Tuesday, May 5, 2009

News: Jay Bennett Suing Jeff Tweedy for Royalty Payments

From today's Chicago Sun-Times.

Wilco Lead Singer Sued by Former Band Member
They famously parted ways eight years ago, and now it appears that multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett and Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy may be headed for a courtroom showdown.

Bennett filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit Thursday against his former Wilco bandmate, saying he’s owed “artist royalty payments” and proceeds from a documentary about the band. Bennett left the band in 2001, and the parting was described in the vague terms of “creative differences.”

Those differences were captured in the 2002 documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” which shows an argument between the two as they’re producing the album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” that sends Tweedy to the bathroom to vomit.

Bennett, who was with the band from 1994 to 2001, claims that while he had a significant role in the film, Tweedy “never obtained the necessary releases for the use of Bennett’s performance” and that he has not been compensated for that appearance.

Tweedy could not be reached for comment. But one line that suggests this is more bitter divorce than breach of contract: “Defendant [Tweedy] has repeatedly refused to compensate Bennett for Bennett’s membership in and contributions to Wilco despite Bennett’s numerous and repeated requests.” (Source)

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