Eminem song composer: New Zealand ad is ‘blatant rip-off’

Eminem song composer: New Zealand ad is 'blatant rip-off'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The composer of the opening guitar riff for Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” says the soundtrack of a New Zealand political ad is a “blatant rip-off.”

Jeff Bass told the High Court in Wellington on Tuesday that the song titled “Eminem Esque” that was used by the ruling National Party during its 2014 election campaign sounds like “Lose Yourself Lite.”

But, he added, “It doesn’t taste so good, though.”

Eminem’s music publishers Eight Mile Style sued the National Party over its use of the song. The judge-only copyright infringement case started Monday and is expected to last about six days.

The party has previously said it purchased the soundtrack for its TV ad from an Australian-based music supplier and doesn’t believe it has infringed anyone’s copyright.

Bass, who lives near Detroit and travelled to New Zealand to testify, picked up an acoustic guitar and strummed the famous riff that opens the Oscar-winning 2002 song in front of eight lawyers and a judge in the courtroom.

He said he wrote the song with Eminem and Luis Resto over 18 months.

“I picked up a guitar and started playing that opening guitar chord,” he said. “At that time, I didn’t know if it was a song or not.”

He said Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers III, put together a drum track but then they got stuck.

“It took him a number of months to author the perfect lyrics that were just right for the beat,” Bass said.

He said they finished as Eminem completed work on his film “8 Mile.”

“It really developed in a little studio we had set up in his trailer,” Bass said. He said Resto replaced some of the guitar elements with keyboards in order to remove some of the rock feel of the song without losing the hip hop tone.

Defence lawyers argue the musical composition of the song isn’t particularly original. One of them asked Bass if he considered the soundtrack Eminem Esque to be musically inferior.

“Being that it’s a blatant rip-off, yes,” Bass responded.

The lawyer asked if it was weaker because it was different. “It doesn’t feel like ‘Lose Yourself”’? the lawyer asked.

“It doesn’t feel like me playing ‘Lose Yourself,'” Bass said.

The lawyer asked Bass if he’d agree that the Led Zeppelin song “Kashmir” has a similar chord pattern.

“No. None whatsoever,” Bass responded.

Judge Helen Cull asked Bass if the guitar strum he’d performed in the courtroom was common.

Bass said that while he’d heard those chords played before, he’d never heard them in that particular rhythm. He said that by putting an accent on the third beat it was as if he was playing guitar and drums at the same time.

“The intention was to create a tense, hypnotic feeling,” Bass said. “It starts playing, and never goes away. Along with that drum beat, it actually will hypnotize you, where you are feeling that something’s going to happen.”

Nick Perry, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Reel Reviews: Fear or love

We say, “Once again, one worth seeing, one not.”

Two people safe after falling through ice

Kelowna Fire Department urges caution around icy waters during warm weather

Missing Kelowna woman sought

RCMP are asking for assistance in locating Christine Olsen-Meissnitzer

Plane lands safely after takeoff issue

An airplane departing Kelowna International Airport had an issue with a landing gear, landed safely

KSS rocks and rolls for 37th straight year

Kelowna secondary students let loose with annual Air Bank competition

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Captain Cal Foote is Rockets’ MVP

The Rockets hand out their annual team awards Sunday at Kelowna Community Theatre

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Cancer fundraiser takes to Okanagan Lake

Penticton and Naramata joining growing fundraising event

Elke’s Garden Tips: Good time to prepare

Lake Country garden columnist talks about what to do at this time of the year

Letter: Crying fowl over goose cull witness

Kelowna letter-writer says Canada geese come with many issues

Letter: I was born in Kelowna in 1930…

Kelowna letter-writer has some ideas on how things should run nowadays

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read