respect the classics

The Doobie Brothers and Bill Murray Are Feuding Because 2020 Just Won’t Quit

Photo-Illustration: Vulture and Getty Images

Even a fool would believe it: Bill Murray and the Doobie Brothers are currently engaged in an amusing legal feud over the unauthorized use of the band’s “Listen to the Music” in advertisements for Murray’s golf-apparel company. Per Rolling Stone, the trouble began on September 23, when lawyers for the classic rockers sent a legal warning to William Murray Golf for using the ditty in several commercials. “It’s a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts,” attorney Peter Paterno wrote. “However, given that you haven’t paid to use it, maybe you should change the company name to ‘Zero Bucks Given.’ This is the part where I’m supposed to cite the United States Copyright Act, excoriate you for not complying with some subparagraph that I’m too lazy to look up and threaten you with eternal damnation for doing so. But you already earned that with those Garfield movies. And you already know you can’t use music in ads without paying for it.” Paterno added that Murray’s shirts are “so damn ugly,” which, damn.

In a pun-filled response to the warning on September 25, the firm representing Murray’s company insisted that since the Doobies were “not harmed” by the commercials, their legal options are slim. “I would like to compliment you on finding levity in the law at a time when the world and this country certainly could use a laugh. Your client’s demand was able to cut through the noise of the news cycle and remind us how much we all miss live music these days,” attorney Alexander Yoffe wrote. “We would also like to confirm that both our firm, and the good folks at William Murray Golf, are indeed fans of the Doobie Brothers’ music, which is why we appreciate your firm’s choice of ‘Takin’ It to the Streets,’ rather than to the courts, which are already overburdened ‘Minute by Minute’ with real problems.” Yoffe offered to send the soon-to-be Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees free William Murray Golf swag and urged everyone involved to “pour one up and unwind with a listen of the recently released Quadio box set.” As long as the drink is black water, and the box set can be played on a long train.

The Doobie Brothers and Bill Murray Are Delightfully Feuding