Burton Cummings Wants To Stop Current Guess Who Lineup In Performing His Songs

Burton Cummings Wants To Stop Current Guess Who Lineup In Performing His Songs | Society Of Rock Videos

via CityNews / Youtube

Guess Who‘s founding vocalist and songwriter, Burton Cummings, has lately made news for his audacious choice to forbid the current lineup of the band from performing his songs. This action is a part of the continuing legal dispute over the band’s name and heritage.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Cummings explained his motivation behind this drastic action. “I’m willing to do anything to stop the fake band; they’re taking [Bachman and my] life story and pretending it’s theirs,” he stated emphatically. The dispute traces back over a decade, with Cummings and original guitarist Randy Bachman clashing with bassist Jim Kale and drummer Garry Peterson over the band’s name.

The legal maneuver Cummings has undertaken involves terminating certain rights agreements on his songs. Essentially, this prevents the current version of Guess Who from performing his material in venues aligned with performance rights organizations (PROs). These organizations collect royalties on behalf of songwriters whenever their work is performed. By revoking these agreements, Cummings effectively blocks the unauthorized Guess Who from profiting off his compositions in PRO-aligned venues.

Implications for All Parties Involved

This decision has immediate and serious repercussions for all parties involved. Venues that have booked the Guess Who could potentially face legal action if the band continues to perform Cummings’ material without proper licensing. Moreover, the Guess Who themselves are left in a precarious position, as some of their most iconic hits, including “American Woman,” “These Eyes,” and “No Time,” were penned by Cummings. The cancellation of the next five shows due to Cummings’ actions underscores the impact on the band’s ability to perform.

However, Cummings’ bold move also carries significant risks for himself. By canceling his PRO agreements, he forfeits potential royalties not only from live performances but also from various other mediums such as radio, television, and commercials. This decision amounts to a sacrifice of revenue, but Cummings remains resolute in his stance.

In his own words, Cummings acknowledges the financial consequences but emphasizes the larger principle at stake. “Yes, I’m going to lose some money, but we’re going to find out what’s worth what,” he stated. “The name is worthless without those songs.” For Cummings, this battle transcends financial considerations; it’s about protecting the integrity of the Guess Who’s legacy and ensuring that their contributions are not misrepresented or exploited by unauthorized entities.

Despite the potential financial setbacks, Cummings remains steadfast in his resolve. “This is about the legacy of the songs and the fact that the cover band is doing anything they can to erase me and Bachman from the history of the group,” he affirmed. “I’m protecting the name of the Guess Who, I’m trying to protect what we did.”

Cummings’ actions might establish precedents for similar issues in the music business as the court procedures unfold. This fight emphasizes the value of maintaining creative integrity and defending the legacies of legendary bands and their original members, even above financial considerations.

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