Bob Seger Calls Silver Bullet Bassist’s Lawsuit ‘Frivolous’
More than a year and a half after what's likely their final concert, Bob Seger and an original member of his Silver Bullet Band are doing some shooting at each other in court.
The Detroit rocker and his longtime bassist Chris Campbell have filed suit against each other in Oakland County Circuit Court in suburban Detroit.
Campbell and his wife, Courtney, under their corporate name Crisco Inc., fired first during April with five counts of breach of contract against Rock Storm Ltd., a company owned by Seger and administered by his longtime manager Edward "Punch" Andrews that handles Seger's touring business, and Hideout Records & Distributors Inc., which manages Seger's recordings.
Three of the counts related to concert tours in 2014, 2017 and 2018-19, and two counts address alleged unpaid recording royalties.
Seger's attorneys responded late last week denying those claims and making counterclaims against Crisco for what they deemed a "frivolous action." Both sides are seeking unspecified damages as well as a jury trial.
In a statement after the Campbells filed the initial suit, Seger and Andrews said that "Bob Seger and Punch Andrews have loyally supported our friend for 45-plus years. On advice from counsel we are unable to comment on the complaint at this time. We will respond to the complaint in the normal course through the judicial process."
The sticky, detailed and sharply worded suits break down to money and have revealed a particularly unusual situation within Seger's management offices. Campbell's suit alleges, and Seger's reply confirms, that accountant Frank Copeland, who worked as an independent contractor for Seger and Andrews as well as for the Campbells, embezzled from all parties - starting with the Crisco account around 2011 and subsequently from Rock Storm and Hideout, channeling money from the latter into Crisco under the guise of unauthorized "advances" on tour and royalty income. The Campbells, according to Seger's response, occasionally requested advances against touring fees, which helped the accountant camouflage his actions.
The suits indicate the embezzled amount, as relates to Crisco, was between $800,000-$1 million.
"Instead of suing the person who stole the money, Plaintiff is attempting to recover from Defendants," Seger's lawyers write in their counterclaim. "At no time have Crisco or the Campbells offered to return the embezzled funds." The Campbells suit alleges that Rock Storm and Hideout have withheld monies owed to Crisco as a way to improperly recoup the embezzled funds, while the Seger response counters that it's Crisco that breached its contracts with Seger's companies "by asserting claims to compensation over and above any compensation as it was due under the contracts."
Campbell, now a Florida resident who began recording with Seger for the 1974 album Seven - the same year the Silver Bullet Band was christened - is also claiming he's owed royalties from those releases. Seger's attorneys, however, said that Campbell was paid session fees and does not have a contract with Hideout "or any legal right of any kind to royalties earned on songs recorded by Seger." They added that "payments made by Hideout and/or Seger to Crisco (or Campbell) over the years have been voluntary and in the sole discretion of Seger," and that "voluntary payments authorized by Seger have ceased and will not be resumed in view of Plaintiff's filing of this frivolous action."
Seger and the Silver Bullet Band last performed Nov. 1, 2019, in Philadelphia, closing what was billed as his farewell tour. During a recent SiriusXM Virtual Town Hall, Seger told fans that future touring is unlikely in the wake of saxophonist Alto Reed's death in late December. "I don't think I could go out without him," Seger said during the session.