Atlantic sues STP's Weiland, Kretz

Accused of trying to end contract with WMG

Atlantic Records sued two members of Stone Temple Pilots on Thursday, accusing them of trying to prematurely end their recording contract with the Warner Music Group label.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, claims lead singer Scott Weiland and drummer Eric Kretz have threatened to stop performing under their contract and have indicated they would like to end the agreement unless Atlantic makes significant changes.

The record company said in the suit that while Stone Temple Pilots has already delivered six albums, it wants the group to record a seventh album and deliver up to two more if Atlantic decides it wants them.

Stone Temple Pilots reunited last month for its first national tour in eight years. The group, whose momentum was often curtailed by Weiland's drug problems, had fallen apart shortly after a 2002 tour. In late 2003, the other two members of the group, guitarist Dean DeLeo and bassist Robert DeLeo, were released by Atlantic from their recording contract as they said they wanted to pursue separate careers.

Atlantic said in the lawsuit that the group -- Weiland, Kretz and the DeLeos -- was now touring successfully and had indicated its intention to record together again. The record company said its contract with Stone Temple Pilots was written under New York laws and that the musicians are trying to use California laws to terminate it.

Atlantic said claims by Kretz and Weiland that they have a right to terminate the contract "have given rise to a definite, real and substantial controversy between the parties that threatens to harm Atlantic's business."

Atlantic is seeking a court declaration of its rights under the recording contract, the costs of its legal fees and any other relief the court decides is appropriate.

In a statement, STP maintains it "never threatened anything more than remaining away from the studio until equitable terms could be arranged. The precipitous filing of this action is yet another example of the difficulties facing artists in the new music environment, as relationships between artists and their labels fall further and further apart."

The band says it hopes the suit will be shelved "to permit negotiations to continue in a positive spirit rather than under a dark cloud of hostility. Should everyone operate in good faith, STP are certain that a new album from the band will be available soon. Should Atlantic instead pursue this scorched earth policy towards the band, the ultimate victims will be STP's fans, who will never be able to enjoy a new album from the group."