comment.

The younger Migliaccio, who didn't respond to requests for comment, contributed three songs to Boston's 2003 album, "Corporate America," and toured with the band in 2003 and 2004. On Boston's official Web site, Scholz is quoted as saying, "Ant ... had very creative, uniquely original ideas, that's the whole reason he got to play on stage with Boston."

Scholz's complaint cites two violations of the band participation agreement. The lawsuit says Anthony and Francis Migliaccio allegedly billed themselves as Boston at a concert they performed in St. Croix in January, and Messina touts his client's connection to Boston on his agency's Web site.

Messina wouldn't address the St. Croix concert because it took place before he represented Migliaccio. But the agreement, he said, does not prevent the Migliaccios from promoting their affiliation with Boston.

"Anthony and his father Fran were in Boston, and to dispute that ever took place would be an infringement on their speech," Messina said.

On Messina's Web site, Migliaccio is described as a mostly solo musician who plays all of the instruments on his songs, which he records in his home studio -- as Scholz largely did on the band's self-titled, breakthrough album released in 1976.
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