Brian Jonestown Massacre Spat Continues


     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – After his first attempt failed, former Brian Jonestown Massacre guitarist Jeffrey Davies amended his claim Tuesday for a share of royalties in several songs.
     Davies joined the band in the 1990s but left in 2002 after a falling-out with front man Anton Newcombe. The band’s misadventures are depicted in “Dig,” a documentary about Brian Jonestown’s rivalry with fellow shoegazers The Dandy Warhols.
     Joshua Glotzer, an attorney for Davies with Beverly Hills law firm Glotzer & Sweat, said the protracted court battle is regrettable.
     “It’s unfortunate that it’s come down to this,” Glotzer told Courthouse News in an interview. “Newcombe made his reputation on albums like ‘Take it from the Man!’ indicating that he’s against the corporate world and the music business. Yet he has no problem stealing from his own band members, who gave him eight to 10 years of their lives.”
     Newcombe brought the spat to Federal Court last year, seeking a declaration that Davies is co-author only of Jonestown tunes “Straight Up and Down,” “Monster,” and “Straight Up and Down II.”
     Davies claimed, however, that he co-wrote three more songs, was the sole author of two others, and has an ownership interest in several other tracks.
     In May 2014 counterclaims, Davies said Newcombe and his attorney Barry Simons conspired to cheat him of his share of royalties in Jonestown songs.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins dismissed those counterclaims last month but gave the guitarist leave to amend.
     “Davies must provide more detailed facts in order to allege that Newcombe knew of Davies’ right to royalties and intentionally concealed that fact with the intent to defraud Davies, and that Davies suffered damages as a result of his reliance on the concealed facts,” Cousins wrote.
     Trying to swing the judge in his favor with an amended counterclaim filed Tuesday, the guitarist said Newcombe told him and his bandmates in the 1990s that they would get credit for any songs they wrote or performed.
     Newcombe also allegedly promised a share in the proceeds of the band’s recordings.
     “Further, it was represented to defendant that Newcombe was not the sole owner of BJM [Brian Jonestown Massacre] and that members of the band were partners in the songs and performances exploited from the band,” the 31-page amended counterclaim states.
     Davies has taken similar claims to the state court in Los Angeles. He says he is still owed royalties from “Straight Up and Down,” which plays over the opening credits of HBO’s television drama “Boardwalk Empire.”
     Newcombe’s camp did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

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