Nancy McCallum, the mother of late Alice In Chains singer Layne Staley, has filed a lawsuit against the band, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. McCallum claims that the surviving members of the band owe her half of the money that would have gone to her son in royalties, which comes out to about 16 percent of the group's total income, and that the band has attempted to stop any further payments to her.
According to McCallum's lawsuit, an attorney for the band told her in September 2012 that Staley's interest in Alice in Chains' works was being liquidated and that the revenue sharing agreement that had seen her paid over the past decade was being terminated. Yet McCallum wants a court to establish her right to 16 percent of the band's income as well as any of her son's assets controlled by his former bandmates.
- Alice In Chains has yet to officially respond to McCallum's suit, which was filed on May 2nd in in King County Superior Court.
- Lawyers for Alice In Chains claim that McCallum illegally tried to trademark the band's name and has already been paid more than she's due. The group also states that the singer's heirs will continue to collect royalties on songs he wrote or co-wrote, although McCallum no longer has a role in any business decisions.
- McCallum alleges that she is now receiving a smaller portion of royalties than she had been getting beforehand.
- Staley died at the age of 34 in April 2002 from a drug overdose, after a years-long period of withdrawal from public life that effectively forced Alice In Chains into retirement for the better part of a decade.
- Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell told us a while back that artists like Staley didn't come around very often: "Layne was a very unique, one-of-a-kind guy. There's, like, a handful of those guys in music, for every generation, that are that unique and that hard to cop, but a lot of people try (laughs). But there's a lot of people that feel the weight of what that guy brought to music and have been influenced by it."
- The group resurfaced with new singer/guitarist William DuVall in 2006, recording its first album in 14 years, Black Gives Way To Blue, in 2009.
- A fifth full-length studio effort, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, is due out on 28th and features the singles "Stone" and the chart-topping "Hollow."
WHAT DO YOU THINK??
- Should Layne's mother still be entitled to a large chunk of the band's earnings at this point, since her son has not been a part of the band for years?
- Is she really just entitled to the royalties from his songs at this stage?
- Was it wrong of her to try and trademark the band's name? With all due respect to her losing her son, doesn't that smack of a cash grab?
- What should Alice In Chains do? Counter-sue? Settle?
INTERNET COMMENTS at Loudwire -- agree or not?
Leighton Keat wrote: "So Layne's heirs are still receiving royalties from the songs he wrote, what more does she want? The band have worked hard to bring themselves back after his passing, sounds like she is just being greedy."
Heather Kinslow wrote: "I'm not entirely sure as to why she's receiving anything to begin with. Unless he had a will stating she would continue to receive some amount of money after he passed why is she getting any money to begin with? and how can she sue after his death for a trademark on the bands name when it is NOT her band?"
Roberto Serrano wrote: "I did not know she was in the band. She should not be entitled to receive anything at all. Her son was a member of a great band that actually mourned for him instead of just replace him."
Kiko Jones wrote: "Unless we are privy to AiC contracts, Layne's will (if he had one) and are versed in Washington state law, we should all adopt a 'wait-and-see' approach to this case."
Julius Colon wrote: "If Layne was alive he would still be collecting royalties so why shouldn't his mom continue to get his money. This will be sorted out in a court of law and she will get what is legally her sons."
Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell On Uniqueness Of Layne Staley
Read more at Blabbermouth, Loudwire and Classic Rock
Check out an interview with William DuVall at Blabbermouth1, Blabbermouth2 and Blabbermouth3
Check out an interview with the band at Blabbermouth