Eddie Money says his former drummer's wrongful termination lawsuit amounts to nothing more than gross and malicious falsehoods deigned to disparage and extort him, according to a Monday court filing.
In June, the rocker's attorneys filed an anti-SLAPP motion in response to Glenn Symmonds' claims that he was fired because of his age and disabilities from bladder cancer and a back injury, arguing that playing music is a First Amendment right and Money's choice of band members is protected activity stemming from that right.
Money claims he laid off his band for the summer of 2015 to tour with his adult children and intended to rehire them shortly thereafter. Symmonds, he claims, responded by calling promoters and telling them to not pay for the performances.
"This show is turning into a clusterf—k," says a phone call transcript attached as an exhibit to Money's reply. "He's fired everybody in his band and he's paying his goon family to be part of the band."
"This is a circus act gone even crazier by you hiring, allowing them to hire the family to come in," states another transcript. "I'm gonna call every promoter that's on the tour list and tell them not to pay you guys. That'll be one way to get it done, and I'm going to use social media on top of it to make sure that this clown hires professional musicians."
Money claims that vicious campaign is why Symmonds wasn't rehired.
Symmonds tells a different story.
The percussionist claims Money mocked him onstage for side effects of his cancer treatment, saying their tour was sponsored by Depends and referring to him as "Chemo the Drummer."
The Depends line, Money says, predates Symmonds' treatment and was actually the singer's attempt at mocking his own age. Money admits he did occasionally refer to Symmonds as "Chemo the Drummer" but says it was while telling audience members to purchase "Beat Cancer Like a Drum" T-shirts after the show to raise funds for Symmonds' treatment.
"Symmonds routinely accentuated the reference to 'Chemo the Drummer' with a 'rim shot' — snare drum slap commonly used to acknowledge the punch line of a joke," writes Shepard.
In May, Symmonds' fiance, Tami Landrum, joined the suit, claiming that Money repeatedly sexually harassed her and that Symmonds was fired for standing up for her. Among other things, Money is accused of pretending a microphone was his penis and hitting Landrum in the face with it during a radio interview.
"Landrum is a rock and roll groupie and has a history of 'coming on' to musicians," Shepard writes. "Her claims against Defendants, while salacious, are inconsistent with her conduct, her communications, and with basic common sense. That they were not asserted in Symmonds' initial complaint, but only as an afterthought, is telling."
A case management conference is currently scheduled for September.
This article was originally published on The Hollywood Reporter.