Black Crowes Former Drummer Steve Gorman Sues Band Over Royalties

Steve Gorman, the former drummer of the Black Crowes, is taking his ex-bandmates Chris Robinson and Rich Robinson to court. Gorman, an original member of the Southern roots-rock band who played on the Crowes’ 1990 breakthrough debut Shake Your Money Maker, filed a lawsuit against the Robinsons and “The Black Crowes Partnership” on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Gorman, who along with the Robinson brothers and bassist Chuck Brandt (a.k.a Johnny Colt) formed a partnership in 1991 to collect royalties for the group, is suing to confirm the accuracy of his royalty payments and audit the partnership’s records. Gorman alleges he’s asked to inspect the royalty accounting on numerous times, but his request was denied. He’s suing for breach of contract, among other complaints.

As the lawsuit – obtained by Rolling Stone – states, “Defendants have failed to perform their obligations in full accordance with the Partnership Agreement by, among other things, failing to pay Plaintiff amounts owed under the Partnership Agreement, denying Plaintiff access to inspect the Partnership’s books and records, and improperly deducting unauthorized expenses from the royalty payments Plaintiff has received to date.”

“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,” Gorman said in a 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.”

Gorman’s attorney Michael Mortenson added, “Mr. Gorman’s rights under the partnership agreement are crystal clear. He is entitled to review the partnership’s financial information and confirm his earnings, but our repeated requests to do so have been denied.” (A rep for the group declined to comment.)

Gorman left the band in 2001 but rejoined in 2005. In 2014, the group imploded and broke up, with the Robinson brothers cutting off all contact with each other. They mended fences and reunited in 2019 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Shake Your Money Maker with a new tour and a new band of players. Gorman, who was not included, documented his time in the band in the 2019 tell-all Hard to Handle: The Life and Death of the Black Crowes.

The Robinsons’ reconstituted Black Crowes are set to return to the road in May with an appearance at the Stagecoach country music festival in Indio, California.