October 23, 2013 10:36am PT by Kevin Rutherford, Billboard
Former Sugar Ray Bandmates Suing Singer Mark McGrath
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
Two former members of Sugar Ray are suing Mark McGrath, accusing the band's frontman of a "series of self-serving and vindictive actions."
Murphy Karges and Stan Frazier, former bassist and drummer, respectively, for the alt-rock band, sued McGrath and Sugar Ray guitarist Rodney Sheppard, claiming McGrath bashed them on Twitter and cheated them out of money, as well as prevented them from rejoining the band, Courthouse News Service reports.
"Not content to simply misappropriate the Sugar Ray trademark by licensing it to a newly created shell corporation or unlawfully divert an additional 48 percent of the band's revenues into his own pocket, McGrath spent the last year engaging in a bitter campaign to destroy the personal and professional reputations of Frazier and Karges," the 29-page lawsuit states.
According to the lawsuit, McGrath would insist on flying first class on airlines while his bandmates would sit in the economy section and made a demand for at least $10,000 per live show, a request the plaintiffs called "outrageous."
Karges and Frazier also claim that McGrath effectively hijacked the recording of Music for Cougars, the band's sixth (and most recent) LP, locking them out of recording sessions and redoing the album with new producers. Both former bandmates claim they never quit the group, but rather went on hiatus after the singer's behavior grew too erratic. But after their departure in 2012, McGrath and Sheppard negotiated a new licensing agreement for the band's music that Karges and Frazier didn't have say in, despite being equal partners in the band's Crown Town Entertainment, which was created to distribute Sugar Ray's nontouring profits.
One of the tweets McGrath wrote about Karges and Frazier, according to the lawsuit, stated that Sugar Ray had become a "world class band" since "those 2 left," while another leveled an insult at Frazier in particular. "Sugar Ray is very happy with Stan cooking taquitos at the Fair and Murphy moving unit for Aaron Rodgers ... glad you guys admittedly moved on," he allegedly posted.
Sugar Ray rose to prominence in the late '90s through its single "Fly," which topped the Hot 100 Airplay and Alternative Songs charts, following with two other top 10 singles, "Every Morning" and "Someday."