In 2020, singer Eddy Grant sued Donald Trump for using “Electric Avenue” in a campaign tweet.
Trump’s lawyers asked him to “explain” the song, a newly-public deposition transcript shows.
“Do I have to?” Grant asked. At another point he complained, “that sounds like a trick question.”
Donald Trump’s lawyers asked Eddy Grant to “explain” his 1980s dance hit, “Electric Avenue,” a bizarre, newly public deposition transcript shows.
It didn’t go well.
The singer-songwriter bristled when asked about the disco-reggae song’s meaning, according to the transcript, filed Friday as part of his $300,000 federal copyright lawsuit over the song’s use in a 2020 Trump campaign tweet.
“Do I have to?” Grant answered when asked: “So can you please explain what the song is about?”
“We can stay here all day,” Grant told two lawyers for Trump, “And I can go round and round with this,” Grant continued.
“But the bottom line of it is that — sorry. The bottom line of the song is that it is a protest against social conditions, and then I can pick out the words to — I mean, obviously you’ve got those words there, I suppose,” he told the former president’s lawyers.
At this point in the transcript, Grant recites his lyrics: “Now in the street there is violence, and there’s lots of work to be done.”
Then he interrupted himself, the transcript shows.
“Well,” he said. “You know, I could go a long — you know, I mean, do we have to?”
Grant sued Trump and his 2020 campaign three years ago after a 40-second snippet of “Electric Avenue” was used without authorization in an animation mocking then-candidate Joe Biden. The animation shows Biden puttering along on a slow-moving hand-car as Trump zooms past him in a high-speed train.
Posted to Trump’s personal Twitter account on August 12, 2020, the animation was viewed 13.7 million times before being taken down two weeks later, on the day Grant sued.
Grant, a UK citizen who lives in Barbados, appeared at the May 20, 2022, deposition via Zoom, according to the transcript of the testy back-and-forth.
“I don’t see the relevance,” the artist responded, reasonably enough, when Trump attorney Darren Saunders asked, “Are you knowledgeable on the meaning of the lyrics and title of the composition?”
Grant noted that “Electric Avenue,” a common street name worldwide, is also the name of a street in the south London district of Brixton.
And when Saunders asked Grant if the song “specifically” referred to the street in Brixton, London, the singer snapped, “That sounds like a trick question.”
Saunders responded that he’s “very familiar with Brixton, the home of David Bowie and many others. But is ‘Electric Avenue’ a specific reference to a place in Brixton?” he asked.
“It’s not specific inasmuch as that there are many Electric Avenues in the world,” Grant answered. “You know, it stands for something, and I’ve created something that stands for something else.”
Like “heaven” and “hell,” he explained, Electric Avenue is more of a concept than a location on a map.
“You’ve never been to Heaven, and you’ve never been to Hell,” Grant told Trump’s lawyers.
“But it connotes something in your memory or in the collective memory of human beings to say, ‘You’re going to Hell.’
“Where the hell is Hell, you know?” Grant added. “Or, ‘We are going to Heaven.’ Well, where is Heaven? Well,” he concluded, “you’re going to Electric Avenue.”
Trump and campaign social media advisor Dan Scavino have also been deposed in the case, though transcripts of those 2022 depositions have not been made public.
Scavino testified after fighting subpoenas from Grant’s side for months. Trump was asked about his campaign’s access to his Twitter account.
Twenty pages from Grant’s deposition were made public Friday night as one of some three dozen exhibits supporting a motion by Trump and a motion by Grant — opposing efforts to narrow the issues to be decided should the case go to trial.
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