VIDEO: Burnley Meat Loaf act must pay £18,000 to American rock legend (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
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VIDEO: Burnley Meat Loaf act must pay £18,000 to American rock legend
A MEAT Loaf tribute singer has said he has no option but to declare himself bankrupt after his legal ‘spat out of hell’ with the American star left him facing an £18,315 bill.
Dean Torkington, 49, toured with his show To Hell And Back: (A Tribute To Meat Loaf) for 16 years.
But last year he was sued for being an ‘online imposter’ by the Californian-based artist.
The row centred on a website which Mr Torkington used to promote his act — www.meatloaf.org.
A judgement issued by the US District Court for the Central District of California found in favour of 65-year-old Michael Aday, Meat Loaf’s real name.
Judge Michael Fitzgerald ordered Mr Torkington to drop registration and control of the website and transfer it to Aday and awarded $25,000 in damages and $4,769 costs to the Bat Out Of Hell singer.
The legal proceedings continued despite a personal plea to the star from Mr Torkington, in which he compared his current predicament to problems in the singer’s past.
Mr Torkington, of Ightenhill, Burnley, has extensively toured around East Lancashire and further afield during his career.
His next show will be as an Elton John tribute, Captain Fantastic, at The Empire Theatre, Blackburn on Valentine’s Day.
He said: “He won’t get a penny from me. I’m skint.
“It may mean I won’t be let into the States. That doesn’t bother me as I’ve no plans to go there.
“I used to love him but now I hate him, he’s trying to ruin me.
“I’ve used the domain name since 2000 and always made it clear I was a tribute artist.
“With this and other debts I will have no option but to declare myself bankrupt. I’m having to apply for insolvency.”
The row with the multi-million selling artist, famous for Dead Ringer For Love and I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That), began after a 2006 show in Liverpool.
Mr Torkington drove to the gig, dressed as his idol in a van spray-painted with Meat Loaf images with the website name clearly on display.
After the show he claims he was confronted by the multi-millionaire star.
“When I got backstage I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
VIDEO: See footage of Dean Torkington below performing as Meat Loaf
“He went crazy. He said he’d seen my van and wanted it sprayed. He told me I couldn’t do my act anymore and that he wanted the website.”
A writ issued by Los Angeles law firm Lavely & Singer, named Mr Torkington as a ‘cybersquatter and online imposter’ and applied for $100,000 in damages.
Mr Torkington, a former Ivy Bank High School pupil, did not travel to California for the court hearing.
He no longer performs as a Meat Loaf tribute, diversifying his show to cover several other artists including Elton John, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen.
He has also shed around 11 stone since 2010.
Mr Torkington said he had not received a reply after making a personal appeal to Meat Loaf about the case.
“I just can’t believe he’s treated me like this,” he said.
“I wrote to him personally pleading with him to leave me alone.
“It’s well documented that he’s had troubled times with debts and relationship problems in the 1970s.
“I asked him for a little kindness and consideration but he just carried on anyway.”
Meat Loaf’s 1977 Bat Out of Hell LP has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
He recently announced on his website that his ‘Last At Bat’ April and May tour of Britain and Europe will be his last shows.
No representatives for Meat Loaf were available for comment.
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