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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Drummer Says Korn Owes Him Money

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Korn barred its drummer from rejoining the band and owes him money for his contributions as one of its founding members, David Silveria claims in court.

Silveria sued his four former bandmates on Feb. 26 in Superior Court.

He claims that lead singer Jonathan Davis, guitarists James Schaffer and Brian Welch, and bassist Reggie Arvizu owe him an accounting for revenue since 2006 and damages for breach of partnership agreement. He also seeks an order dissolving the Korn partnership.

Silveria says in the lawsuit that after he, Schaffer and Arvizu disbanded their heavy metal group L.A.P.D in 1989, they joined with Davis and Welch to form Korn.

In 1993, the band released its first demo album - "Neidermayer's Mind" - giving birth to the Nu Metal genre, according to Silveria.

The band signed with Immortal/Epic Records a year later and recorded their eponymous debut. Shortly after making the record, Silveria says, he and his bandmates formalized their partnership and agreed to share equally in Korn's future successes and failures - including its trademarked name.

"Korn" eventually sold 10 million records worldwide and went double-platinum in the United States. The band's second album, "Life is Peachy," debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Major success came with Korn's third album, 1998's "Follow the Leader." The album debuted at No. 1, sold 5 million copies in the United States and earned the group two Grammys.

In the years that followed, Korn released five more albums and entered into lucrative deals with EMI and LiveNation - netting the group a combined $25 million, Silveria says in his complaint.

In 2005, Welch left the group, but retained his partnership interest in Korn. Silveria left in 2006, a move he calls "a temporary hiatus" in his complaint.

"Despite Silveria's temporary hiatus as Korn's drummer, Silveria always intended on returning to the band, and under no circumstances did Silveria ever relinquish or abandon his ownership interest in the Korn Partnership, which entitled him to his percentage interest in profits derived from partnership assets," Silveria says.

Welch returned to Korn in 2013. That spurred Silveria's desire to come back as well, he says.

"In or around summer of 2013, primed and ready to make music once again, Silveria personally reached out to Schaffer, Arvizu, Davis and Welch via video message, expressing his desire to return to the band in order to reunite all founding members of Korn, and to set aside any old grudges that may have existed in the past," Silveria says in his complaint.

But apparently the other members of Korn didn't feel the same, and had band manager Peter Katsis break the news to Silveria. This prompted Silveria to appeal to Korn fans, asking them to demand his return as the band's drummer - to no avail.

"Silveria was extremely disappointed that his business partners and former bandmates would refuse to allow him to return to a band that he helped build, even though a few months prior the band allowed Welch to return," Silveria says in his complaint. "Silveria's disappointment was exacerbated by the fact that despite personally reaching out to each of his former bandmates, he received the news of the band's decision through Katsis."

After a year of begging to be let back into Korn, Silveria says, he sent a letter to Katsis and the band's business manager, demanding to see Korn's books, and release of the money in his partnership capital account. He says the band has ignored his request.

"Through the use of the Korn Partnership property and Silveria's share of the partnership property, the Korn Partnership has obtained significant professional and commercial success," Silveria says.

"Despite excluding Silveria from all aspects of the partnership business, as a result of failing to respond to Silveria's requests, Davis, Arvizu, Schaffer and Welch have not compensated Silveria for his interest in the partnership property, brand or good will, or his individual property interest in the Korn trade name, trademark or service mark."

Korn is on tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their self-titled debut, playing the LP in its entirety at select dates.

The band recruited drummer Ray Luzier to replace Silveria in 2006 and made him a full-time member in 2009.

Silveria is represented by James Bryant of the Cochran Firm in Los Angeles.

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