Motley Crue blames 'Rock Star,' 'Tommy' for millions in lost revenue
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/20/2007
Motley Crue thinks drummer Tommy Lee's Rock Star and Tommy Lee Goes to College reality television roles tarnished the rock band's image and cost them some substantial cash.
Lee, bassist Nikki Sixx, frontman Vince Neil and guitarist Mick Mars have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Carl Stubner and his Sanctuary Management Group alleging the manager over-promoted the off-and-on-again Motley Crue drummer and neglected the rest of the band, E! News reported Monday.
The band claims that while Lee was filming NBC's Tommy Lee Goes to College -- a reality series that followed the rocker as he enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and dealt with various collegiate situations -- Motley Crue's Red, White and Crue 2005 reunion tour had to perform fewer dates. While the tour still grossed "more than $30 million," according to E! News, the band "sustained damages" due to Lee's absence, which they blamed on Stubner's mismanagement.
In addition to hurting the tour, E! News reported the lawsuit claims Lee's busy schedule delayed him from joining his fellow Motley Crue members in the studio to record an album that -- per an agreement with Wal-Mart -- was scheduled to be released this year. However Stubner has claimed he only worked for Lee and never had a business relationship with Motley Crue, according to E! News.
"Mr. Stubner and Sanctuary continue to manage Tommy Lee and make no apology for having effectively managed, promoted and furthered Tommy's career with great success," Sanctuary spokesman Kevin Chiaramonte said in a statement, according to E! News. "Mr. Stubner and Sanctuary will vociferously defend this lawsuit which is utterly and entirely without merit or basis."
While the lawsuit claims Stubner acknowledged during a December 2005 meeting in his office that Lee was in fact "overexposed" and agreed he should be "exclusively available" to Motley Crue, according to E! News, that wasn't exactly what happened. Lee instead agreed to participate in CBS' Rock Star: Supernova, a Summer 2006 reality series that sought to find a lead singer for a new band comprised of Lee, former Metallica guitarist Jason Newsted, and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke and then performed on the new band's subsequent tour.
The lawsuit alleges Rock Star: Supernova forced Motley Crue to cancel 40 shows and thus forfeit "more than $8 million" in ticket and merchandise sales, according to E! News, which added the lawsuit also claims Stubner told the band that Lee would only be available for Motley Crue tour dates if his commission was increased as manager.
"Stubner's motivation was greed. He has brazenly said as much," Motley Crue claims in the lawsuit, according to E! News. "Stubner stated that he received significantly higher commissions on Lee's solo projects because he did not have to share his take with the other managers (The band has two other managers, neither of whom is named in the suit). He claimed that it was a 'no brainer' to prefer and promote Lee's projects over those of Motley Crue."
Motley Crue is seeking "more than $20 million in damages for breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud" in the lawsuit, according to E! News, but some of the damage done to the band apparently goes beyond money and is irreversible.
The lawsuit also claims that Tommy Lee Goes to College's "inane overtones" made Lee -- whose past includes spending four months in jail after pleading no contest to assaulting ex-wife Pamela Anderson in 1998 -- appear "incoherent, lazy and incompetent" and also ruined Lee's reputation, which he earned "through years of great effort and hard work with Motley Crue," according to E! News.