According to a press release, the pair – who co-wrote some of the Canadian band’s biggest hits – has sued bassist Jim Kale and drummer Garry Peterson for falsely advertising “a group of hired musicians who have been touring and recording using the band’s name.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the musicians have been using photos including Bachman and Cummings, who haven’t performed as members of the Guess Who for 20 years, to promote the band.
Kale joined the Guess Who in 1962 when they were still known as Chad Allan and the Reflections. He left the band (according to the press release, he was kicked out) in 1972; Peterson was also a member of the group since the early ’60s and stayed with them until 1975 when they broke up.
What Happened to the Guess Who?
The Guess Who has since gone through several reunions, a few even including Bachman – who went on to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive after he left the band in 1970 – over the years. Kale and Peterson have kept the group active with other musicians.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court on Monday claims that Kale and Peterson “allegedly concoct[ed] a deceptive scheme that has falsely led fans into buying tickets for the cover band’s live shows and implying that Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman are performing at the shows when in fact they have no affiliation with the cover band.”
Bachman and Cummings are also saying the touring group has been “removing images of Cummings and Bachman from the landing pages of music streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music and replacing them with pictures of the cover band to boost sales of tickets for live performances. The suit additionally states the defendants have been using songs written by Cummings and Bachman to promote the cover band without obtaining proper licenses.”
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In addition to “tarnish[ing] the band’s legacy,” Bachman and Cummings claim the Guess Who’s “actions are alleged to have impeded [their] own ability to book live performances in the United States.” The guitarist and singer behind the Top 10 songs “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” “No Time” and “American Woman” have toured together in recent years.
What Is Going on With the Guess Who Lawsuit?
Bachman and Cummings are seeking more than $20 million in damages “as well as a court order directing Kale and Peterson to take corrective measures notifying the public and all venues where the cover band is playing with truthful advertising.”
“With this lawsuit, Randy and I hope to set the record straight and protect fans from imposters trying to rewrite history,” Cummings said. “Even after we’re gone, the legacy of the Guess Who will live on, and we want to make sure that legacy is restored and preserved truthfully.”
“Burton and I are the ones who wrote the songs and made the records,” Bachman noted. “It’s Burton’s voice and my guitar playing on those albums. Anyone presenting and promoting themselves as the Guess Who are clones who are ripping off our fans and tainting the legacy of the band. It’s about time for the real story to come out.”
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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff