The L.A. firm Rimshot Management has filed suit against former Motown Records sidemen the Funk Brothers, alleging the musicians breached their management contract. The Funk Brothers -- session musicia
The L.A. firm Rimshot Management has filed suit against former Motown Records sidemen the Funk Brothers, alleging the musicians breached their management contract.
The Funk Brothers -- session musicians Joe Messina, Eddie Willis, Joe Hunter, Bob Babbitt, Uriel Jones and Jack Ashford -- toured successfully after their story was retold in the 2002 documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."
Rimshot partners Allan "Dr. Licks" Slutsky and Sandy Passman produced the feature and its hit soundtrack album, which is being re-released by Universal's Hip-O Records as a two-CD deluxe edition on May 11. Slutsky acted as the film's musical director, and authored the biography of Motown bassist James Jamerson that served as its basis.
In its suit, filed April 28 in California Superior Court in L.A., Rimshot claims that the firm signed an exclusive two-year management contract in February 2003 to represent the Funk Brothers. The action estimates that the group earned more than $1 million during the first year of Rimshot's contract.
The suit alleges that Rimshot was informed in February 2004 that its services were being terminated. That notice was later rescinded, but, the action claims, percussionist Ashford told Passman and Slutsky at a March meeting at CBS Studios in L.A. that the termination was still in force, and that the retraction had not been collectively approved by the group.
Rimshot claims that the firm is still owed more than $30,000 in deferred commissions, as well as commissions for TV appearances on "American Idol," "The Wayne Brady Show" and "Motown 45.
The suit seeks damages to be determined.
Representatives of the Funk Brothers could not be reached for comment.