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Ex-Black Crowes Drummer Sues Band Over Royalties: They ‘Left Me With No Choice’

Steve Gorman claims his former bandmates have "ignored" him and that he has "not been paid the full amounts owed."

Former Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman is suing the band for allegedly not paying royalties, claiming he’s spent years asking to see the band’s books but has been “consistently ignored.”

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles court, Gorman accused ex-bandmates Chris Robinson and Rich Robinson and their Black Crowes Partnership of violating the agreement they all signed in 1991 at the peak of their popularity.

Despite “clear language” in the agreement, Gorman says the band has refused to allow him to see royalty statements and other financial records since 2017.

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“For more than five years, my attorneys and I have made repeated requests to review the Partnership’s books to confirm the accuracy of royalty payments and my share, but Chris and Rich have consistently ignored my rights under the partnership agreement,” Gorman said in a statement to Billboard. “I regret that it has come to this, as I remain incredibly proud of the music we created as a band, but their conduct has left me with no choice.”

Gorman was a founding member of The Black Crowes, who reached the top of the Billboard 200 in 1992 with their second studio album, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. After a string of less successful albums, the band broke up in 2002 when Chris Robinson left to pursue a solo career.

The band has intermittently gotten back together in the years since, including a stint in the late 2010s when they released three new albums. Gorman played on those albums and toured with the band until 2012. In 2019, the band announced another reunion and plans for a new album, but without Gorman.

At issue in Wednesday’s lawsuit is a 1991 partnership agreement signed by four key original members, including Gorman and both Robinson brothers. According to the lawsuit, the deal is still in effect and gives all band members the right to regularly “inspect” the band’s accounts, but he’s been rebuffed.

“Despite the clear language of the partnership agreement, plaintiff … has not been paid the full amounts owed to him,” Gorman’s attorneys wrote. “Nor has plaintiff received complete and accurate accounting statements for the royalties owed to him.” He said the band had also failed to explain “deductions” taken from the money he had received.

The lawsuit also included several other claims, including that the band has refused to allow him to receive royalties directly from SoundExchange as a “featured artist.”

A representative for the Robinsons and the Black Crowes did not immediately return a request for comment.