Band to Peregrine CEO: Sharona, Verona, as Long as You Pay Us
Russell R. Wasendorf Sr., chief executive of Peregrine Financial Group, who was arrested earlier this month after confessing to bilking customers for 20 years, is accused of stealing something else: a rock and roll tune.
On Friday, attorneys for the 1970s rock band The Knack — famous for its song “My Sharona” — sent a cease and desist letter to Wasendorf and his now-shuttered Italian restaurant MyVerona in Cedar Falls, Iowa, to stop him from using a re-recording of the tune as part of the eatery’s online advertising campaign.
The restaurant had used the song, with the chorus modified to “M-M-M-My Verona,” for several years as a theme song on its web site and other online venues, according to local residents and former company employees.
Among other things, the song served as a soundtrack to a video montage shot inside the restaurant, including clips of a plate of wood-grilled beef tenderloin, hand-cut pasta and a glimpse of the restaurant’s collection of more than 240 varieties of wine. As of Friday afternoon, two weeks after Wasendorf was arrested at an Iowa hospital, the video was still available on YouTube and the restaurant’s web site.
Wasendorf never contacted the authors of the song or the copyright owners and did not pay for the right to use it commercially, according to a letter sent by an attorney representing Knack bandmates Berton Averre and Doug Fieger, the song’s authors.