Twisted Sisters (the coffee shop) not giving in to Twisted Sister (the band)

Sandi Russell at Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop is challenging the band’s demand that she change the name of the shop.

When last we left the saga of the Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop on Johnson Drive, Sandi Russell (one of the sister owners) was wrestling with what to do about the legal threat she received from Twisted Sister, the heavy metal band.

You may recall that a lawyer for a band founder John French had notified the coffee shop sisters that the band holds a trademark on its name. The letter to the sisters suggests that the coffee shop name is “likely to cause a dilution of our client’s famous mark.” Change your name, the letter suggests.

As you might guess, readers thought the odds of mixing up a Mission coffee shop and a 1970s heavy metal band to be slight and the demand far-fetched. The story went viral. It hit talk radio and popped up around the country on sites like CNet with some real national exposure. And people called and came into the shop to show support.

One of the people who came into the shop was a lawyer who offered to represent Twisted Sisters pro bono in the dispute. Russell is meeting with the attorneys next week. In the meantime, she drafted a response to the band’s lawyer.

Russell’s letter begins: “Quite honestly when I first received your letter I truly had to go to the site you provided to learn of this band. Sorry. After Elvis, the Beatles and the Beach Boys my love of music leans to country.” She recounts the history of the shop and the name’s origin in a nickname hung on the sisters by their late brother. And she closes: “Right now I am at a loss as to what we could possibly call ourselves that could emulate why we are  ‘Twisted  Sisters Coffee Shop’  with our logo of a tornado coming out of a ruby red coffee cup. We are open to Mr. French’s ideas for us.”

Russell does not plan to give in. Her Facebook site is still up, although she took her Website down for the moment. She is holding off on putting up a permanent sign until this is behind her. And she wonders how those Twisted Sisters, the Virginia competitors on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” are making out with the band.