Former Black Crowes Drummer Steve Gorman Sues Chris and Rich Robinson Over Unpaid Royalties

Former Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman is suing fellow founding members Chris and Rich Robinson for unpaid royalties.

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In a suit filed in a Los Angeles court on March 30, Gorman, who joined the Crowes in 1987, formed a legal partnership with the Robinsons in 1991, states that he has been denied any attempts to obtain detailed statements over the past five years, which he is entitled to do under the terms of the partnership agreement and California law.

Additionally, Gorman had been given documents by the Crowes’ attorneys showing “various unexplained deductions” from his royalties, “including deductions for partnership expenses described as ‘management commissions,’ ‘attorneys’ fees’ and ‘overhead,’” according to the suit. There were no further details on why these amounts were deducted from Gorman’s royalties.

The suit seeks Gorman’s share of any withheld royalty payments throughout this time, as well as future royalties through Sound Exchange, rather than through the partnership directly.

In 2001, Gorman left the band to pursue other projects and briefly rejoined the reformed band in 2005. The musician released the memoir “Hard to Handle: The Life and Death of the Black Crowes – A Memoir,” co-written with author Steven Hyden, in 2019.

“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,” said Gorman in his statement. “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 but to ask a court to order them to give me this information, which I’m entitled to under our partnership agreement and the law.”

The Black Crowes officially broke up in 2014 and Gorman was not involved in their 2019 reunion or asked to join the 2021 tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the band’s debut Shake Your Money Maker. On why the brothers didn’t include Gorman on the tour, Chris Robinson said the drummer was “one of the incredibly negative and manipulative forces in the band” in a 2021 interview. “Steve was one of the incredibly negative and manipulative forces in the band that we really didn’t want to deal with,” said Robinson. “In order to get back, we really had to do this very specific purge where we focus on the two of us and let this be something that will be positive.”

In addition to Gorman, none of the other original Black Crowes band members were asked to join the 2021 tour.

“It’s still precarious between us—you throw a bunch of that old shit around, entrenched patterns of behavior, and it’s just gonna trigger again,” said Rich Robinson at the time. “We can be in charge of our own triggers, but if you have other people around that have an agenda, which a lot of the older people around did, it’s just going to crash and burn.”

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Live Nation

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