LOS ANGELES (CN) — A record producer claims in court that heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch reneged on a contract with to record a greatest hits album.
Prospect Park sued Zoltan Bathory and his three bandmates on April 21 in Superior Court.
The producer claims, among other things, that three members of the band are “shamelessly attempting to cash in before the anticipated downfall of their addicted bandmate.”
“This lawsuit is about the creative process outlined in the agreement and the rights of both parties to have involvement to ensure the best product,” Prospect Park’s attorney Michael Taitelman told Courthouse News in an-email. “The band and its reps want to bypass that process, for no reason other than short term gain.”
Formed in Las Vegas in 2005, Five Finger Death Punch is named for a martial arts maneuver from the 2003 movie “Kill Bill.” Their first three albums went gold; their songs include “Wrong Side of Heaven,” “Lift Me Up,” and “Wash It All Away.”
The co-defendants are Ivan Louis Greening aka Ivan Moody, Jeremy Spender Heyde aka Jeremy Spencer, and Thomas Jason Grinstead aka Jason Hook
Prospect Park says: “Regrettably, with the encouragement of their entertainment lawyer and business manager, the members of FFDP have unequivocally repudiated their contractual obligations to permit Prospect Park to determine the recording elements of a new record and a greatest hits record. In doing so, the members of FFDP are shamelessly attempting to cash in before the anticipated downfall of their addicted bandmate.”
Prospect Park says the band signed a four-album contract in December 2012, with the first set for release in April 2013. Recording for the fourth album was to start this June.
When Prospect asked the band to deliver two new masters for a greatest hits record, the band refused and insisted on recording it for a different producer out of concern for lead vocalist Ivan Moody, according to the complaint.
The producer says Moody has struggled with alcohol abuse, and that his “escalating substance abuse is placing both the future of FFDP, and indeed his life, at risk.”
The complaint continues: “FFDP’s own words demonstrate this fact: (a) a November 28, 2015 text that the ‘writing is on the wall,’ and that, ‘it’s a matter of time before [Ivan] hits the wall — and once he does — it will be too late to sell;’ (b) a December 3, 2015 email stating: ‘if Ivan does something stupid — dies — goes away to jail — then the catalog is a bust — then we won’t be able to sell and we’ll be trying to salvage what we can — IF we can…so to me it’s imperative to make a move and sell,” the complaint states. (Brackets in complaint.)
Other texts refer to Moody as a “ticking time bomb” threatening the band’s prospective eight-digit paycheck, and recent messages stated that he checked in to an in-patient rehab facility, according to the complaint.
Prospect claims the other band members are throwing Moody under the bus and rushing to record the next album to capitalize on sales.
Since acceding to the band’s demands, Prospect says, sales have declined, radio producers complain about their stale sound, and none of their albums have gone platinum or multi-platinum.
The band’s attorney say they have the right to terminate the contract if Prospect does not let FFDP record the fourth album how they want, but the contract states otherwise, according to the complaint.
Prospect says it has suspended payments to the band, but is willing to resume if they record the greatest hits albums exclusively for its label
The band did not immediately return a request for comment sent to their Facebook page Friday afternoon. An email message forwarded to their manager was not immediately returned.
Prospect seeks declaratory judgment that the band breached contract, that it has no right to terminate its prospect, an injunction, and compensatory damages for anticipatory breach of contract and breach of faith and fair dealing.
Attorney Michael Taitelman is with Freedman & Taitleman.
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