An Australian artist is reeling after a massive American rock band revealed his cover of a single was almost identical to the artwork he produced for an Australian band.
In 2010, Brisbane band Dead Letter Circus released the single Cage, where the artwork shows a man holding his own face on a stick, looking back at the void where his face was, which has been replaced with cage bars.
This week, Las Vegas band Escape the Fate and its label Big Noise previewed the band’s upcoming single H8 myself on social media.
The artwork used was similar, showing the face held up on what appears to be a stick with a cage replacing the face.
Masking tape over the eyes seemed to be the only change in the image’s theme.
The Melbourne-based artist responsible for Cage artwork, Cameron Gray, posted the images side by side on Facebook and Instagram – with a scathing response.
“Disappointed to find out today by a major band that I have enjoyed and admired for years ripping off my art, especially after they approached me to inquire about my album cover,” he wrote.
“I always keep these things private, but this one really stings as it was artwork I did for Warner Bros and Dead Letter Circus, which I have a deep love and respect for as they helped me become who I am Today.
“And personally, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten tired of protecting people’s bad behavior.”
During his 15 years in the industry, Gray has collaborated with labels; Warner Bros Records, Sony Music, Entertainment One, Sumerian Records and Nuclear Blast Records.
A frequent collaborator with Dead Letter Circus, his art has also been featured on book covers, animations and band merchandise.
Escape the Fate, and its label, Big Noise, have removed social media posts featuring the artwork in question following massive backlash from music industry commentators.
“Let’s not mince words here – Escape The Fate pretty clearly beat Cameron Gray’s artwork that he originally did for Dead Letter Circus,” wrote US music label Metal Injection boss Greg Kennelty.
Escape the Fate guitarist TJ Bell made attempts to explain the band’s actions, responding to Gray’s comments on Instagram.
“Trying to reach out so I could explain. I found this image on Google and sent it to the band and artist for reference ONLY,” he said.
“Plagiarism was never the intention. This is a huge miscommunication on our part. We are sorry that this happened. Everything has been removed.”
Gray told news.com.au he does not plan to pursue legal action as the posts have been removed.
“I don’t want to drag it out,” he said.
“At the moment it looks like the band is doing the right thing and removing the art.”
Escape the Fate, who have amassed hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify, will tour Australia in April with shows in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Dead Letter Circus’ hometown of Brisbane.
Big Noise has been contacted for comment.