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The Guess Who co-founder takes extreme measure to stop what he calls “fake” version of the band

todayApril 11, 2024

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Burton Cummings/ Credit: Jeremychanphotography/Getty Images)

The battle over who owns the rights to The Guess Who‘s name and music has taken a sudden and extreme turn. 

The founding members of the band, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman, sued original members Jim Kale and Garry Peterson in October, accusing them of misleading fans into thinking the founding members are part of the current lineup that’s on tour. Peterson is the only original member still touring with the group under the name The Guess Who.

According to Rolling Stone, in an effort to put an end to Kale and Peterson’s version of The Guess Who, Cummings — who wrote the band’s classic hits like “American Woman” and “These Eyes” and owns the publishing for them — has canceled the performing rights agreements for the songs. That means no band, including the current incarnation of The Guess Who, is allowed to play those songs live.

Here’s how it works: By canceling those agreements, concert venues can no longer host any acts who are performing Cummings’ songs. If they do, Cummings’ publishing company could sue them. The move has already resulted in several The Guess Who concerts in Florida being canceled.

But the move will likely wind up costing Cummings money, too, because it will prevent him from collecting royalties when the songs — or any covers of those songs — are played on radio, TV shows and more.

“I’m willing to do anything to stop the fake band; they’re taking [Bachman and my] life story and pretending it’s theirs,” Cummings tells Rolling Stone. “Yes, I’m going to lose some money, but we’re going to find out what’s worth what. I will not have this fake band going on any longer.”

He adds, “I’m going to lose some money, but … the name is worthless without those songs.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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